Image: John, Elizabeth Edwards
Steve Marcus  /  Reuters
John Edwards and wife Elizabeth
updated 3/26/2007 12:03:18 AM ET 2007-03-26T04:03:18

John Edwards says voters shouldn’t throw him their support just because his wife has cancer.

“Do not vote for us because you feel some sympathy or compassion for us. That would be an enormous mistake,” Edwards told CBS’ “60 Minutes” in an interview airing Sunday night. “The vote for the presidency is far too important for any of those things to influence it.”

Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, who has been diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer, defended his decision to remain in the race. She said she couldn’t live with denying him the chance to be president.

“That would be my legacy, wouldn’t it, Katie?” according to a transcript of the interview with Katie Couric, which was taped Saturday in Las Vegas and released Sunday before broadcast.

“That I’d taken out this fine man from — from the possibility of — of giving a great service. I mean, I don’t want that to be my legacy,” Edwards said.

After working as a lawyer, John Edwards, a former U.S. senator from North Carolina, said this was a chance to give public service to “a country that I love — both of us love, as much as we love our lives.“’

They announced Thursday that she was once again facing cancer, only this time it was incurable and had spread to her bone. Despite the prognosis, John Edwards said he would forge ahead with his second bid for the presidency.

Anticipating the demands of the campaign trail, Elizabeth Edwards said her options were clear.

“Either you push forward with the things that you were doing yesterday or you start dying. That seems to be your only two choices,” she said. “If I had given up everything that my life was about — first of all, I’d let cancer win before it needed to.”

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