The national attitude toward John Edwards may be a mixture of mockery and fading recognition, but in his hometown of Chapel Hill, NC, the situation is more complex. Elizabeth Edwards is still a hit across the state, and the 2004 VP candidate is more than just a passing curiosity—he’s a neighbor. One resident said he feels “betrayed,” but “if I see him again I'll speak nice,” he tells the Los Angeles Times.
“The Bible says you're supposed to forgive,” the neighbor continues. Politicians and insiders seem more willing to let the former senator fade—both a liberal blogger acquaintance and the head of the state’s GOP called him “irrelevant.” One shining light is his Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity, which a UNC dean calls “redemptive,” though that might be “a bit too strong a word for it.” Others would rather just not talk about the Edwards saga. “It’s icky,” a newspaper editor says.