John Edwards and his Wife's Cancer

This just in: John Edwards’ wife’s cancer is back – she now has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer — and yet Edwards is saying he plans to soldier on with his campaign. It’s his call, obviously, but it seems to me that he would have been wiser to face the inevitable and call the campaign off.

So what’s the consensus? Is he right or is he wrong, and what effect will it have on his campaign, or on his chances?

Maybe one of those doctors that he frivolously sued out of business can help.

Oh, wait…
Personally, I wouldn’t vote for anyone who puts his or her own selfish ambition for power ahead of family when something like this happens. Dude, your wife has stage 4 cancer, go spend what time she’s got left with her. You’re young, you can run again in 4 years as a widower.

I’m not going to second guess any decision they make here. Even with a devastating illness to deal with, there are other matters in life that have to be dealt with, and the importance any of us place on them is for us and our families to hash out.

I do wish Elizabeth Edwards well in her treatment, and my best wishes go to her and her family.

Edwards didn’t find any doctors guilty, jurors did. If you can prove to a jury that you were wronged by a doctor, why shouldn’t you be made whole?

It’s his call to make about campaigning. He has a duty to his wife, but has to weigh that against the good that he can do for the nation.

He should pull out, in most polls he is trailing behind Clinton, Obama and even Gore who is not even running. He will not be doing himself or his wife a favor by running. She needs him more than the Democratic party does.


Or maybe Santa. Or the Easter Bunny.

Those who watched the press conference saw a couple who made the decision together to fight for what they both passionately believe in, rather than give up. Elizabeth Edwards obviously thinks she’s better off going on with life as best she can, and I don’t think it’s up to us to gainsay that decision.

Edwards wouldn’t go through with it if Elizabeth wasn’t pushing him to do so. The love, respect and partnership between the couple has always been palpable. He wasn’t my ideal Vice Presidential candidate back in 2004, and he’s not my favorite candidate for 2008, but I admire him – and especially Elizabeth – for showing such strength and determination against some devastating obstacles in their life.

Good for them.

He sued the Easter Bunny, man that’s low. He is even more despicable than I thought he was.

Maybe she wants him to run. Maybe she believes in him and wants him to be president. But I really love how this is twisted around to saying he’s selfish without knowing all the facts about why they even made the decision to stay in the race.

Facts don’t matter when you’re smearing a Democrat, don’t you know?

The Edwardses say that the cancer is not curable, but it is treatable. I’d like to hear from some doctor Dopers, but if this isn’t going to kill her and is something she can live with for years, if not decades, I don’t think he needs to quit.

Even if she’s dying, I have to agree with Moto. It’s their decision and I can’t bring myself to criticize him for what he’s doing.

That’s my thinking as well. It’s possible that:
a) She believes she’s dying;
b) She believes her husband would make an awesome president;
c) She would love to see him be president before she dies; and
d) She would hate to die thinking that she kept him from achieving his dream.

I would be surprised if any one of those four conjectures were incorrect. And if they are all correct, what kind of husband would he be to withdraw, leading her to wonder in her final days what might have been?


This is what my idealistic side was saying before it got shouted down. Because in a pragmatic sense, Elizabeth Edwards’ illness can only damage the candidacy, no? People will be afraid to commit with time or money if they feel like he’ll need to pull out at some point, and campaigning at this early stage is all about getting the influential fence-sitters to commit.

That’s so intensely self-serving it boggles the mind. Do you really think that there’s any one person who would be such an amazing President or candidate that without him, horrible suffering will afflict the populace?

Quite frankly, anyone who believes themselves so vital to the future of this country that it’s more important they run on the outside chance they get elected than it is to be with your wife for the last few months of her life is someone I wouldn’t trust within 100 miles of the Presidency.

And really, I doubt this has any reflection on whether Edwards thinks he can “do good for the nation”. If he actually cared about doing good, he’d still be in the Senate, or running for governor, or doing something to make life better for people before he became President.

All this shows is that Edwards knows that he’s a fading star with no future chance, and that it’s more important to him to make a quixotic run for the fame and glory than it is to spend his time with his wife in the last few months of her life.

It can win him some sympathy, but as for campaigning, I don’t see a positive side. There were reports at first that he was going to suspend his campaigning, and I was surprised he didn’t - but I think at this stage, if he suspends campaigning and starts courting donors while Clinton and Obama and others continue, he’ll be finished anyway. If he continues and her health deteriorates, he still has the option of dropping out later.

Facts are irrelevant no matter who you’re smearing.

I wish I saw this before I posted because it was wonderfully said. Like them or not, they seem to have a great relationship. They’re been through a great deal and I’m sure it was a mutual decision and people with no idea of what they’re going through shouldn’t try to second guess the decision. Sort of a tacky way to take shots at him.

Oh, come on, one poster in the entire thread is twisting it around. A few of us are just being pragmatic and looking at the fact, he has no chance and he might as well drop out and concentrate on helping her.


Or when you’re supporting a Democrat for doing the equivalent of what you lambasted Gingrich for doing, don’t you know?

Regarding the “treatable, not curable” remark, I think what this means is that yes, it is fatal, but the length of time she has might be measured in years, if the treatment goes well and her cancer responds to it.

Yeah, but if it does, it does – they’ll go out swinging, which is probably preferable to a demonstrably feisty woman like Mrs. Edwards and a supportive, similarly feisty guy like her husband.

I completely agree with those saying Elizabeth wants to see her husband achieve his goals. If it helps her have the strength and optimism she’ll need to fight back what is (almost certainly) inevitable with Stage 4 cancer, then more power to her.