Why I see John Edwards as a big phony: Director’s Cut

By Brad Warthen
Editorial Page Editor
SEVERAL MONTHS ago, I observed on my blog that I think John
Edwards is a phony — a make-believe Man of The People.
    It’s not so much that he’s lying
when he says he wants to help One America -– the Deserving Poor, whom he wants
to vote for him -– get what it has coming to it from the Other America (that of
the Really Rich, to which he disarmingly admits he belongs).
    He’s a pro at this, and at some point, pros can’t be liars. On
some level, they have to believe in themselves, whether it’s stepping to the
plate to beat the home run record or striding to the podium to drip pure,
sincere concern upon the people. Mr. Edwards has a sufficiently plausible
background story to convince himself that he is, deep-down, that dirt-poor,
mill-town child he invokes in his personal anecdotes. So he is persuaded, even if I am not.
    Why am I not? Well, I
hadn’t ever planned to get into that; I’ve just devoted more attention to other
candidates of both parties. I kept hoping that maybe Mr. Edwards would just
drop out. But he’s still in it, or trying to be. As The State’s Aaron Sheinin wrote in a piece headlined “Edwards
staying positive,” the former senator is “betting he can come from behind again
in 2008, as he did in 2004.”
    Sigh. So I guess I’d
better “put up” and explain why I called him, on Feb. 8 on my blog, “one of the
phoniest faux populists ever to get his name in the papers.” The
impression is mainly the result of three encounters:

Strike One: Sept. 16, 2003.
The candidate was supposed to appear on a makeshift stage on Greene Street in
front of the Russell House. The stage was on the south side, with seating
before it in the street, and bleachers to both left and right. I stood on
higher ground on the north side with, as it would turn out, an unflattering
angle of view.
    He was supposed to arrive at 4 p.m. but it was at least 5 before
he showed; I can no longer cite the exact time. When his appearance was
imminent, his wife appeared on the stage and built expectation in a manner I
found appealing and sincere. As either she or another introducer was speaking,
I saw Mr. Edwards step to an offstage position just behind the bleachers to my
left (toward the east). None of the folks in the “good” seats could see him.
    His face was impassive, slack, bored: Another crowd, another
show. Nothing wrong with that, thought I -– just a professional at work.
    But then, I saw the thing that stuck with me: In the last seconds
as his introduction reached its climax, he straightened, and turned on a
thousand-watt smile as easily and artificially as flipping a switch. He assumed
the look of a man who had just, quite unexpectedly, run into a long-lost best
friend. Then he stepped into view of the crowd at large, and worked his way, Bill Clinton-like, from the back of the
crowd toward the stage -– a man of the
people, coming out from among the
people -– shaking hands with the humble,
grateful enthusiasm of a poor soul who had just won the Irish Sweepstakes.
    It was so well done, but so obviously a thing of art, that I was
taken aback despite three decades of seeing politicians at work, both on-stage
and off. Not enough for you? OK.

Strike Two: Jan. 23, 2004.
Seeking our support in the primary contest he would win 11 days later, he came to an interview with The
’s editorial board.
    He was all ersatz-cracker bonhomie, beginning the session by swinging
his salt-encrusted left snowboot onto the polished boardroom table, booming,
“How do y’all like my boots?” He had
not, it seemed, had time to change footwear since leaving New Hampshire.
    The interview proceeded according to script, a lot of
aw-shucking, much smiling, consistent shows of genuine concern, and warm
expressions of determination to close the gap between the Two Americas. Then he
left, and I didn’t think much more about it, until a week later.
    On the 30th, Howard Dean came in to see us for the second time.
Once again, I was struck by how personable he was, so unlike the screamer of
Web fame
. I happened to ride down on the elevator with him afterward, along
with my administrative assistant and another staffer who was a real Dean fan
(but, worse luck for Gov. Dean, not a member of our board). After he took his
leave, I paused to watch him take his time to greet everyone in our foyer -–
treating each person who wanted to shake his hand as every bit as important as
any editorial board member, if not more so. I remarked upon it.
    “Isn’t he a nice man?” said our copy editor (the fan). I agreed.
Then came the revelation: “Unlike John Edwards,” observed the administrative
assistant. What’s that, I asked? It seems that when she alone had met then-Sen.
Edwards at the reception desk, she had been struck by the way he utterly
ignored the folks in our customer service department and others who had hoped
for a handshake or a word from the Great Man. He had saved all his amiability,
all his professionally entertaining energy and talent, for the folks upstairs
who would have a say in the paper’s endorsement. He had no time for anyone
    At that moment, my impression acquired stony bulwarks of Gothic

Strike Three: Sept. 22,
. I decided to drop by a reception held for then-vice-presidential
nominee Edwards at the Capital City Club that afternoon. I had stuffed my press
credentials into my pocket after arrival so as to mix freely with the
high-rollers and hear what they had to say. (They knew who I was, but the
stuffy types who want writers to stand like cattle behind barriers did not.)
Good thing, too, because there was plenty of time to kill, and there’s no more
informative way to kill it than with the sort of folks whom candidates want to
meet at such receptions.
    It was well past the candidate’s alleged time of arrival, but no
one seemed to mind. Then a prominent Democrat who lives in a fashionable
downtown neighborhood confided we’d be waiting even longer. We all knew the
candidate had a more public appearance at Martin Luther King Park before this
one, and no one begrudged him such face time with real voters. But this
particular insider knew something else: He had bided his own time because he
had seen Sen. Edwards go jogging in front of his house, along with his security
detail, after the time that the MLK
event was to have started.
    As reported in The State the next day, “Edwards was running late, and the throng waiting to rally with
him at Martin Luther King Jr. Park took notice. They sat for two hours in the
sweltering heat inside the community center, a block off Five Points.”
    We were cool at the Cap City Club, drinking, schmoozing,
snacking, hardly taking notice. So he’s late? What are these folks going to do –- write checks for the Republicans?
    But my impression had been reinforced with steel girders: John
Edwards, Man of The People, is a phony. And until I see an awful lot of
stunning evidence to the contrary, that impression is not likely to change.

216 thoughts on “Why I see John Edwards as a big phony: Director’s Cut

  1. Todd Rogers

    Considering that Sen. Edwards is a career trial attorney, and that his income, reputation, and ultimate success depends entirely on his ability to chameleon any given cause, it’s no surprise that from time to time, true colors will shine through. While I’m not trying to make a partisan distinction, one thing about Ronald Reagan the world over knows to be true is that while he was indeed an actor, he was also heavily convicted in his free-market and good cheer principles. He never had to play the part, it just came naturally.

  2. Ted Sbardella

    You are my new Hero. I take back all the scrurilous things I ever said about you. I humbley bow before you with my hat in my hand. You have put South Carolina on the Drudgreport not for some sexual misconduct of some school official or some idiotic exploit of an elected official and his bridge or but you have brought honest assessment of an ambulance chaser running for President of a country with lots and lots of ambulances.

  3. Jen Q

    Oh, please. Why not go back to the four H’s already – Haircut, House, Hedgefund, HarperCollins? At least these have some objective facts buried in them somewhere.
    Truly, this is the poorest excuse for “journalism” I’ve ever seen. Anonymous conversations. Impressions. Phantom sources. Oh, yeah…and a glimpse at someone collecting his thoughts before making a major public appearance.
    Gimme a break, already.

  4. cjkinsey

    You are right you impression is not likely to change, because you have 3 anecdotal/hear say examples to show how he is a “phony”. After starting that he is not lying and that he believes he believes what he is saying, you cite examples that don’t show he doesn’t.
    Like all stereotypes, you have set your frame, so from here forward you will discard that which doesn’t fit your frame, and emphasize anything that does.
    All of the items listed here have nothing to do with what he would do as a president. Whether his ideas and plans have merit, practicality, or are appropriate objectives.
    Since you likely won’t go see him talk next time he is around, how about if the next time you see him on a debate if you write about the color of his suit, or maybe which side his part is on. You can do all this as evidence that he would not be able to speak with other world leaders.

  5. BG

    What else should we expect from a guy who pretends to channel dead babies in order to win a jury trial?
    What else would we expect from a man who would rather be president that be there for his children while their mommy dies of a terminal illness?

  6. stephen mayo

    A very good friend of mine was a pilot, and among a very impressive list of people he has piloted for are many top politicians and former presidents. He flew Edwards once on the campaign trail and was absolutely startled at how he… switched on and off with the opening and closing of the cabin door… he’d fly into tirades, berate his wife, telling her she’d be riding on the bus next time etc…staffers would cower…
    I’ve been waiting for a story to appear along these lines because obviously that is something that cannot be hidden… the jeckyl/hyde… to be honest though… I did not expect to see it ever printed… congratulations on exposing a truth that tells people what they really need to know… truth that I believe is deliberately withheld by many so called respected journalist… Thank You…

  7. Don Black

    It is always refreshing to read personal observations/opinions from people who have at least met the parties in question.
    It is my personal belief politics is peopled by actors, trained in the art of distortion while fastening the emotional dreams of voters to the tail of a balsa wood kite. It does not matter if it is an elephant or a jackass, they bray the same.
    Thank you for using your personal knowledge to back up your stated opinion.

  8. veritas

    Well done on exposing John Edwards for what he really is. A phony.
    By the way, your article is linked on The Drudge Report! Expect a lot of traffic!

  9. Bernie

    Excellent piece. Very concrete and revealing of John Edwards real persona. I have a similar set of anecdotes about John Kerry and is treatment of staffers. The lack of genuineness is alarming, since it signals a willingness to manipulate without hesitation.

  10. Disappointed

    Is that it, Mr. Warthen? Boy, from your swirling, blustery build-up, I thought for sure you were about unleash unto the world truly shocking revelations about Edwards running numbers behind the State Capitol or kicking the dogs of little children when the cameras aren’t on him.
    But an “impression” based on nothing more than three passing moments of the type any politician must surely engender at least a hundred times? I must say I’m a little disappointed to discover that’s all you’ve got. I mean really: holding the fact that a politician begins to smile as she or he approaches the podium against them, and then holding it aloft as dispositive proof of some kind of “phoniness”? That’s scraping the bottom of the barrel.
    Nary a mention of substantive policy to be found, not even the usual nod; I’d call that strike one. No acknowledgment of the necessary demands of campaigning; now you’re staring down oh-and-two. Trumpeting your own incidental, anecdotal observations from years ago as if they were somehow definitive word in this election? Well, to my mind, that’s strike three. Not to mention you flatly admit at the piece’s beginning that all the while you’ve been “hoping that maybe Mr. Edwards would just drop out.”
    Now, your opinions are certainly that: your opinions. If you fancy yourself a modern-day Diogenes, just looking for a politician who is (a) always smiling, (b) always has time for everyone and (c) is always on time, well, sir, I wish you luck in your quest. But it does shock the conscience a little to realize that with all the power of your position (evidenced by the approving nod from the Drudge Report your hit piece has drawn), all you’re trotting out are three “impressions” garnered Edwards’ run four years ago.

  11. Harry

    Of course John Edwards is a phony. I’ve known about Mr. Edwards since I found out he made all those millions of dollars using “junk science” to bilk Hospitals, Doctors and Insurance companies in bogus claims about Cerebral Palsy being caused by their malpractice. It was a load of CRAP foisted on what must have been truly ignorant juries no doubt hand picked because they were ignorant and malleable to the ways of Mr. Edwards. That’s the kind of guy he is and he isn’t going to change. He still thinks he can play the nation’s electorate just as he played those juries. I’m glad to see you’re not ignorant enough to fall for his bovine fecal effluvia about being a man of the people. The only “people” he is interested in is himself.

  12. Pat M

    Heartfelt THANK YOU for this excellent hunk of writing, and vital information the electorate badly needs to hear. Not that the other candidates are anything to write home about, but this election–let’s at least know what we’re voting for, rather than for who has worked the best con job.
    And regarding his indifference to the little people:
    “This is the final test of a gentleman: his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him.”
    William Lyon Phelps 1865-1943

  13. Colin Mincy

    First, I will start by saying that I am from New York but often read your editorials. They are always very thought provoking and substantive. Today, I’m sitting at my desk rather incensed about the weak manner in which you attempted to annihilate John Edwards by calling him a phony. He didn’t talk to the customer service people in the paper’s offices, he kept people waiting for an event, and after running from another event prior he turned from being lackluster and unhappy to smiling after being inroduced by his wife. RIDICULOUS! If you don’t like John Edwards, and you wanted to resort to name calling based on that than you should just say so. This columnn is the poster child of grasping at straws and building a case out of matchsticks – something that less reputable journalists call cutting edge news. I expect far better from you and this paper, and if you don’t have sense to be ashamed by this unnecessary and illegitimate bashing than I’ll be ashamed for you.

  14. Ken Roberts

    If your “John-Edwards-is-a-big-phony” is the best you can do, referring to his demeanor on the campaign trail, God help you.
    Let me respond to you in kind:
    So’s yer old man.

  15. JML

    Interesting and insightful observations of human behavior. It is my sincere hope that your words are taken seriously and with careful consideration.
    Sadly, I would wonder how many of our politicians would fail to pass this type of observation examination. I would suspect that the answer would encompass a lonely wasteland.
    I applaud your courage in posting what must be likely to simply consume your time with deleting mountains of flaming dung. Unfortunately I doubt this will generate much useful discussion. Those in favor of the candidate will vehemently, virulently, and violently attack your observations, and those against will gleefully use this as fodder for their more radical constituency.
    May more people around more campaigns have your level of observation, clarity, and courage.

  16. Dean Cooper

    I’m not a Democrat. I don’t think I could ever vote for one, and I never cared for Edwards, but this column pained me in a way I didn’t think possible. Our country deserves better than this. Our country deserves to have politicians on both sides who are honorable — even if we have sharp disagreements over their policies. Maybe Edwards really believes his policies will help the “The People”. Maybe Edwards believes it is his policies that matter and not his personal behavior. And maybe in the end, he’s right. Even still, America would be a worse place if the man behind those policies isn’t worthy of them.

  17. Julee

    Wow…what a great article. I have to admit that I have long held the “Edwards is a phony” philosophy, and I have never witnessed the events that you have. I have merely picked up on his fake Southern Gentleman charm. I have known others like him.

  18. rjp3

    Wow … you should really think about how childish a hatchet job this is.
    A tired speaker SMILED for his audience before he got on state.
    A busy man did not introduce himself to a Customer Service Department while trying to process himself with a receptionist (would it not have been rude to ignore her busy work situation?)
    A rich man wants other rich people to own up to the fact that ONLY they can fund the costs of the war and social services. (See the poor are poor … they can not.)
    A free press exposes people like you for what they are. That is a good thing.

  19. Geoffrey Sunsmith

    Just curious, does the bowtie and three encounters with a candidate on the stomp make you qualified to judge Edwards’ true nature?
    I am not saying you are wrong. Just that you don’t exactly seem to provide sufficient evidence to jump to a bold conclusion about a candidate’s character.
    This sort of thing might be expected from the general blogosphere, but it seems folks blogging for major newspaper sites should have a higher standard. If not, then what makes your site any more credible than the millions of John Q Computerinmyden sites?

  20. Jeff B

    I think his claims about not accepting lobby money expose this man as a phony, too.
    He’s gotten more trial-lawyer lobby money than anyone since Bill Clinton. Give me a break!
    A lot of these Dems play that same class-based, “it’s not fair that some are rich” line of reasoning on voters.
    At least Republicans ADMIT they’re for business, commerce, free markets, etc.

  21. Jim Portell

    Your comments re: John Edwards are spot on. I recall watching him at the Dem convention.
    Just before he was to be introduced along with family from the gallery, a Fox or CNN camera caught the group. John appeared to be cueing his family as to how they should react with a rather flat face. Upon the intro, he popped around and lit up THE BIG Magic Smile. Will never forget it.

  22. bill

    A post like this could be written about any of the candidates.I think you put this one up to provoke anger,not thought.If you want “good faith” arguments,you need to be honest.This piece is phony and irrelevant,but you’ll probably get 50+ comments.Disappointing.

  23. bud

    Ok, John Edwards is a phony. So what. He is so correct on the issues. If he applies his energy toward making people’s lives better and ending the quagmire in Iraq then I can support him 100%. If the current occupant of the White House is genuine then frankly I’d prefer phony.
    Speaking of the Iraq quagmire, it appears that the success of the “surge” is just as phony as John Edwards. From the Washington Post:
    BAGHDAD (AP) — Four more U.S. soldiers were killed in roadside bombings in the Baghdad area, including three in a single strike, the military said Tuesday, raising to at least 19 the number of troop deaths in the first week of August.
    A British soldier also died from injuries sustained in a gunbattle Monday in the southern city of Basra, the British Ministry of Defense said. A total of 165 British armed forces personnel have died in Iraq since the start of the war in 2003.
    The numbers signaled a resurgence in attacks after a drop in July. U.S. commanders have warned they expected militants to try to upstage a September report on military and economic progress in Iraq.

  24. Dave

    The author sounds kind of phony. It could be that Edwards has been traveling and campaigning a great deal and that would account for a tired look and I’m certain many candidates have to turn on their energy once they take the stage.
    Sounds like another Republican hit piece.

  25. fishbrake

    OK, it’s clear you don’t like John Edwards. It’s clear you never liked John Edwards, even before you concluded he’s a “phony”.
    The only actual observed facts in your column are that Edwards was late to an event, he turned on his charm in front of crowds, and as a Southern candidate he played up his Southerness. And you cite a report (from your own paper) that Edwards was late for another event at MLK Jr. Park. The writing in that story is so clearly biased against Edwards and the Democrats that it’s hard to separate the facts from the editorializing – there are negative characterizations like “The restless crowd was not amused” but no quotes from that same crowd to back it up. As a journalist, you must know this is pretty weak stuff.
    I know this is an opinion column, but where is the proof that John Edwards is any more “phony” that Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Rudolph Giuliani, Hillary Clinton or George W. Bush?
    We have to elect a President next year, and this offhand, ill-considered pettiness doesn’t help.

  26. threebells

    John Edwards may be a man trying to reclaim his soul. On the other hand, he may be out to sell it. Either way, the man is out of sync with his message. Given his being able to retreat to a mansion located on acres and acres of land posted with “No Trespassing” signs, John Edwards’ campaign slogan may as well be: “Wealth is my profession; the poor are just a hobby.”
    Given the animosity between Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama, and the likelihood of Hillary Clinton being the next President of the United States, it is quite likely that John Edwards will serve as a regional balance on the Democratic ticket. Otherwise, he will become a quickly forgotten footnote in political history.

  27. nycwahoodem

    These are all rather silly points. He’s a politician. Show me one who can’t turn on a beaming smile and at enthused and I’ll show you a loser…otherwise known as John Kerry. Bush is as fake as they come. He even fakes his accent.
    Basically, you seem like someone out to get him, finding easy potshots. I haven’t “picked a horse” yet, but I know your opinion won’t be part of my decision as this was childish.

  28. Laura Hornbeck

    If you are going to base your vote for president on personality and concern for the little people, I would suggest you also check out Ms. Hillary. Volumes have been written about her scorn for members of the Secret Service, how staff members in the White House during the Clinton administration learned never to look Her Highness in the eye because it angered her. How, when provoked, she can curse worse than most military men, then portrays herself as a pious Christian. And, of course, how she stood by her man through thick and thin and orchestrated the destruction of all those “trailer trash” bimbos who fell under the spell of her Bill. However, if you dared to publish an article critical of Ms. Hillary like this one of Mr. Edwards, you’d better watch your back, and your cat, and perhaps increase your life insurance.

  29. DrFrankLives

    This is an impressive article. Truly remarkable reporting.
    Let’s see, you based your “considered” editorial opinion on:
    (1) seeing a tired politician put on his game face.
    (2) unsourced rumor
    (3) yet another unsourced rumor
    Hey congratulations! You could work at the Washington Post!!! Throw in a little unattributed anonymous allegations of sex or murder and you got yourself a New York Times-quality article.
    So why are you writing for a backwater little rag in a backwater little city?

  30. Doug Parker

    Very good article. I agree with your assumption of what Mr Edwards truly is. I only hope many others feel the same.

  31. ricklail

    You nailed it. I have been saying this for a long time. He did nothing for this state and continues to do nothing for this state. What surprises me is that you still have a job. The STATE is owned by the same company, The McClatchy Company, that owns the 2 most liberal rags in this state, the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh N&O

  32. james

    You’re right. Edwards is a phony. I’ve met all the candidates during the past few months in NH, and he’s the least personable of the bunch. I’ve met Edwards at 2 events: a small house party and a speech to about 250 people. I wanted to like him. I tried so hard to like him. But I came away both times disappointed. He appeared tired and detached, and acted like NH was the last place he wanted to be.
    In NH we are blessed with the opportunity to meet all the candidates up close and personal. In past primaries, I have seen underdog candidates come from nowhere to win or greatly excede expectations because they got out and won voters over one by one at small events. Edwards is following the script by appearing everywhere, but he’s not connecting with anyone. He’s going through the motions and it shows. He’s going nowhere in NH.
    By the way, the second tier candidate who appears to be winning over those voters one by one is Richardson. Unlike how he projects on TV, in person he’s funny and very personable. Everyone who meets him comes away liking him. Look for him to move past Edwards into the top tier of three as the primary nears.
    Obama is also very personable and likeable on the campaign trail. Clinton is also very good in person.

  33. Ready to Hurl

    The key to understanding how much importance to place on Brad’s hatchet job on John Edwards is his evaluation of Howard Dean:

    Once again, I was struck by how personable he was, so unlike the screamer of Web fame.

    You would expect the editorial page editor to understand the pitfalls of politics and media. You would expect him to have more discernment than the average Fox News yahoo. Brad’s judgment of Dean, not on the candidate’s considered policies or statements, but by one moment chosen by the national for non-stop ridicule makes his evaluations of any candidate virtually useless.
    It’s a shame that this newspaper can’t find a editorial editor with more insight than– gasp— politicians are professional showmen and show-women.
    I suppose that Brad would defend his board’s endorsement of the current President because he’s authentically a petulant, brush chopping dry-drunk. Brad continues supporting failed Bush’s policies without a peep about Bush’s so publicly apparent personal failings– at the cost of 3600 American lives, billions of tax dollars and the continued assault on constitutional government.
    Naturally, he believes that those who oppose Bush’s policies base their opposition on personal dislike. Why? Well, apparently because that’s the way Brad makes his judgments.

  34. Ms. Lane

    This piece is laughable. Edwards is a phony because he looked tired before an event and then put on a smile before the crowd? So, what you’re saying is that we’re all phonies. Imagine any person being tired before they go to work, don’t we all straighten up before we enter the office, even if we’re having a bad day? Sheesh, I wouldn’t want to be in your line of fire, I don’t think anyone would pass your ridiculous, nonsensical tests. Do you really get paid for this?

  35. Connie Mack Jr

    So why are you writing for a backwater little rag in a backwater little city?* DrFrankLives
    Hey! Stay in NC John and stop screwing up Brad about the Blackwater Group. He still thinks Blackwater is a lake just outside of Columbia that was use for practicing phony bombing runs in WW2.
    Brad! When can I expect a story about the Clemson football staff and what a bunch of phonies they are when it comes to winning in politics?

  36. Br

    Oh, honestly, Brad.
    So Edwards is NOT a “man of the people” because he makes an effort to smile when he meets crowds and sometimes runs late? I’ve got news for you — most of the real people in this country, the kinds of people Edwards devotes his time to, aren’t always smiling, aren’t always buttering up your paper’s administrative staff, and aren’t always on time.
    And where’s our comparison? Try out Dick Cheney — yeah, he’s ALWAYS smiling and kind. John McCain? The one who told a virtually unprintable joke at a Republican fundraiser about Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and Janet Reno. Yup, pretty much just one of us. And Bush? No, he’s not phony at all. After all, he’s got a real ranch in Texas? Oh, except that he purchased that ranch in 1999, while running for President, to use it as a prop.

  37. Ready to Hurl

    BTW, I assume that we’ll be in for future columns on
    (1) how Giuliani is a phony for claiming 9/11 cred when his decision to put the police command post in the WTC was a crucial error;
    (2) how Romney is a fake for changing his abortion position in time for the GOP primaries; and
    (3) how Fred Thompson, a millionare lobbyist, pretended to be a pick-up driving country boy to win election.
    Wait, I guess those points aren’t picayune or irrelevant enough for your spot light.

  38. Howard

    I’ve known of the guano behind Mr. Edwards grinning, glad-handing ways for years now, and I don’t believe he’s the only such person residing in his Chapel Hill mansion. When Mrs. Edwards was whining profusely a few weeks back about the mean-spiritedness of Ann Coulter in particular and political campaigns (save theirs, of course) in general, I noticed she conveniently failed to mention her husband’s oft-uttered, unfunny crack, about how if he’d been elected VP in 2004, he would have accidentally shot Vice President Cheney. Edwards is as smarmy as they come and is the type of guy who gives phony politicians and posturing trial lawyers bad names. The Swami predicts it’s about over for him; I hope he’s right.

  39. David

    Wow! A big city editor finds out that candidates are “phony.” What a discovery! How do you do it? As anyone with a speck of experience and the least little bit of “smarts” knows, they (all public people) have a public persona. What a naive idiot you must be.

  40. Wally Altman

    I have to agree with those saying that the first incident is irrelevant, but I think the other two are telling. The fact that he ignored the newspaper staffers entirely while portraying himself as a man of the people doesn’t sit well with me at all. Going for an jog while keeping his own supporters waiting in the heat for hours is inexcusable for anyone.

  41. Steve

    “Then he stepped into view of the crowd at large, and worked his way, Bill Clinton-like, from the back of the crowd toward the stage…”
    You nailed it with the Bill Clinton comparison, although, when considering the overall theme of phoniness, I’m more reminded of the occasion when Clinton was laughing and yucking it up with his entourage while walking to the graveside service of one of his deceased Cabinet members, then suddenly put on his ‘somber face’ when he noticed a camera was on him.

  42. Josh Medeiros

    This level of writing is about on par with something you would see from a tabloid newspaper in the supermarket.
    I can’t believe any publication that actually has publishability standards would print or post this.
    How long did this take to write? 5 minutes? If you expect your writing to be taken seriously, you should write seriously.

  43. weldon VII

    Good job, Brad. You pinned the guile on John Boy with sharp tacks. Gutsy thing to do to a South Carolina native, but I think you caught him square betwixt the eyes with a dead-on shot from the fourth America.

  44. the louisvillian

    Like my beloved, recently deceased father, I pride myself on my ability to “read people.” As you so clearly point out, however, it was Edwards’ ACTIONS and OMISSIONS, not just your impression of the man, that turned you off. I’ve never cared for Edwards or his “two Americas” rhetoric. Your article just confirmed it for me. He’s a used car salesman (sorry to the used car salesmen out there) with a ridiculously expensive haircut.

  45. Rick W

    Confirms a nagging suspicion I had when Edwards launched his campaign in New Orleans. Out there digging and passing materials in a starched long sleeve shirt. Just too picture perfect. I wonder how long he really helped after the cameras stopped rolling, or if he has been back to help. Edwards is not that untypical of anyone else running for office. A really sad commentary on the shallowness of what we will fall for.

  46. Rak S

    I do not know if Edwards is a phony. And I certainly don’t think your article makes him out to be one. But the most incriminating piece of evidence with which he could be chastised as a phony may be his vote on the bankruptcy bill. He voted for a bill that helped the credit card companies at the expense of Americans that needed as much protection as the law could provide.

  47. Jeffrey L

    Mr. Warthen,
    Thank you for your piece on the “real” John Edwards. It helps the general public to know the facts about a candidate… not just what is seen on television and what he says he supports.
    The true character of a man is his character when not in the public eye (or behind closed doors, if you will).
    The observations of you and your staff are very revealing. I was wondering if you’ve recently seen him and his behavior outside the public eye? or when he will approach The State for an endorsement?

  48. Mike F

    Edwards, Rudy, Clinton, Mitt, it does not matter. Unfortunately it took segregationist Governor Wallace to reveal the truth that “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between” Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats willingly went along with the War in Iraq, suspension of Habeas Corpus, detaining protestors, banning books like “America Deceived’ from Amazon, stealing private lands (Kelo decision), warrant-less wiretapping and refusing to investigate 9/11 properly. They are both guilty of treason.
    Support Dr. Ron Paul and end this madness.
    Last link (before Stark County District library bends to gov’t Will and drops the title):
    America Deceived (book)

  49. Neil the Ethical Werewolf

    My goodness — could you actually take a look at the policies the guy has proposed? He’s proposing a health care plan that guarantees universal coverage, he’s got a bunch of antipoverty initiatives that he picked up while learning from academic sociologists, and he’s got a more developed plan for dealing with global poverty than anybody else in the race. These are the things on which we evaluate candidates, not minor quirks of how they act before public appearances.
    We look to people like you for policy analysis, and you’re giving us interpretive dance criticism. If you’d like to go back to doing serious news and reporting on Edwards’ policy proposals, here’s a link to his issues page:

  50. jeff in kabul

    A polititian is a phoney? No, say it ain’t so. Really?
    For those complaining about the lack of facts, just remember the many articles run in the Times about Republicans. All smoke, mirrors and wrong headedness.

  51. dk2

    Most of the post on this thread are absolutly dumb.
    “John Edwards the Phony”? – No he is not. You have one belabored post trying by personal impression to smear him.
    Did you like him to begin with? I doubt it?
    Do you have an agenda? – Yea, I would say so.
    Does your opinion have any effect or convince anyone new to join you? – I doubt it, as most of those who laud you, imply that was already their belief.
    Are there hundreds of people that have been to JRE events across this country that tell completely different accounts of him, his realness, and sincerity? – Yes, there are many many many – to your one.
    Would I believe many or one? – I’d have to say I would believe the many. Let’s see here your one – to hundreds and my own also (2 times I have seen him in person).
    Sorry you feel that way – I would just have to say, you are so totally incorrect!

  52. M A

    I am impressed with your ability to sling mud where there is none to be slung but not particularly impressed with your perception, ability to judge people or your ability to voice your opposition appropriately. Furthermore, I think you have a moral obligation to state upfront that you are doing a conservative hit job and be honest. I do understand though that integrity and honesty are not flagship values of the Republican conservatives but you may try being an exception rather than the rule.
    Senator Edwards has long been known as a man of integrity who works for the rights of the little guy. However, since the greed ridden Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush and George W Bush I know you understand that they are going to put a little change in your pockets or you wouldn’t be still supporting their wreckless values. How can a supporter of such crooks call an honest man names and deride him. It’s obvious. The crooks put more money in your pocket and like Judas you are willing to selling your soul for a little gold.
    John Edwards is working for the poor poverty ridden people in South Carolina and across the nation that you and your kind never wanted to see get out of bondage in the first place. You are obselete and never should have existed in the first place. You are simply trying to keep the poor dumb and uneducated just like you have tried to keep women for many years.

  53. Nan Bozarth

    Well, Satan get thee behind me! An editorial writer who has seen John Edwards three times knows all there is to know about him! Damn a mule, I’ll sleep well tonight!
    By the way, what grade are you in, third or fourth?

  54. kc

    Last month you said policy shouldn’t be about personalities. I guess you weren’t being sincere when you said that, huh?

  55. Richard

    Brad, like Fox News and rightwingers, attacks John Edwards persona – not his plans and solutions.
    Why does Brad hate the MAJORITY of The State’s readers and subscribers – the working poor and middle class- who would benefit from John Edwards proposals?

  56. Betty Hooker

    I live near the Edwards in North Carolina. For every nasty little tale presented in this column, I have heard dozens that paint a very different picture. The John Edwards I know, and have personally observed many times, is a good and caring man who never forgets where he came from.
    This man has a brilliant mind. I have observed that sometimes he will “go into his own thoughts” for a few minutes. Perhaps some might interpret this to mean he is not paying attention to them. That is not the case. (I lost him for a minute once, in the middle of a conversation. I had said something that set his mind racing. Then he was back, and told me what he had been thinking about! )
    I am used to hearing negative John Edwards garbage from people with an agenda. People I know and trust tell a very different story. The difference is, I think, they have no agenda.
    I will tell you one thing for absolute certainty. John Edwards does not “berate his wife”. I am surprised lightning did not strike the person who posted that lie.
    Support any candidate you wish. But do it because of their policies. Not because of lies and second hand negative interpretations.

  57. lembaar

    I appreciate the article for two reasons. The first, revealing a rarely reported part of Edwards’ persona, just as McCain’s anger rarely made it to the mainstream during the last election cycle.
    Second, the implication that no Republican presidential candidate apparently need bother asking for the opportunity to discuss their qualifications for office with The State’s editorial staff in the hope of obtaining an endorsement by South Carolina’s largest newspaper.

  58. bud

    Neil the ethical werewolf is one of the few who get this right. Brad’s musings, even if substantially true, are irrelevant. John Edwards has a wide range of long-standing policy positions that will make this a far better country. Brad could have just as easily reflected on Edward’s devotion to his wife as she fights cancer. Or he could find a story about one of Edward’s low-income clients who won a substantial settlement over a big corporation that had committed a great injustice. No, Brad chooses to play the Swiftboating game. He should be proud that he’s now featured in the Drudge Report. Now there’s a publication of real journalistic integrity. I see a Pulitzer in Brad’s future, not.

  59. Amy Goodale

    Brad Warthen’s piece is one of the poorest excuses for “journalism” I’ve seen.
    Pure speculation, with no facts. It’s obvious that Mr. Warthen’s vague impressions are colored by his disdain and lack of professional unbias.
    What an embarrassment to this newspaper and Mr. Warthen.

  60. American Voter

    Well, you’ve shown your dumb A** for the week. The level of stupidity allowed in newspapers these days never ceases to amaze me. You must be bucking for a fast track job to the big liar in the sky ‘Fox’ news.
    My mother always told me ‘When you have nothing to say, just keep your mouth shut and don’t say anything.’ I see your mother wasn’t so diligent in your upbringing. Fat Daddy’s like you have existed over the generations and you haven’t gotten any smarter with time.
    John Edwards is a kind, decent, well-educated and successful man. Now, I see why you despise him so much. He shows you up for what you are.

  61. esgabel

    Just remember we have a President now that got elected because many people thought they could sit down and have a beer with him…do we force our candidates to put on a veneer? Would we vote for a effete, intellectual, snob that really truly wanted to do the best for his country over a folksy “aw! shucks!” type that fronted for a cabal? Look at your description of Howard Dean, where were those descriptions when he was running? Instead all we heard for a full week and a half was the “yell”.

  62. JC

    I agree with Brad Warthen’s opinion, and appreciate him for having the guts to repeat what many of my Democratic friends have also stated. I am a Republican. I can tolerate Hillary or Obama and none of the Republican choices excite me. But if Edwards is on the Democratic ticket I will work very hard to see that he never gets to see the inside of the Oval office except as a guest. He is one of the most disingenuous politicians I have ever seen in my lifetime. He eerily reminds me of the Manchurian Candidate. His image is so crafted and fake it is visible to most. The fake smile, suntan and image cannot buy him a seat at the White House, not even with his bankroll. Most politicians have flaws, but they are real people with real ideas. Edwards is a male version of a Barbie doll. I think we can do better as a country, but John Edwards is a big step back for Democrats and all of America. If he is the Democratic nominee or even on the ticket watch and see if the hypocrisy does not continue to rise. Move On may love John Edwards, but it is an ill fated relationship.

  63. Richard Johnson

    Brad: How arrogant of you to presume readers are interested in your slanted observations and heresay rather than something of real substance.
    Americans are not as dumb as you think. We want to hear about the issues and candidates’ policies and plans, not your Jerry Springer style “insights.”
    Please stop insulting us with this nonsense, Brad.

  64. Jeff Gower

    Brad: What took you so long to figure this out? Most of us knew about Edwards 4 years ago. And the more people get to know Obama, the more they realize that he is an elitist snob.
    Who would have thought Hillary would turn out to be the Democratic “man-of-the-people”?

  65. Peter

    Enjoyed the column on why he’s a phony. Could you also do one on Edwards’ policies? How will his proposed tax hikes affect middle class people like me? Does he support abortion, particularly late term? Does he want us to surrender in Iraq? Will he ever let Al Queda take control in Iraq if the U.S. leaves?

  66. ken

    Seemingly trivial observances over time form the lasting impression.
    You gave Edwards more string that I do. Frankly, I listen to the guy, check my gut, and then see where he falls on my BS meter.
    He pegs the red zone every time.
    I’m waiting for wife, Elizabeth, to introduce himself as being born a poor, black child!

  67. Susan in Texas

    I’m thankful for dk2 and annefrank’s posts above ~ thankful because they have taken the time to write thoughtful and intelligent replies to an obvious political hit compiled here by Brad Warthen ~ “Editorial Page Editor.”
    Mr. Warthen is either auditioning for a job with the Republican Party’s Anti-John Edwards Media Spin Jocks or he’s already working for them. Either way, his characterizations of John Edwards are gossipy and truly vile.
    Please remove that title after your name, Mr. Warthen. You are a discredit to the journalism profession.

  68. susie

    Any reason why you blog about this now as oppoosed to more than 4 years ago, and prior to the last election, when all of the cited examples occured?

  69. Susan in Texas

    Wow! And I thought “Texas” Republicans were scary. I’ll have to send them over here to play with all of you in the mud.

  70. Dave

    You sound like those people who make rash judgments about every celebrity they meet based on a six-second interaction: “I met DiNiro in the foyer of a restaurant in New York and he didn’t talk to me, so the guy must be a jerk.” Shocker: sometimes you might meet a candidate who is exhausted, and not so friendly. Or perhaps one preoccupied with his wife’s latest round of chemotherapy. Or: Who knows? The “snippets” you provide aren’t insightful because you can’t possibly know what’s going on in Edwards’ head. I feel sorry for your dates! They’re probably doomed before the first course! How about a meaningful discussion of a candidate’s policies? Or even: a column on how the contrivance of the modern political campaign forces candidates to act unnaturally, and makes it harder for the public to understand them. Nah. Too much thinking required. Keep on writing about how you judge candidates by the elevator ride….I’m sure if the rest of the republic adopts the ‘elevator ride’ test, we’ll all be much better off.

  71. Susan in Texas

    You make an excellent point, Dave. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have a “date” with Brad Warthen, Editorial Page Editor.
    Seriously, I think Brad Warthen needs to get out more. He doesn’t understand much.

  72. Debbie

    Right On!! Biggest phony this side of the Mason Dixon line! I live in NC..I hear stories about him all the time that echo this article..My favorite(and it AIN’T heresay) is the mobile home park across the road from his palace..The media stopped by and asked every single resident(and they are the poor John wants to help so badly) had John been by to see if they needed anything or to offer any assistance..OF COURSE the answer was no…no…no..no..not ONE of the residents had met or seen John Edwards. Very cold and flat UNLESS he is preening for the cameras or getting endorsements/money…..

  73. Harry Fenton

    Basically, you are calling the American People phonies; because they want someone who looks like Edwards, Edwards needs to make time to jog to keep up the appearance that people want.
    If we, as Americans, want someone who is truly representative of ourselves, where is the fat, balding, non-exercising candidate who shows his true, unsmiling self in public. Oh yeah, that would be Dick Cheney. Our female representative would be Helen Thomas, not Hillary Clinton.
    Of course Edwards is a phony – so is every other candidate who smiles on command and recites the same stump speech over and over and over and over again. Why aren’t you calling Hillary a phony for pretending she is involved in a close and loving monogamous relationship with Bill Clinton and pretending that she likes the Yankees? Who was the unphony candidate last time around – Dean???? Between phony egomaniac and crazy egomaniac, I’ll take phony every time.
    I don’t want my candidate to really like me (I’m not Sally Field) – I want my candidate to work hard to pursue the agenda that he/she is putting forward. Phoniness in politics should be judged on whether the canditate’s political actions match his/her political speeches.

  74. Davee

    What’s the difference between a catfish and a trial lawyer? One is a slimy bottom-feeder, and the other one is a fish.

  75. Real Politics

    Kudos to you for publicizing Edwards’ two faces. He is such a phony – who could believe his schmaltz? Now, if you’ll just “out” the Devil incarnate Hillary, The State would be a permanent Drudge fixture. Talk about a phony – she’s frightening.

  76. Gerry

    I’ve read about the exact same tendencies with Hillary. What you point out in regards to Edwards’s sincerity is bolstered by the fact that he constantly trumpets the need to put ‘American workers first….always’and talks about reducing outsourcing. Then he goes to speak in Silicone Valley and agrees with Hillary and McCain in wanting to EXPAND the H1B ‘temp’ visa program which is currently being abused on a massive scale by corporations and is savaging the American middle class. But Edwards is for the American worker. Sure he is.
    This was the first time I’ve read you as I am out here in Ohio. It won’t be the last.
    Thanks for telling it like it is.
    Folks might want to Google ‘Job Destruction Newsletter’ for more info on what speeches and campaign stops the Edwards campaign has chosen to post (and not post) on their web site. Incredible hypocrites.

  77. Tom

    I realized what an incredible narcissist Edwards is when he decided to proceed with this campaign when his wife was given a death sentence earlier this year. Yes, she has distant metastasis of breast cancer and will likely not be alive in five years, almost certainly not in ten years.
    Go home and spend quality time with your wife, Mr. Edwards.

  78. Don Pratt

    Of course he is a phony, every bit as much as Bill Clinton, Hillary, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Can you point to a genuine liberal? I don’t think so, at least not one who is in the public’s eye.
    All a Republican candidate has to do is be genuinely conservative and he will win in a landslide.

  79. Susan in Texas

    Hey, guys, this “Edwards is a narcissist” “meme” is such old hat. The Republicans in Texas have been spewing the same stuff for a long time.
    Sorry, Brad, but this blog is old hat, old cattle. But this “is” your Republican Party in the 21st century. I guess some people just like old, worn out stuff.

  80. Bugsy

    Tell me you are just here on a sabatical. You are a total embarassment to the entire region. Get on the bus and go! You’re mother should have been more responsible and used birth control.
    John Edwards will make a fine president. After all we lived through one two bit actor who had alzheimers, one kiss my hips grunt and one brain fried drug addict. How bad could he be?

  81. Pajamas Media

    Three Strikes:

    Brad Warthen, editorial page editor at South Carolina’s The State newspaper, crosses paths with John Edwards, and gets an impression which “acquired stony bulwarks of Gothic dimensions.” (Brad Warthen)…

  82. Richard

    I agree Tom. Seems Brad’s blog hasn’t been getting much attention lately – so he found a way to get it.

  83. Susan in Texas

    You mean we’re learning more about Brad than about John Edwards? Interesting. Is Brad becoming a celebrity??
    I really prefer “professional journalists.”
    I don’t think I like Brad. We learn more about a person from their writings than we ever learn about them from a “chance” encounter.
    Somebody needs to tell that to “Brad.”

  84. William

    Rightwingers find this a “hunk of journalism.” And why wouldn’t they? After being duped by Fox News for so many years.

  85. L.N. Smithee

    I frankly expected more than the types of personal observations detailed here, because IMHO it’s clear to anybody who is halfway paying attention that Edwards is a lightweight who thinks his courtroom skills play to audiences larger than twelve at a time.

  86. Rich Miles

    Why I see Brad Warthen as a Big Whiny Baby
    To the Editor:
    On Aug. 7, Brad Warthen published an “editorial” (actually an opinion column, as editorials are not usually signed) called “Why I see John Edwards as a Big Phony”.
    I have to admit I don’t read your paper very often, as I don’t live in South Carolina, but I wondered from this one exposure to Mr. Warthen’s work: how much experience does he have following political campaigns? He claims 30 years or more in the column, but then offers observations that suggest this may not quite be so.
    Mr. Warthen proceeds to illuminate three “strikes” Sen. Edwards has committed that cause him (Warthen) to think Edwards a “big phony”, which may be summed up as: he was late, he was late, he was tired, and he was late.
    And the most recent of these “strikes” against Edwards occurred nearly three years ago.
    If I may observe: in 20 years of political activism, and a number of years before that of observing the beasts, it has been the rarest of occurrences for a pol to arrive at a campaign event on time. It’s simply expected that he or she will be at least a little late, and a pleasant surprise when they’re not. It’s not a personal affront to you, Mr. Warthen.
    As for Edwards’ performance when “In the last seconds as his introduction reached its climax, he straightened, and turned on a thousand-watt smile as easily and artificially as flipping a switch,” if Mr. Warthen finds that offensive or “phony”, I suggest he do a little campaigning of his own, and see if he can keep the megawatt personality and smile on constantly. It IS indeed a thing of art, and has nothing to do with being phony, at least not in most cases. It’s simply what one has to do, a required job skill, and one not only can but MUST turn it on and off like a light switch in order to have anything left at the end of what may be the 27th long day in a row for many candidates. Or in the case of this extremely long, drawn-out campaign, the 127th day.
    If Mr. Warthen has problems with Sen. Edwards, that is his right as an American, and he should offer substantive policy reasons why he disagrees with Edwards’ positions. But the examples he offers of what makes Edwards a “phony” do not convince me. I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll vote for Elizabeth’s husband or not, but if anything, Mr. Warthen’s whining about matters that are as inconsequential to Edwards’ ability to govern the nation as the “$400 haircut” only moved me a step closer to giving him that vote.
    Get serious, Mr. Warthen. This was just a silly column.
    Rich Miles

  87. Susan in Texas

    Funny, how it has taken John Edwards to bring this blog back to life as several have observed, here.
    If JRE can do it for Brad, you all must know that doing it for our country will be entirely possible. Thanks, Brad!
    You’re a great American.

  88. Susan in Texas

    Funny, how it has taken John Edwards to bring this blog back to life as several have observed, here.
    If JRE can do it for Brad, you all must know that doing it for our country will be entirely possible. Thanks, Brad!
    You’re a great American.

  89. bud

    Tom Robinson has probably made the most important point of all here. Of course the whole ‘Dean Scream’ thing was a media manufactured non-story. Same thing with Al Gore’s inventing the internet or John Kerry’s “hyped” military service or flip-flopping. Brad’s little trip down memory lane may be the newest addition to this sorry spectacle of Dem bashing. Drudge has now picked this up. Next thing we’ll see Rush, Sean and Bill O’Reilly pick up on it. Then we’ll have the “mainstream” media do a story. Perhaps someone will even find some juicy video to confirm the whole thing. Soon it will take on a life of it’s own. Before you know it John Edwards will be on the defensive and bam, down goes another good democrat. Then someone, somewhere they will do something similar about Obama. Then the big prize, Hillary.
    As disgusting as the whole thing is you have to admire the GOP partisans. They are masters at somehow making the dems look bad. Never mind that their own candidates consist of:
    (1) a cross-dressing, cousin marrying, philandering, twice-divorced, flip-flopping idiot.
    (2) a flip-flopping neocon wannabe from Massachusetts.
    (3) an actor with few credentials and fewer known policy positions.
    (4) an aging, senile, temper tantrum thowing war monger who has so little pride he supports a man (Bush) who falsely savaged his good family name.
    Yet, the neocons will find a way to turn the tables. We’re seeing a trial run here with Edwards. This is merely a warmup to the bigger smear campaigns to come.

  90. Pat M

    Unbelievable vitriol here directed against Brad. Unbelievable levels of naivete about politics also.
    Yes, a glimpse into someone’s real character is very important. You can listen to all the pretty stump speeches you want. You can admire the candidates courageous verbal bluster against injustice, poverty, global warming, and apple-pie haters. You can read all the lovely position papers. They are just words.
    But who the candidate is, determines what you will get. Bush and Clinton both talked a great game, then didn’t accomplish much, either because they had no skills in governing or they were willing to roll over for special interests, it doesn’t matter much which. They were self-serving climbers who passed themselves off as Don Quixote champions of the little guy, right up til the time they got the job and it turned tough.
    Keep electing these snake oil salesmen if you like, but I can’t see getting angry if someone like Brad merely points out they don’t trust the salesman, for good reason.

  91. Floyd W

    You sound like a neocon to me. I would imagine that you voted for Bush/Cheney and will vote for Fred the actor or Rudy the crook.

  92. Ellen Beale

    Some people will be fooled by this kind of column. There are still some who are conditioned to believe, “if you read it in the news it must be true.”
    John Edwards believes that most Americans are not so easy to fool. He has the courage to speak our for changes that will shake up a lot of important people. He believes that most people are smart enough to see through false stories, like this one.
    I have met him twice. I noticed that he spent as much time talking to the people who worked for the caterers as he did or our congressman, who was at the same event. I got the impression that he is friendly and that he likes most people.
    I am going to vote for John Edwards.

  93. Nan Bozarth

    WOW! I checked back and see the neocon wingnuts are out early tonight.
    This isn’t an editorial folks, it’s crap.
    Oh, and to that guy “Tom” who said Edwards should be home with his wife fighting her cancer… did it ever occur to you that his wife, Elizabeth, is doing exactly what she wants to be doing? Not all the “lil women” want to be home with a case of the vapors, Tom. Some, like Elizabeth Edwards, have a brain and use it.

  94. Pat Hendrix

    Fine work,
    After cobbling together a few anecdotes, we have a clear and persuasive example of a phony. What the country needs is a genuine guy to lead us through these stormy times. A man that grew up the son of patrician parents in Connecticut, that attended prep school, then Yale where he was a cheerleader. After a stint as a fighter pilot, this hugely successful Harvard grad went on to build several successful companies and never took a cent from the public coffers to build a new baseball stadium. No, that would be against his “free-market” principals. And after this regular guy had been in the South for a few years, this laid back corn pone got himself an accent, was born again, started wearing cowboy hats and ran for governor. And when he decided to run for president, he got himself a ranch to serve as a back-drop to his campaign. Nothing says average guy like clearing a little brush.
    Take a gander around the GOP: Reagan was no cowboy; W is not a Texan and certainly not a fighter pilot; Fred Thompson is a study in faux redneck, and Giuliani is no tough guy. Man alive, Felix Macacawitz, who moved to Dixie when he was in college, was the only man in Virginia that wore cowboy boots and you loved him.
    Maybe Edwards has grown conceited and pompous. I’m hardly surprised. But the guy was born in SC the son of mill worker; went to Clemson for a year to play football; (much to his disgrace) and became a wealthy man by his own efforts. You may not like lawyers, and with good reason, but he won all his cases in front of a jury. So why don’t you overgrown frat boys save us the indignation and run down to the recruiters office on 378 and join the Marines. It’s the only fitting recourse for so many tough guys, Brad included.

  95. Ronnie

    The pilot’s friend comments above, plus the main article bring a QUESTION?? All the flurry around Edward’s wife wanting to go on the campaign trail despite being ill in a way that drains energy and makes campaigning difficult, WAS SHE FORCED TO DO THAT? DID HE BERATE HER INTO DOING THAT? IS SHE SO WELL TRAINED THAT SHE WOULD PUT ON HER TRAINED SMILE AND QUE THE EDWARDS LINE EVEN THOUGH SHE WOULD RATHER BE IN A HOSPITAL BED OR AT HOME RESTING? I wonder.

  96. Worthy Evans

    Oh my! Someone in politics is a big phony! And someone at a newspaper knows it! Oh, my friends, the gig is up.

  97. Tim Tessier

    I have spoken with folks at Chapel Hill (his alma mater) who will heartily agree with you. He runs some poverty think tank there, yet he will hardly show up enough to sign paychecks. He INSISTS on getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it at the Fine Arts Center on campus whenever he attends an event there. Rules are for the little people after all.
    His wife spouts seriously demeaning hyperbole about the poor fellow who lives across the street from his mansion. Never introduced themselved, never so much as waved as they cruise in and out of their gate. Yet, his place is in the same place, and looks just like it did, when they bought the property across the street for their mansion. I guess he’s part of that “other” America.
    He is a complete and total phony, and you sir, are an excellent judge of character.

  98. Ned

    I enjoyed these comments; more to the point, I resonated with them. Two reasons:
    1. I used to live and work in Columbia, and for a while I was with Channel 10 and WCAY; I was also speechwriter for two SC Governors, John West and Jim Edwards, and did campaign work for several state and Federal candidates during my stay in the state.
    2. In 2004, I was an Edwards delegate to the Nevada Democratic Party convention (having run media and strategy for Clinton/Gore Nevada ’92 some years earlier).
    In my latter role, I saw Senator Edwards in action, and came to regret my advocacy for him as delegate to our state convention (we were, in 2004, a caucus state). He was every bit as phony as you observed, and I felt offensively so – for all the reasons you observed.
    Thanks for your clarity of thought.

  99. JLTobeySr

    At last,someone who sees reality in the raw.
    Congratulations!Now how about the rest of the democrat snake oil candidates????

  100. Carl Langley

    I would like to commend Brad Warthen for his commentary on John Edwards. I have known Edwards to be a liar since the first time he ran for national office. He used his liars to turn ignorant juries and build a fortune off the backs of the labor of others. I have read all the blogs on this post and have made a significant assessment. Judging from the number who have rushed to Edwards’ defense and railed out at Warthen I am now convinced that the verbal barrages against Warthen come mainly from certain demented faculty members at the University of South Carolina, almost all of them latter-day Marxist-Leninists, and the students whose shriveled brains they have corrupted. I still say Edwards stinks and he isn’t going anywhere.

  101. Edwards supporter

    Well, I’ve had just the opposite experience with Senator Edwards. I’ve had reason to be in his presence and in close proximity. He is always kind to anyone there. I once saw a woman hecleing him and I was amazed at how well he behaved. I’m certain I would not have gone out of my way to be nice to her after the event the way he did. I have probably had the occasion to observe this way 35-40 times and it is always the same. He and Elizabeth are both absolutely charming. If they weren’t I would be telling you just the opposite because I have nothing to gain.

  102. Alex Scammel

    I saw the same thing while watching Edwards on TV. He didn’t know the camera was on him, and he looked like old stoneface. In fact, he looked a bit like he was angry and speaking harshly. Then he saw the camera, wiped his hair with his hand, and lit up the phony smile. What a fake! On a macro scale, the same thing pertains: he’s a millionaire ambulance chaser for crying out loud! What fool person thinks he “cares” about you or me?

  103. John Edwards

    How’m I doing with the rebuttals? 🙂 I’m typing them in as fast as I can. 🙂 I can’t think of any defense other than to attack the writer of the article for being a poor journalist. 🙂 Vote for me! 🙂

  104. Craig

    Thanks for the insight into Mr. ‘I’ll say anything’ Edwards. He’s clearly the classical definition of a conniver.

  105. Doug Roberson

    Having witnessed the rise of Senator Edwards up close here in North Carolina, it comes as no surprise that he is viewed as a fake. If you’ve ever seen the video of Edwards primping and fussing with his hair before a television interview, you’ve seen the real John Edwards. He’s still young, but I suspect this campaign will be his last political hurrah. The downside for us here in North Carolina is John’s toothy mug will once again be plastered on the cover of every telephone book in the state. Even ambulance chasers have to make a living.

  106. cdr lawrence

    Certainly seems to fit in with what Bob Shrum says in his new book, “No Excuses,” about how Edwards told John Kerry about a bizarre incident involving his dead son and him, and said that he had never told anyone else about the incident — except that he had told Kerry the exact same story a year earlier, and had said that he had never told anyone else about the incident. Look it up.

  107. ER_Minn

    As a Republican, I see the hypocricy of John Edwards every time he speaks of 2 Americas. I, like Edwards, grew up in a low income household. I, like Edwards, busted my ass through school, in sports, and into college…where the price of admission was less because I was poor. It’s called taking advantage of every opportunity along the way. Today, I encourage inner city kids to follow my footsteps and they too can prosper and thrive in America. I encourage them to not view America as belongig to the have’s and have not’s, but to embrace the competitiveness that’s made America great and invest in yourself. Only through that investment in yourself can you be successful and then turn around and help others behind you who need some help now and then. “Charity starts at home” said my dad, and that means you turn around and help your little sisters and brothers get what you got because it’s your responsibility.
    If Edwards wants poor and underpriveleged families to thrive, he needs them to embrace the attitude and approach he took; not by providing entitlements and charity without any expectation of performance for that charity.
    If he would ‘walk the talk’ a little more, I think people would take him more seriously.

  108. Steve Gordy

    Brad, I’ve never seriously considered voting for John Edwards for anything. But anyone who draws such a splenetic reaction from Carl Langley can’t be all bad.

  109. Connie Mack Jr

    Well Brad! It looks like you have bought all of the neo-con wack-job republicans from Greensboro, North Carolina to bash our South Carolina John Boy. Now see what you have started and do you have a lawyer?
    Bubba and Doc G, Now get your Rudy G. marriages back to Greensboro and stop hanging out at John Locke Hair Saloons in your political neo-con spare time.
    More on the essential emptiness of John Edwards
    Firsthand observations about Edwards from previous campaign events by a member of The State’s (Columbia SC) editorial board.
    ” Then I saw Mr. Edwards step to an offstage position just behind the bleachers to my left. None of the folks in the “good” seats could see him.
    His face was impassive, slack, bored: Another crowd, another show. Nothing wrong with that — just a professional at work.
    But then, I saw the thing that stuck with me: As his introduction reached its climax, he straightened, and turned on a thousand-watt smile as easily and artificially as flipping a switch. He assumed the look of a man who had just, quite unexpectedly, run into a long-lost best friend.”
    Posted by Bubba at 9:21 AM
    Labels: Dems/Lefties/”Progressives”, Election 08, The continued Trials and Tribulations of John Edwards
    Anonymous said…
    I lived in Columbia for three years during my residency training. The State is (was?) a liberal paper. It was exceedingly unusual for the editorial pages of that paper to express scorn toward a Democrat. This is particularly remarkable given the fact that Edwards was born in the state of SC.
    Tuesday, August 07, 2007 2:54:00 PM
    Anonymous said…
    That comment was mine.
    Joe Guarino

  110. Pete

    Although I’m no fan of Mr. Edwards, I think this editorial certainly exemplifies what’s wrong with political reporting today. The elevation of personality over substance has led us to the current sad state of political discourse. I’m sorry to see The State engaging in it to such a high degree. I agree with one of the earlier posters that three brief, isolated events does not give you a complete picture into someone’s soul.
    I’m not looking for a drinking buddy or neighbor in my next president. I’d rather have a rude, inconsiderate genius promoting smart policies for president than a genial, ineffective fool. Anyone who runs for the job has to have an ego the size of an aircraft carrier and some degree of phoniness. It sounds like Edwards’ problem is that he’s not quite phony enough.

  111. Bud

    Too bad this Edwards creep can bambozal as many as he has and the great disdain he has for the people that he steps on on his way up.
    Fools, utter fools.

  112. L.N. Smithee

    Bugsy thinks Edwards will make a fine President, and compares him unfavorably with Ronald Reagan, calling the most beloved Chief Executive in the lifetime of Gen-Xers (sorry, Clintonoids) “a two-bit actor with Alzheimers.”
    Here’s a wake-up call, Bugs: Ronald Reagan served two terms as Governor of California and two terms as President of the United States. He won his two elections in a landslide over Jimmy “Malaise” Carter, the third worst President of the 20th Century (after Harding and Hoover), and Walter “I will raise your taxes” Mondale. Reagan came to Washington having left his acting days far behind, and with eight years of executive leadership under his belt.
    Liberals called him a warmonger and feared he would recklessly begin a nuclear holocaust. What actually happened? He stared down the largest nation on the planet and destroyed the Soviet Union without firing a shot in anger, laying the groundwork for the scrapping of ICBMs rather than the unimpended stockpiling of them.
    That’s Ronald Reagan. Now, here’s what John Edwards has accomplished in his *one* term in the Senate…
    …Any questions? Oh, yeah — Bugsy asked, “How bad can he be?” Unless a virus that causes lobotomies sweeps the nation, we won’t ever get to find out.

  113. Silence Dogood

    I don’t think Edwards is that great, and think there are some legitimate arguments that he is phony. You make none of them here. This is a really bad piece. He was late was your third strike that supported with “iron girders” he was phony? Strike two, he apparently didn’t even have time to change out of his snow boots from N.H. to S.C., but apparently when a self avowed ardent Dean supporters tells you he did not stop by and see everyone in the building (despite the lack of time you already noted) he is now a phony? Huh? Now a lot of people leave you office and don’t talk to all the staff employee et cetera. Please let me know what the difference is between just leaving the office or entering vs. utterly ignoring them, based of course on this unbiased persons opinion. Sounds like he was running late to see you anyway so if he had stopped and shanken hands with these people he would have struck out with ‘iron girder attached’ under three, but since he did not stop and chat or shake hands he strikes out under number 2. Suffice it to say, despite not really giving a rip about Edwards either way, you are one tough judge of character.

  114. Paul Guercio

    Oh gee Brad, another politician on the stump. “If it’s Tuesday, it must be what??Charleston?” In a world where a phony war gets short scrift on your watch, these observations don’t even merit even a yawn. The Republic is falling down around our feet and you’re still worked up over $1500 haircuts et. al. Maybe we all would be better off if the fourth estate asked hard questions of substance instead of wasting time pointing out the obvious. John Edwards is not the problem. You all are!

  115. Linda

    The State’s editorial page editor, Brad Werthen, makes thought provoking comments, but there’s more than meets the eye:
    1. Edwards’ face was flat behind the bleachers until his name was called, and then he flashed the million-dollar smile and came out through the crowd.
    Campaigning is performance, and an actor can’t be “on” all the time or the batteries run out. I don’t hold it against Edwards
    2. He didn’t greet the workers in the newspaper’s customer service department while waiting for the editorial board to interview him.
    If Edwards is anything, he is a great campaigner. Why would he forsake how many voters there were out in the lobby and front officers by not turning on the charm? He needed their votes for the primary. A real phony would be pumping hands like crazy. It doesn’t make sense unless perhaps he was not well and not phony enough to fake it.
    3. Late to MLK Park by two hours while crowd sweated in the heat, seen jogging in fashionable neighborhood by copy editor, late to country club although big shots didn’t mind.
    It is a rule in reporting to get a response from the person attacked. I wish the editorial page editor had done this. Maybe the copy editor saw someone looking like Edwards running in his neighborhood. How could he be sure the others with the runner were Secret Service? How good was the eye sight of the copy editor? These are important questions to ask in any investigation, journalistic or legal.
    In every political rally I’ve been to, the star attraction does not come out first. There are warm-up acts like in a rock concert that build up excitement to the very end. Even if Edwards were running, it is likely that his instructions were not to be at the rally until 15 minutes before the end.

  116. Zeke Stokes

    I read your columns and your blog often and respect your point of view a great deal. I would like to offer a different view of Senator Edwards for you and your readers.
    During the first half of this year, I was privileged to work with Senator Edwards, traveling throughout the U.S. as he and his wife Elizabeth began this important campaign for the White House. I have spent hours in cars and on planes with him. I have witnessed him in front of crowds and behind closed doors. And I can tell you without reservation that you have misjudged him and painted an inaccurate picture of him in your column.
    John and Elizabeth Edwards are two of the most caring and genuine people I have met in public life, and they have made it their life’s mission to improve the lives of people like so many of those in rural Lee County, where I grew up, and all across South Carolina and the country.
    While Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are seizing the limelight, John Edwards is seizing the hearts and minds of the people of this country who have been forgotten – those in poverty, those without adequate heath care, those without good jobs, those without hope. Our nation would be blessed to have him in the White House.
    Zeke Stokes

  117. Joseph

    I read your piece and it reminded me of the flip side back in 2000. That really turned out well for our nation, eh?
    Neither that Republicans nor Democratic Congressional members (Senators and Representatives) seem able to steer this national forward, and since President Bush has a clear vision of what is good for the United States of America, why doesn’t he just declare them dissolved and that their services are not longer required. This is becoming more and more necessary as it is looking like a DEMOCRAT (LIBERAL) will become President and assume the Imperial Presidential Powers that Bush and team have amassed. OMG, think of Mr. Edwards or worse, Ms. Clinton as the new Chief executive wielding all those new powers. So, President Bush and Team must strike while the opportunity is present, in order to preserve what is left of the American Republic in this new era of terrorism. (WHAT A FRICKING JOKE – AS USUAL – *STUPID WILL PICK UP THE TAB.)

  118. madmonkey

    This a well-reasoned piece of ridiculousness. I say this is true because I observed it at a distance, filtered it through my preconceptions and/or heard it second-hand. But, it will serve it’s purpose for the author and the right in general when “John Edwards is a phony” becomes part of the CW. Look for this to be picked up by other winger media outlets, reconstituted and passed on until it’s no longer sourced to any one person’s own opinion.

  119. jack

    Superb piece!! You put into words what I had been thinking, but could not bring myself to admit! He uses people as his props. There are times when I question if he is not doing the same with his wife — who I admire.

  120. Andreas

    Well said, Brad. And to think when I lived in the Midlands, I despised the State and her editorial coverage! Lil Johnnie, AKA the Breck Girl, is just about the biggest phony to ever enter politics. And he’s a died in the wool Socialist, pro-abortion, anti-American freak to boot!
    Why anyone would ever claim him as a son of SC is ridiculous. Piece of white trash sounds more appropriate.

  121. Julie

    O.K…..I’ll bite: This tells me two things:
    1) John Edwards is human;
    2) This writer is an asshole.
    Enough said.

  122. Mike

    Brad…. what took you so long? I knew what John Edwards was when he campaigned for the nomination in 2004. He, like almost all Democrats, are all for show and have not one ounce of real substance. He will never change, so why wait to see? As a former Democrat (who grew up) I see nothing good left in that party!

  123. texastrails

    I am not of your political persuasion and I do believe that you are entitled to your opinion and that regardless if I agree or disagree with you, I reduce myself if I attack you for having your opinion.
    Sadly, I learned more about the character and mindset of the people that attacked you for having an opinion than I did from your editorial. And I’m not putting down your piece, I’m just saying that when you speak your mind these days, the small minded squeal the loudest.

  124. RadicalAmericanPatriot

    Well Spoken Brad!! Whether you’re a liberal or conservative is irrelevant. You are being honest about your observations. That will make the lunatic fringe leftists (read that as Marxists) froth at the mouth, demanding your resignation (maybe even banishment!?) It’s refreshing to read this from an Editorial Page Editor. Keep up the good work. I’ll even ad your page to my favorites list for future reference.

  125. Ken

    I enjoyed your article, probably because it went along with what I already believed, the guy is obviously phony as a three dollar bill, not a big deal, most of them are. The sad thing about it all is the number of Democrats that would vote for this piece of fluff. Ameica is a country that produced the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and many other patriotic, visionary men and women, why the hell are we reduced to choosing a president from this miserable group? At least Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson aren’t running, and when they were there were dumbass people ready to vote for them, 2 men that never held a job or worked for a damn dollar in their life. They are all con artists and the American people are being conned and screwed by the lot of them, especially this worthless bunch of morons in Congress, they are all gutless, thieves. God help America, scratch that, the ACLU would probably file suit.

  126. HalB

    So, Brad, does this mean you’re going to vote for Rudi? Your whole approach to measuring a candidate’s qualifications fits FAUX News more than any objective measure, don’t you think?
    John has demonstrated his commitment to fighting for the little guy. He easily has more to offer than Guiliani, but you choose to focus on some personal issue that has little merit. Remember, we liked GWB in 2000 because we would rather sit down with him for a drink than Gore. Look how that turned out!
    Moreover, who cares? John will not be the Democratic nominee. Hillary will. DUH!

  127. Tom

    It never ceases to amaze me how blinded people can be by their political ideology. I think it’s pathetic that any Democrat could ever support a trial lawyer that takes forty percent of his client’s jury award, regardless of how little time he may have spent on the case. Gosh, he is so for the poor, the downtrodden. Couldn’t he get by with ten percent, or five, or maybe charge fifty bucks an hour? You all make me sick!

  128. Tigerfish

    An article on the primary campaign of 2007 that is based on anecdotal memories from 2003 and 2004? This is some of the worst journalism I have ever read.
    What mystifies me is why the attack on Edwards? He is double digits behind in the polls. Maybe what he is saying is threatening to those who want to protect the status quo.
    People who take Warthen’s trash seriously voted for the fool that now occupies the White House and is running this nation into the ground.

  129. HalB

    Cdr Lawrence:
    I would imagine you consider Social Security an “entitlement” despite the pensioner paying into the mandatory program for his entire work-life, right? Whereas, you believe that George W. Bush, Senator McCain, Governor Mitt Romney, and former Mayor Rudi Guiliani were simply “investing in themselves” in accepting their government sponsered health insurance plans, correct?
    You are an idiot!!

  130. blueridgewv

    Of course Edwards is a phony “man of the people” who show-boats to play an actor’s role. For while he does this he attends the most elite and secretive world leader summits, i.e. that of the Bilderbergers.
    But then again, so is Hillary Clinton, who has also attended one of their invite-only conventions. And both of them, with Obama, are beholden to the Israeli lobby.
    Now the “establishment” republicans cannot escape this charge either:
    –Romney, CFR member, and “converted on the road to the White House”
    –Fred Thompson, CFR member, an actor more than statesman, image more than reality
    They, like Dick Cheney (CFR member) along with Pres. Bush are supporting the secret move toward a North American Union.
    Giuliani, sometimes cross-dresses (he could be President?), would make Homeland Security into America’s Gestapo and turn America into a police State. Not very conservative in regard to liberty for the people.
    Only Ron Paul is real, honest, has a track record consistent with his principles, and wants to preserve, and retrieve, liberty for all Americans, and sane foreign policy, while restoring integrity and the original foundations of the government.
    There appears to be only one candidate worthy of trust.

  131. Doug Wiken

    Drudge? I wondered how one of my conservative friends in Calif. heard about this and recommended it.
    This hatchet job indicates how afraid the GOP noise machine is of John Edwards. Hearing the “good news” about Hillary and Obama suggests that these would be the most easily beaten candidates the Democrats could run.

  132. Doug Ross

    One might wonder whether “phony” would apply to someone who claimed he’d do anything possible (including stuffing envelopes) to bring down the Confederate Flag from the front of the State House and then dropped the ball.
    Remember this one: “I’ve been criticized by regulars on this blog for TALKING about the UnParty, but not actually holding any meetings. OK, on THIS I will call meetings, and play whatever role in the movement the groups asks me too. I’ll sit up stuffing envelopes all night, or whatever. How about y’all? Are you ready to get together and get something positive DONE for a change?”
    Did I miss the meeting invitation? When is the flag coming down?

  133. Barbara in Charlotte, NC

    Thank you for solidly confirming my sense of what John Edwards is really all about. The experience of others who have posted here coincides with yours. I am a dedicated Democrat but I want the truth to be known about Edwards. I sincerely believe this rich man’s fight for the poor is simply a convenient vehicle to the presidency which he and Elizabeth came up with.
    I would love to hear your take on Bush and Cheney!

  134. weldon VII

    On and on, here they come, all of John Boy’s campaign workers, most of his committed voters, all to safeguard a capitalist who preaches socialism while perched in a gilded tree.
    All because Brad wrote from his heart what he saw.
    Keep writing from your heart, Brad. It’s the best journalism.

  135. Ready to Hurl

    Barbara, if you think that talking about the poor is a “convenient vehicle” for furthering John Edwards’ political career then you haven’t been paying attention.
    Edwards is the only candidate bringing up the issues of poverty and class in America today. After the last 20 years of right wing propaganda it’s unfashionable to talk about the poor. The poor are assumed to be poor because of stupidity, laziness, character defects or because they want to be.
    Advocating for such a bunch of “lazy, shiftless, ne’er-do-wells” is hardly the easy road to political super stardom despite what you may imagine.
    If Edwards was the craven phony that Brad (and many posters) paint then he most certainly would have chosen the same path of financing his campaign that Hillary, Obama, and the GOP dwarves have, i.e. shake down big money interests.

  136. jack prong

    why didn’t this sort of phoniness get noticed when edwards was an ambulance chaser? oh that’s right. all those news guys are so smart that they wait until the beer putsch leader gets elected chancellor, er senator, before they start calling him a phony. edwards was already a phony when he was shystering so why didn’t you news guys do an investigation on him, for example, when he ‘channelled’ a dead victim in court ala sylvia browne on montel show. c’mon, you slacker editor, catch these government fat cats early. now it’s too late and we have to read trivial, vague ‘phony politician’ nonsense about edwards instead of reading about edwards’ stillborn political aspiration after ‘trial lawyer bilked insurance companies and destroyed medical practices.’

  137. Patrick Turner

    I think this is a real weak article. EVERYBODY, including losers like Edwards can’t be UP 150% of the time. But the reality of John Edwards is that he is rich from stealing other people’s money as an atty, is a clear socialist because he panders to the lower economic classes by appealing to them to hate the “rich man” and just overall seems too glib to me. If I myself were to be judge by the guy who wrote this, heck, maybe even I could run for President. It’s the same ole Democratic bs of aligning yourself with the jealous ones who can’t-or won’t get out of bed and make something of themselves.

  138. Biff Spaceman

    I smell some trailer park jealousy here. The right wing gravy train was going by at the right time, wasn’t it? The party of selfish gain, treason, and perversion has certainly found another able scribe to sell the slander.
    I pity the one-toothed Drudge monkeys because the people they idolize laugh at them while taking their money and accepting their praise. Ben Stevens in Alaska is a prime example of how they call their supporters ignorant white trash.
    But the author here is laying out this slander like it is supposed to be taken seriously as some measure of a man and his ideas. Why hand these poor drowning hicks bowling balls instead of life preservers? Adding that “Dean was not a screamer” when that was a propaganda trick used by ABC to knock him down is just insult to injury. If Dean had been president we could still be a great nation. With your journalism added to the vast soup of identical yellow ramblings, we are just a nation headed down the toilet , at least that is by definition “turning the corner.” Our national hubris will go away as we fall under the weight of our own ignorance, apathy, and lust for vengeance and domination.
    The casual slander and abuse of men like Kerry and Edwards and women like Pelosi and Clinton do nothing for America and everything to destroy our nation. Purple Heart Bandaids didn’t hurt Kerry, it demeaned our troops. Swift Boat Veterans told lies for money and bullied others into signing falsified or embellished statements. There is nothing that is not for sale in this country and that is why we are doomed. Brad Warthen has simply chosen the side with the most money to be his side.

  139. Biff Spaceman

    And see what that imbecile John Gibson said on his radio freak show about the Edwards? The media is supposed to be so leftist, why do these clowns do nothing but slander and personally attack candidates in the most vile and base way? Gibson and his ilk are human garbage no different from Bin Laden because they, too, want America to fail and our people to suffer. Ann Coulter is likewise a reprehensible and soulless reptile, and there is no bottom to the well of horror that produces these damaged, perverted zombies. I would respect the candidate the most that took a poke at some clownish smarmy lie broker, and I think many Americans agree that the best thing a candidate could do at this point, if they aren’t a rich Republican closeted child molester evangelist on meth is to kick the ass of some pansy on live television. If Edwards bitchslapped Chris Matthews or, hell, anybody on political television today I would send him my paycheck because it is past time that the press be held accountable for being in the tank for the GOP, corporate media owners and the big money GOP backers. No matter how whorish the DLC types get, they will never sink to the levels of even the noob College Republicans, a nest of gay rapists (see Americablog).

  140. Ricardo Maxwell

    “This is not yet another blog to cater to the pathologies of the Democratic and Republican partisans.”
    I liked your article. The same attitude and personality traits can be found in many career politicians, unfortunately.
    When I read the above statement, I was encouraged even more. “Where has this guy been when we needed honest and fair reporting?”
    “Those who want to indulge in partisan rants or ad hominem rowdiness will be tossed out without ceremony. Try it, and your comments will disappear. ”
    After reading two posts by Biff spaceman, I can clearly see that you are just another media hypocrite.

  141. Dez

    Your article on John Edwards qualifies as one of the shoddiest, anecdotal based pieces of “journalism” (it is really a character assassination) that I have ever read. Your character assessment of Edwards is based on your feelings about a few unimportant and relatively minor incidents in a long and grueling campaign. With a blissful and mindless ignorance of irony, you at once realize the injustice done to Howard Dean’s character by the singular incidence of his gleeful scream and then attempt to do the same injustice to John Edwards.

  142. robert taft

    if you dig a little deeper, you will find that this obvious phony is actually much much worse than you could ever believe

  143. Traci

    This is ridiculous.
    It is virtually impossible to keep this level of energy 24/7.
    The fact you expect him to be “on” all of the time is ridiculous.

  144. bud

    Dez, you should read some of Brad Warthen’s other opinion articles if you think this is shoddy. He relies almost exclusively on “gut” instinct and “feelings” to reach conclusions.

  145. beachmom

    If you can’t trust a man with your time, you can’t trust him with anything.
    Edwards and his wife are both arrogant.

  146. Ricardo Maxwell

    If opinion articles aren’t “gut” instinct and “feelings”, what are they supposed to be, facts? LMAO!

  147. Jim

    You would probably see the same thing with Hillary if you could get close enough, but she’s to well protected.

  148. Dez

    Oh Ricardo,
    How mistaken you are. Here is a fictitous example of how an opinion piece can be based on reasoning and not “gut” instinct and “feelings”:
    In my opinion, based on my analysis of NAFTA, I have concluded that it would lead to higher unemployment and lower wages for American workers in the textile business.
    see how this could be a conclusion of an opinion piece and not based on “feelings” and gut instincts.

  149. Vincent Savage

    You hit the nail on the head when you characterized Edwards’ behavior as
    ” Clinton like.” An attorney may actually practice tort law because it allows the little man who suffers harm to seek acknowledgement and recompense from the Big Boys. Some practice tort law in order to become one of the Big Boys. Ewards is the latter.
    Edwards claims to bleed for the nobodies, yet he never met a free-trade agreement that he did not love. His sphere, clinton like, is the Northeast corridor of wealth and power. If he loves the South and embraces its poverty, then he should come on “home.” Otherwise, he should just take a summer trip to Nantucket. There he can sit around the Nantucket Yatch Club with Chris Matthews, John Kerry, Tim Russert, Bill Frist and Jack Welch. Sipping Bloody Marys, they can huddle and feel the pain of the masses while not seeing the immigrant waiter who lives in substandard housing.
    Lastly in my opinion a candidate who pushes his/her sick spouse in front of the cameras is morally bankrupt and is unfit to be even an aquaintance.
    The man is untenable.

  150. frank

    “An attorney may actually practice tort law because it allows the little man who suffers harm to seek acknowledgement and recompense from the Big Boys. Some practice tort law in order to become one of the Big Boys. Ewards is the latter.”
    What evidence do you have to back up your claim?? Please post it. Post a link to a LEGITIMATE source!
    “Lastly in my opinion a candidate who pushes his/her sick spouse in front of the cameras is morally bankrupt and is unfit to be even an aquaintance.”
    Again, what evidence do you have that she was pushed? More likely she thinks her husband is the only candidate that would accomplish what she believes is necessary for America.

  151. Ricardo Maxwell

    Oh Dez,
    I am not in the least but “mistaken”.
    (See below)
    opinion, def.
    1. a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.
    2. a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.
    3. the formal expression of a professional judgment: to ask for a second medical opinion.
    4. Law. the formal statement by a judge or court of the reasoning and the principles of law used in reaching a decision of a case.
    5. a judgment or estimate of a person or thing with respect to character, merit, etc.: to forfeit someone’s good opinion.
    6. a favorable estimate; esteem: I haven’t much of an opinion of him.
    Please Note items 1, 2 and 5. above.
    I although I personally believe that Brad is a typical media hypocrite, he definitely has the right to his opinion, the access and right to publish it, and provided solid examples of how he came upon (concluded) his opinion. I also agree with his opinion of John Edwards and stated that many career politicians are equally as phoney, vain and shallow. Former President Clinton is another great example. I seriously doubt Joe Lieberman is.

  152. dez

    You last post is inconsistent with your previous post!
    see #3 of your definition and compare to your last post.
    You’re mistaken.
    End of conversation

  153. Ricardo Maxwell

    #3 does not apply. Are you really that ignorant? The usage of the word opinion can be justified in this instance by definitions 1,2 and 5, as I mentioned previously. In this case, def # 3 (as well as #4 or #6) does not apply because we are not referring to a professional judgement (e.g., medical), or judicial opinion. What school system did you attend and were you alert and awake during class?

  154. john

    Here’s your post ricardo, you are the ignorant one!
    If opinion articles aren’t “gut” instinct and “feelings”, what are they supposed to be, facts? LMAO!

  155. dez

    Written by Dez:
    Your article on John Edwards qualifies as one of the shoddiest, anecdotal based pieces of “journalism” (it is really a character assassination) that I have ever read. Your character assessment of Edwards is based on your feelings about a few unimportant and relatively minor incidents in a long and grueling campaign. With a blissful and mindless ignorance of irony, you at once realize the injustice done to Howard Dean’s character by the singular incidence of his gleeful scream and then attempt to do the same injustice to John Edwards.
    Written by Bud:
    Dez, you should read some of Brad Warthen’s other opinion articles if you think this is shoddy. He relies almost exclusively on “gut” instinct and “feelings” to reach conclusions.
    Written by Ricardo:
    If opinion articles aren’t “gut” instinct and “feelings”, what are they supposed to be, facts? LMAO!
    Written by Dez:
    Oh Ricardo,
    How mistaken you are. Here is a fictitous example of how an opinion piece can be based on reasoning and not “gut” instinct and “feelings”:
    In my opinion, based on my analysis of NAFTA, I have concluded that it would lead to higher unemployment and lower wages for American workers in the textile business.
    see how this could be a conclusion of an opinion piece and not based on “feelings” and gut instincts.
    Conclusion: Ricardo ignorance is readily apparent

  156. Rachelle Brown

    Thank you for being so concerned with our perceptions of a politician. I’m so glad you were just as concerned with our perceptions of George Bush and that he was “someone you could have a beer with” but not concerned that he would lie with a straight face and rip the Constitution to threads.
    I also wonder is you will be so concerned about our perceptions about Mitt Romney and Rudy Guiliani to warn us about their false fronts.
    Oh, and you haven’t talked about Hillary Clinton’s cleavage, yet, either. Of course, we all know she is “calculating.”
    First of all, it is time of this cult of personality to end. Personality is not what we elect our leaders for. If personality were not SO IMPORTANT to journalists such as yourself, we would have elected Al Gore and not be in an unwinnable war, still have a surplus in our budget, and still have the respect of the rest of the world.
    So, STOP THE MADNESS, and report on and discuss the important issues.

  157. Ed Cone PR for Edwards

    Brad! I have warn you many times about exposing me as the anti-christ in South Carolina. One more outrageous republican outbreak from you and you will be toss into the Republican Lake of Fire or known as their presidental debates….Shape it up or I am withdrawing your republican goat worshiping rights from the Temple of Republican Doom.
    Yrs…. John Boy, the new and improve Anti-Christ for the future

  158. bud

    Here’s a great example of Brad Warthen’s mind at work.
    This is the State’s endorsement for president in 2004. What we have is a collection of facts that clearly show how Bush has failed as a president. The endorsement further points out how Kerry is a fine man of great intellectual ability. But in the end the editorial board had more “faith” in George W. Bush to continue on in Iraq. That above all else is why Bush was endorsed.
    In all of Brad’s writings he has never offered anything more substantial to support the continued occupation of Iraq than to say we shouldn’t abandon the Iraqi people or that it is an important battlefield in the ongoing struggle against Muslim terrorists. He just accepts as an article of faith that we should do this.
    So it comes as no surprise that Brad would use a few weak anecdotes to smear a brilliant man like John Edwards. Brad simply accepts that conclusion with very little evidence to back it up. I’m not sure why but I suspect Edwards reversal on the Iraq occupation is the driving force behind Brad’s attack. Maybe not consciously but it probably played a role.

  159. Larry Conley

    You are entitled to express your opinion about John Edwards.
    Here is mine.
    He is the candidate with the workable plans and worthy principles this country needs. If he can surmount trivia storm, the voters may have a chance to make an informred choice. I can only hope this comes pass. I have sons and I have students. I would love for them to grow old in One America.

  160. Pops

    I read one of Brad Warthen’s editorial columns once and I can assure you he is a phony journalist. My reaction was so overwhelming that I can still feel it in my gut.

  161. BobH

    Wow! This is what passes for substantive commentary in South Carolina? This is an embarrassment to The State (and the state).

  162. John

    Congratulations to Brad for highlighting exactly what is wrong with American politics today: personal attacks based on limited to no knowledge and complete blindness to substantive issues. You’re right Bob, this belongs on Drudge as yet another embarassment to the State.

  163. DrFrankLives

    Brad, how many times do YOU stop to talk to the staff in the morning?
    And, by the way, this fully sourced and reported story trumps your one incorrect one (the boots) and your two overheard rumors:
    “(Fortune Magazine) — No one was paying much attention to John Edwards in February 2006, when a historic contest for control of Congress was getting underway and the 2008 presidential race was still a sliver of light on the horizon. But Danny Glover was. He had to. For three days the Lethal Weapon star and the one-term Senator were glued to each other’s sides like a pair of mismatched LAPD cops as they traveled across the country to lend support to hotel workers and their unions on the eve of a threatened strike.
    At the time, Glover was the veteran of poverty politics; Edwards was still a rookie in training. So Glover, who prides himself on his ability to sniff out poseurs and users, warily scrutinized the carefully coifed politician from North Carolina. “There’s real humility and false humility,” Glover says. Which was Edwards?
    In Boston, he watched Edwards listen to the plight of a single mother, an Italian immigrant who had managed on a hotel maid’s pay to raise four children and send each one to college. In Chicago, Edwards took a lesson in the back-breaking work of lifting 113-pound mattresses and changing luxury duvets weighed down by piles of pillows and shams.
    In L.A., the former Senator arrived overscheduled and tired, but impressed labor leaders when he readily agreed to squeeze in an extra meeting with a group of kitchen workers on their break.
    The rich lawyer with the soft Southern accent bonded comfortably with this unseen servant class. Like a juror on one of Edwards’s personal-injury cases, Glover found himself falling under the trial lawyer’s spell. As the duo walked into a meeting of 60 African-American community leaders in downtown L.A. to make the case for greater black support of unions, the deal was sealed. “He was able to talk with them, not up to them or down to them,” Glover recalls. “Here was a man who sincerely had empathy.” ”

  164. jeanruss

    the most dangerous phony in politics is George Bush-Edwards would be a thousand percent better than what we have had to endure this past 6 years-you probably trashed Al Gore too in 1999-so much for your judgement-the millions of people who would still be alive probably would have thanked you, if you had trashed Bush when it counted.

  165. bud

    I have to give Brad some credit. I always liked John Edwards for his policies. Now, thanks to Brad’s opinion piece on Edwards, I’m reading a number of heart-warming stories about the personal side of the former NC senator. I still haven’t made up my mind who I will support in the SC primary but I will certainly take a hard look at John Edwards. He appears to be a fine man with who is right on the issues.

  166. Phillip

    Gee, how could I miss this party? 183 comments? Clearly this has hit a nerve, in both directions.
    I’ve been down this path with Brad before…he’s entitled to make his judgments on the basis of anecdotal evidence if he wants. All I’ll say is what counts in the end is policy, laws, action. Bush seems like a friendly guy you could have a beer with. Maybe he’s nice to staffers, everyday folks. But his beliefs and his policies have made the nation and world a much darker place. Similarly, folks above have gone on and on about the “genuine” man Ronald Reagan was. But thousands of innocent people, going about their daily lives in Guatemala or El Salvador, no more active participants in the epic struggles of the Cold War than you or I, died violently because of decisions made by the Great Communicator.
    Vote for or against Edwards on the basis of his stated views, his proposed policies on the economy, health care, Iraq, etc. Don’t vote for or against the man because he can be a jerk. Or if you do, then at least cross out Rudy Giuliani’s name from your list, too.

  167. Vincent Savage

    What evidence do I have to support my claim that Edwards is a get-rich lawyer? None. What I have is my own experience as a lawyer and numerous hours around all types and all motivations of lawyers. Look at the man and how he lives and draw your own conclusions. Otherwise, quote me evidence to the contrary.
    As to Mrs. Edwards; she may believe him to be the best. She and I would then disagree.

  168. Peter

    So John Edwards is a phony because he was bored before he went up on stage, was cold to some people working at a newspaper, and was late to a rally? Stop the presses! What an exclusive!! You and your paper are the laughing stock of the country day. Nice work. Very substantive piece.

  169. Bob Stevens

    My first impression of the person John Edwards (not campaign commercials and TV cuts) came while watching his acceptance speech after winning his Senate campaign. Edwards was at the podium waiting for the lights of the TV cameras. His face showed pure boredom as he ignored the cheering crowds around him. The TV lights came on twice. Each time he pasted on “the smile” and then it was a false start, so he dropped “the smile”. All I could think of was this guy was a first class fake. Nonverbal communication goes a long way. I have often wondered if I was the only one that noticed it that election day. Thanks Brad for confirming my hunch.

  170. DrFrankLives

    Man, you can tell South Carolinians are used to ancient politicians who couln’t change their slack-jawed face if they tried. It seems the worst sin a politician can commit in South Carolina is to put on a happy face for the public when he is tired.
    Nevermind those cocaine arrests, officially-denied children with house servants, and video poker…. this guy actually smiled for the camera! Horrors!

  171. Maezeppa

    You write “His face was impassive, slack, bored: Another crowd, another show. Nothing wrong with that — just a professional at work.”
    Try this on for size: EXHAUSTED
    For somebody in as analytical a business as journalism it’s a pity to find somebody relying on ESP to tell us what is in a candidate’s heart and mind.

  172. Tom

    Every Democrat post reinforces the fact that when a Democrat has no defense, they launch personal attacks on the source. I challenge all you brave Democrats out there. I dare you to respond with anything that makes any sense at all. If John Edwards had any empathy at all for the poor, the weak, the left behind, how could he accumulate the wealth he has by taking 40% of his poor clients jury award? Money a jury said his client was owed for the care of a child, for the pain and suffering, etc. etc. I mean, come on Democrats! The guy is worth like 80 million dollars, builds a 28,000 square foot mansion, all built on the backs of the poor victimized clients he has represented! He victimized them every bit as badly as a negligent doctor or manufacturer or drunk driver ever did. Why couldn’t he get by with 10%? How much more could a parent do for that injured child if he had just taken less?When did he ever volunteer time to the local legal services agency? How much pro bono work did he do? This is the true indicator of his character and you know and I know that you have no defense for that. You should all be ashamed, but I don’t think Democrats have it in them anymore. You have no honor left.

  173. weldon VII

    “Vote for or against Edwards on the basis of his stated views, his proposed policies on the economy, health care, Iraq, etc. Don’t vote for or against the man because he can be a jerk.”
    Gosh, Phillip, you couldn’t have it any more backwards if you tried.
    You’re advising us to vote for the chicken in every pot, not the cook.
    If the cook’s a jerk, he may put a chicken liver in every pot and keep the rest of the chicken for himself as a contingency fee.
    Get my drift?

  174. John Burns

    I’ll take you seriously and answer your questions when you stop relying on falsehoods and mischaracterizations to make your point.
    Until then, pound sand.
    -John Burns
    Raleigh, NC

  175. John Burns

    I’ll take you seriously and answer your questions when you stop relying on falsehoods and mischaracterizations to make your point.
    Until then, pound sand.
    -John Burns
    Raleigh, NC

  176. John Burns

    “Why couldn’t he get by with 10%?”
    Such ignorance. Because he takes the risk of the action and frontsall the costs up front.
    Because people are free to contract.
    Because he’s the best there is, and the best get paid like the best.
    I thought you Republicans loved the free market. but here you are all attacking a man for doing well for himself and making money at it.

  177. michael anastasion

    This column is just another reason why people don’t believe ” The State” is a first class newspaper. I’ve read better columns in the Free Times and college newspapers.

  178. Tom

    My point, you dimwits, is not merely faulting him for his money. The whole point is this guy that you all drool over is running for president preaching about two Americas and how the poor are getting screwed by the rich. And he screws them as bad as anybody! I’m fully aware of the costs, etc. lawyers have to front. The 80 million he’s got is pure profit after his firm pays those expenses. You know damn well he could have taken less if he wanted to. But you are a liar or fool or both to defend him when it is so freaking obvious that he is a phony! He can make all the money he wants, just don’t base your campaign on the 2 Americas crap when you’re one of the rich guys! I know too many lawyers that truly care about their clients and are in the profession to help people. They don’t live in 28,000 square foot homes! John Edwards is a hypocrite and you damn well know it. If he was a Republican running on this crap you would be saying the same thing I am and you know it!

  179. Les Ismore

    Wow, it is this kind of thinking that got us a President we would like to have a beer with. And of course it got us a President who didnt read the memos, dragged us into attacking a country with no ties to 9/11, is bankrupting our treasury and attempting to appeal major sections of our constitution. Hopefully the American people will have better insight than you in 2008.

  180. Jamie Sanderson

    You need to realize that in a Republican state, people want cause and effect.
    You provide that very well in your column, but you missed a key point.
    There are more at-bats in a game than just one.
    People across South Carolina get that and rest that don’t should stay a little longer for the ball game to end.
    Because when the game comes down to the LAST at bat, John Edwards will NOT strike out with America!

  181. Sobac

    Considering that ALL candidates have no choice but to pander to voters, it is to be expected that they will put on a show. Voters want affirmation and love, not to be challenged, and to feel good about whoever they voted for.
    Edwards is exactly the sort of fake we want if we are Democrats. Repubs will vote for something different.
    None of them give a Shiite about any of us, other rich folks excepted.

  182. CaptainVideo

    Conservatives have a hard time dealing with rich people who care about the welfare of people less well off than they are and support programs that benefit such people. They think that all rich people should and must be predictably greedy and only support programs that make them richer. Therefore they conclude that rich people who support programs that help the less well off and will actually cost them money must be phoney. To support this view they then latch on to anecdotes that can be interpreted to support this ideological preconception.
    The best way to evaluate Edward’s sincerity is to look at the programs he is supporting and their economic implications, not telling anecdotes that are subjectively framed to support the author’s preconceptions.
    Example: Edwards is one of only two candidates (Obama is the other) that has proffered a viable, well designed plan for universal health care. This program would, however, cost rich guys like him money. That is putting one’s money where one’s mouth is and is a real test of his sincerity.

  183. Arthur

    I attended an Edwards event recently, and yes, the candidate was a half hour late. In consequence his entire day was probably running late and he had an important meet and greet in Silicon Valley later that afternoon. Big bucks. He still took the time to greet those who wanted to meet him. Running late is just a fact of the campaign trail.
    As to whether Edwards is a phony, as you appear to feel now, I notice that in an earlier column you did not mention that as a rationale for endorsing Joe Lieberman over Edwards, yet now you are harkening back to the contacts you had with Edwards during the 2004 primary as the basis for your critical piece. Why are you writing it now, instead of in 2004? I personally find Edwards’ accent a bit odd to my ear, but it does not appear to “come and go” as you suggest. It might make it easier for him to communicate if it could “go” a bit more, but one gets used to it. What I hear in Edwards is more common sense than I hear in the other candidates. He was not my immediate favorite, but when I stopped to listen I found that I was hearing more and more that I liked. Like you, Brad, I don’t think that institutionalizing torture as public policy is a good idea. To the contrary, in the battle for the hearts and minds of the world it gives our sworn enemies a fantastic public relations tool.
    Edwards is the most forthright candidate of either party in regard to the need to stop torturing detainees. In the stump speech I heard he said the first thing he would do as President would be to close Guantanamo. Mitt Romney, by contrast, thinks it should be doubled in size. Give Edwards another chance, you may find reasons to like him. I did. Even though he has a funny accent.

  184. dean

    how many politician tell the truth and are honest – we need a christian for president that will follow God’s advice before this country falls like Rome did, from the inside

  185. Greg

    Hey Brad,
    Figured I would add to your blog with a story not from South Carolina but from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Just a brief background of my family so people will understand where this is coming from. Being raised in a strong democratic family from south western Pennsylvania, my father was in state politics for 25 years. Highest point was being the chairman of the democrat party in Pennsylvania. Needless to say, the democrats have always had my vote. Stood in line for 4 1/2 hours to vote for Kerry/Edwards in ’04.
    Ok, for the rest of the story. My brother owns a very sucessful hair salon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. About a month ago the Edwards’ campaign was in Pittsburgh for a few events and to make an appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews. A person high up in the democratic party recommended my brother to help do Senator Edward’s hair and makeup for the Hardball piece. My brother was very honored that he was called to duty to help out a fellow democrat in need. So, my brother asked two of his hair stylists to go help out the Edward’s campaign. Before leaving, the two employees’ were so excited they called friends and family to tell the exciting news. The Edwards’ campaign asked for the hairstylist’s to be at the Hardball taping at 4pm. Senator Edwards did not show up until 5:30pm. There were no, “sorry we’re so late”, just instructions that they were not allowed to speak to Sen Edwards. In comes Senator Edwards, the two stylists stick out their hands to shake hands and to say hello to Senator Edwards. He did not shake their hands and only said one thing to them, “DO NOT TOUCH MY HAIR.” That is all that he told the 2 hairstylists who had been waiting for almost 2 hours to do his hair.
    After returning to my brother’s hair salon and informing my brother what had happened with their meeting with Senator Edwards, my brother proceeded to call the aide who had originally called to set up this appointment to let him know that it was unacceptable how John Edwards treated his employees and asked for him to put a $500 check in the mail for their time. My brother told the aide that he will be telling over a 1000 people about the events that occured with Senator Edwards.
    So, in closing, John Edwards reminds me of Rachel Mcadams character Regina George in the moveie Mean Girls. If you haven’t seen the movie then go rent it, watch it and then you’ll know where i’m coming from.
    Its very disappointing to say but its true, Senator John Edwards is a phony.

  186. bud

    I smell a rat. No self-respecting democrat would use this verbiage:
    “Highest point was being the chairman of the democrat party in Pennsylvania.”
    The democrat party? That’s a perjoritive term used by the repub party to take a dig at members of the democratIC party.

  187. Brad Warthen

    Big Amen on that, bud. That’s one of my pet peeves.
    Of course, I sort of got the feeling from the way it was worded that “Greg” may have come from a long line of Democrats, but is not one himself. Is that right, “Greg,” or do I assume too much?

  188. The Real Jamie Sanderson

    Since some idiot wanted to be me and knock John Edwards with my name, let me just say that since meeting with Sen. Edwards here in Georgetown back in July, I know who the fake(s) are.
    The stupid Republicans who want to copy me,
    the idiots who are scared of John Edwards and this state as a whole.
    John Edwards represents the best the party has to offer.
    I even go as far to say I like Kucinich, but he can’t get elected. I wish he could.
    But Edwards can!

  189. Leo Noel

    I am an SC expat now residing in New Orleans and am struck by the way John Edwards announced his candidacy with a flood-ravaged N.O. East neighborhood as his backdrop yet never mentions the plight of our city in his appearances elsewhere or even in the ‘issues’ section of his campaign website.
    Unfortunately, this seems to be the case with all of the frontrunners from BOTH parties.
    How is it that the potential death of an American city, a city (and region as well) that has provided so much for this country over the years with its vast cultural and natural resources, be relegated to only token mentions in the political discourse anyway?? Could someone please explain that to me?
    As far as phoniness goes, it appears to be the rule rather than the exception when it comes to politicians these days what with the oversaturation of media coverage and the circus-like atmosphere that it entails.
    I’m afraid that George Carlin got it right some years back when he said that TRUE people of conscience don’t run for office anymore.
    America has left the building…

  190. Ann Poorboy

    While I haven’t seen what you have seen, it did strike me as nearly offensive when during the Iowa debate, he practically tried to take credit for Hillary Clinton’s healthcare plan. He alluded to the fact that his plan came out six months earlier. Knowing Hillary’s commitment to a better healthcare system and her long-term pursuit of this, I was amazed at how brash he is.
    Plus, as a North Carolinian, I’m not impressed by how little time he spent dedicated to the state’s needs as our newly elected Senator and how immediately he began pursuing the Presidency.
    My humble and quite personal opinion of him, it’s that it’s all about what he wants and not about much else.

  191. Jim

    I met John Edwards at a town hall style meeting he hosted at a union hall. My meeting him was accidental as I was entering the hall late as they were making the introductions. I saw him standing in the lobby waiting to come on stage so I decided to walk over and shake his hand.
    He couldn’t have been nicer. He was genuine and sincere and even asked for a recommendation for a restaurant in town.
    You can disagree with his policies but phony he is not. He’s an honest, decent person and that’s a hell of a lot more than can be said by the utter moron currently occupying the white house.

  192. Linda Walker

    John Edwards could not be for the middle class working American citizen and the illegal immigrants gaining citizenship in America. Twenty million illegal immigrants in South Carolina are taking our jobs.

  193. Scrap Gold Prices

    If everybody wants“ grit” and“ realism” and all the other negative aspects of modern tv sci- fi… then stay at home and watch it on TV. I wan tthe positive visions that launched Trek to begin with. and I want it done in blue, red, and gold- green onboard the Enterprise!!!


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