Well, like some of the other commenters, I'm not sure I understand David's point about John Edwards' harsh tone towards moneyed special interests. It sounds like David is asking for foolish consistency from Edwards — to the point of actually misunderstanding what Edwards is saying.
Here's question 1: Should AHIP and PhRMA have any say over any eventual health care plan? No: Their interests in profit or survival are simply vastly outweighed by those of the many millions who are uninsured and underinsured.
Question 2: Should public opinion be considered in crafting a new health care plan? Should it honor the public's wishes, including people's reluctance to give up their current health insurance — which is only to be expected? Of course.
Alone among the top three, Edwards has put his finger on the central problem of *who holds power in DC*. The insurance and pharma lobbyists are not our friends; they are not entitled to set the agenda. We don't have to settle for Godzilla vs. Mothra politics and have the wealthy interests divvy the spoils, leaving scraps for the rest of us. Edwards has firmly planted his flag with the general public and against special interests, whereas most politicians try to play ball and accomodate the interests, in the false hope that a.) they can serve two masters — that what's good for GM really is good for America, (e.g.) or, b.) no one's really paying attention anyway.
Edwards does indeed understand political reality — but that's a matter of where the general public is, not moneyed interests. There's a big difference. Many people do not wish to give up their health insurance in favor of a government plan. That is understandable! Therefore he crafted his health care plan as essentially *optional single-payer:* You can buy into a government plan, or keep your private insurance.
Edwards deserves a lot of credit for having issued his plan before the other major candidates. He has set the tone for the field on the substance of policy. We can argue about whether his rhetoric is effective, or beautiful, or whatever; but to me that's so much figure-skating judging. I chose Edwards because he knows what he's up against, and because he's led the pack on the stuff that actually matters.