After her husband, John Edwards, dropped out of the presidential race, his popular wife Elizabeth stayed in the public eye to advocate for health-care issues. She continued to make appearances and write thoughtful essays. That was until the whole Rielle Hunter scandal emerged, which painted her husband as a deceitful adulterer, and revealed that she herself had long known about the affair and was perhaps complicit in deceiving the public. She laid low for a while, conserving her energy for her battle with incurable bone cancer. But she reemerged this week, looking frail but sounding tough.
She was addressing an audience at George Washington University on behalf of the Center for American Progress, where she is a senior fellow. (CAP head honcho John Podesta is helming Obama’s transition-planning team.) She showed up without her husband — and without her wedding ring — to discuss her pet issue through a mix of personal anecdotes and in-depth political terminology. The Washington Post headline said that she was emerging “from her husband’s shadow,” but we’ve always thought that she was the more imposing popular figure. After all, she’s been battling multiple forms of cancer for four years now. What’s a cheating husband and a little public embarrassment compared to that?