Elizabeth Edwards' Cancer Has Spread: The Campaign Continues
Just watched the Edwards' presser.
There has been a reoccurance of the cancer, and it's in the bone now. It's localized however, and small. Both Edwards and their doctors are optimistic that, though she will now never be without cancer, it is a treatable condition, and Elizabeth has decades of life to look forward to.
From a political standpoint, I'd say the new conference was an ultra success. Surely a ten. Maybe even an eleven.
Everything best about them individually, and about their partnership and their marriage was on display. John was open, detailed, unaffected, and clear, about what had been found, and what they've been told it means. Elizabeth was modest, funny, passionate, and as always, reaching out to others, (what we used to call "solidarity," as she reminded us that there is nothing special about what she wasgoing through; it's what cancer survivors and their families face every day.
Elizabeth told how she developed a pain on one side of her chest, discovered from an X-ray that she'd broken a rib, which also showed something suspicious on the other side of her chest, and which more diagnosis, including a biopsy, told the story. Oh, and their new house came up, in the discussion. Asked how she broke her rib, Elizabeth explained, just like she was talking to a neighbor, that she and John had moved into a new house; a pause, and then she quipped, "you may have heard about it;" well, a lamp had been sitting on the floor for weeks, and she was so tired of looking at it that she tried to move by herself the chest it was meant to sit on and immediately realized that she'd done something bad to herself. When John came home and gave her a hug, they heard her rib pop. Notice the lack of servants and the hands-on relationship of Mrs. Edwards with the task of moving into a new space.
Neither one of them mentioned the issue of John's presidential campaign until asked by a reporter what impact it would have on that. No cessation was the answer, no change in schedule, no time off. As Elizabeth said, she expects to do next week exactly what she planned to do, which is exactly what she'd been doing the prior week, before the diagnosis.
The decision was clearly a mutual one, although I had the feeling that Elizabeth is even more committed to John's campaign than he is.
It was Elizabeth who struck the most original note, when she drew a parallel between the meaning of the Edwards campaign, and his vision for this country, and the way the Edwards family was choosing to deal with the fact of this return of her cancer - with openness, candor, together, and with a recognition of obligations to and grateful strength received from a wider community. And without ever seeming to get too personal, or emotional, without ever hitting a cloying note.
The wingers are being self-consciously respectful, although amusingly, they feel the necessity of reminding us that they are no admirers of John Edwards. But even at The Corner, they were impressed with the news conference. Give them time, though; you'll begin to see questions about Edwards' choice to stay in the presidential race. None of that worries me.
What I saw in that press conference, and no one could have missed it, even the SCLM, was the true meaning of family values.