John Edwards was a top-tier candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination four years after serving as Sen. John Kerry’s running mate in an unsuccessful bid for the White House. Edwards’ polls and fundraising lagged behind frontrunner Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL), but he had a large base among liberals and anti-war voters. He dropped his bid for the nomination in January 2008. In May 2008, he endorsed Obama.
Before his vice presidential candidacy and career in the Senate representing North Carolina, Edwards spent many years as a successful trial lawyer. He made a fortune arguing lawsuits against insurance companies and other major players in the medical industry. Through this experience, Edwards carved the image of himself as a champion of the working man. He has continued to portray himself in this light throughout his presidential campaign, vying with Obama and Clinton for union endorsements, and challenging fellow Democrats to swear off funding from corporate lobbyists. Edwards also served as director of the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Edwards focused his domestic campaign on poverty and environmental issues. On foreign affairs, he emphasized ending the war in Iraq and restoring “U.S. moral leadership in the world.”