Elizabeth Edwards returns to public stage
By Mike Baker
RALEIGH (AP) ó Elizabeth Edwards prepared Tuesday to give her first public speech since her husband publicly admitted to an extramarital affair thatís still clouded by lingering questions.
Edwards is scheduled to speak about health care at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and will assess the policies of the presidential candidates.
John and Elizabeth Edwards have both avoided speaking publicly since he acknowledged in early August that he had a ěliaisonî with a woman hired to produce videos of him in 2006. John Edwards, a two-time Democratic presidential candidate and former North Carolina senator, has canceled all of his public events until after the election. He has said he doesnít want to be a distraction with Novemberís elections looming.
Elizabeth Edwards has only discussed the affair in a statement provided by aides in early August and posted on a liberal blog. She pleaded for privacy then and said her husband had told her of the affair to her in 2006.
Gary Pearce, a Democratic consultant who advised John Edwardsí successful bid for the U.S. Senate in 1998, said there are still some honest questions that Elizabeth Edwards hasnít answered about her knowledge of the affair. Namely, why she allowed her husband to run for the presidency with such a dark secret and when exactly she learned about it.
But he said it was also difficult to lob criticism at a couple thatís gone through so much.
ěThe question is, whatís going on in that marriage?î Pearce said. ěYou never understand anybody elseís marriage ó people can barely understand their own.î
Though quiet on the affair, Elizabeth Edwards has won praise for publicly divulging the details of some of the most wrenching moments of her life, including the death of a teenage son and her bout with breast cancer. She was first diagnosed in 2004. After treatment briefly freed her of the disease, the couple announced in 2007 that it had returned in an incurable form.
Edwards now blogs about health care as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, although she hasnít posted entries since the affair was publicized. Sheís been a frequent critic of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, arguing at one point that his health care proposal wouldnít cover people like her with preexisting conditions.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said in June that he would partner with Elizabeth Edwards on a health care plan.