Just about everyone has heard the story of Senator John Edwards. Born in Seneca, South Carolina just miles down the road from Clemson.
The son of a mill worker. First in his family to go to college. He completed his undergraduate degree at North Carolina State University and received his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
But, what many don’t know, is that his first semester of college wasn’t spent at NC State. It was spent at Clemson, in the fall of 1971. Edwards had moved to the town of Robbins, North Carolina several years earlier with his family, but came back to Clemson for college, which was his father’s favorite school. Edwards’ campaign biography doesn’t list his time at Clemson, but he has mentioned it in several speeches.
In high school, Edwards played football, basketball and threw the discus. At Clemson, he tried to continue his athletic traditions by going out for the football team. Edwards wore number 24 and was listed as a 6-foot, 156-pound safety.
Edwards apparently did not stand out during that season, according to an AP article, but one of his teammates, Jimmy Ness said, “He stood in there and ran the drills like all of us. He practiced hard, just like we all did.”
Edwards wanted to remain at Clemson, but after being passed over for a football scholarship, he wasn’t able to afford to stay and transferred to NC State, where he did not try out for any sport.
After graduating law school, Edwards began a career in the courtroom, racking up millions in settlements and in 1998, ran for the junior Senate seat in North Carolina, defeating a Republican incumbent.
Earlier this year, he declared his intent to run for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, competing against the eight other hopefuls from across the country.
Though he only won one primary — South Carolina’s — Edwards was the last of the major candidates to drop out of the race and admit defeat to Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.
Many have compared Edwards to former President Bill Clinton; both are considered good speakers and have a southern charm that helps them poll well among female voters. Edwards struck a strong chord with his “Two Americas” theme during the primary season.
Just before the Democratic National Convention, which took place in Boston in July, Kerry announced that Edwards would be his running mate, a selection that was made official at the Convention.
Kerry and Edwards face incumbent Republican President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in this year’s presidential election.
It is unlikely that Edwards’ time at Clemson will change the minds of many voters, but Kerry, who is from New England, will take all the help he can get in the South.
Both sides have polled roughly dead even since Edwards was chosen as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Democrats, and the election this year is shaping up to be as hotly contested as 2000.
Copyright The Tiger News