John Edwards has been vexed by questions about his cash-in stint with a hedge fund, but he had a ready answer for the AP:
WASHINGTON — Democrat John Edwards said Tuesday he worked for a hedge fund between presidential campaigns to learn about financial markets and their relationship to poverty — and to make money, too.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the former North Carolina senator said his yearlong, part-time position with Fortress Investment Group helped his understanding of the connection, but he has more to learn.
Edwards has made eradicating poverty a focus of his second White House bid.
Edwards, a multimillionaire after years as a trial lawyer, would not disclose how much he got paid for a year of consulting beginning in October 2005. He said the amount will be revealed when he releases his financial disclosure forms due May 15.
Asked if he had to join a hedge fund to learn about financial markets, Edwards replied, "How else would I have done it?"
He said he considered going to an investment firm such as Goldman Sachs, but Fortress was the most natural fit. Presented with the suggestion that he could have taken a university class instead, he said, "That's true."
"It was primarily to learn, but making money was a good thing, too," the 2004 vice presidential nominee said in an hourlong interview with AP reporters and editors.
Left unreported by the AP - John Edwards built his 28,000 square foot home to learn about homelessness in America, and he got a $400 haircut to learn about the emerging baby-boomer crisis of male pattern baldness.
Must we endure 18 more months of this (and possibly four, or even eight years)? One of Bill Clinton's many infuriating aspects was his unshakable belief that that he could sell any BS, however outrageous, to the rubes. If Mr. Edwards is positioning himself as the say-anything heir to Mr. I Didn't Inhale, I can't bear to watch.
That said, although Edwards' answer is rubbish, his concept is sound - there really are socially responsible investment funds out there and I suspect an earnest pol could learn something about the interplay between financial markets and good intentions by working at one.
Whatever. Edwards wanted to add to his pile, and there is nothing wrong with that - I am quite sure $15-50 million (est.) ain't what is used to be. But please don't tell us this was just an exercise in continuing education.