Elizabeth Edwards has been called the most valuable player in her husband John Edward's bid for the White House. But the couple might be facing a new health scare. The Democratic presidential candidate will speak today, just days after he cut short a trip to Iowa in order to accompany his wife, who has been treated for breast cancer, on a doctor's visit.
Elizabeth Edwards, a breast cancer survivor, has recently gone to the doctor to check in on the progress of her recovery. John Edwards cut short a campaign swing through Iowa to be with his wife at her checkup in North Carolina. Now, his campaign could hinge on her health.
The Edwards will hold a news conference later today to discuss the results of that follow-up exam. Campaign officials are keeping quiet about what else they will reveal.
Last night, Elizabeth Edwards told The New York Times, "I'm still here." The campaign issued a statement saying, "She's had similar follow-ups in the past and they've all resulted in a clean bill of health, but Sen. Edwards has gone with her to these appointments and he wanted to be with her."
This isn't the first time Edwards' wife's health has impacted his political career. In 2004, a day after he lost his bid for vice president, Americans learned that Elizabeth Edwards was battling breast cancer.
"She told me that they found a lump in her breast. And I had a conversation with our doctor … and he told me it looked bad, and he thought it was likely to be breast cancer. And that was on the Friday before the election," Edwards said in a February interview.
Together, the couple already weathered heartbreak with the death of their beloved 16-year-old son, Wade, who died in a car accident in 1996.
"He was a great writer," Elizabeth Edwards said in a past interview. "He wrote one time, it was on Martin Luther King's birthday… he said he learned you need to look at the inside of people and not the outside of people. He was 7 when he said that."
So despite her husband's doubts, Elizabeth Edwards bravely went public with the news.
"I said, 'Listen it's OK to keep this private, it's very important to our family and it's a personal thing," John Edwards said in a 2005 interview. "And she said 'You know, if we can make one woman go to the doctor who otherwise may not go, it's worth it.'"
Elizabeth Edwards began chemotherapy, surgery and radiation treatments. She proudly shaved her head before her hair could fall out. In her memoir "Saving Graces" she described her battle and the support she received from her husband.
"There's a trick to being strong," she wrote, "and the trick is that nobody does it alone."
John Edwards remained her rock and support through it all, telling her, "My job is to take care of you."
"I could not have had a better cheerleader, a better partner in this… He really was," Elizabeth Edwards said in a February interview.
Last year, Elizabeth Edwards was given a clean bill of health.
"Elizabeth's great, her health is good. I'm knocking on wood but her health is good, she's doing terrific," John Edwards said last November.
But he also told George Stephanopoulos that his wife's health was the only factor that could sideline his second run for the White House.
In May, asked by Stephanopoulos what could stop him from running, Edwards said, "Elizabeth having her health problems come back."