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Edwards To Continue US Presidential Campaign Despite Recurrence Of Wife's Cancer


Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Thursday that his campaign will continue even as his wife, Elizabeth, battles a recurrence of cancer. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

At a news conference in his home state of North Carolina, former Senator Edwards announced that his wife is once again battling cancer.

"The bottom line is, her cancer is back," said John Edwards. "We are very optimistic about this because, having been through some struggles together in the past, we know that the key is to keep your head up, to keep moving and to be strong, and we intend to do exactly that."

Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer in the closing weeks of the 2004 presidential campaign. At that time, her husband was Democrat John Kerry's vice presidential running mate.

Mrs. Edwards recently broke a rib and cancer was discovered in a rib bone. John Edwards says his wife's cancer is not curable but is treatable.

Appearing at the news conference with her husband, Mrs. Edwards told reporters she had not exhibited any symptoms of late to indicate that her cancer had returned.

"The only thing that hurts me on my whole body is my rib right here," said Elizabeth Edwards. "And honestly, I bless it because that is the reason that I am able to stand before you with a smile."

John Edwards says his campaign for the White House will go on strongly and that he and his wife never seriously considered that he would drop out of the race.

The two have been married for 30 years and lost their oldest son in an accident in 1996.

"We know from our previous experience that when this happens, you have a choice," he said. "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. And both of us are committed to the cause, we are committed to changing this country that we love so much and we have no intention of cowering in the corner."

Among those offering encouragement for Elizabeth Edwards was White House spokesman Tony Snow, who has survived his own bout with cancer.

"When you have cancer, it is very important to keep checking, being aggressive," said Tony Snow. "She is living an active life and a positive attitude, prayers and people you love are always a very good addition to any kind of medicine you have. And so for Elizabeth Edwards, good going and our prayers are with you."

John and Elizabeth Edwards have frequently discussed her battle with cancer on the campaign trail. Ben Smith is with a political Web site called the Politico.com.

"They have lived this out very much in public since soon after she was diagnosed in 2004 and she wrote a book about her struggle with breast cancer, and he talks a lot about health care policy and this has always been part of what he talks about, her struggle," said Ben Smith.

John Edwards has been running third among Democrats in most public opinion polls, behind Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But Edwards has scored well in surveys in the early caucus state of Iowa, which will initiate the presidential nominee selection process next January.

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