John Edwards Charged $55,000 to Speak About Poverty, Media Mum

If a Republican presidential candidate like Rudy Giuliani or John McCain charged a $55,000 fee to speak at a major university about poverty, would the media be all over it like white on rice?

Well, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Politics blog reported over 16 hours ago that Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards spoke about poverty at a California university last year, and other than Fox News, no major press outlet has considered this newsworthy (emphasis added throughout):

The candidate charged a whopping $55,000 to speak at to a crowd of 1,787 the taxpayer-funded University of California at Davis on Jan. 9, 2006 last year, Joe Martin, the public relations officer for the campus' Mondavi Center confirmed Monday.

Didn’t hear about this? Why would you? After all, this is a Democrat candidate, not a Republican. The article continued:

That amount -- which comes to about $31 a person in the audience -- included Edwards' travel and airfare, and was the highest speaking fee in the nine appearances he made before colleges and universities last year, according to his financial records.

The earnings -- though made before Edwards was a declared Democratic presidential candidate -- could hand ammunition to his competition for the Democratic presidential nomination. The candidate -- who was then the head of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina -- chose to speak on "Poverty, the great moral issue facing America," as his $55,000 topic at UC Davis.

[…]

In 2006, records show Edwards made more than $285,000 speaking to nine colleges and universities, charging between $16,000 and Davis' $55,000 for his talks. They ranged from the $12,000 he got on Jan. 10, 2006 from Gonzaga University Law School in Seattle to the $40,000 he banked from the University of Texas Pan American Foundation on May 22, 2006. Other schools that have paid Edwards to speak before he was a declared presidential candidate: Hunter College in New York ($35,000), Mount Union College in Ohio ($16,00) and Vanderbilt University in Nashville ($40,000).

Isn’t that marvelous? So, the most Edwards charged last year was for a speech about poverty.

How delicious, especially coming from the man who likes to campaign on there being “two Americas":

Today, under George W. Bush, there are two Americas, not one: One America that does the work, another America that reaps the reward. One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks. One America that will do anything to leave its children a better life, another America that never has to do a thing because its children are already set for life. One America -- middle-class America - whose needs Washington has long forgotten, another America - narrow-interest America - whose every wish is Washington's command. One America that is struggling to get by, another America that can buy anything it wants, even a Congress and a President.

2004 is a make-or-break election because we need to create one America again. And that is the one thing George Bush will never do. Dividing us into two Americas - one privileged, the other burdened - has been his agenda all along.

It seems this is a fine example of one highly "privileged" liberal taking advantage of the “burdened.”

Can you say “Do as I Say, Not as I Do?”

As an aside, here is the prepared text of Edwards' speech on poverty to the National Press Club June 22, 2006.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.