John Edwards makes
big business squirm
Posted Sun, 11 Jul 2004
Corporate America is fighting John Edwards' Democrat run for the vice
presidency because of his career as one of the boardroom's most detested
foes: a trial lawyer.
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry announced on Tuesday he
had selected Edwards as running mate.
Edwards' voting record in Congress "demonstrates conspicuous hostility
to manufacturing and business," said National Association of Manufacturers
president Jerry Jasinowski.
"As a trial lawyer, Edwards is associated with a controversial fringe
of the legal profession that conducts raids on companies that not
infrequently lead to larger financial gains for themselves than their
individual clients," Jasinowski said.
"This fringe group of trial lawyers frequently drives viable companies
into bankruptcy and puts thousands of Americans out of work," he said.
The Chamber of Commerce, the biggest business corporation, said it was
seriously considering abandoning its traditional stance of neutrality to
The chamber's head, Tom Donohue, vowed to the Wall Street Journal this
week to work to defeat Edwards. "We would get the best people and the
greatest assets we can rally" to the cause, he said.
A relative newcomer in politics, the North Carolina senator provokes
emotional reactions from business leaders as one of their most feared
enemies: a trial lawyer specializing in malpractice and personal injury
suits, a good speaker and strong consumer advocate.
In one of his best-known cases, Edwards secured a $25-million award for
a girl who was partly eviscerated by an uncovered swimming pool suction
pump when she was five years old in 1993.
In his 20-year career, Edwards has secured payments of $152-million in
63 cases, according to records kept by the American Tort Reform
Association (ATRA), which is backed by more than 300 corporations and
"John Edwards supports a radical anti-business agenda," says the ATRA
anti-Edwards internet site
Accusations of personal enrichment frequently crop up among critics of
Edwards, the son of a mill worker.
The multi-millionaire senator "has raised, gotten millions of dollars
personally for being a trial lawyer," complained Jack Faris, president of
the National Federation of Independent Business.
Business leaders also squirmed at Edwards' campaign theme in his failed
run to be the Democrat candidate for president.
"Today, under (President) George W. Bush, there are two Americas, not
one: One America that does the work, another that reaps the reward. One
America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks,"
Edwards said in a debate earlier this year.
"We need to get rid of billions in corporate subsidies" to help plug
the budget deficit, he said in a June 2003 interview, opposing Bush's tax
cut plans for households earning more than $200 000 a year.
Not surprisingly, the major union umbrella, the AFL-CIO, is a keen
supporter of the Kerry-Edwards ticket.
"This is a team that will generate a lot of excitement and draw a sharp
contrast with the failed policies and leadership record of George Bush and
(Vice President) Dick Cheney," said AFL-CIO president John Sweeney.
American Patriot Friends Network
"...a network of net workers..."
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