If you want to know whether John Edwards is vain, go to YouTube, search for “pretty edwards” and then sit back and enjoy. On the other hand, if you want to see how hypocritical he is, then go to C-SPAN’s Web site (c-span.org), select the priceless Campaign Network on the menu at the left and click on the April 3 John and Elizabeth Edwards town hall meeting in New Hampshire. You’re on your own with YouTube, but we can help with the policy-oriented town hall meeting.
“Today we’re 4 percent of the world’s population,” Mr. Edwards told the college crowd, but “we emit 25 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases. That is not an example for good.” Describing the situation as an “emergency,” he outlined the consequences for the world: “hundreds of millions of people migrating, political upheaval, not enough food, not enough water.” How close are we? “We’re near the tipping point. Right now. Today.” Telling the audience that America “shouldn’t be following, we should be leading,” Mr. Edwards declared that “we ought to cap carbon dioxide emissions in America” and then “ratchet down that cap every year.” Mr. Edwards repeatedly talked about first “clean[ing] up our own house.” Then we could approach China and India “with some credibility.” The issue of credibility was very important to Mr. Edwards.
Then Mr. Edwards opened the discussion to questions. “You spoke about America leading the world in energy conservation and changing global warming and reducing its footprint in the world,” a student reminded him. “I heard a rumor that you’re building a 20,000 square-foot house. Shouldn’t you be leading America in energy conservation?” she asked.
In fact, the house, which has been built, is 28,200 square feet, more than 40 percent larger than the student had heard. But Mr. Edwards did not set the record straight. Instead, he flim-flammed about running “the only carbon-neutral [presidential] campaign.” He solemnly assuring the audience that “Elizabeth and I are doing exactly the same thing on our house.” The Edwards bragged about their house’s five-star energy rating. How much carbon-generated energy does the house use? Mr. Edwards won’t say. He refused to discuss his monthly energy bills with the Associated Press two weeks ago.
Mr. Edwards did assure his New Hampshire audience that “we have solar which provides some of the power for the house. And we have passive solar on top of that.” The Edwardses, the former senator repeated, are “carbon neutral.” That is achieved through “carbon offsets,” which people claim to purchase to alleviate the environmental effect of building, heating cooling and operating their own 28,200 square-foot manses.
Then Mr. Edwards, raised the issue of credibility again. “It’s sort of like America — how can I go out with credibility and speak to the world about this if I don’t do something about it?” So what did the Edwardses decide to do? Three months ago they replaced their SUV with a hybrid. “So, both in the car we drive — or one of the cars we drive — and what we’re doing in our house, we’re doing everything we can to try to be responsible.”