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John Edwards's quest to sway a bigger jury

(Page 3 of 3)

Back at the Legion Arts gallery in Cedar Rapids, after the senator's speech, Edwards poses for a photo with a supporter in front of a painting of Mount Rushmore. Edwards is feeling good. He's already had his daily four-to-five-mile run - "It keeps me sane" - and he's ready to barrel off to Tipton, Iowa, population 3,000, to meet with Democratic activists at the home of a retired insurance man. He dispenses a few hugs and is on his way.

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John Edwards on ...

... How America has changed since 9/11:

Immediately after Sept. 11, there was a tremendous amount of fear and worry about our safety. That's perfectly understandable. People are still worried about that, but I don't think the intensity is as high as it was. I think people have begun to be more concerned about ... the relationship between security and their freedoms and their privacy.

... The post-9/11 president's role:

The president has always been responsible first and foremost for making sure the American people are safe. [Post-9/11], it's a different kind of threat ... but that's always been the [president's] most important responsibility.

... How his background compares with President Bush's defense experience:

I believe that because of my life experience, and the ... very tough battles I have been through, that I have the personal characteristics to lead in this environment, which means being honest, having integrity, having strength of conviction. I have what we need in a human being. Secondly, I've been on the intelligence committee several years now, helped investigate Sept. 11.... I've met with leaders of that part of the world - Turkey, the Middle East, Europe - and been to Africa, all of which has allowed me to have a very clear view ... of what America's role in the world is and what needs to be done to keep this country safe.

The Edwards file

Born: Johnny Reid Edwards, June 10, 1953.

Parents: Wallace Edwards, textile-mill employee; Bobbie Edwards, ran antiques store, delivered mail.

Religion: Methodist.

Family: Wife, Elizabeth. Four children (one deceased) - Cate, 21; Emma Claire, 5; John "Jack" Atticus, 3. Edwards wears his late son Wade's Outward Bound pin on his lapel.

Education: B.S. in textile technology, N.C. State University, 1974; J.D., UNC at Chapel Hill, 1977. Military service: None.

Favorite book: I.F. Stone's "The Trial of Socrates."

Favorite movie: "The Shawshank Redemption."

Early works: Vowed to "help protect innocent people from blind justice the best I can" in essay, "Why I Want to Be a Lawyer," written at age 11.

Physical feats: Played high school football and college intramural volleyball; has completed 5 marathons; climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with Wade.

High school car: Red Plymouth Duster.

Net worth: Between $12 and $60 million; 19th-richest member of Congress.

Political highlights:

• Vice president of sophomore class in high school.

• 1 of 3 Democrats representing President Clinton in his Senate impeachment trial.

• Helped craft the Patients' Bill of Rights.

• On the Judiciary, Select Intelligence, and Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Senate committees.

Campaign touchstones:

• Bills himself as the champion of "regular people."

• $3 billion "College for Everyone" plan - free year of college for anyone working 10 hours a week - paid for by ending Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and by trimming the federal workforce.

• Would revamp healthcare costs and guarantee coverage for all Americans under age 21.

Key legislative positions:

• Supported resolution to remove Saddam Hussein, but pushed for early sharing of postwar authority with the UN. Voted against Bush's request for $87 billion to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan.

• Opposed Attorney General John Ashcroft's confirmation. Voted for the USA Patriot Act, sweeping antiterror legislation post-9/11.

• Opposes privatization of Social Security.

• Supports abortion rights.

• Criticizes the Bush administration's "obsession" with tax cuts, but supports permanent cuts for middle-income families.

Source: Compiled from wire services, MSNBC, Roll Call, and Hotline