The Candidates: Sen. John Edwards

From the Courtroom to the Senate, and Now a White House Run

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Sen. John Edwards at the mic

Sen. John Edwards in NPR's studio 2A during his interview with NPR's Bob Edwards. Mark Kuhn, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mark Kuhn, NPR
Sen. John Edwards

Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), Democratic candidate for president. Mark Kuhn, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mark Kuhn, NPR

Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina let it be known in January that he would seek the Democratic nomination for president. In the first of a series of interviews with White House candidates, NPR's Bob Edwards sat down with the 49-year-old former trial lawyer to talk about his campaign and the issues that define his candidacy.

Sen. Edwards is casting a wider net just four years into his initial six-year term in the Senate. He cites a working-class upbringing, touting himself as the candidate for "regular people," though 20 years as a trial lawyer made him a millionaire. He says he is campaigning for "economic, education and health care programs that embrace all Americans and give them the opportunity to reach their potential."

He is also proposing an education initiative that he calls "college for everyone." The program is designed to provide working-class students, regardless of where they go to high school, the academic preparation and economic assistance to attend a junior or four-year state college.

The Edwards interview touches on health care reform, reducing the federal bureaucracy and strategies for stimulating the economy "by doing things in the short-term." Edwards also notes his support for civil-rights programs that "lift up those who still suffer the effects of discrimination," and states his opposition to elements of the Bush tax-cut plan.

Edwards cites the need for "significant international support" as the United States considers military action against Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

He adds: "America’s families will be safer in a world where we’re strong, where we’re engaged, but where we’re respected."

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