John Edwards pushes focus on poverty in book
With the Iraq war dominating this weekend's California Democratic convention, presidential candidate John Edwards turned to a collection...
Los Angeles Times
SAN DIEGO -- With the Iraq war dominating this weekend's California Democratic convention, presidential candidate John Edwards turned to a collection of essays to try to spark interest in his signature domestic theme: poverty.
In the just-released book, "Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream," Edwards and other essayists argue that efforts to improve the lives of the nation's poor are hampered by failing schools, lack of affordable health care and low-wage service-economy jobs with few chances of career advancement.
The book evolved from seminars at the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity that Edwards established at the University of North Carolina after the 2004 election.
Edwards selected the contributors, including former Republican vice-presidential candidate Jack Kemp, and wrote the concluding chapter.
Edwards, who is scheduled to address the convention today, said in a telephone interview Saturday that the Bush administration squandered an opportunity in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Millions of dollars in aid were raised for thousands of mostly low-income residents displaced from flooded neighborhoods, but the nation's attention quickly drifted.
If the president had taken the opportunity to use Katrina to spotlight poverty, Edwards said, "it would have stayed on the front burner. I think if a national leader makes it an issue and uses Katrina as an example for a problem that exists in America ... I think it would come roaring back."
Although similar themes failed to land Edwards the Democratic nomination in 2004, he said he considers ending poverty key to the nation's economic success.
Yet Edwards has been criticized after revelations that the millionaire former trial lawyer spent $400 on haircuts.
"It was just a mistake," Edwards said, adding that "it was a ridiculous amount to pay for a haircut."
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.