If this speech is part of an Edwards comeback, it was a tightly controlled one. No videotaping of the lecture was allowed. Edwards did agree to be filmed entering and leaving the auditorium, but when he arrived, he was surrounded by a number of security personnel. The former senator left the room immediately after answering the last question.
Still, many of the students were glad to see the former senator on any stage, even if not a national one.
Stella Aslibekyan, a community health major, said, "I admire John Edwards despite what happened. I still think he has plenty of character, and his issues really speak to me, like eliminating poverty." Aslibekyan hopes Edwards reinvents himself as "kind of an Al Gore."
But not everyone was enamored by Edwards appearance. After the speech was over, a group of six students stood talking furiously outside the room. The group included history major Tara Prendergast; Frieda Kay, a chemical engineering student; Stephanie Yin and Julie Pittman. None of these women cared one bit about Edwards' personal life, but they were nonetheless deeply disappointed in the former senator.
Prendergast said she had "high expectations" for the speech, but that it was "full of generalities" and "not very realistic." Kay called it a "wasted opportunity." The group said it expected to hear specific solutions to real world problems and had hoped to be challenged. All they got, said Prendergast, was "an empty speech."