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John Edwards Speaks On Poverty And Moral Standards

Former presidential candidate John Edwards appeared in public for the second time since August, speaking about poverty at Brown University Tuesday. He asked his audience of 600 to get involved in this "fundamental moral issue," reports Barbara Barrett of McClatchy Newspapers.

Edwards spoke of poverty on a global scale and offered some anecdotes illustrating what he's been doing over the past few months. Among the most striking was his description of wrapping the bodies of dead children in a Haitian slum in December.

Of course, the elephant in the room was the revelation that did major harm Edwards' reputation – his affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter. During the question and answer period, one student who claimed to have worked for Edwards' campaign asked if politicians need to be held to higher moral standards. Edwards gave an indirect response.

"I don't think it's for a candidate to decide what's appropriate," the Herald quotes Edwards as saying. "It's something for every American to decide for themselves."

The affair, revealed during the summer, did severe damage to Edwards' credibility. Since it was revealed, he has only done one public event before his appearance at Brown, a lecture at Indiana University for which he was paid $35,000. The Brown Lecture Board declined to comment on the fee for Tuesday's speech.

Edwards also talked about the American health care system, which he called "completely dysfunctional," and the country's reliance on foreign oil. Of the current fuel situation, Edwards said, "it is not just an environmental nightmare, but something that has a stranglehold on the U.S. economy."

Edwards also outlined his plan for the future and said that he would fight global poverty "until the day I die."

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