Elizabeth Edwards Wouldn't Be 'Sitting in Cabinet Meetings'

"Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden traveled to the Edwards home in North Carolina to talk exclusively with Elizabeth and Cate Edwards, wife and daughter of 2008 presidential contender John Edwards, for their first interview together since Elizabeth announced that her cancer had returned.

Watch the full interview tonight on "Nightline" at 11:35 p.m. EDT

Here are a few exchanges with Elizabeth and Cate Edwards from the conversation.

The Campaign Trail Will Be a Whole Family Affair

McFadden: So the plan is to take them on the road.

E. Edwards: The plan is to take them on the road. I think, too, they'll see their parents as doing one of two things. Here's adversity, and here's how you react. Either you meet it and say, "I'm going to fight for the things I care about," or you say that adversity wins. So this is also a teaching moment for our children.

Cate on Finding Out About Her Mother

McFadden: How did you find out, Cate, that your mother's cancer was back?

Cate Edwards: She said, "Well, they found something on my rib, but there's so many different things it could be," and I said, "Put Dad on the phone." And so I talked to Dad and he really told me. He told me the truth about what it probably was.

McFadden: Cate, what scares you the most?

C. Edwards: I think for me the scariest thing is thinking about little Claire and Jack and I want them to have their mom, you know, this mom, the same way I did. What scares me the most that they're deprived of that at some point sooner then they should be.

On Sitting In on Cabinet Meetings

Cynthia McFadden: Rudy Giuliani said in the last few days that, if elected, his wife would be welcome to sit in on the Cabinet meetings. Would you see a role like that for yourself?

Elizabeth Edwards: I would not. I mean, what I am is a sounding board for John and if I have … a separate idea, I don't go to John and say, "I think on education." I go to John's policy person and say, "Is this possible?"

Having grown up in a military family, I'm a true believer in the chain of command, and I don't get to go -- like any citizen, I don't get to go straight to the president and say, "This is what I think" about something.

I'm a sounding board for him. He'll ask me whether something rings true in a speech that he's thinking about giving or asks for my feedback. But, honestly, when I have something separate to say, I go through the chain to do it.

McFadden: So were your husband elected president, we shouldn't expect that you would be attending Cabinet meetings or --

E. Edwards: No, I wouldn't be attending cabinet meetings. Honestly, I have a lot that -- You know, I think you get a great big megaphone and you get to talk about things you care about, and I hope I'd be busy doing that and mothering my adorable children as opposed to sitting in Cabinet meetings.

On Rush Limbaugh and Religion

McFadden: Rush Limbaugh says, "What is their religion? I don't doubt they're religious people, but we talked about this. Political people are different than you and I and, you know, most people, when told a family member's been diagnosed with the kind of cancer Elizabeth Edwards has, they turn to God. The Edwards turned to the campaign. Their religion is politics and the quest for the White House."

E. Edwards: He has no idea. He has no idea. John and I spent seven hours in the hospital room between the time that we saw the bone scan move across my body and saw the spots, and the time we got the CT scan, scan of my soft tissues back.

Rush Limbaugh was not with us.

John's faith and his political dream coincide unbelievably closely. The idea that we respect each human being as a creature of God, that we can't -- that it's for God to judge, and not for us, all of those things are part of his religious thinking and part of his political thinking.

On Her Prognosis

McFadden: Have you asked the doctors what the prognosis is in terms of time?

E. Edwards: You know, the problem is that there are no statistics that actually apply to me. I read a lot about people who know what my prognosis is, but they don't.

McFadden: The statistics do tell us something. It tells us the probabilities, right now in this moment, and what they say is five years out, 20 percent survival rate.

E. Edwards: They don't actually say that. That statistic has to do with people who prevent for the first time with stage four metastasized cancer. That is not me.

And the American Cancer Society has tried to come back and stop people from saying that, because it is not applicable to my situation.

Cynthia McFadden's interview with Elizabeth Edwards and their daughter Cate will air on ABC News "Nightline" Monday, April 2, 2007 at 11:35 p.m. EDT and PDT. The report will also air on "Good Morning America" and "World News."

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