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Cate Edwards talks about mother, father on CBS morning show

Cate Edwards, the oldest daughter of former presidential candidate John Edwards, has become a spokeswoman for Count Us, Know Us, Join Us, an organization advocating for people living with advanced breast cancer.

"When my mom, Elizabeth Edwards, was first diagnosed with breast cancer, it hit me like a ton of bricks," Cate Edwards recounts on the website

Edwards spoke with Gayle King, Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose of "CBS This Morning" on Thursday about her mom's philosophy on living with advanced breast cancer until her death in December 2010 and other family issues.

As Elizabeth Edwards shifted her focus from "beating cancer" to living with advanced cancer, she allowed herself to be sad on some days, filled with hope on others while marveling on others that she was alive.

Cate Edwards also told the morning news hosts about forgiving her father after his highly publicized affair with Rielle Hunter.

"One of the toughest things is to forgive someone and it's a lot harder than holding a grudge," Cate Edwards said. "But he's my dad he's my family, I love him, we've been through a lot together."

These days, Edwards said, her father has "been spending a lot of time with the kids." Emma Claire is 15 and her brother Jack is 13. He also regularly sees Quinn, his daughter with Hunter, according to his eldest. "My dad spends a ton of time with her," Cate Edwards said in the brief segment.

-- Anne Blythe

Palmieri, former Edwards spokeswoman, new White House comm director

The staff shuffling at the White House has resulted in a promotion for Jennifer Palmieri, known among local politicos for her role in John Edwards presidential campaign and her testimony at his trial last year. Palmieri will become White House communications director, replacing Dan Pfeiffer, who will become a senior adviser, according to The Washington Post. Palmieri has been serving as deputy communications director.

Morning Roundup: Constitutional amendment on marriage takes center stage

The campaigns for and against the marriage amendment are taking center stage just days before the primary. The efforts are fueled by big national money. The debate is playing out in community forums, Facebook and websites far outside the traditional media. And even hair stylists are being enlisted to fight the referendum.

In Charlotte, a top Republican lawmaker said the amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions is "for the greater good." Rev. Billy Graham issued a statement favoring the ban. The wife of another GOP lawmaker is denying that she said the amendment is important to protecting the white race, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. 

In other political headlines:

--Elizabeth Edwards emerged as a central figure in Day 8 of the John Edwards trial, forcing daughter Cate Edwards to leave in tears at one point. The world is watching the trial. John Edwards was called "political roadkill" on Al Jazeera recently. And columnist Barry Saunders says the testimony of Andrew and Cheri Young makes them look as bad as Edwards.

Former Edwards spokesman going to White House

Jennifer Palmieri, who was John Edwards' chief spokesman during his 2004 presidential run, is joining the Obama White House communications team.

Palmieri will replace former deputy communications director Jen Psaki, Politico, the online political news publication is reporting.

She is a veteran of Washington politics having worked in Congress and in the Bill Clinton White House, and been Democratic National Committee spokesman.. But she is best known in North Carolina as the public face of Edwards' 2004 presidential  campaign.

But she was only a part-time aide to Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign, and was much close to Elizabeth Edwards, becoming much closer to her as she battled cancer.

“We shared many, many laughs in 2004. But the 2008 cycle was very different,” Palmieri wrote in a defense of Edwards in the Washington Post in January 2010.

“It is hard to explain, even to fathom, how difficult these past three years have been on her,” she wrote. “I understand that if your husband betrayed you as badly as hers did, you might have a hard time knowing whom to trust...When she reads this, I know that she will point out the things I said that are wrong or unfair, and express particular dismay at any sentences I ended with prepositions. I love her for that.”

Elizabeth Edwards died in December of that year. Her husband is awaiting trial of charges relating to alleged misuse of campaign money to cover up his extra marital affair he had with a campaign worker and the child they had.

Palmieri currently serves as president of the Center for American Progress's political action fund and as a senior vice president at the parent organization.

Elizabeth Edwards foundation debuts

Now Dome isn't a big Glamour magazine reader, but we couldn't miss the exclusive with Cate Edwards announcing the launch of a foundation in her mother's memory.

The Elizabeth Edwards Foundation defines its mission broadly: "to identify kids who show great potential but have limited support and resources, and give them the kind of encouragement, support and tools that they need to reach that potential."

The nonprofit launched Oct. 5. Elizabeth Edwards died nearly a year ago from cancer. Her husband, former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, is facing trial for alleged campaign finance violations involving his mistress.

Cate Edwards' first-person piece doesn't mention the recent troubles of her father, and focuses mostly on her mother's influence in her life. She writes that her father supported her decision to leave her job as an attorney and start the foundation.

John Edwards supposedly engaged to mistress, again

In a salacious cover story, the Jan. 17 issue of The National Enquirer reports that John Edwards has asked Rielle Hunter to marry him, citing unnamed sources.

“Heartless cheater defies Elizabeth’s dying wish,” screams the headline soon to be gracing supermarket checkout lines. “Rielle tells his two young kids: ‘CALL ME MOMMY!”

The report comes one month after the Dec. 7 death of Elizabeth Edwards.

Dome would not typically repeat unsourced reports from a tabloid magazine, but The Enquirer was the first to report the Edwards affair back in 2007 and the birth of the former presidential candidate's love child with his then mistress. Edwards publicly denied the affair and paternity of Frances Quinn Hunter, only to later admit both.

However, the Enquirer has also gotten it wrong. Last year, the tabloid reported that the two were planning to marry and had bought a $3.5 million luxury beachfront home. Spokespeople for Edwards quickly denied those reports.

Two people close to Edwards contacted by Dome on Friday declined to comment on-the-record about the new report that Edwards is engaged. Hunter professed her ongoing love for Edwards last year in an interview with GQ magazine.

Added to the mix is speculation about what, if any, impact such nuptials might have on a potential prosecution of Edwards.

Hunter has previously appeared before the federal grand jury in Raleigh investigating whether Edwards violated campaign finance laws by allowing two of his political supporters to provide financial support to a pregnant Hunter to keep the affair secret during his most recent run for president.

As recently as this week, others with ties to Edwards have been seen entering the federal courthouse while the grand jury was meeting. Chapel Hill businessman Michael Culcha, a friend and financial backer, testified Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Lisa Blue, the widow of the former Edwards campaign finance chairman Fred Baron, appeared Wednesday.

A little good news for state employees

Cheaper insurance for state employees: State and local government retirees will get a break for the next three years on vision and dental insurance offered through a preferred broker with the state treasurer's office that could save them on average about $130 a year. (N&O)

Defense cuts small for N.C.: North Carolina leaders exhaled Thursday as Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced sweeping cuts to Pentagon programs for the coming years - but left the Tar Heel state largely unscathed.
There will be a two-year delay in eight squadrons of F-35B Joint Strike Fighter jets scheduled for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in the next decade, but no cuts, and little else to affect the state, officials said. (N&O)

Highway patrol report due: After months of inaction, a group Gov. Bev Perdue appointed to advise her about improving the N.C. Highway Patrol is preparing to release a final report of recommendations aimed at improving an agency rocked by numerous cases of trooper misconduct. (N&O)

Edwards estate valued: Probate forms filed in Orange County Superior Court last month with the last will and testament of Elizabeth Edwards estimate the total value of the estate left to her children at $1,496,000. (N&O)

Elizabeth Edwards estate estimated at $1.5 million

Probate forms filed in Orange County Superior Court last month with the last will and testament of Elizabeth Edwards estimate the total value of the estate left to her children at $1,496,000.

That figure might strike some as a little low, considering Edwards, who died Dec. 7 after a long struggle against cancer, was a best-selling author who lived in a 28,000-square-foot Chapel Hill home with an assessed 2010 tax value of $6.75 million.

Property records also show that two months before Edwards died she purchased a smaller home in Chapel Hill where she was to move this spring. Tax stamps on that deed, which lists her as the sole owner, indicate the sale price on the property was $1.2 million.

In the last year of her life, Edwards was estranged from for husband, former senator and two-time presidential candidate John Edwards, following his well-publicized extramarital affair. Her five-page will made no mention of him, appointing the eldest of her three children, Cate Edwards, as executor of her estate.

Edwards' children will benefit from the estate tax loophole created for 2010 when Congress failed to renew the legislation enabling the IRS to collect it. The estate tax was renewed for 2011, but a bill approved by Congress last month exempts the first $5 million of the decedent's net worth.

John Edwards' 2006 public financial disclosure report filed as part of his presidential campaign estimated the value of his personal fortune at something between $29.5 million and $62 million.

It is likely that Elizabeth Edwards had additional assets in a trust benefiting her children. The probate form filed with her will lists the Anania Edwards Trust, established in 1992, as a beneficiary of her estate. Anania was Edwards' maiden name.

Revocable trusts are generally used to avoid the probate process. Any assets held in the trust would pass directly to the beneficiaries without having to go through the court system.

Edwards Probate Form.pdf
Elizabeth Edwards Will.pdf

Republican leaders share thoughts; Ellmers in Washington

Republican leaders: Incoming House Speaker Thom Tillis and incoming Senate leader Phil Berger shared their thoughts on budget cuts, open government and business regulation. (N&O)

Tax refunds: Trying to avoid the delays that frustrated filers in the past two years, Gov. Bev Perdue ordered state revenue officials to make sure taxpayers receive faster refunds. People who are owed income tax refunds this year will receive their money within 30 to 45 days after they file their returns, said Perdue spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson. (N&O)

Edwards out of will: Elizabeth Edwards, a political spouse whose battle against breast cancer and marital problems made her a public figure, made no mention of her estranged husband in her will. In a last will and testament filed Dec. 22 in Orange County Superior Court, Elizabeth Edwards named Cate Edwards, a lawyer and her eldest child, as executor of her estate. (N&O)

Ellmers ready for action: Renee Ellmers, a nurse, wife and mom from the small town of Dunn, became a U.S. congresswoman Wednesday, joining a tide of conservative, anti-government newcomers that will be among the most-watched freshman classes in recent memory. (N&O)

Gibbs out. Woodhouse  in? President Obama could be trading one spokesman with North Carolina ties for another. Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary for the last two years, announced Wednesday that he is resigning to become an outside political adviser. One of the president's most visible and forceful advocates, Gibbs is expected to work with Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. (N&O)

Edenton Street Methodist Church no stranger to politicians

The funeral of Elizabeth Edwards once again put a spotlight on Edenton Street United Methodist Church.

Former Democratic candidate John Kerry, Gov. Bev. Perdue and Sen. Kay Hagan all filed in to pay their last respects to Elizabeth Edwards, the spouse of John Edwards, the former senator and presidential candidate.

As one of Raleigh's main downtown churches, Edenton Street has a rich history that touches on politics.  When U.S. Sen. Willis Smith died in office in June 1953, his funeral was held there attracting a large contingent of officials from Washington including Vice President Richard Nixon. (Smith aide Jesse Helms was a pall bearer.)

Gov. Clyde Hoey(1937-41) was a Sunday School teacher at Edenton Street and his lessons were broadcast on radio.

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