- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2007

John Edwards announced yesterday that his wife’s cancer has returned, but that he is going to persevere in his campaign for president anyway.

“The campaign goes on strongly,” he said at a press conference in North Carolina, called to announce that doctors had detected cancer in Elizabeth Edwards’ bones, just two years after they thought her breast cancer had been cured.

Doctors discovered the recurrence after Mrs. Edwards went in for X-rays on Monday, complaining of a pain in her side.

She said she injured herself picking up boxes and then heard a pop when her husband hugged her and she wrenched away — “Actually, I was beating her,” Mr. Edwards joked — and the X-rays for her back pain also showed the cancer.

Mr. Edwards, a personal-injury lawyer before holding a U.S. Senate seat from North Carolina for one term, had said repeatedly in the past year that his decision to run for the Democratic presidential nomination would be based on his wife’s health.

Yesterday, he said that the diagnosis is not that bad and that they are ready to run.

“We know from our previous experience that when this happens, you have a choice: You can go cower in the corner and hide or you can be tough and go out there and stand up for what you believe in,” Mr. Edwards said.

Mrs. Edwards said he is continuing because he owes it to his supporters.

“And it’s not about John Edwards. If it were, you know, it would be easy to give it up, honestly, and I think he would give it up in a second and I would give it up,” she said.

The couple said the new diagnosis means her cancer can never be cured. But Mrs. Edwards said that she is optimistic about her chances, and that they held a press conference to be able to show Americans she is ready for the campaign.

“I don’t look sickly, I don’t feel sickly,” she said.

She joked about the flurry of reports leading up to the press conference that Mr. Edwards would suspend his campaign or drop out entirely. She said they had wanted to tell their relatives and explain to their children the diagnosis “so that everybody could hear from us first before they heard through you. Honestly, through you — it hasn’t turned out to be so reliable in the last 24 hours.”

Mrs. Edwards also raised another family tragedy, the death of the couple’s son in a car accident in 1996, saying she had seen her husband show “an unbelievable toughness, a reserve that allows him to push forward with what needs to happen.”

Mr. Edwards’ competitors for the Democratic nomination offered words of support for the couple.

“We all admire Elizabeth’s strength and determination and the deep love they so obviously share,” said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.

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