John Edwards Cynically Exploits His Wife’s Cancer To Get Fund Raising Emails

Over at the Wapo’s Sleuth Blog, they say Edwards has provided a, “Lesson in E-Campaigning 101,” by sending fund raising emails out to the people who sent sympathy notes to Elizabeth because of her cancer. I’d say a “lesson in shamelessness” would be a better title,

“When you visit the John Edwards for President Web site, you’re invited to send a sympathy note to the Edwardses. And tens of thousands of well wishers have done so since that heart-wrenching news conference two weeks ago at which Elizabeth Edwards courageously discussed her incurable cancer.

What those well wishers get in return — e-mail messages soliciting contributions to Edwards’s campaign.

Visitors to the Edwards site who choose to “send a note to Elizabeth and John” are first taken to a heartfelt letter from the candidate that was written the day after he learned that his wife’s cancer had returned. Edwards thanks readers for their “prayers and wishes,” vows that he and Elizabeth will “keep a positive attitude always look for the silver lining” and declares that “our campaign goes on and it goes on strongly.”

Anyone who then chooses to send a note of sympathy to the Edwardses — and, thus, provide his or her e-mail address — automatically becomes part of the Edwards campaign’s online e-mail database, a list that is crucial to any campaign’s ability to raise vast amounts of money over the Internet.

…While Edwards has enjoyed a big surge in donations since he and his wife disclosed the return of her cancer, the campaign has not mentioned the “C” word in any of its fundraising solicitations. In fact, an e-mail sent to supporters on March 22, the day of their famous news conference, omitted the usual link to contribute money.”

The Edwards campaign has already gotten a boost at the polls from Elizabeth’s cancer and they’re now cynically using her illness to get fund raising emails, so don’t be surprised if they go whole hog and use it in a “win one for the Gipper speech.”

Something like,

“All of you know how sick Elizabeth has been. Such a brave woman, struck down in the prime of her life by cancer. but, she’s a fighter and working to get better — and do you know what would really make her feel better? Your donations to the John Edwards campaign (or alternately, “If your votes could help us win Iowa.”)

It sounds tasteless, but it would just be par for the course for the same people who trotted out Max Cleland to campaign for Kerry, used Michael J. Fox to plug stem cells, hyped Cindy Sheehan up into an anti-war superstar, and turned Paul Wellstone’s funeral into a campaign rally.

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