John EdwardsU.S. Senator (D-North Carolina)
A Democratic senator from North Carolina since 1999, Edwards made an unsuccesesful bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. Throughout his consistently upbeat campaign, he frequently spoke of two Americas—one for the privileged and one for those left behind by the Bush administration. Sen. John Kerry selected Edwards as his running mate in July 2004, hoping Edwards's youthful appeal and charisma would lift his lackluster campaign. As a U.S. Senator, Edwards co-authored the Patients' Bill of Rights and wrote bioterrorism and port security measures that were passed by the Senate. The son of a mill worker, Edwards was the first in his family to attend college. A talented lawyer, Edwards won millions of dollars for his clients in trials against large corporations. Despite his self-portrayal as a lawyer who “fights for the little guy,” Edwards did no pro bono work or civil rights litigation when he was a trial lawyer. The death of his 16 year-old son Wade in 1996 propelled him to begin a political career. Married to Elizabeth and has three children, Catharine, Emma Claire, and Jack.