Benny's World

Friday, May 23, 2008

Elizabeth Edwards Buzz: Fighter Edition

(photo courtesy of Fourdogmom)

Greetings BW Readers,

I'm starting a new series called Elizabeth Edwards Buzz. This post is from one I posted at EENR Blog, and in a quick poll, I asked if there should be a separate EE Buzz. Most said yes. So away we go...

Elizabeth is back on the speaking tour and in the news. Last night, she spoke at the Progressive Forum in Houston. The Progressive Forum endeavors to:

enrich our democracy and culture by presenting the great minds who we believe are moving humanity and life towards success, speakers from all the fields of human endeavor—the sciences and humanities as well as politics and public affairs.

Other speakers have included Molly Ivins, Robert Redford, and Al Gore. Quite an esteemed bunch.

Fourdogmom blogger attended this session and said that Elizabeth spoke for 45 minutes. More from her CJ report:

Edwards spoke for about 45 minutes about her life as a breast cancer survivor and about the support she received, and continues to receive, from her family, friends, and strangers who reached out to her after her diagnosis. She talked about her children, including her son Wade who died in a car accident when he was in high school, and about her relationship with her husband, John Edwards.

After speaking, she answered some questions from the audience including a few about politics and the 2008 presidential race.

It was a wonderful event and has made me want to read her book Saving Graces...

Of course, being an Edwards News scout, I actually posted a question on the blog concerning Elizabeth's thoughts about the race and anything else she cared to elaborate on. Here's Fourdogmom's response:
Dear Benny,
She didn't talk about it too much. The emphasis was on her health and family. Someone asked her which candidate has the best health care plan and she said HRC because it will require every American to have coverage. She also answered a question about why her husband came out in support of Obama. She wasn't asked and never did say who she was supporting. She took a few little jabs at McCain but really wasn't too negative. She talked about the difference between socialized medicine and universal health care and why it is wrong when people (mostly R's) try to equate the two. I'm hoping the Progressive Forum will post a link to a video of the talk or sell a DVD.

But she added, and this what made the visit from Elizabeth even more special:

I didn't mention this in the blog but before she flew to Houston on Wednesday morning, she had undergone chemotherapy treatments. I was amazed as I sure everyone else was in the audience, by her stamina.


I suggested she have tissues handy when reading Saving Graces. She said she almost needed them last night when hearing her speak. And she gave me permission to post that pretty picture she took with her new camera.

Then, if one speaking engagement weren't enough for Elizabeth Edwards, she was on Larry King Live for a few minutes last night. First the video (courtesy of NC Dem Amy).

Now the transcript:

Larry King: Your reaction to the news about Senator Kennedy.

Elizabeth Edwards: Like everyone across the country, I'm extraordinarily sad to hear that Teddy is having to face this diagnosis. But I'm also incredibly confident that if anybody has the capability to fight for health care, he's fought for our health care across the country.

King: Have you had any contact with the senator or members of the family?

Edwards: My husband, John, has had a number of conversations. But John has had conversations with his wife, Vicki, to indicate our support and love for them. And, of course, we want to be able to be a sounding board for them for anything that we know.

He certainly has faced cancer before with his own son, so he knows what he's up against. I found it good to have role models of other people who are living with cancer around you as inspiration to you.

King: Earlier this month, you and Lance Armstrong testified before the senator's committee about the challenges and opportunities of fighting cancer. Was he supportive?

Edwards: Senator Kennedy and Senator Hutchison from Texas are introducing a bill, sort of a renewed war on cancer. President Nixon had this war, now Senator Kennedy and Senator Hutchison want to renew it with a real concerted and substantial effort. They've gotten a number of co-sponsors for it.

But Senator Kennedy was doing this before he knew that this was going to be his disease as well. He's doing it because it was the right thing to do. I hope that the coalition he's built will grow even stronger as people see around them someone who -- among them who is facing precisely this disease.

But he didn't do it for selfish reasons. His cancer bill was based on what the rest of us, my brothers and sisters, have been suffering with.

King: How is your own health?

Edwards: My health is good. I want to caution people. As they listen in these days to sort of grim diagnoses about what Senator Kennedy is facing. In the first place, we're hearing the general description from his doctors, but we're not hearing this same sort of grim statistics that we're hearing from other people who are talking about it.

And you heard exactly the same things from me. I am in no worse shape, if I had five years to live, and I hope I have lots more than that, a year ago, I still have five years to live, because I'm not in any different shape than I was then. Medicine has come a long way, and I don't think that we ought to be writing anybody's obituary. We ought to be thinking about how it is he's going to live with cancer as opposed to how someone dies with cancer.

It's not very cheerful hearing when everyone is talking, however nicely about you, as if you're on the edge of death. Until we hear otherwise, he is still the same strong vibrant man that he was. One of the people you had earlier on today on CNN suggested that he had a sister who had lived 13 years with this condition.

Larry King Live

You can read the rest of the interview there. She was crystal about not endorsing anyone, as she also said earlier this week at the Politico, News-Observer, etc.

This afternoon, Elizabeth was on NPR's Talk of the Nation. Elizabeth Edwards chose to be on the show to share her situation as a teachable moment. She begins her story with that strange day in November 2004 and "how many hands reached out to her." She wants women to go have their mammograms, and one of the first e-mails Elizabeth Edwards received was from a woman who decided to get her mammogram, and turned out she had a tumor, and proceeded to get treatment.

She also spoke about how her heart was broken about Ted Kennedy, particularly as she had testified two weeks ago and he had no idea he had the tumor when co-sponsoring a cancer bill.

Two callers shared their experiences with cancer, and that fighting attitude is a good one. Elizabeth remarked her fight was easier because she had a safety net of people. Both supported Elizabeth and why she continued on the campaign trail...a role model for other cancer fighters and survivors. The second caller said her insurance company tried to deny coverage for an operation she needed, and Teddy Kennedy was instrumental in persuading the company to cover the woman. She also said her Republican Senator, Susan Collins, was also helpful.

You can listen to the rest here.

It heartens me to see Elizabeth out and about, speaking out in the fight for all of us in terms of universal health care and sharing our stories for support.

More buzz l8tr..

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