Elizabeth Edwards dies

December 7, 2010 2:11:47 PM PST
We wondered last night why Elizabeth Edwards chose last night to announce she had given up treatment for her cancer, that she had only weeks left to live, and that her friends and family - including her estranged husband, former Senator John Edwards, were at her bedside.

Now we know why the timing.

Mrs. Edwards died this afternoon, after a long and public battle with breast cancer that spread - first to her bones and then to her liver.

She became a symbol of fight and determination - first with her cancer, then with her public separation from Mr. Edwards for his extramarital affair and for fathering a child from that affair.

Elizabeth Edwards was just 61 years old. We'll look back on her life, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, what a fascinating split-screen today.

On one side: President Obama speaking at a news conference at the White House, explaining his controversial and, to some, puzzling compromise deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts to everyone and to cut Social Security payroll taxes and the estate tax.

On the other side: Derek Jeter, the Yankees superstar shortstop and captain, holding a news conference in Tampa, explaining the slightly nasty compromise deal that will keep him a Yankee for at least three more years, and possibly more.

The President trying to get a couple of thousand dollars in each of the next two years to middle income Americans - but in the process yielding to Republicans and allowing wealthy Americans to save tens of thousands in taxes.

Mr. Jeter, fresh off a $189 million, 10-year deal, now getting $17 million a year for the next three years. There's a fourth-year deal included, depending on his performance, that could mean millions more for the 36-year-old Jeter.

For Americans, the tax news might make the difference between keeping their financial heads above water, or not - even though it also means increasing the already-huge debt. (And somebody please 'splain why there's a cut for workers in their payroll tax, aka the Social Security tax?)

For Mr. Jeter and his Yankees, it's a question of -- recession? What recession? And in terms of taxes, the extension of the Bush tax cuts for Jeter means that he saves several hundreds of thousands if dollars per year. No wonder he had a news conference.

Both the President and the star shortstop now have a sales job ahead of them. Mr. Jeter has the easier task. He has to perform on the field, and justify why the world's most successful sports franchise is paying top dollar for a man coming off the worst season averages of his illustrious career. Mr. Obama has a far more complex and trickier challenge: Convince fellow Democrats and the American people (who elected him and believed he wanted to level the playing field in terms of taxes) that this compromise is the best thing for a still anemic economy, and that adding to the federal budget deficit isn't such a bad thing if Americans spend the couple thousand extra dollars they're saving in taxes.

Because spending, he'll argue, is what will help spur the economy. And he promises to fight for the wealthy to pay more taxes over the next two years, although he didn't pay much homage to the two years he just had to do that.

As I said, Jeter has the easier job. Of course, if Mr. Obama does his job - doing battle with the Repubs, while fending off challenges from his fellow Dems, and getting the economy to improve - he'll win another four years in the White House.

Tonight at 11, we'll have the latest and reaction to both developments - the big tax compromise, and the Jeter contract deal.

Also at 11, an amazing story of a woman who claims she was brutally raped by her ex-boyfriend, and then brutally framed by him for a series of armed robberies. She spent 7 months in a jail on Long Island for the robberies. Now prosecutors say the alleged victims in the robberies weren't victims at all, but were hired by the ex-boyfriend to frame the woman. What a nightmare. And tonight she talks exclusively to our investigative reporter Sarah Wallace.

A pair of sad anniversaries this week: Today is the 69th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which drew the U.S. into World War II. I was pleasantly surprised today when I asked my 15-year-old son what Dec. 7 represents and he answered correctly.

He also knows about tomorrow's sad anniversary: 30 years since the murder of John Lennon outside his apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Many of us heard the news while watching Monday Night Football; Howard Cosell made the announcement after getting a tip from an Eyewitness News staffer who happened to be in the emergency room when they wheeled Lennon in. (Just to six-degree this line of thinking: Sitting next to Cosell that night was his sidekick, Don Meredith, who died yesterday.)

We're also following late developments about the future of New York City Off-Track Betting, as the State Senate meets to decide whether to bail out the bankrupt gambling corporation. Is this where money-strapped New Yorkers should pump the money they don't have?

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.


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