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From the Son of a Millworker . . .

. . . to the husband of a furniture-store owner. I'm not quite sure why, but this local TV news report on the opening of Elizabeth Edwards's new furniture store in Chapel Hill left me very depressed. I suppose part of my reaction stems from the steep decline of this family: two years ago they were making a legitimate and serious run at the White House; now they're hawking furniture--and having to deal with uncomfortable questions about extramarital affairs, illegitimate children, and grand jury investigations during what should be a ho-hum local news segment about a new business. It also makes me wonder if the vast fortune Edwards built through his personal-injury law practice has been depleted and the family needs money: it's been more than ten years since Edwards handled a case, and the private equity firm in which he reportedly invested $16 million has fallen on hard times. Or maybe Elizabeth is trying to establish her financial independence from her husband. Or maybe she's simply trying to come up with something to keep herself busy, since the avenues that once seemed so open to her have now been shut off, due to her husband's misdeeds. Who knows? The mere fact that what should be a quirky but happy story (prominent political spouse opens oddball furniture store!) prompts all these unhappy questions is reason enough to be depressed.