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Summary Article: Edwards, John Reid
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US Democrat politician, vice-presidential candidate in 2004. A charismatic and populist campaigner, with particular appeal in the southern states and in rural and blue-collar areas, Edwards put in a strong challenge for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2004. He was selected as running-mate by the party's nominee, John Kerry, but the Democrats were defeated by the incumbent George W Bush in the 2004 election. In 2007–08, Edwards contested again for the party's presidential nomination, but pulled out of the race in late January 2008 after trailing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Originally a successful personal injury lawyer, Edwards moved into politics in 1997, not long after the death of his 16-year-old son in a car accident. After selling his law practice and investing US$6 million of his own funds, he defeated the Republican incumbent to become senator for North Carolina from 1999. In the Senate he rose to prominence in the proceedings that ended in President Bill Clinton's acquittal in the impeachment trial concerning the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Born in Seneca, South Carolina, into a blue-collar household, he was the first person in his family to attend university. He graduated in law from North Carolina State University and then specialized as a trial attorney who represented families and children wrongly injured by corporate negligence. In one case, he secured an award of US$25 million for a girl who was seriously injured by a defective pool drain. In Congress, Edwards's priorities have been universal healthcare and patient rights, poverty reduction, and more investment in state schools.

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