During his March 22 Newsradio 850 KOA broadcast, Mike Rosen insinuated that Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards had called a press conference to announce his wife's cancer had returned in order to "draw national attention to his campaign." Rosen's comments were similar to those of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who suggested Edwards' camp had manipulated the media to "jump-start the campaign."
On March 22, Newsradio 850 KOA host Mike Rosen suggested that Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards was exploiting his wife's recurrence of cancer, and that a press conference to discuss Elizabeth Edwards' health was an effort to "draw national attention to his campaign." Rosen's remarks were similar to the comments of nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh, who, as Media Matters for America noted, suggested that Edwards' camp "leak[ed]" false information about his possibly suspending his bid in order "to jump-start the campaign."
During a March 22 press conference, former U.S. Sen. Edwards (NC) announced that his wife had been told that she has Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, but that he would continue his presidential campaign. Following Edwards' announcement, Rosen asked, "So, why did John Edwards call a press conference?" He later stated:
Keep in mind, he's a politician. Politicians do things with at least one eye if not both on the political ramifications of it. He enlists some sympathy for his wife, and by association for himself. That's understanding -- understandable, as well. And, of course, he gets to call a press conference and draw national attention to his campaign. And during the course of that press conference he gets to say some things about how dedicated he is to serving the American public and presenting his agenda.
Rosen's remark that Edwards was able to "draw national attention" to his campaign was similar to comments Limbaugh made later the same day on his broadcast. Referring to Edwards' press conference, Limbaugh claimed, "I'm telling you, this is to jump-start the [Edwards] campaign. This is to see if it'll jump-start the campaign. And we'll find out the next three or four days or whatever, week, if that happens."
From the March 22 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Mike Rosen Show:
ROSEN: For the most part, Elizabeth has been answering questions about the nature of her illness and how she's dealing with it. So, why did John Edwards call a press conference? There are some who had speculated that maybe his wife's condition was so serious that he'd had to -- he'd have to withdraw from the race. We obviously now know that that's not the case. And in his opening remarks, I thought Edwards made it pretty clear that his wife's condition is not immediately life-threatening. He had earlier said, some time ago, that she was cancer free. Now it's back. So, some explanation, I think, was in order. He talked about the nature of her cancer and how it's treatable. And people are certainly sympathetic for Elizabeth, Elizabeth Edwards. As a political matter, her cancer is of some interest. It would be of much greater interest politically if the candidate were revealed to have cancer -- obviously that's not the case here.
And I, I think that John Edwards' purpose was manifold here. On the one part, he wanted to make it clear that his wife's condition wasn't so serious that by continuing to run -- and he didn't say anything about backing off on the campaign -- he wasn't being indifferent to her condition. He wasn't placing his political ambitions ahead of his, his wife's health and safety. So, he's now explained that she's on medication, and that she's under treatment, and that they can deal with it, such that he doesn't have to back off on his efforts to gain the Democratic nomination for president. In addition to that, he presents himself before the American public as a loving, concerned, caring husband; that won't hurt him at all. Keep in mind, he's a politician. Politicians do things with at least one eye if not both on the political ramifications of it. He enlists some sympathy for his wife, and by association for himself. That's understanding -- understandable, as well. And, of course, he gets to call a press conference and draw national attention to his campaign. And during the course of that press conference he gets to say some things about how dedicated he is to serving the American public and presenting his agenda. So there you have it. John Edwards is not withdrawing from the race and he's not going to back off on his campaign activities.