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John Edwards admits paternity of Rielle Hunter's daughter

The news -- first reported by Lisa Myers on "The Today Show" -- that former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards has acknowledged fathering a child with his mistress is both sadly expected and devoid of any real political impact.

Edwards, after repeated denials on the campaign trail in 2008, said in a statement this morning that "I am Quinn's father", adding: "It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me."

Edwards' decision to acknowledge his paternity of a child with mistress Rielle Hunter comes just days before the expected release of a tell-all book penned by Andrew Young, a former Edwards aide who initially said that he was the father of Hunter's child.

The practical political effect of this admission is close to zero. Edwards' political career was over the minute he was forced to admit that he had repeatedly lied about an extramarital affair with Hunter.

Edwards' admission this morning seems likely to -- finally -- brings an end to a saga that has captured the public's attention for the better part of the last 18 months.

It is also a sordid final chapter in a political life that began with such promise just over a decade ago when Edwards ousted Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R) in a Senate race in the Tarheel State in 1998.

Just six years later, Edwards launched a longshot bid for president but caught on with Iowa voters who propelled him to a surprising second place finish in the Iowa caucuses. He performed so well on the campaign trail that Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry chose Edwards as his vice presidential running mate for the 2004 general election.

After the ticket's loss, Edwards never stopped running -- working to re-position himself to the ideological left by apologizing for his vote in favor of the Iraq war resolution and cozying up to organized labor.

Despite his proven strength in Iowa, Edwards was never able to compete financially with then Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 presidential contest.

Prior to the revelations regarding his affair, he was mentioned as a possible Attorney General in the Obama Administration although those close to the President insist Edwards was never on their radar for the post.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 21, 2010; 7:48 AM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party  
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More gibbering about Sarah Palin as president? Jesus, process some new data would you? Even a solid majority of Republicans think she's unfit for the job. No amount of celebrity razzle dazzle is going to make a silk purse our if that sow's ear. She should have kept her mouth shut, everyone knows she's an idiot, except maybe one troll on The Fix.

It would take a coup to put her in office. You probably pray for it. Probably see The Handmaid's Tale as utopia.

Posted by: Noacoler | January 22, 2010 2:16 AM | Report abuse

This stuff belongs in the newspapers they sell at the checkout counter in a grocery store. Prurient goddamn gossip.

Posted by: Noacoler | January 22, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

Back on topic:

In an excerpt from his upcoming interview with ABC News's Bob Woodruff, Andrew Young alleges that Edwards asked him to arrange a fake a paternity test.

"Get a doctor to fake the DNA results," Young said Edwards told him. "And he asked me ... to steal a diaper from the baby so he could secretly do a DNA test to find out if this [was] indeed his child."

Supposedly, there were OTHER women besides Rielle Hunter. How many did Elizabeth Edwards know about, and when?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Off the top of my head, I could list all of the issues that I agree with her on (like abortion, stem cell research, terrorism, energy, global warming, etc.), and state that I haven't found a single one where I've disagreed with her on yet. That's amazingly lucky for me, since I am ALWAYS more conservative than any candidate I've voted for, and worth my vote right there. Have you ever voted for a candidate you agreed 100% of the time with?

But that's bound to be dismissed by you as further proof she would only appealing to "teabaggers". I would submit, however, that you would be missing the fact that great leaders throughout history have taken controversial stands (Lincoln opposing slavery, FDR with the New Deal, Reagan confronting the Evil Empire), and even those who disagreed with their positions still admired their convictions, consistency, and character. Does that mean those Presidents were "liked" by their opponents? Probably not, but the history books get the final judgment anyway.

There are plenty of reasons to "like" her, but I think that's the wrong question. Will she be the right President that America needs in 2012 or 2016? That's the question every citizen should concentrate on. If you are hard-left and disagree with her on every policy position, then I'm sure you think she would take the country down the wrong path. If you are a right-thinking independent, however, you can live with a few policy implications not exactly how you would do it, as long as you can trust her to do the right thing most of the time. She didn't get to be Governor for lack of talent. Does it not even impress you that she took on REPUBLICAN corruption in Alaska?

I don't have my copy of "Going Rogue" in front of me, so maybe once you get around to reading it slowly, you can see there are many specific examples of her upbringing, political roots, values and vision that I am missing.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Riddle me this, Jake: What is good about Palin? Forget what sucks about her (which is a lot), why should I (or anybody else who is not a tea-bagger) like her?

Posted by: elijah24 | January 21, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

No, elijah24, Palin is not "as bad" as Edwards. I will GLADLY defend her.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama's main problem is he spent all of 2008 lying to America - and all of 2009 breaking his campaign promises - this lack of trust means Obama is DONE - there really is no way around that.


Posted by: 37thand0street | January 21, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Don't make me defend Edwards. His behavior is unexcusable. That said, yes, Palin is as bad. And if the arial wolf-hunting isn't enough, there is the actual ethics charge of abuse of power for firing the guy who wouldn't fire her brother-in-law. What Edwards did was incredibly imoral, but it was not a violation of ethics (unless he used taxpayer or donor money to do it, which he may have.)

Posted by: elijah24 | January 21, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

It is time to replace Pelosi.


Posted by: 37thand0street | January 21, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I presume shooting liberals from helocopters would be better but that is not legal quite yet.

but seriously, are you that ethically challenged to equate these things?

Posted by: drivl | January 21, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Jake @12:30: if saying it isn't true makes it not true ("Palin has denied the allegations") then I'm going to deny that Scott Brown won the election on Tuesday.

Do you see the difference? I don't.

BTW, I am with you about Mrs. Edwards: she allowed herself to become part and parcel of his lie. But to go on about "what if he had become pResident?" as you have? There's no reason to wet your pants about stuff that didn't happen.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | January 21, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh, come on, elijah24, Cheney didn't MEAN to shoot him in the face (he WAS a lawyer, so Dick probably was aiming for where his heart is supposed to be ; )

At least we aren't stuck in the days of Hamilton-Burr duels.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

She CONTINUED lying on the campaign trail, trying to get into the White House, even though she knew he had the affair. She knew EXACTLY what she was doing. Maybe take a day to think about it, sure, but there's no excuse for going forward. Who knows how many other women she knew about and covered up? I feel the same way about Hillary Clinton BTW. At least Gov. Sanford's wife did the right thing. For some reason, the cancer angle garners irrational sympathy for Mrs. Edwards.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Seriously Drivel? The last Republican VP shot someone in the face. The last Republican VP candidate was paying tax-dollars to people for the left foreleg of wolves, and favored shooting them from helocoptors. Don't act like d0uchebaggery is limited to my party. Your side isn't perfect either.

Posted by: elijah24 | January 21, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

And thats a reasonable point. Still, given what she was going through at the time, I find it difficult to blame her for not thinking clearly. Keep in mind, all of that information hit her pretty much at once. Would you trust yourself to make a critical decision like that one if you had just learned you were dying that that you would do so without the person you thought you would grow old with because she is in love with a younger more attractive person than you? I wouldn't.

Posted by: elijah24 | January 21, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

If liberals are gullible enough to nominate this wanton creep as their VP. what's next?

how about a present idential candidate without a shred of experience and without the requisite decision making capabilites to even choose a dog or a church?

but I digress. too late.

Posted by: drivl | January 21, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

elijah24 and patrick10:

I could care less if she lost her temper -- the fact is that they BOTH ran for President (and First Lady) thinking that they could continue the subterfuge -- that was my initial point.


Re-read the article. John Edwards has now CONFIRMED the allegations. Sarah Palin has denied the allegations. See the difference?

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

I keep on thinking of MEN IN BLACK - Tommy Lee Jones tells Will Smith that "Everything in the National Enquirer is True"

And they start to flash headlines about all these alien landings - and all the other stuff in that paper.

It is hilarious - but the National Enquirer ran the story.


Posted by: 37thand0street | January 21, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Elisabeth Edwards really got the sham here. John Edwards is another Newt Gingrich. It shows what is wrong with American socity today. Wife gets cancer so he goes to cheating. What a jerk! John Edwards political career is over, thank God. There was talk of him running here in NC against Richard Burr this year. That has been squashed. With all of the Democrat's problems, nationally & locally in our state of NC, Richard Burr is a great candidate and a shoo-in for reelection.

Posted by: reason5 | January 21, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

poor kid!!!!!!!!

Posted by: buerkel2 | January 21, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

How is it that ex democrat officials are all shown to be liars, cheats, criminals, charlatans, or frauds. All.

True, but at least they leave the young boys for the Republican kiddie fiddlers.

Posted by: patrick10 | January 21, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Ok Jake, I just read the brief synopsis of what was said about Elizabeth Edwards in Game Change. All I can say is this: From all that I have seen of her, and read of her, through 2 presidential elections, she seems to be a strong, smart, passionate, principalled woman. If she lost her cool a few times (or even several times) after learning that her cancer was terminal, her husband was cheating on her, and his mistress was pregnant with his child, all while most of her day was spent in front of cameras that were waiting to pounce on anything as her husband was running for President of the United States; I can't really hold that against her.

Posted by: elijah24 | January 21, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The most disgusting aspect of this is he actually thought he could continue the subterfuge and ran for office. Where do these politicians get their incredible nerve and stupidity from?

Posted by: patrick10 | January 21, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

On whether this is "The Fix" or "The View", I rest my case.


Posted by: bsimon1 | January 21, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse


You missed "Game Change" re. Mrs. Edwards?

Jake, did you miss "Game Change" re Mrs. Palin? Or were those the only sections of the book that are lies? And if the Palin sections are also true, how could you possibly want this nut to be president?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | January 21, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Something tells me if this was a failed Republican candidate it would be a lot bigger news today.

Posted by: restonhoops | January 21, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Really, Moonbat? Do you really want to insinuate that this is a Democratic Party problem? Do you want me to run through the list of Republicans who are just as bad?
This isn't a partisan problem. This is an arrogance problem. "Both houses are guilty. All will be punished. ALL WILL BE PUNISHED!" -Shakespeare.

Posted by: elijah24 | January 21, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Newsflash: liberals lie when they smell power.

Newsflash: liberal voters are clueless

what you already knew that?

How is it that ex democrat officials are all shown to be liars, cheats, criminals, charlatans, or frauds. All.

Hint: they are while in office but boneheads ignore it.

Posted by: Moonbat | January 21, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Jake, I have so many books I intend to read. Game Change is on the list but it's pretty far down the line. I'm dislexic, which causes me to be a pretty slow reader. I still havent gotten to Going Rogue yet either.

Posted by: elijah24 | January 21, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I don't think cheating on ones wife should disqualify the person from office. A lot of good people have big flaws. JFK, FDR, Jefferson, all had affairs. My problem with Edwards is not the affair itself. But when your wife has cancer, and you make plans to marry your mistress after her death (as if the death of a good woman is something to look forward to) is reprehensible. There is a line separating human frailty and soulless indecency. Mr. Edwards can't look back and see that line anymore.

Posted by: elijah24 | January 21, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse


You missed "Game Change" re. Mrs. Edwards?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Note that Edwards only made this admission when he found out Young was going to spill the beans on national TV, which has been Edwards' modus operandi all along: lie until proven to be a bald-faced liar, then offer up a small shred of truth but nothing more. He and Slick Willie are cut from the same lying cloth. More to come I'm sure.

Posted by: flintston | January 21, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: gmart68b | January 21, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Hee-fricking-larious. And to think John Kerry picked this goof for a running mate says a lot about Senator Lurch's judgment. The only thing funnier is that I still see people driving around with Kerry/Edwards stickers on their cars.

Man, do I feel for that poor child. She's got the nuttiest parents she could possibly have. Edwards "hope(s) she'll forgive him when she understands why he did it?" Huh? What exactly is it that she's supposed to understand? That he was going to lie his way into the White House and that made it okay? This guy is still delusional.

And JakeD, you are spot-on. Clinton never should have been allowed to hold office following any affair. I guess Edwards took his example from Slick Willie: lie and deny, then get the accuser reassigned and paid-off, or publicly marginalize and fire her. It worked for Willie..

Posted by: flintston | January 21, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I lived in Raleigh when Edwards won his race against Faircloth and it was a HUGE victory. I actually worked part-time at the Restaruant where he had one of his victory parties and he and Elizabeth were super nice to everyone that night even coming into the kitchen and thanking all the cooks. This is one of the stories of someone who had tremendous potential that started listening to much to his own hype.
It really is too bad because I think he is a bright guy who at least in the past did understand what it meant to be a regular person in this country, but I have no sympathy for a guy who cheats on his wife when she is sick with Cancer (same reason I can't stand Newt Gingrich)

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 21, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Ok my first try at this comment didnt make the cut, so lets try again: Really Chris? A whole blog about John Edwards? Can't we all agree that he is a giant bag of a womans hygene product; that his wife is far too good for him; and that he is only really fit for tabloid fodder and move on?

Posted by: elijah24 | January 21, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

LOL!!! Can you imagine if he had been able to hide this just a little longer and he was sworn in as Attorney General? The potential for blackmail is why I was so against Bill Clinton too. I know that no one is perfect, but we can never have this level of immorality in our elected officials (let alone trusting someone who can lie like this to his own wife). I'm glad this national nightmare is finally over.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

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