Edwardses Reject Sympathy Votes, Defend His Decision to Stay in Race

Associated Press
Monday, March 26, 2007

John Edwards says voters should not throw him their support just because his wife has cancer.

"Do not vote for us because you feel some sympathy or compassion for us. That would be an enormous mistake," Edwards said on CBS's "60 Minutes" in an interview that aired last night. "The vote for the presidency is far too important for any of those things to influence it."

Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, who has been diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer, defended his decision to continue pursuing the Democratic nomination. She said she could not live with denying him the chance to be president.

"That would be my legacy, wouldn't it, Katie?" according to a transcript of the interview with Katie Couric, which was taped Saturday in Las Vegas; the transcript was released Sunday before broadcast.

"That I'd taken out this fine man from -- from the possibility of -- of giving a great service. I mean, I don't want that to be my legacy," Elizabeth Edwards said.

John Edwards, a lawyer and former U.S. senator from North Carolina, said this was a chance to give public service to "a country that I love -- both of us love, as much as we love our lives."

They announced Thursday that she was once again facing cancer, only this time it was incurable and had spread to the bone. Despite the prognosis, John Edwards said he would forge ahead with his second bid for the presidency.

Anticipating the demands of the campaign trail, Elizabeth Edwards said her options were clear.

"Either you push forward with the things that you were doing yesterday or you start dying. That seems to be your only two choices," she said. "If I had given up everything that my life was about -- first of all, I'd let cancer win before it needed to."

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