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As he runs for President, John Edwards is undergoing a level of scrutiny he’s never experienced before. Mr. Edward’s is not the first candidate the press – or his opponents – have caught doing one thing while saying another. But he may be one of the most careless.

According to the News and Observer during his 2004 debate with Vice President Dick Cheney, Edwards argued that offshore tax shelters which let wealthy investors defer or avoid paying federal taxes are wrong. He said adamantly: “They ought to be closed. They ought to be closed for anybody.”

But, now, the News and Observer reports that after the 2004 election Edwards went to work for a Wall Street hedge fund that sells offshore tax shelters (in the Cayman Islands) to investors.

Edwards is also scrambling to explain his $400 haircuts in Beverly Hills. First, he followed the time-honored tradition of blaming his staff. The staff, he said, arranged the haircuts and he didn’t know how much they cost. That, of course, made it worse.

Next he tried the old bait and switch. He changed the subject to the genocide in Dafur. “I think,” he said, “it’s a huge moral issue for America.”

What Edwards doesn’t seem to understand is that he can’t work for a Wall Street hedge fund and get $400 haircuts while running for President as the champion of the poor.

And that he can’t climb onto his soapbox and be spokesperson on “moral issues” while he does one thing and says another. When Edwards gets holier-than-thou about the genocide in Dafur the natural question voters are asking themselves is, Does he really mean it this time or is it just political rhetoric – like his crusade against poverty?

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