CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA -- After the final scheduled event in the final hours before tonight's caucuses, we saw an emotional human portrait of John Edwards's universal health care platform.
As he departed the Cedar Rapids field office following brief remarks to staff and volunteers, Edwards was stopped by Kristi Steepleton, a precinct captain for Edwards.
As he signed an autograph, Steepleton broke down in tears and told Edwards about her mother who died of colon cancer when she did not have insurance to cover the treatment.
"Bless your heart," said Edwards as he pulled her in for a hug. For the next several seconds, she sobbed into his chest.
"We can do something about that," he said.
"I know," said Steepleton through the tears. "That's why I'm here. I'm speaking for her. Thanks so much for championing us."
After Edwards left, a still-emotional Steepleton told reporters that her mother had a tumor removed but she needed chemotherapy to continue the treatment. Without health insurance, however, the family could not afford the 50 to 75 thousand dollars needed pay for it.
"We live in the wealthiest, most compassionate country in the world and it's just wrong," she said. "This shouldn't happen to anybody's mother, father, brother, son, daughter, wife, husband."