John Edwards Admits to Affair

What a mess. The truth has finally come out… “John Edwards admitted to ABC News in an interview with Bob Woodruff Friday that he repeatedly lied about an extramarital affair with a 42-year old campaign employee,” Rielle Hunter. Everybody’s talking about it, because this type of messy stuff is the stuff that the media thrives on. Sadly.

ABC News reports that John Edwards, “strenuously denied being involved in paying the woman hush money or fathering her newborn child.”

The former Democratic U.S. senator from North Carolina said he would be willing to take a paternity test and divulge the results publicly.

“Two years ago I made a very serious mistake, a mistake that I am responsible for and no one else. In 2006, I told Elizabeth about the mistake, asked her for her forgiveness, asked God for his forgiveness. And we have kept this within our family since that time.”

Edwards, 55, said he told his entire family about the affair after it ended in 2006, and that his wife Elizabeth, who has incurable breast cancer, was “furious” but that their marriage would survive. The couple have three children, Cate, 25, Emma, 9, and Jack, 7. When he confessed his affair to his wife, “she was mad,” Edwards said.

I don’t pretend know why people do some of the stupid things they do and then lie about it. The truth always comes out and usually before the truth comes out the lie mount and compound themselves until there’s one big ugly drama like we have now. I feel sorry for Elizabeth Edwards and the Edwards’ children. They’ve been through so much family pain already, it’s a shame that they are now enduring this. The NY Times notes:

Asked how he could have cheated on his wife, Mr. Edwards noted that his wife’s cancer was in remission during the affair. He said that after growing up in a small town, he earned success and praise at an early age that fed a self-involvement that led him to believe “you can do whatever you want, you’re invincible, there will be no consequences.” He said he asked his wife not to sit with him for the interview because she had done nothing wrong. “I have to be the man and take responsibility,” he said, adding that he did not need her to shield him.

The transcript of the interview is here. Elizabeth Edwards went public on DKos with a diary saying:

John made a terrible mistake in 2006.  The fact that it is a mistake that many others have made before him did not make it any easier for me to hear when he told me what he had done. But he did tell me. And we began a long and painful process in 2006, a process oddly made somewhat easier with my diagnosis in March of 2007.  This was our private matter, and I frankly wanted it to be private because as painful as it was I did not want to have to play it out on a public stage as well.  Because of a recent string of hurtful and absurd lies in a tabloid publication, because of a picture falsely suggesting that John was spending time with a child it wrongly alleged he had fathered outside our marriage, our private matter could no longer be wholly private.  

The pain of the long journey since 2006 was about to be renewed.  

John has spoken in a long on-camera interview I hope you watch. Admitting one’s mistakes is a hard thing for anyone to do, and I am proud of the courage John showed by his honesty in the face of shame.  The toll on our family of news helicopters over our house and reporters in our driveway is yet unknown.  But now the truth is out, and the repair work that began in 2006 will continue.  I ask that the public, who expressed concern about the harm John’s conduct has done to us, think also about the real harm that the present voyeurism does and give me and my family the privacy we need at this time.

I applaud Elizabeth Edwards courage in stepping into the arena of the blogosphere, as she has so many times over the past 4 years to discuss her very personal ordeals. So now, the damage is done…

Thankfully Edwards did not come close to becoming our nominee… He never, ever should have run again given that he had had this affair and Elizabeth Edwards was wrong to support that, in my opinion. But now, I have to say, I think it’s time to give the Edwards family their peace and privacy. They’re human just like the rest of us. People make mistakes. John Edwards judgment was very poor and it caught up with him. It’s too bad.

I often wonder myself, when I hear stories like this, “What is Wrong With Men?” And I wonder why the media flocks to stories like this and seemingly delights in making public every little detail. We truly are a voyeuristic society. The world might be a better place if we were not.

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6 Responses to John Edwards Admits to Affair

  1. Here’s my proposal. Let’s apply the “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” principle to politics. We have no perfect politicians so we will have to recruit a whole new crop. We also have no perfect voters, so the franchise will be absloutely unexcersizable in real life.What does that leave us with? We draw straws for all offices? We hold a national lottery and all agree to criticize nothing but the political performance of the “winners”?

  2. Let’s apply the “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” principle to politics. Since all politicians are liars, at a minimum, we’ll have to recruit an entire new crop. Also, there are no perfect voters, so the franchise will be absolutely unexercizable in real life.What are we left with? Drawing straws for public office? A national lottery in which the only qualification to enter is a promise to criticize nothing about the “winners” except their performance in office?

  3. Sorry! I was having a problem posting.

  4. Theresa says:

    Throughout history there have been a number of otherwise great men who shared the same flaw:  cheating on their wives.  Of course, this doesn’t make it excusable.  But it also shouldn’t keep these men from using their abilities for the betterment of society.  I do not think it is most of the public who are voyeuristic; it is the news media.  Men who cheat on their wives can be expected to lie or give a deliberately false impression to the press.  This does not mean they are dishonest in any other way.  They see their conduct as private and want to do what they can to keep it that way.  The news media and public need to realize that, much as we want our government leaders to be moral leaders in every way, we do not have a right to pass judgment on this kind of private conduct.  The individuals involved, their family, and God are the only ones who can do this.It is to his credit that John Edwards told his wife, got her forgiveness, and mended his ways more than a year and a half ago.  It is also to his credit that he recognized the element of narcissism in his motivation.  I believe this experience has helped him to grow spiritually.

  5. Thoughts and prayers to his wife and kids in the very small southern town of Chapel Hill. What if he’d won and the story had come out ? We watched a great president be removed from office for personal decisions he paid dearly for. You’d have thought that would have sent a wake up call but evidently not.Why is the other woman in Chapel Hill with the baby and follow the money trail of which the news indicates they will. The Islands is nice this time of year and the news is camped out all over the place. Just tell the truth and get it over with ,so we can all get over it. The news is not letting up and this isn’t going to blow over. Is it his baby and was this other woman paid off by campaign money ? They’ll eventually sort through John Edwards lies already proven. What’s the picture all about with John Edwards holding the baby in a hotel ? Edward’s says,”I have no idea.” Yeah right ! Could you imagine fighting cancer and your husband telling you he’s been having an affair and that was several years ago. Now he’s recenty sighted still meeting with her and she’s questioned about having his baby but refuses all tests to verify. Meanwhile, we can’t get  coverage on world order toward peaceful understanding communications of what’s going on with Russia and Georgia.That’s a dangerous situation and President Mikheil Saakashvizi was on live as Blitzer interviewed him. We have 2000 US citizens in Georgia now trying to get out.President Bush warns Russia to stand down. The 3:00 in the morning call just rang ,Clinton told us about and John Edwards is hopefully yesterday’s news but doubt it because they’re demanding the truth.

  6. Andy Witmyer says:

    I never cared much for Edwards – I always thought he was a bit of a charlatan.  However, like others have noted, no person is without flaw.  There have undoubtedly been numerous leaders worthy of veneration that have done the very same thing as Edwards – and, at that, a great many of them having never been caught.  Although I’m young and I’ve never been married, the girl with whom I love and live with now – well, a couple of years ago, I sadly made a similar mistake.  It was probably one of the most devastating mistakes I’ve ever made.  It was a despicable – but in the end, we got back together and we’ve been very happy together ever since.  Though it was a painful lesson, I believe that it ultimately made me better person – maybe the same might one day be said of Edwards.