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Grading John Edwards's apology

Last week I graded 2010’s most prominent apologies. Sadly, John Edwards waited until yesterday to admit he is the father of a two year-old daughter with former (we think) mistress Rielle Hunter, and issue his long-overdue apology.

So here is my own belated rating. Grade: D-minus. Category: The misdirection.

Obviously Edwards fails on timing and sincerity, coming clean two years after the Iowa caucuses and two weeks before his former aide releases a tell-all book. He also performs the neat trick of apologizing sincerely, but to the wrong people and for the wrong thing.

Edwards wrote in a statement, “It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me….To all those I have disappointed and hurt, these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry.”
His infant daughter doesn’t need a public apology, and the “sorry” to those he disappointed and hurt leaves a lot of us out.

He didn’t disappoint me -- my expectations were already quite low. He didn’t hurt me (I don’t think). But he offends me nonetheless. He ran for president knowing that this albatross was hanging around his neck. We quickly forget, but Edwards was not far from winning the Iowa caucuses, and had he won the nomination, John McCain and Sarah Palin might be running the country right now.

Furthermore, even without winning, it’s unclear to what extent he swayed the last election. A friend of mine, a former Hillary staffer, sat in the caucuses and to this day swears that had Edwards not run, Hillary would have won Iowa and, likely, the nomination. So I am offended by John Edwards’s arrogance in thinking that he could play around with the presidency.

Why only a D-minus? Well, it was so tough to get Edwards to own up and apologize that the National Enquirer now wants a Pulitzer Prize for its work in digging out the story. If John Edwards can get the National Enquirer a Pulitzer, he deserves a little extra credit.

By Kevin Huffman  | January 22, 2010; 9:28 AM ET
Categories:  Huffman  | Tags:  Kevin Huffman  
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Hillary's political fate is always tied to a philandering man. Funny and ironic.

Posted by: iphony | January 22, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that many who had no real problem with Bill Clinton's reckless and adulterous conduct with Monica Lewinski, and his lies (under oath, no less) and evasions in the aftermath, do have a problem with this pathetic plaintiffs lawyer. I conclude that if Edwards had indeed made it to the Oval Office Democrats--who now say, Scoundrel!--would have found a way to forgive and protect him, and in all good faith.

Posted by: Roytex | January 22, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse conducted a series of studies to obtain Americans’ ratings of apologies in 2009. They found that that ­­­Chris Brown’s apology to Rihanna ranked the highest in regard to perceived sincerity levels. I saw this post and thought you might be interested. The results can be found here:

Posted by: benatmediacurves | January 22, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The public apology thing is already covered in a myriad of places on the Internet. Why is Mr. Huffman, who has repeatedly promised a fresh perspective pundit-wise, continuing to walk down this already well-worn path?

Posted by: MsJS | January 22, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse


I want my money back! I believed in you. I worked for both your presidential campaigns. I took time away from my job and my family to help spread your message.

I gave you money I could ill afford because I thought you were caring and honest and had a vision for out country. I thought you had integrity.

My friends gave you money, too. How could you do this to us?

You are a wealthy man. We are just average, hard-working Americans who try to get involved and help people like you (or who we thought you were) make a difference.

You STOLE our money! You know you should never have run your 2008 presidential campaign. You took our money under false pretenses.

Repent, John Edwards! Repent by paying us back. All of us!

It's the right thing to do!

Posted by: MamaBama | January 22, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Huffman, you imply that if John Edwards had won his party's nomination, McCain and Palin would be running the country right now. Based on Obama's record so far, are you saying you wish John Edwards had won the Dem nomination, because I have no doubt we'd be in a much better place had Obama lost.

Posted by: fishguts | January 22, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry - but a man's private life is his private life. If his wife can forgive him, so can I.

Posted by: laura888 | January 23, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

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