WEST DES MOINES, IOWA -- This afternoon's speech at Des Moines Area Community College was hyped up by aides as John Edwards's vision to "build a better future for our children so they can realize the American Dream." Instead we got the same stump speech we've been hearing the last couple of weeks.
Making introductory remarks today was Sandy Lakey, the mother of Valerie Lakey, who at the age of 5 in 1993 was disemboweled when she sat on a faulty pool drain. Edwards sued the manufacturers of the drain on the family's behalf and won a $25 million decision.
"I know John because he saved my daughter's life," she told the audience.
She told the story of trying to seek out a lawyer to hold the company accountable for her daughter's injuries.
"The only words I wanted to hear were 'I can help Valerie,'" she said. "And then I met John Edwards. When he held my hands and looked in my eyes, I saw the compassion, honesty, and integrity that is John Edwards."
Valerie, now deep into her teens, also sat on stage but did not stand to speak.