Friday, August 08, 2008

John Edwards: Yes, I Had An Affair

Former Senator John Edwards has admitted to ABC News that he had an affair with Rielle Hunter and lied about it during the Presidential campaign.

He denied fathering Hunter's daughter, but has not taken a paternity test. He says the affair ended before he could have fathered the child.

He admits the National Enquirer story about his middle-of-the-night visit to Hunter at the Beverly Hilton is true and said it was behind his wife's back. He claims Elizabeth had originally learned of the affair in 2006.

Here's what doesn't add up: if the affair had ended and he didn't father the child, what possible reason could he have had for recently visiting Hunter in the middle of the night, behind his wife's back? Meanwhile his wife is sitting at home with incurable cancer.

Another question: if Elizabeth knew about the affair in 2006, did she aid and abet an irresponsible cover-up during Edwards' Presidential campaign? Edwards had previously publicly denied the affair.

Edwards denied paying Hunter hush money but said friends may have done so on his behalf without telling him.


The Edwards interview airs tonight on NIGHTLINE, following the pattern of dumping bad news on Friday which is boringly common among politicians.

This guy is so over with. Can you imagine if he had won the nomination -- or for that matter, been nominated as Vice-President -- and then this story hit the front pages?

Update: At the Corner Byron York says that as a lawyer Edwards must be confident of his position that he's not the father, knowing it could end up in court; Stephen Spruiell, on the other hand, suggests Edwards cannot admit fathering the child because the timing is such that it would mean the affair continued after the return of Elizabeth's cancer.

I go with the latter theory. If Edwards was stupid -- and arrogant -- enough to think he could get away forever with the cover-up he's been engaged in for the last couple years, and he's stupid enough to put out a muddled story claiming the affair ended and he didn't father the child, but then he goes to visit the woman in the middle of the night -- well, he's stupid enough to think he might get away with denying paternity.

I think Edwards knows that Democrats tend to get away with a lot of bad behavior -- the last Democratic President being Example No. 1 -- but that "stepping out" on a terminally ill wife is so far over the line he'll never be able to come back from it.

Detailed commentary at Hot Air.

Update: Edwards' official statement continues to raise more questions than it answers. He insists "that misconduct took place for a short period in 2006. It ended then."

Yet in tonight's Nightline interview he admits he recently visited Hunter in her hotel room, as reported by the National Enquirer, without his wife's knowledge. Why? Strange behavior for someone who claims to have squared things up with his family two years ago.

Edwards says he's willing to take a paternity test. We'll see. He's got no track record for anyone to believe him at this point.

I believe questions about payments from the campaign and Edwards' associates to Hunter will persist.

More from Mickey Kaus at Slate.

Curiouser and curiouser: Edwards campaign finance chairman, Fred Baron, has admitted to making payments to both Rielle Hunter and Andrew Young, Edwards' associate who has claimed paternity, although his name does not appear on the birth certificate.

Baron said, "Of course it wasn't hush money!"

Something tells me the money trail is going to get more interesting.


Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

The Edwards interview airs tonight on NIGHTLINE, following the pattern of dumping bad news on Friday which is boringly common among politicians.
I'm sure that the fact that tonight is the opening ceremony of the Oympics has nothing to do with it either.
One other observation: having worked in the Child Support industry- I can tell you that lawyers routinely advise their clients to deny paternity until a test is taken. It's S.O.P.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Good point re the Olympics. He gets a two-fer on his "bad news dump."

He's a sleaze, all right...

I just can't imagine what it must be like to be Elizabeth Edwards over the last couple years. Awful.

Best wishes,

1:36 PM  
Blogger UGN said...

Mrs. UNG here - Will the MSM give this the same emphasis that they gave to Newt Gingrich? I wonder.

3:07 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

"I just can't imagine what it must be like to be Elizabeth Edwards over the last couple years. Awful."

Yes, no doubt. But she was also complicit in lying to the public regarding this. That sort of loyalty in spite of how devastated she must have been is certainly loyalty to a fault.

What amazes me is that in spite of her declining health and her limited time, that she didn't insist he step down to spend their remaining time together, but instead she encouraged and strongly supported his staying in the race. Her own political ambition for her husband equaled his own.

I am very sympathetic to her. Cancer and adultery, and exposed to the public cannot be easy.

9:00 PM  

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