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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 July, 2004, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Side by side: Cheney and Edwards
As Democrat presidential nominee John Kerry picks John Edwards as running mate for the November election, BBC News Online looks at how the former trial lawyer compares with the incumbent vice-president, Dick Cheney.


Dick Cheney
The incumbent: Dick Cheney

Age: 63

Background: Born in Wyoming into middle-class family, son of a soil conservation agent. Won a scholarship to Yale.

Family: Married his childhood sweetheart, Lynne, with whom he has two grown daughters, Elizabeth and Mary.

Leanings: Hawkish social conservative. Key proponent of the war in Iraq, has voted against abortion rights, gun control and the Equal Rights Amendment

Political experience: Extensive: Has served under four presidents, including President Bush's father. Also spent 11 years as a representative for Wyoming.

Other activities: Was chairman and CEO of Dallas-Based Halliburton, one of the world's leading engineering and construction companies in the oil industry.

Pros: On top of his extensive experience in foreign and national security affairs, his aptitude for the attack renders him an excellent campaigner. This allows Bush team to gain nationwide attention with a pointed offensive while allowing the president to distance himself.

Cons: Same skills can be a minefield at a time when politics is carefully orchestrated; his use of a profanity recently sparked nationwide controversy.

How's his health? Has long been shaky. Had his first heart attack during his first campaign for Congress and has suffered problems since.

John Edwards
The hopeful: John Edwards

Age: 51

Background: Born in South Carolina into working class family, son of a mill worker. Earned law degree from the University of North Carolina.

Family: Married to Elizabeth. The couple has three living children: Catharine, 21, Emma Claire, 5, and Jack, 3. Son Wade was killed in an April 1996 traffic accident.

Leanings: Liberal for a southerner; favours abortion rights. Wants to roll back tax cuts for wealthiest Americans, and opposed the $87bn supplemental spending package last year to fund operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Political experience: Moderate: Elected to the US Senate in 1998, but was immediately deemed a rising star of the Democrats. One of the finalists to be Al Gore's running mate in 2000.

Other activities: Made his name as a trial lawyer; in his most high profile case he secured a record payout for a girl who was caught in a swimming pool drain.

Pros: Boyish good looks and charisma. It is hoped he will help pull in the southern working class vote, an electoral group which Mr Kerry alone may have difficulty reaching.

Cons: Relative novice; particularly lacking experience in the fields of foreign affairs and defence.

How's his health? No apparent cause for concern.




VOTE RESULTS
Will President Bush's position on gay marriage affect the way you vote?
More likely to vote for Bush
12%
Less likely to vote for Bush
71%
No
18%
4467 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Vote now closed




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