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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Edwards’ Life in Exile

In John Edwards’ hometown, residents are disgusted by the fallen former presidential candidate's cheating on Elizabeth Edwards. Michelle Cottle visits Chapel Hill, where people snicker about his nightlife and his visits to his wife and son’s graves as tour buses drive by.

(By Michelle Cottle, The Daily Beast) -
Situated at the corner of Columbia and Franklin streets in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Spanky’s Restaurant and Bar isn’t known so much for its food as for the black-framed caricatures of prominent patrons that adorn its walls: sports stars, media personalities, politicians. In the top corner spot nearest the front window hangs a likeness of former Senator John Edwards, arguably the town’s most famous—now infamous—resident. The sly, flirty grin is unmistakable, and the extravagantly peaked eyebrows give Edwards’ image a faintly diabolical air. At a nearby table, a chunky middle-aged guy sporting a ball cap tucks into a late lunch and begins musing loudly to his companions about how someone needs to take down the disgraced senator’s picture. Pronto.

The gentleman is not alone in his disgust. When I ask the lanky, fresh-faced barkeep, recent UNC graduate Sam Ward, how often customers come in demanding to know when Edwards’ picture will be removed, he doesn’t hesitate. “Every day,” he sighs. Every. Single. Day. “I don’t know when it’s going to happen,” says Ward. “But it needs to. I hear they’re thinking of putting up a picture of Elizabeth Edwards in its place.”

The unmaking of a man is a process both sudden and gradual. Following the initial blast to Edwards’ reputation in mid-2008, when news of his marital misdeeds became Topic A, the former senator and erstwhile presidential candidate slipped into what may be best described as the long fade. His honor and influence in tatters, he was cut loose by many friends and political colleagues. (“There’s not a lot of people still speaking to him at this point,” observes someone close to the family.) Bit by bit, the projects he launched at the height of his promise have folded or aggressively distanced themselves from him. Around Raleigh-Durham and Chapel Hill, where he once loomed so large, Edwards has become at once a joke and an object of anger and derision. Following his June 3 arraignment on charges of violating federal campaign-finance laws, his profile has fallen lower still, as the defendant hunkers down inside his Chapel Hill estate with his children and his legal team. Having strived for a quarter-century to make his mark, Edwards now finds himself being scrubbed from the scene, piece by piece, fingerprint by fingerprint. Despite all the tabloid pieces and salacious rumors, the grainy photos and legal melodrama, he is steadily dissolving before our eyes.

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