Cover Story

Mister Edwards' neighborhood

"Mister Edwards' neighborhood" Continued...

Issue: "Rich man, poor man," May 5, 2007

Though the bloggers eventually resigned on their own, Edwards defended his decision not to fire them. He said he was "personally offended" by the bloggers' comments, but believed they didn't mean to denigrate a particular religion.

Less than a month later, when conservative Ann Coulter foolishly alluded to Edwards as a "faggot" during a speech, the candidate's response was different: "The kind of hateful language she used has no place in political debate or our society at large. I believe it is our moral responsibility to speak out against that kind of bigotry and prejudice every time we encounter it."

Edwards' campaign website prominently displayed the video of Coulter's speech, with the headline: "Shame on you, Ann Coulter." The web page asked visitors to "help us raise $100,000 in Coulter Cash" to "fight back against the politics of bigotry."

(Edwards has said he doesn't believe homosexuality is a sin, and he favors "civil unions" for same-sex couples. He also says he would repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays. Prominent leaders of the homosexual community have endorsed his candidacy.)

The next nine months will be a race for Edwards to distinguish himself from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the fight for the Democratic nomination. He'll be relying on his universal health-care proposal and his strident opposition to the war, seeking to go further left and out-do other candidates in these hot-button areas. (He's proposed bringing 40,000 troops home now and withdrawing all troops in the next 12 to 18 months.)

In the meantime, back in Chapel Hill, Monty Johnson will be tending to his garden and supporting Rudy Giuliani, a candidate he says "lowers taxes and crime." Johnson says he's still willing to meet the elusive Edwards, who recently told a crowd in nearby Greensboro that politicians "need to get out here in the real world and find out how it really is."

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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