Federal Campaign Notebook

Edwards Doesn’t Hesitate To Name His No. 1 Mistake

October 19, 2004 1 min read
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It’s never easy to get a politician to admit mistakes, but Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina was at least partially ready to do so when asked on a Sunday-morning TV show to name his three biggest.

“Well, I think it was a mistake for me to vote for Rod Paige to be secretary of education,” the Democratic vice presidential nominee said on Oct. 10 on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

“You know, at the time, he had a record that looked like it justified him being … chosen, and since that time, he’s done things like call members of teacher groups terrorists,” he said, “and it turns out that his record in Houston was not what it appeared to be at the time.”

Secretary Paige in February likened the National Education Association to a “terrorist organization” for its efforts to oppose the No Child Left Behind Act. He later apologized for the remark.

As for Houston, where Mr. Paige was superintendent from 1994 to 2000, problems in tracking student dropouts have prompted some to call into question the achievements of the 210,000-student system.

Sen. Edwards said his second mistake was “believing there were weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. He had trouble coming up with a third.

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