A multimillionaire trial lawyer, Edwards, 49, emphasized his roots as the son of a textile worker and said he wants to win the White House to be "a champion for regular people."
A product of public schools, John became the first person in his family to attend college. He worked his way through North Carolina State University where he graduated with high honors in 1974, and then earned a law degree with honors in 1977 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For the next 20 years, John dedicated his career to representing families and children hurt by the negligence of others.
Edwards, married and the father of four (his oldest, son Wade, died at 16 in a 1996 traffic accident), does stand out in at least one way among the presidential contenders: His clean looks earned him People magazine's nomination as "Sexiest Politician" in 2001.
Taxes & Spending:
Based on ratings from taxpayer advocacy groups such
as National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Tax Reform, this candidate shares
very little of their views. According to the Concord Coalition, he is in the
center on balanced budget issue. He opposes eliminating estate taxes.
Social Services Funding: His views regarding "faith-based initiatives" are not known.
Welfare: The Children's Defense Fund, an organization concerned how poverty and
welfare cuts effect children and families, recently gave him a score of 91%. BIPAC, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee gave him a score of
Security & Terrorism: Voted "yes" on HR 3162, Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001. Later said he has heard anecdotal stories about misuse of the (PATRIOT) act. But he added that there’s a need for more concrete evidence about what’s actually happening.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that Edwards looks to be taking on post-9/11 restrictions on civil liberties as an issue. Edwards was concerned by a machine being tested at Orlando International Airport in Florida that civil liberties groups have called a "virtual strip search." The machine uses low-level X-rays to conduct a full-body scan of a passenger. According to news reports, the machine can detect plastic knives hidden under clothing, but it also can clearly see the outline of a passenger's body.
Voted "yes" on the "Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001", a bill to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts by imposing restrictions on student visas and among other things, it creates a centralized 'lookout' database.
In a questioning Attorney General John Ashcroft regarding military tribunals, Edwards asked, "Do you believe that there needs to be a process that allows some appeal that looks at the fundamental question of how the trial was conducted -- whether evidence was properly considered by the court, and whether, in fact, there's evidence that was not considered by the court that would have shown this person, in fact, did not do it, did not commit this crime?"
After Ashcroft replied the process was adequate, Edwards then asked, "But the President and the Secretary of Defense are the people who decided the prosecution should be brought in the first case. Do you believe there needs to be an objective third party that looks at the trial, looks at the conviction, looks at the imposition of the death penalty"
Foreign Affairs: Voted "yes" on H.J.RES.114, Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq
Voted to pass a joint resolution that would authorize the use of force against Iraq. The administration would be required to report to Congress that diplomatic options have been exhausted before, or within 48 hours after military action has started. Every 60 days the president would also be required to submit a progress report to Congress
Education: "The president continues to tout private school vouchers. I oppose them because they divert resources and energy from reform and divert students into the only schools that don't have to meet high standards." Voted "yes" on S1: Better Education for Students and Teachers (BEST) Act, an amendment that would increase funding to local educational agencies under Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 [ESEA] to $132 billion over 10 years.
First, the national government needs to make good teaching a national priority. We should say to the smartest young people in America: if you make a five-year commitment to teach in a place or a subject where top-flight teachers are in short supply, then we will pay for your college education.
National Educational Association give Edwards 100% rating for his efforts to improve our schools.
Healthcare: "The Senate overwhelmingly approved the patient's bill of rights, strong and far-reaching patient protection legislation that I wrote with Senator John McCain."
Announced that he will soon unveil a universal healthcare program.
Expected to support legalized human cloning for experiments by conservative analysist at the publication "HUMAN EVENTS".
Social Security: Opposes privatization. Voted "no" on HR 1259: Social Security and Medicare Safe Deposit Box Act of 1999.
Illicit Drugs: Voted "no" on S 625, a bill to increase penalties on certain drug-related crimes.
Trade: "Here's what I would do as president. I would make sure in our trade agreements that we had real environmental protections, real labor protections, prohibitions against child labor and forced labor, so that we give our workers a better chance to compete."
Ex-felons' Voting Rights: Voted "no" on this issue.
Gun Policy: Edwards received no evaluation from from the NRA, and a 67% from The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Abortion Policy: Edwards received a 100% score from Planned
Parenthood and 0% from the National Right to Life
Environmental Policy: Edwards received 88% from the
League of Conservation Voters.
Minority Issues: Edwards received 95% from the NAACP.
Civil Liberties: Edwards received 50% from The American
Civil Liberties Union.