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An Interview With Cate Edwards
By Evelyn Velez, 12
Scholastic Student Reporter


Click on the picture to read more about Evelyn Velez.
Cate Edwards is the 21-year-old daughter of presidential candidate John Edwards, a U.S. Senator from North Carolina. She has two younger siblings: a sister, Emma, 5, and a brother, Jack, 3. She is currently a senior at Princeton University in New Jersey where she is majoring in politics. Even though she is busy at school, Cate finds time to hit the campaign trail to help her dad win his bid for the White House. She sat down recently to talk to Scholatic News Reporter Evelyn Velez, 12, of Florida.

SN: Do you and your father have nicknames for each other?
Cate: He calls me Caty-Did. He just started calling me that when I was a little girl and he still calls me that. It never wore off.

SN: Would you consider yourself daddy's little girl? What kind of relationship do you have with your father?
Cate: I would definitely consider myself daddy's little girl. We've always been really close, but I guess he's the kind of dad who really spoiled me. I would definitely define it as daddy's little girl. That's a good way to put it. He coached my basketball and soccer team when I was growing up. We spent a lot of time together. We went on trips and stuff. We were very close.

SN: What was probably the most fun thing you did together growing up?
Cate: We have a beach house on the coast of North Carolina and when we would go there he would take me out on the boat on the ocean. He taught me how to water-ski and we would go inner tubing. That was definitely my favorite part of growing up with my dad, because it was just the two of us, or us and my brother, and we would have a great time.

SN: What was the funniest thing you've ever seen your dad do?
Cate: I'd have to say dance. He's really not a good dancer. I've made so much fun of him: now he just does it to entertain me. It's very funny.

SN: What is it about your father that you think makes him the right choice for President?
Cate: I think he's very optimistic. He really has a lot of hope for this country and for our future, which I think is important, especially for the youth, because it is our future, literally. He also has real solutions to the problems that he sees. I also have known him my entire life and whenever he puts his mind to something, he gets it done.

SN: What about your mother? How does she deal with the spotlight? What kind of First Lady would she make?
Cate: Well, at first I thought my mom—she's not into the spotlight—but she's handled it very well. She's very smart and independent. I think she'd be great. She's done a great job so far. She has a lot of followers herself.

SN: If your dad was elected President, what do you think would be the first thing he would focus on to change or fix?
Cate: I don't know. He has a lot of policies in terms of health care, education, taxation, that I think are very important to him. I'm not sure what he would prioritize first.

SN: Has your life changed since your dad decided to run for President?
Cate: Yeah. I mean it's definitely been very hectic. It's been a whirlwind. It's really, really interesting. I've been traveling with him and I hear him and my mom talk about things that they've been going through. Of course, there are people who know a whole lot more about my life and the campaign and you get a lot of attention on that front. I mean, my relationship with my parents hasn't changed. My life in general has definitely become more hectic and crazy.

SN: Do you travel with your dad a lot?
Cate: I leave tomorrow (Friday, December 19) to go to Florida with my Dad. Yeah, I've done a fair amount of traveling with him, but also [to campaign] by myself.

SN: How do you react when you hear or read harsh criticism about your father?
Cate: Of course it's hard to read that people don't like, or disagree with, things that your parents are doing, but nothing that anybody writes could change my opinion of my dad. While it's difficult to read sometimes, it doesn't really have an impact on me or the way that I think.

SN: Have you learned anything about campaigning?
Cate: Oh, yeah. I didn't know anything before this started. I've learned a lot about the campaign and how it all works. It's been really fascinating. I've learned a ton of stuff. I couldn't even begin to list it all.

SN: Does watching your father's campaign make you want to run for office?
Cate: I don't think so, because I don't think of myself as someone who could run for office. I'm interested in politics, this has definitely made me more interested in politics, but as the figurehead per se, I don't really see myself doing that. I would like to work in politics, but I don't think I would want to run for office myself. I'm personally not very good at public speaking and a lot of the things that I consider to be important attributes for a person running for office, or a person in office. I'm actually more interested in the issues side of it than the more strategic, political side.

SN: Do you agree with all the positions that your father takes?
Cate: I actually do. There are some points where I might be a little more liberal than he is, but generally we have the same ideas about politics.

SN: What issues do you think are the most important ones that are facing the U.S. today?
Cate: There are obviously a lot of important issues. I think my number one issue would have to be education. Public education from kindergarten through higher education—university levels. And especially in the quality of education. I think the system really needs reform. That's my most important issue.

SN: How much influence do you have on your father? What are some of the things you've introduced him to in pop culture—things he wouldn't normally know about if you hadn't shown him?
Cate: I make him watch my favorite show all the time. When he's home and we want to watch TV I always make him watch Friends, my favorite TV show. And he actually really likes it now. And I try to play music and give him little quizzes about pop culture just to tease him.

SN: What about your younger siblings? What role are they playing in the campaign?
Cate: I'd say their main role is energizing my dad. When he comes home he immediately runs to them and plays with them. They totally give him so much energy. Especially when they go out on the campaign trail; he's happier than he ever is on the trail, having them around.

SN: What do you think would be the best part about being the President's daughter?
Cate: I guess just being able to influence and change the things that I want to. Having a voice.

SN: What's the best part of campaigning?
Cate: The best part is meeting people, real people from different parts of the country, that I would never have had an opportunity to meet. And seeing parts of the country I would never have seen. Also, getting to hear what these people think is going on with America and the problems that they see in typical everyday life.

SN: What's the worst part of campaigning?
Cate: Just that it's really tiring. And sometimes I have to miss things that I would like to be doing at school or at home when I'm out campaigning.

SN: Why are you doing it?
Cate: Because I believe in it and I believe in what my dad's doing, and I believe he would make an amazing President. I want to see someone like that in office, someone who can make my future brighter.