Now Edward's wife's cancer is being used to bolster his candidacy. "One of the reasons I want to be president is to make sure every woman and every person in America gets the same kind of things that we have," John Edwards said over the weekend.
Edwards also told "60 Minutes," "Do not vote for us because you feel some sympathy or compassion for us." And he'll say as much, every time a camera shows him talking about his wife.
As medical technology advances, Americans should get used to seeing candidates with serious illnesses. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani fought prostate cancer, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has been treated for skin cancer. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, has multiple sclerosis.
GOP political consultant Ken Khachigian recalled a day when politicians tried to hide an illness -- they wanted to look strong. Now, cable news has become all-personal-tragedy-all-the-time, and personal problems have an upside.
Khachigian mused, "It's hard to know what the stopping point is. I guess you'll know it when you see it."