10 Things You Didn't Know About John Edwards
This story was corrected on Feb. 7, 2007.
Compiled by the U.S. News library staff
1. Johnny Reid Edwards was born June 10, 1953, in Seneca, S.C. His father, Wallace, was a textile mill supervisor and his mother, Bobbie, ran a furniture shop. They borrowed $50 from a bank to pay the hospital bill when their son was born.
2. The Edwardses moved to Robbins, N.C., and John graduated from North Moore High School. He was the first person in his family to attend college and initially went to Clemson University in South Carolina with hopes of being on its acclaimed football team. He was a walk-on player but did not earn a scholarship and eventually transferred to North Carolina State University. He majored in textile management and graduated in three years; during the summers he worked assorted odd jobs to pay his tuition.
3. John met his wife, Elizabeth Anania, when they were attending law school at UNC. They wed in 1977 and had to borrow money from her parents for their honeymoon hotel in Williamsburg, Va.
4. He first worked as a clerk to U.S. District Judge Franklin Dupree Jr. in Raleigh and later became a successful personal injury lawyer, arguing cases on behalf of the less fortunate and winning millions of dollars for them. He was named one of the best attorneys in the country by Lawyer's Weekly in 1996.
5. John and Elizabeth's first son, Wade, was born in 1980 and was killed in an automobile accident in 1996 when he was driving with friends to the family's beach house. They have three other children: Cate, a Princeton graduate and current Harvard Law School student, and Emma Claire and Jack, born after Wade's death.
6. John and Wade had been extremely close, and Wade had encouraged his father to run for political office. After Wade was killed, John decided to pursue that career instead of law. Edwards's parents had been Republicans, but John changed parties and had registered as a Democrat in the mid-1970s. He ran for Senate in 1998 against Republican incumbent Launch Faircloth and won with 51 percent of the vote.
7. One of his first assignments in Washington was to help oversee depositions for the Senate trial regarding President Clinton's conduct with Monica Lewinsky. His evenhanded approach to the matter earned him bipartisan praise.
8. Seven months after Edwards was sworn in as a senator, former Secretary of State Warren Christopher called him to let him know that he was on Al Gore's short list of vice presidential candidates. (Gore eventually selected Joe Lieberman.) People magazine included him in the "Sexiest Man Alive" issue.
9. In 2003 Edwards decided to forgo the Senate re-election race and instead run for president. He eventually dropped out of that race and became Kerry's running mate.
10. Edwards has most recently been on a tour to promote his new book, Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives, a collection of memoirs on childhood homes. He is currently director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill.
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