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The gross public penance of Edwards's former aide

Jo-Ann Armao mentioned last week how a colleague of ours felt dirty reading about Andrew Young's tell-all about former senator and vice presidential nominee John Edwards (D-N.C.). Well, after watching Young and his wife Cheri on ABC News' "20/20" last Friday, I felt dirty and appalled. As the entire interview unfolded I kept asking aloud, "Who are these people?!"

We've all heard stories about people who will do anything for money, power or prestige -- or all three. But the Youngs sat before the television cameras to discuss every lurid detail revealed in his book, "The Politician." How Edwards's pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, came to live with the Youngs and their three children. How Young came to claim paternity of a child that wasn't his. How the Youngs went into hiding with Hunter to help hide her pregnancy. When did they decide they had enough of the lies and deception? After Edwards admitted the affair to ABC News's Bob Woodruff but denied paternity of Hunter's baby. And if you weren't feeling slimy just listening to their account then you were after hearing the voicemails and seeing their photos and home videos with Hunter.

The aggrieved folks we see on television today didn't look so unhappy or morally compromised when they were being whisked by private jet from swank hotels to chic private residences around the country. "Was it stupid? Yes," said Andrew Young. "Did we do the right thing morally? No. Absolutely not." Got that right. Their public penance continues live tomorrow on "Good Morning America."

By Jonathan Capehart  | February 1, 2010; 9:22 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

"I kept asking aloud, 'Who are these people?'"

Don't shoot the messenger, Jonathan. I kept asking myself aloud, "Who is John Edwards?"

Posted by: sarahart1 | February 1, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Sarahart1 is right. No philandering, no tell-all book with creepy interviews. Locomotive, caboose.

Posted by: Itzajob | February 1, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Why the phony outrage Mr. Capehart?

The Youngs were John Edwards' stooges. They did everything he wanted in exchange for payment.

Now that they are no longer needed or serve a purpose, they are thrown out like last year's shiny new model.

Not so different from the politicians (and media) who do, say & write everything for their rich masters.

Posted by: adamnescot1 | February 1, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Every successful politician in the country has comparably sycophantic employees on staff; indeed, we would have no succesful politicians without these folks so willing to take bullets--by themselves and their families--on behalf of our local, state & national leaders.

Is the line dividing the absurd loyalty that is often enshrined as honorable from that which, in this case, is perceived as venal, truly one that appears to be connected with money, compensation or reward? Isn't it ALL about compensation and/or reward, financial or otherwise?

Has Capehart read Young's book? Does he really think Young & his wife--an attorney and a nurse, educated, financially comfortable, and actually pretty decent people--were on vacation & enjoying this bizarre carnival ride through the political netherworld in their and other devotees' pathetic bid to hide/salvage Edwards' (and their) delusional aspirations? Does a 'gift' of even several hundred thousand dollars to THEIR contractor (via them) for a home under water constitute sufficient compensation for the colossal 'sacrifices' they made? (and anyway, who are they, the 'help,' to want to build a 5,000 plus sq ft home, 1/5 the size of the Edwardses?)

At least the Youngs--their lives and reputations destroyed by servile subordination to the lesser good of their employer--are owning up to the callowness, sychophancy and moral "stupidty" that characterize the common fealty not just expected but demanded and prized by a national culture that shames only those loyal political soldiers and 'bodymen' who, in doing the bidding of their masters, get caught.

Posted by: heartland3 | February 1, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I learned all I needed to know about the Youngs by being exposed to the snippets from their interview that ABC ran on other programs. Those few seconds were enough to make my skin crawl. Who in the world would waste their time watching the whole garbage show? John Edwards and Andrew and Cheri Young obviously deserve each other. The tell-all book is not a break with the past written in a spirit of regret. It's a continuation of the clueless and characterless lives that led them to be Edward's sycophants to begin with. They're milking the same cow, swimming in the same immoral sewer they've always swam in, making a living without having to show one ounce of personal integrity or honor. What a bunch of creeps.

Posted by: tbarksdl | February 2, 2010 5:11 AM | Report abuse

Andrew Young deserves to be right where he put himself - unemployable and shunned. Young will make money off of this book, but it exposes to the world (and Young's children & family) that Young is a selfish, greedy, sleazebag who would do ANYTHING if it promised a payoff for him. Young knew in the very beginning that Edwards was sleeping with another woman in his WIFE's BED and all that both Youngs cared about was what they could get out of the deal. My heart goes out to Elizabeth and her family... No doubt that John Edwards is beyond a sick fool, but somehow Edwards appears to have been "set up" by Hunter and Young. Is anyone "surprised" that Young found a sex tape? Edwards may not even know that it was recorded. Between Hunter and the Youngs seeking to ensure their distorted entitlement needs - who knows who made the tape?

When Young complains about Elizabeth Edwards leaving nasty voice mails I want to laugh... "Poor Baby..." After EVERYTHING that YOUNG did to Elisabeth Edwards and HER CHILDREN -- Young thinks he could sway public opinion against Elizabeth??? What a total Narcissist!! Unbelievable! Man UP, Mr Young! You are blessed that all Elizabeth left you were a few voice mails. Can you imagine what a person with less grace, faith and class might have done in her situation? Mr. Young, you got off easy...

Anyway, in this article you say that you felt dirty. I have never met any of these people, although I have been a fan of Elizabeth Edwards since the John Kerry Campaign - not so much John Edwards. He just came across as shallow to me. I not only felt "dirty" watching 20/20, it kept me up through the night. What a mess! May God be with Elizabeth Edwards and her beautiful children. They all deserved better.

Posted by: Collette1970 | February 4, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

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