John and Elizabeth Edwards did very well on 60 Minutes tonight. Katie Couric asked all the tough questions — including the ones I’ve raised on Swampland. John was particularly strong, and right, when he said of those who disagree with or aren’t sure about their decision to stay in the race: “All of those judgments and questions are entirely legitimate.” Equally impressive was his answer to the (wrongheaded) accusation that he and Elizabeth were exploiting her cancer for political gain: “Do not vote for me because Elizabeth has cancer….This election is too important…Do not vote for us because you feel some sympathy or compassion for us.” (note: quotes may not be word for word – i was jotting notes while watching).
Elizabeth made a powerful point when she explained why she believed the campaign should go on. “Either you push forward with the things you were doing yesterday,” she said, “or you start dying.” The one moment that clanged a bit came when Elizabeth said that the “most important thing you can give your children is wings.” As Couric pointed out, Jack and Emma Claire Edwards are 6 and 8 years old — “still baby birds” not ready to take flight. Perhaps because Couric lost her husband to cancer when their children were young, she seemed to convey unease with the Edwards’ decison and surprise at the “wings” answer.
By even mentioning that, I am no doubt inviting more criticism for having the gall to feel uncomfortable with the Edwards’ decision, and for suggesting that other Americans might also feel that way. It must be obvious by now that others do, in fact, have similar doubts — especially about the issue of whether a father of two young children whose wife may be seriously ill, and may even die, might be too distracted to be effective as president. Those doubts are natural and legitimate, as John Edwards acknowledged. It’s certainly not partisan, and it has nothing to do with being part of the MSM.