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John Edwards's continuing, self-serving smarminess

"I am Quinn's father. I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves. It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me”

- Former North Carolina Sen., former presidential candidate, and continuing purveyor of self-justifying smarminess John Edwards, in a statement belatedly acknowledging the obvious: that he is the father of his former mistress’s almost-two-year-old daughter.

Excuse me, but when she understands what? That her father cheated on his wife with her mother -- but only when his wife’s cancer, as he famously caveated, was in remission? That her father prevailed on his friend and aide, Andrew Young, to claim paternity? That her father lied at every turn -- about whether he had an affair with Rielle Hunter, about whether he was the father? That he lied even while professing to come clean? ("Being 99 percent honest is no longer enough," Edwards said in August 2008 as he 'fessed up to the affair, even as he continued to deny paternity and blithely offered to take a test to prove it.) That his tardy acknowledgement happens to come right before Young comes out with a tell-all book?

“It’s a lot more complicated, I think, than most people think,” Edwards former pollster, Harrison Hickman, told NBC’s “Today” show. “There are a lot of adults involved, and I think they wanted to handle this the right way for [the Edwardses’ children] Jack and Emma Claire and Kate, as well as for Quinn.”

If this is the right way, could someone tell me the wrong one?

By Ruth Marcus  | January 21, 2010; 11:19 AM ET
Categories:  Marcus  | Tags:  Ruth Marcus  
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John Edwards is just a white version of Barack Obama.

Posted by: Jerzy | January 21, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

According to pundits,the wrong way for Edwards is seeking redemption in Buddhism.Even the compassionate Dalai Lama would be wary of the guy.

Posted by: improvista | January 21, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

When all the children are older, I feel they might still love their father, but will have no respect for him. He has no good character and has destroyed relationships right and left with no thought to aftereffects on others. you are right, "smarmy" is the right word to use.

Posted by: janwhite30 | January 21, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

He's an injury lawyer--an ambulance chaser. What did you expect?

Posted by: tjhall1 | January 21, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

John Edwards is not just a jerk... he's an absolute monster. The worst kind of human being (seriously) consider:

(1) He was not only cheating on his wife and family, he did it while his wife was battling cancer, promising his mistress that she would take over as his main concubine once Elizabeth was dead.

(2) He was campaigning for to be the most powerful man in the world (which already takes some degree of pathological narcissism to begin with), and felt entitled to win.

(3) Every time he went on national TV and spoke in front of crowds of thousands, he was living a lie and / or telling bold faced lies WITH THAT SMILE ON HIS FACE SO PRACTICED THAT YOU COULDN'T EVEN TELL. SO CALM, COOL AND SLICK WHILE HE LIED ON ABC'S NIGHTLINE. TALK ABOUT COLD BLOODED. YIKES.

(4) His entire public persona was the "poor kid who did well, who would never forget his roots" even as he lived in the largest mansion I've ever seen. PLUS, he invoked his dead father (who was a millworker) often in his speeches.

By every stretch or measure this man is a snake, a complete pathological, cold blooded monster. It's a good thing he was in politics, or else he would have probably turned out to be a serial killer.

Posted by: TonyV1 | January 21, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Edwards and his wife are both smarmy ... and just think his endorsement of Obama help defeat Hillary Clinton. The American Public is so dense sometimes.

Posted by: paris1969 | January 21, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

SO WHAT? Dont over-react now with double standards. So he lied and cheated - what do you expect from a politican? How about other well known adulterers Martin Luther King, JFK, and yes even Bill? Didnt seem to have tarnished their "moral authority" nor earning power in the case of Bill...

Posted by: tom100 | January 21, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Actually, for an attorney, his behavior was exemplary and he should be commended.

Posted by: lorenzo2121 | January 21, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

All this little girl needs to understand is that she has a dad and that he loves her. Unfortunately, there are many, children born every day as a result of extra-marital affairs. I do not think we should judge Mr. Edwards any more than we would a neighbor, friend, or family member that fathers such a child. In the end, love is what matters. If he does, then that is the right way. If he does not, and ignores his little girl, then he is headed down the wrong path once again.

Posted by: dharris1234 | January 21, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Eww. John Edwards is just gross. Why is this trash still getting attention? Narcissist Breck Girl.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | January 21, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

No matter what the topic, some people can't resist the urge to put Obama down. Why are some people so obsessed with him?

Posted by: jake14 | January 21, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

He left Hunter to raise the girl alone for the first two years. That's really bad.

I hope Elizabeth turns on him, and gets half the money. Get him really bad.

Posted by: mcweber | January 21, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards needs to go somewhere and live his life privately. No one cares what he says, thinks or does with his family. I don't want to hear from John Edwards anymore, he is not someone I would have wanted in my life and certainly not someone I want to hear about. No more news medis appearances, Please!

Posted by: Listening2 | January 21, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I never understood the fascination with Edwards. A trial lawyer and one-term senator who ran for president with more style than substance. I think somebody called him the white Barack Obama .. except Obama was actually able to win.

Posted by: loux24 | January 21, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

dharris1234 wrote: "All this little girl needs to understand is that she has a dad and that he loves her. Unfortunately, there are many, children born every day as a result of extra-marital affairs. I do not think we should judge Mr. Edwards any more than we would a neighbor, friend, or family member that fathers such a child. In the end, love is what matters. If he does, then that is the right way. If he does not, and ignores his little girl, then he is headed down the wrong path once again."


What Americans seem to despise in politicians, as well as other important public figures, is hypocrisy. I don't honestly think that many people judge John Edwards badly as much for having an affair and fathering a child- the same kinds of mistakes some of the hypothetical friends, neighbors, or family members you mentioned could have done (all of us being human, of course)- as much as for his repeated and serial lying and dissembling about it (many of these lies told in the process of supposedly coming clean about things).

Posted by: yrral | January 21, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget that it was the National Inquirer that broke and stayed with the story while the likes of WaPo and the rest of the liberal MSM sat silent until all of the attention in blogs forced their hand. They omitted the scandal initially and gave it page 6 treatment.

The MSM is as smarmy as Edwards. Your indignation now is a joke.

Had Edwards been a Republican the deadenin g MSM silence wouldn't have existed.

Posted by: onecent100 | January 21, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

A real sad part is that so many news outlets deliberately ignored this story for then-Senator Obama's sake, until Edwards could get in front of it and control it.

That's not one man's dishonesty, but the conspiratorial dishonesty of a large section of the journalism industry.

Posted by: edgydc | January 21, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Excerpt from new book re: Elizabeth and John Edwards.

My departed mother would have said, "What can you expect from one of those carolina boys?" :)

My biggest gripe is Edwards' behavior could have put us at great risk of having another Republican president. Thank God for Barack Obama.

Posted by: Dukemom37920 | January 21, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Democrat here, but always thought Edwards was a sleazeball and an intellectual lightweight.

Posted by: seaduck2001 | January 21, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Both Jesse Jackson and John Edwards should spend more time with their Love Children.

Posted by: BaracksTeleprompter | January 21, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I donated $20 to his campaign. I want my money back!

Posted by: miller2 | January 21, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope the little child finds a way not to take after either one of her parents. They're both a couple of whack jobs.

Posted by: TheDubb | January 21, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

His wife has cancer and they are separated. Will we see him boo-hooing at her funeral? Hypocrite.

Posted by: jackdmom | January 21, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

cut the guy some slack, vag is a very powerful thing, guys go crazy...also, if you like me, never took this guy seriously from the start that he had any sort of presidential qualities, this is no big deal.

Posted by: edwardlee35 | January 21, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

What's with Marcus' recent focus on cheating politicians? It's the 21st century, and these topics are meaningless. I did not make it this way.

Posted by: Wallenstein | January 21, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards is just a white version of Barack Obama.

Posted by: Jerzy

I heard of blame EVERYTHING on Obama, but this is ridiculous!
Ding ding ding, you win for most stupid statement of the day.
Congrats Idiot.

Posted by: MUPPET | January 21, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

How would all of these lies and deceptions have played out if he had been successful in his bid to become the President? How would this situation have reflected on our nation? Time and time again, the lesson learned the hard way is that a LIE will always come back to haunt you. Lies always seem to boil to the surface and show themselves. Some people never do learn these lessons. John Edwards, you are truly a dog for casting doubt on Rielle Hunter's integrity to further your own fortunes. You allowed your wife to publicly castigate Rielle Hunter and have her shredded in the court of public opinion without speaking for the truth. Neither you or Rielle are innocent in the matter of your affair, but she never went to such great lengths to lie about it, and to continue the lies when everybody knew you were a liar. When it became public knowledge, she didn't continually try to BS the world about it, but you did. All of this just proves that you were never good enough to be our President.

Posted by: realneil | January 21, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes disclosure, especially of a sexual nature, can't happen when the American public demands it because of other people who are affected in some way by what has transpired. John Edwards mistake in all of this is that he failed to use wisdom. So all for all you self righteous folks, think about if it were you instead of John Edwards, would you have come forward and plastered your business publicly everywhere just because you're running for office? H*ll no you won't because it's human nature to cover up sh*t. Cut the man some slack and get off your soapboxes already.

Posted by: sjcsando | January 21, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards is THE poster child for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Posted by: vicoria | January 21, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

It appears that the only truthful, completely accurate utterance to pass from John Edwards' lips occurred when he described himself as a "narcissist".

He wasn't kidding...

Posted by: Gladiator2008 | January 21, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Wrong way would be to accept the fact that people like Edwards live on a higher plane of existence as compared to we mere mortal folks. I mean, I suppose he could declare himself a Mormon to squirm out of this deal like sleazy politicians often squirm out of their deviant behaviors while pretending they are above the common man. You know though Marcus, this stuff is much like the abused spousal syndrome in that certain people still stay attached through much disrespect and abuse. Why is that Marcus, I don't understand.

Posted by: truthhurts | January 21, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

i am hoping that former Sen. Edwards will again make a run for the white house, perhaps to challenge BHO in '12.... i think that could be even more interesting that the BHO/HRC standoff in the '08 primaries. As Chuck Berry will sing, Go, Johnny, Go, Go, Go!

Posted by: RoguesPalace | January 21, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Edwards is a trial lawyer.. what did you expect?

Posted by: sovine08 | January 21, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Down-home saying from North Carolina:

He's a hard dog to keep on the porch.

Posted by: trr2 | January 21, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Another, really - really bad day for the DEMOCRUDS.

Posted by: stephenwhelton | January 21, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards: What s h i t would look like if it had a face.

Posted by: MamaBama | January 21, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness for the National Enquirer or he'd have been VP or AG before the story broke.

Posted by: DagnyT | January 21, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards is just a white version of Barack Obama.

Posted by: Jerzy | January 21, 2010 11:35 AM

Jerzy, allow me to help you with that statement:

John Edwards is just a youngversion of Newt Gingrich.

No problem, glad to help.

Posted by: keithrjackson | January 21, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to imagine that an intelligent person could be so blind and dumb a Edwards proved to be. Did he think we wouldn't find out about his fairly open philandering, when all eyes were on him at the time? Did they think we would believe him and not our own eyes and intelligence? It can only be explained by the same kind of narcissistic, blinding arrogance that Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods fell victim to. The same kind of arrogance that Barack Obama now seems to have fallen victim to, albeit not, thank heavens, in the sexual realm. But it is blinding, destructive arrogance all the same. Heaven help him.

Posted by: farhorizons | January 21, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Just other word for it.

Posted by: dhampton100 | January 21, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Self-centered slime. Seems a sufficient summary.

Posted by: john_falck | January 21, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The main problem I have with John Edwards is that when he finally got caught, the first thing he did was throw the girlfriend under the bus. Was it really necessary to say he didn't love her? This guy needs therapy. He's very probably a sociopath

Posted by: rbmurals | January 21, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Sure am glad this slimeball ain't my dad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. TFL, Ken

Posted by: kentigereyes | January 21, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't usually say this about people, because I think we all have some demons, but Edwards is just a bad person. I know it sounds trite, but he's just bad.

Posted by: DualTurbos | January 21, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

He's the father, and just how is this NEWS?

Posted by: whocares666 | January 21, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

He's a grown man! Has he never heard of birth control?

Posted by: MNUSA | January 21, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Very Kennedyesque! Now former Sen Edwards just has to kill some young woman.

Posted by: wagtdn | January 21, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

You can't judge him by normal people standard, but much higher standards.

I like his politics. He genuinely cares for people. It's just the Hyde part of him was so, so Hydee... and what he did, based on a higher standard, was such a massive let down to people who supported him.

Feet of clay, feet of clay.

Posted by: Ozreader | January 21, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Washington Post Editors: Please... enough already! The Edwards' private lives are no longer news because they no longer affect our country.

Comparing similar behavior, that of John Edwards to Newt Gingrich, would be relevant only in that Newt recently announced he'll run for president in 2012. There's gotta be a 'love child' in Newt's life somewhere... of course, we'll have to rely on the National Enquirer to discover it first.

Media today is SO clueless about what is/not relevant news for the majority of citizens.

Posted by: momshugs | January 21, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone waiting for the other shoe to drop? Since this guy is a lawyer I would be sure that this is a set up for whatever is waiting in the wings.

Posted by: skybride56 | January 21, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Let me see...

The guy falsifies his data, destroys the original data, tries to stamp out any public discussion, goes on a smear campaign of his peers.

Are we discussing Edwards or Climategate?

Posted by: krankyman | January 21, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

There may be sorrier people in this world than this sleazy ambulance chaser, but they'd really have to work at it to achieve that status. I didn't have much use for him to begin with and this simply confirms that my assessment of his character was correct. I can't say I care much for his wife either, but she was wronged and I hope she takes him to the cleaners.

Posted by: Lilycat11 | January 21, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

And yet another cheater claims that "it's complicated". No it isn't.

Posted by: JeffRandom | January 21, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

worst of all, edwards never once mentioned elizabeth, cate, emma, and jack in this very self-serving apology.

what would he call what he did to them?

Posted by: yesnomaybe213 | January 21, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line on Edwards is that his parting words to Ms. Hunter were probably it's not you, I;m just into me.

Posted by: ejgallagher1 | January 21, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I have always believed that the prize for smarminess goes to members of the media.

Posted by: pbarnett52 | January 21, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Men. Women. Humans. Turn on some George Jones and giggle the night away. There but for fortune..................

Posted by: rusty3 | January 22, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Ruth, as you say, the "former North Carolina Sen., former Presidential candidate, and continuing purveyor of self-justifying smarminess, John Edwards" is rediculous with his tremoloes, after so many years of repeated lies, cheating and bold denial.

His statement reeks of hypocricy and has a false note to it.

An adult, father or mother, must do the right thing, right from the start. As human beings, our sentiments can make us do mistakes. But there is no dishonor to say sorry, or yes, I have misbehaved and cheated on my suffering wife. Please forgive me for my weakness.

When the facts are established and undeniable, keeping on lying and denying the obvious is just odious.

I'm not casting any stone, and still try to deal with some of my past mistakes. But unlike the former Sen. and presidential candidate, I am not a public figure. I have no pretention of leading a big country.

How can't you lie to 300 million citizens, if you lie to your wife, subject your daughter to an early trauma, and lie to your constituents, relatives, friends; and all those who had sympathy for your political stance?

I really feel offended by crocodile tears. This attitude reinforces the sentiment that most politicians are crooks and liars, which is a sad thing in a so-called democracy.

Posted by: foxblues | January 22, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

John Kerry must wonder how John McCain could actually choose someone like Sarah Palin to be his running mate?

Posted by: abcnews13 | January 22, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

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