The bad optics:
Torrenueva's role came to light last April when two $400 cuts showed up on Edwards' campaign spending reports.
Edwards, 53, who has made alleviating poverty the central theme of candidacy, has been criticized for building a 28,000-square-foot house for $5.3 million near Chapel Hill, N.C. The complex of several buildings on 102 acres includes an indoor basketball court, an indoor pool and a handball court.
"Anybody who's running for president ought to be subjected to serious examination from every conceivable angle," Edwards said. "So theres nothing wrong with that. What bothers me about this is, I don't want whatever personal criticism people have of me to detract in any way from the people whose lives we're trying to help. That's the only thing about it that's troublesome."
Edwards cited his work as a trial lawyer defending people against major corporations, the poverty center he started after the 2004 campaign, an after-school center he and his wife Elizabeth created that caters largely to low-income students, as well as a program designed to make it possible for low-income students to go to college.
"This is something I've cared about for a very long time," he said. "I'm proud of what I've done. But it is the nature of presidential politics that anything you do is going to be looked at through a microscope. So I expect that."
The conflict is analogous to the problems Gore recently incurred. Gore arguing against GHG emissions, while personally using enough electricity for his dwelling to power an entire middle-class neighborhood (in Gore's defence, he has since retro-fitted his home to be carbon neutral).
As it relates to Edwards, I don't doubt for a moment his sincerity. However, it is odd to have the champion of the poor, squandering the monthly income of a low wage earner on a haircut. It is strange to have Edwards as crusader, when his humble abode could house an entire housing project. I'm not passing judgement on a man, who by all accounts is ethical and genuine, but the contradictions speaks volumes. As a matter of fact, Edwards himself is a wonderful illustration of the gross inequalities that exist in American society.
I like John Edwards, he comes from humble beginnings, as he often reminds voters. Having said that, Edwards now lives a gluttonous existence, by any objective measure, that highlights a detachment from average existence. To enjoy such excess takes away from any moral high ground on the subject of poverty. I find Edwards message secondary to the unintended contrast of the ultra class lamenting the fate of the stragglers. On a certain level, it's both laughable and intuitively offensive.