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Posted at 9:49 AM ET, 06/30/2010

Elizabeth Edwards gives new interview on "Today," airs new disappointments with John (video)

By The Reliable Source

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

UPDATE: Read more about Elizabeth Edwards' death from cancer on Dec. 7, 2010.

Elizabeth Edwards assumed for months that the affair her husband confessed to her was just a one-night stand, and continued to think so throughout his faltering presidential campaign, she said in an interview aired on "Today" Wednesday.

"I thought that for a much longer time than most people would consider reasonable," she said, only "gradually" piecing together that "this thing doesn't make sense, and this thing doesn't make sense." Then of course, John Edwards gave his TV confessional on "Nightline" in August 2008, copping to a more involved liaison with Rielle Hunter. Elizabeth said he gave her the heads-up about that just "hours before" he told the world.

So there you have it -- more evidence that John Edwards was a really bad husband. That's the allure of any new interview with his estranged wife, whose recent sit-downs with "Today" and "People" and (coming up Wednesday night) "Larry King Live" are being hyped as her first since they announced their split in January.

These don't feel like firsts: Elizabeth vented her disappointment with John to Oprah and others a year ago; and she let friends tell the world, via People, how she's feeling more recently (ready to move on post-split; later, "disgusted" by Hunter's boudoir photos for GQ).

But this week -- as she promotes the paperback release and new epilogue of her memoir "Resilience" -- is the first time in a year that she personally has updated us on the riveting horrible soap opera of her life: Not just the first time since the separation, but her first chance to respond to damning portrayals of her in a pair of new books.

On "Today," she told Matt Lauer her health is relatively okay this days, with a new chemotherapy regime for her renewed battle with breast cancer. Why did she write a new chapter for her book? Because the hardback version "ended with an intact family." She could have kept that, but "it wouldn't have been honest... It was important that the next chapter at least be present."

Why did she separate from John? She said she'd "been trying to reinvent the role of wife for the last three years" as one revelation after another came out - her husband's affair, his acknowledgement of fathering Hunter's child. "At the end of 2009 I gave up trying."

"Finally I realized we'd just come so far down this road I wasn't ever going to find a place where -- I hate to talk about myself in the third person -- where Elizabeth existed anymore; I was going to be entirely reactive. I wanted to be present in the remainder of my life."

Did she watch Rielle Hunter's interview with Oprah? Not the whole thing, "but I did watch some of it." Her revelation: "This person is so completely unlike me that it's hard to imagine the same person could marry me and be attracted to that -- to that woman, as well."

The past year saw the release of a memoir by her husband's former aide Andrew Young and the campaign behind-the-scenes tome "Game Change," both of which portrayed her as shrill, angry and controlling. Elizabeth dismissed the Young book: "It's so filled with lies that I don't see it as having any bearing on the truth, particularly in respect to me."

"Game Change," though, seemed to unnerve her. (Though "I know who the sources are," she warns in passing.) "It was actually useful to have somebody say you were perceived as much harsher than you thought you were." For example: "I thought of the people who worked in the campaign not as people who worked for John or worked for me, but as people with whom I worked. I thought of us as equals... If I argued about a policy, I thought I was arguing as an equal. Clearly they didn't have that perception -- they thought I was the boss's wife. I didn't take that into consideration."

She described her ex as "a marvelous man" when she married him, but "he's no longer the person whom I married." She said she still admires him, though, and restrains her bitterness for the sake of the kids, knowing that it is him "on whom they are going to have to rely if my disease takes a bad turn. It's important to me they see him in a good light."

She compared her situation to Sandra Bullock, and the actress's "incredible year," winning an Oscar and adopting a child while contending with news of her husband's infidelity. For herself, Elizabeth said, "I do still need to break through the media-imposed image. I'm not just the cuckolded wife... I hope the next time I'm on television, it's to talk about some policy that I really care about."

(What's John Edwards up to, you ask? According to a new story in The New Republic, volunteer work in El Salvador and Haiti, nights drinking white wine at Durham, N.C., bars.)

By The Reliable Source  | June 30, 2010; 9:49 AM ET
 
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Comments

This kind of stuff is so tacky. We should really thank Hillary Clinton for not mouthing off about Bill. Seriously. Having said that, I will say that I'm amused by Elizabeth's shock about who this guy really is. The first time I saw Edwards on the television, the thought, used car salesman popped into my head.

Posted by: AnnieP1 | June 30, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I agree with AnnieP1, I have no sympathy for Elizabeth's marital problems. She also knew about his infidelity *during* the presidential campaign and she still supported his efforts.

She knew he was a BS artist for a long time and settled for it. Only when his despicable behavior became public did she feign surprise and hurt.

Posted by: spamsux1 | June 30, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

And Elizabeth campaigned for her husband against Obama and Hillary, knowing about the secret affair. Meaning she wanted you to vote him into the general election, where he would have been totally vulnerable to defeat if it leaked.

She's a charletan as much as he is...

Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | June 30, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Elizabeth, be well. Love your children. Talk and laugh with good friends. Make new memories with your siblings. Enjoy the time you have left on this Earth. But, for the love of God, please ZIP IT about the state of your marriage, about John Edwards and Reille Hunter, and who knew what when, etc... The charade is over. Most people believe that John Edwards is and was a fraud. Unfortunately, now many think you were (and are) one too. So sad.

Posted by: MOE1960 | June 30, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I have to feel sorry for this woman. I mean she's not going to be around much longer and knowing her children faith is in her sleazy husbands hands.
That said I have to agree with what everyone says here.
She supported him knowing what a sleaze bag he is, at a time our country more than ever needed a strong leader

Posted by: mmalewitz | June 30, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

While I think Elizabeth was in denial about the truth and chose to look through rose-colored glasses far too long, I think it is terribly unfair to label her as a charlatan or a bs artist. She and her former husband have been through quite a bit together- I know it would be hard for me to let go especially if I was so convinced of my husband's love. It is easy to look on the outside and say what you would do if you were in her shoes; she had to reach her own breaking point before she decided to face reality. Let's try to be less judgmental.

Posted by: plamar1031 | June 30, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Tell me another one, Elizabeth.

I like stories.

Posted by: vigor | June 30, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"It's so filled with lies that I don't see it as having any bearing on the truth, particularly in respect to me."


Does she have any clue how damaged her reputation is?

I don't believe a word she says.

Posted by: vigor | June 30, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

We had a saying once, "It all comes out in the wash." And yes, it's still true.

Posted by: woof3 | June 30, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"This person is so completely unlike me that it's hard to imagine the same person could marry me and be attracted to that -- to that woman, as well."
Elizabeth, isn't that the point? He found you so repulsive after decades of marriage that he inevitably sought out your polar opposite for relief. Am I supposed to feel sorry for you? Sorry for someone who chose to allow herself to remain with a disgrace of a husband to further her own political ambitions? You nearly allowed this liar to become the president of the USA. I have no sympathy for you.

Posted by: FCperson | June 30, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe all these commenters are attacking Elizabeth instead of the people who actually behaved badly and the man who broke his vows! No one could be as perfect as her public image formerly was, so you people are saying that she's a bad person for being human? For trusting the man she'd been married to for 30 years? You seriously believe that is enough to make you judge her as harshly as, or more harshly than, you judge him? That's insane, and your moral hierarchies need some SERIOUS re-examining!

Posted by: niclaroua1 | June 30, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

How is that book selling, Mrs. Edwards?

(And, coming soon to a WAPO blog)

How is that book selling, Mrs. Gore?

Posted by: MDDem1 | June 30, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Why would anyone blame Elizabeth for supporting her husband's presidential campaign? Extramarital affairs don't disqualify anyone from running for elected office. And imagine the alternative - would it have been better for her to suddenly announce the affair and stop supporting her husband during the primaries? She would have been crucified for making it all about herself and their personal problems.

At least this way John Edwards failed all on his own.

Posted by: thingsfallapart | June 30, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Just like Jenny Sanford, she doesn't care what she says as long as it makes a buck; doesn't matter that her kids will have to live with her comments for the rest of their lives.

This is how rich people psychologically abuse their children. Elizabeth and Jenny.

Posted by: edismae | June 30, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Lady, its time to give it up - everyone knows he is a slug.

Just get a divorce and move on. You will be much happier and he will always be a slug.

Posted by: JBGJRESQ | June 30, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Late least she walked away from this scum bag. Hillary didn't and lacked the character needed to step away from her "ticket" into public office.

Posted by: richard36 | June 30, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Posted: Extramarital affairs don't disqualify anyone from running for elected office.
====
People who keep saying this don't live in the same world I do. Candidates lying to their wives and husbands can run, but I'm not voting for them.

Posted by: kls1 | June 30, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

niclaroua1 (June 30, 2010 12:02 PM):
I agree with you.
The callous nature of John Edwards' treatment of Elizabeth, his infuriating betrayal of her during the period when he just refused to come clean with her about the depth and breadth of this relationship, had to have been a terrible cross to bear, on top of her failing health.
Edwards himself reminds me of Newt Gingrich and the abominable way Gingrich treated his ailing wife.
I think Elizabeth has conducted herself well, although I'm ready for her to just put the entire Edwards' marriage debacle away.
(I do understand that everywhere she goes, she tires of people asking her for advice in how she handled the entire course of this sad story.)
She has shown great courage dealing with her illness, her responsibilities with her children and her own position as the offended wife, as this salacious tale dribbled out in the pages of the National Enquirer.
I think people are entirely too hard on her.
They probably couldn't have fought such a terrific battle against cancer if they had been in the same position as she found herself.
She gave her former husband full loyalty, even when she knew he'd been unfaithful; he didn't have the spine to live up to it because he didn't want to admit he didn't appreciate her kindness to him.
Now she's somewhat free of his pitiful immorality and she can concentrate on her own goals.
Go, Elizabeth!

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | June 30, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Elizabeth Edwards is not a nice lady. She was very mean and unkind to her neighbors as well as poor innocent electric workers working on the electric company owned easement next to her land.

I feel sorry for democrat politition's wives who end up with cancer . . . it seems they are doomed to be abandoned by their husbands in the midst of their cancer battle. Edwards, Pam Deeds (husband served her the papers in the midst of her fight against breast cancer). Deeds did this in the midst of his campaign for Governor while "on vacation" (thank goodness he LOST no surprie there). It amazes me how dumb these polititians think the voters are. Acting like we do not know better and do not care about character. We are not the dumb ones they are, they are also amoral and heartless. In the case of Edwards, I can not fault Mr. Edwards, she is not a nice lady, and I could not imagine how anyone could live with her.

Posted by: holland_29852 | June 30, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Elizabeth looks great today. It has been good for her to be away from John.

Posted by: thirdpartyvote | June 30, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Yawn! ... slow news day at the Washington Post ... get rid of Roxanne and Amy -- they aren't worth what little money I'm sure you pay them ....

Posted by: Viennacommuter1 | June 30, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

holland_29852 says:
"Elizabeth Edwards is not a nice lady. She was very mean and unkind to her neighbors as well as poor innocent electric workers working on the electric company owned easement next to her land."
______________________________________
And you know this how???

I must echo some other comments -- I thought John Edwards was a slimeball from the moment I first heard him talk on TV.

Posted by: seaduck2001 | June 30, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Earth to John Edwards!! You must be reading this if for no other reason than to guage how many people hate you. Answer is EVERYONE.

So, take a tip.....sell your holdings in North Carolina aside from what your ex wife got in the divorce. Then move far away never to return. Suggest Montana. It's big, it's far and not a lot of people who know deeply what a skunk you are.

And did I say don't come back? We folks in North Carolina put our trust in you and now we're the laughing stock of the Nation forever.

Posted by: mosthind | June 30, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

i cant forgive Edwards for risking the Presidentcy and possibly an IMPEACHMENT for a lay! He should lose his citizenship.

On the other hand Elizabeth is annoying!

Posted by: philosopherkingtomas | June 30, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

There doesn't seem to be much sympathy here for Elizabeth Edwards, either in the article or in most of the comments - and guess there wouldn't be unless it were to happen to you (or you had to say these things to her face to face? Surely we wouldn’t be so surly and unchristian then?).

How come? Is it because our sense of empathy/compassion is overridden by our sense of embarrassment? My mom used to say that when someone asks how you are, you should just say “fine, thank you, how are you?” because people really, really don’t want to hear your problems – until – maybe - they have ones like them. I hope this very intelligent, troubled woman can find peace, good health, and live the rest of her life joyfully.

Posted by: jujones1 | June 30, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

We do we allow the South to remain in this Country? Nothing but trouble.

Nascar country western racism is a "shame shame shame" quote form Gormer Pyle!

Posted by: philosopherkingtomas | June 30, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Considering they have young children I would have more respect for her if she would keep her mouth shut. Her husband cheated she knew and went along with it - once, twice, etc. it doesn't matter she knew he was a cheater and what he was doing could lead to children.

Please consider the children - especially the young ones. Do they really want to hear their mother say or imply bad things about their father? The children deserve better parents.

Posted by: rlj1 | June 30, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for democrat politition's wives who end up with cancer . . . it seems they are doomed to be abandoned by their husbands in the midst of their cancer battle. Edwards, Pam Deeds "
Posted by: holland_29852 | June 30, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Unlike say...Newt Gingrich's wife.

Posted by: croaker69 | June 30, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for anyone facing a catastrophic medical condition as Elizabeth is. I can't imagine the range of emotions that she has to face, perhaps on a daily basis. However, I'd think that her mind, heart & strength would be directed to maintaining her health as best as possible and caring for her children. There really is no need to express her disappointment in John or her feelings towards Rielle (to the public). That's her business. She made a conscious decision to stick by John throughout his presidential campaign knowing that there had been infidelity in their marriage. She wanted to believe that this was nothing more than a one night stand but she learned differently. I can't imagine that somewhere along the line she didn't think (if for a second) that there was much more to this than was admitted.

Posted by: ishie | June 30, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why Elizabeth Edwards persists in airing her dirty laundry in public, who cares anyway. What she should do is take good care of herself and her children. Do whatever makes her happy and forget that loathsome individual she was married to for so long. Her personal and private business should remain private and not fodder for the public. Since she does not need the money, I have no idea why she continues to make public her personal trials. She should think of her children even if her husband does not. By the way, he is not a good father, because if he had been, he would not hav shamed them and caused them the extreme unhappiness that he already has.

Posted by: Listening2 | June 30, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

he was a flippin' trial lawyer for God's sake! That should above all have told you what he was like. "Gee, I'm shocked that a bottom-feeding, scum-sucking f- - - pig would lie to me!" And I reject the notion that something like this doesn't disqualify him from being POTUS. While you don't have to be a complete paragon of unsullied vitue, it does mean you shouldn't be an unprincipled opportunist.

Posted by: ronjaboy | June 30, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I do think it can be said that everyone – Elizabeth, John, & Rielle – have behaved both rationally & pathologically from the beginning of this saga. If we believe 1/3 of what has been said & written about each of them no one comes out sane. Johnny & Rielle are flat out insane. Elizabeth lost her sanity when she learned in the span of a few days her cancer was terminal & he had the affair & STILL wanted to continue the campaign. What hubris of all of them! Since I am a futurist I can’t help thinking about it.

Do Johnny & Rielle think about those holidays in the future when Elizabeth is no longer on this earth & they want to "integrate" (one of Rielle's favorite words) their children for a family meal? How "authentic" (another favorite word) will this be for any of the kids? Is it even possible for Cate to have a coherent conversation with the delusional Rielle at the dinner table? Savage indeed. How does Rielle feel about the "authentic integrated" Johnny recently wandering the bars, wine glass in hand, talking up the women? Ahhhhhhhh. The beds we sleep in, the videos we star in, the children we affect. For us, the gallery, the future holds the inevitable response from Johnny/Rielle. A synonym for resilience is "rolling with the punches." Maybe Johnny will write a book titled ‘Rolling With The Punches,’ edited by Rielle, explaining with psychobabble why he's the man he is & the positive effect this has had for everyone. After all, despite everything, he could have been President, Vice President or Attorney General. Stay tuned.

I want to be a fly on the wall, the turkey wishbone or the whipped cream for the pumpkin pie at the holiday dinner!! Oh wait. Johnny & Rielle want the whipped cream for later. I don't want to be there for that but maybe there will be a video. However! The dinner!! What will they talk about? Favorite memories from the past? How Mommy & Daddy met. Which Mommy? Maybe Rielle will say to Johnny, "That's so hot!" about the turkey. Quinn will say, "HOT! HOT! HOT!" Cate will say savagely, "I'm outta here." People magazine is doing an issue of celebrity family holiday pictures. The Hunter/Edwards picture is priceless. It's a picture of ME, the turkey wishbone!! LOL!!!!!

This story has so many similarities to Greek tragedies and the Tudors. I laugh insanely about most of this (HE'S NOT POTUS) but I am crying for the future sanity of these children.

Posted by: Parsley1 | June 30, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"She gave her former husband full loyalty, even when she knew he'd been unfaithful; "

That's a failure, not an attribute.

Posted by: vigor | June 30, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I can understand Elizabeth's pain and anguish at the demise of her marriage and the betrayal she feels. However, I cannot understand her desire and need to keep talking about it in public. I hurt badly for almost two months after my last relationship ended and yes, I did talk to my family and friends about it but then I suffered in silence. You have to keep some things private.

Posted by: luvleep | June 30, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Unless her new book includes some dirty ménage à trois action, it won't sell for crap. So, please just give it a rest!

Posted by: ozpunk | June 30, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse


It is impossible for Elizabeth Edwards to be a "cuckolded wife" since a cuckhold is, by definition, a husband with an adulterous wife.

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 30, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

If Elizabeth Edwards wants to discuss policy, then SHE should have run for President.

I am sick of supposedly strong women who ride their husband's coattails.

Posted by: spro | June 30, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe the meaness I see exhibited here. Private lives are private and we have no idea what the motives are of anyone other than ourselves. If it weren't for our prurient need (we all seem to love a good sex scandal - the messier the more interest we have) to know all of these messy details, there would be no story. I blame the press, but I also blame our human weakness to pounce on those who are hurting. We create the market for such stories.

Posted by: chlind | June 30, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Ha, unlike Sandra Bullock, she's not keeping her dirty laundry private. Take some cues from a classy woman like Ms. Bullock, Elizabeth. I used to have sympathy for you, but now I realized how complicit you were in your family's fall from grace. Yes, your hubby cheated, but it was you who helped to cover it up in the quest for the White House, wrote a book about, did the tour circuit, etc. Please stop playing the victim. And your family (like your daughter said) was not 'ravaged'; you all did that to yourselves by sweeping the life of an innocent child under the rug. The only people who were hurt in this were your young children and their lovechild. The rest of you were selfish boars.

Posted by: jackieRo | June 30, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Silky Pony is not giving her enough of a divorce settlement so now it is on to Oprah and amazon.com

Pathetic.

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 30, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Chlind says: "I cannot believe the meaness I see exhibited here. Private lives are private and we have no idea what the motives are of anyone other than ourselves. If it weren't for our prurient need (we all seem to love a good sex scandal - the messier the more interest we have) to know all of these messy details, there would be no story. I blame the press, but I also blame our human weakness to pounce on those who are hurting. We create the market for such stories."

The MEANESS would have been the Edwards pulling off this charade into the White House. John Edwards motives, with his wife's full support, was to be POTUS. Therefore they made the decision not to have a private life. Every detail will come out, prurient or not. As a citizen I want to know everything I can about the people I vote for in our government. Being POTUS is as big as it gets. Here in the US we live in a society where you can't get away with infidelity/sex scandal/messy details at that political stratum without negative blowback on the parties involved. The country was better knowing all these details then instead of having it blow up after an Inauguration. Talk about messy. All of the people involved in this story continue to make the decision they are NOT going to live privately. Whether their motive is to sell books, have a sexy picture taken, take a pot shot or two, verbally vent to a national audience it is being done publically and loudly. If any of them were to come to the decision to live as privately as possible I would respect this. It's been done successfully in the past and presently. The press is doing their job. No more, no less. If I didn't want to know I wouldn't read a paper, a book or magazine, listen to the radio or watch TV. Instead I could watch 'Housewives Of DC.' But I do want to be an informed citizen and this fiasco is part of the national discussion today.

Posted by: Parsley1 | June 30, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Seaduck2001 I know this because A.) I know the neighbors, nice people, just happen to be republicans, in her eyes, lower class and run a garage B.)It was all over the news how she blasted Mr. Monty Johnson and called him a, and I quote, "rabid, rabid, republican". The man was 55 years old, never ran for public office is not running against her husband and she attacked him politically for no reason other than she saw him as "low class" her terms not mine.

Read the news it is all there. What do you expect, Mrs. Edwards is a woman who likes to vent to the press about all her wild thoughts, opinions, emotions and feelings. She deserves all the comments here. She compared herself to Sandra Bullock, HA, LOL. Do you really think you would be reading the same comments about Bullock if an article were run about her situation? NO because she is not even remotely the same. Like JackieRo said, Sandra Bullock is a "Classy Lady". Mrs. Edwards has NO CLASS WHATSOEVER!!!

Posted by: holland_29852 | June 30, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for Elizabeth...being a mother, I cannot imagine the anguish her disease and husband have caused her. That being said, if I had Elizabeth's "wealth", I would not be wasting my time writing a book or doing TV spots. I would be spending every precious moment with my children and those I dearly love.
As far as John goes....I wonder what Oprah and Elizabeth thought when John told Oprah, "Elizabeth is my conscience." Huh? Shouldn't we have a conscience of our own???

Posted by: auntieannie68 | June 30, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Elizabeth Edwards would certainly show more class if she could keep her mouth shut and stop with her constant whining and crying on TV. In the beginning, I felt bad for her but if she is this vindictive all the time, I can see why John found someone else.

She is so desperate to get his kids to hate him, she is looking ridiculous.

Posted by: carolo43 | June 30, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

This woman should just shut up and stay out of the limelight.She is only making a total fool of herself.This kind of thing hapens every day to ordinary people and they dont go on every tv show in creation and just continue to blab the same old story over and over.She is pathetic.Besides I thought she was dying three years ago.One has to wonder if that wasnt a political ploy to get votes for the skank.Elizabeth,please stay home and shut up.

Posted by: nannieturner | June 30, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

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