Monday, November 10, 2008

Elizabeth Edwards: Back to Battle for Health Care

By Ceci Connolly
The Washington Post
Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards

Gerald Martineau

WASHINGTON -- Her hair has grown back, longer and thicker. She needs a hand climbing into the director's chair positioned at the front of the George Washington University auditorium. Look closely: The wedding band is missing.

"She looks a bit fragile," observes a woman in the audience on this Monday evening.

"Maybe vulnerable," says her friend.

And yet Elizabeth Edwards is here. Inside the Beltway, in front of the cameras. She once dreamed politics would carry her husband into the big white house just seven blocks away.

But she has a new focus, on her terms. There will be no mention of the scandal. No interviews allowed.

Nearly three months after former senator John Edwards acknowledged he had an affair with a campaign consultant, Elizabeth Edwards, 59, is gradually re-emerging, cautiously creating a new public persona -- not as the victimized wife, but as an expert on one of the most pressing domestic policy issues of the day: health care. An expert with an unfortunately heavy dose of firsthand experience.

"Until October 2004, the only time I ever went to the hospital was to have babies," she says, gently reminding the crowd of several hundred of her first cancer diagnosis. "You have no idea what's coming down the pike at you."

Snip

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