August 8th, 2008
05:10 PM ET
10 years ago

Edwards: 'I have been stripped bare'

Edwards: ‘I am ashamed of my conduct and choices.”

Edwards: ‘I am ashamed of my conduct and choices.”

John Edwards released a statement Friday following a report that he had admitted an extra-marital affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter.

Watch: Edwards: 'I sin every single day'


August 8, 2008

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough.

I was and am ashamed of my conduct and choices, and I had hoped that it would never become public. With my family, I took responsibility for my actions in 2006 and today I take full responsibility publicly. But that misconduct took place for a short period in 2006. It ended then. I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established. I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of the baby. I also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby.

It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am sorry. In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic. If you want to beat me up – feel free. You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself. I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help.

I have given a complete interview on this matter and having done so, will have nothing more to say.

Filed under: John Edwards
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Makes no sense??

    While I honestly could give two cents about this...

    Why was he caught "visiting" this woman and her child just recently if this were just some fling in 2006? Sorry, John – This just does not add up and thank goodness you did not actually win the dem nomination as this would have totally blown any chance of actually winning the WH.

    Terribly bad judgment.

    August 8, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. Cynthia

    I agree with RDS. Two things to add to it (1) some have been thinking about it and (2) the only thing that is different is that in some of the cases where it is an every day John that does it – he is in most cases taking away money from their household that should be used there.

    August 8, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  3. Joe Kiloz

    John, blame Bush and the U.S. Corporations, they made you do it. I think in your profession it's called "temporary insanity."

    August 8, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. stephanie

    I found this very sad and a great letdown. His concerns with the poor and needy in this country is so important that I fear the reaction and the "hysteria" in the media will obliterate the important concerns he has been concerned in.

    That said, I remember a funny thing that a friend of mine (male) said some years ago regarding male infidelity.

    He drew a picture of a penis, pointed to it and said, "notice, there are no brain cells." Duh!!!

    August 8, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Willow, from Iowa

    What it comes down to, its nobody's business. Nobody should be asking him this, and he should be telling everyone that his sex life, his fidelity, his trust, is between him and his family. You can't get in trouble for lying if you say it that way. And its true. Its between him and his wife. I must admit, he picked a lousy time to be running around on his wife. Poor woman got no family support going through her cancer treatment.

    August 8, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. Peter E

    It's his private life. It is between him and his family. It is not to me or the general public he should apologize to, only his family. In no way do I see this affair affecting his politics and his care for the people he represents.
    So CNN, get off this story. There is a war in Georgia! People are dying there! You need to start reporting instead of digging mud.

    August 8, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. Kattie, ME

    Okay, move along CNN. Elizabeth has suffered enough.

    Obama 08

    August 8, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. What!!!

    Turn out the lights your career is over.

    August 8, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. James

    Keep your head up John so far as your wife as forgiven you, America will as well...........

    August 8, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. Oh Poooooleeeezzzze!

    Yes, yes, yes I did have sex with that woman but I swear I did not father her child...beat me, throw me to the dogs, I am a man, not a saint, I know I was a bad you think I can still be Prez one day?

    August 8, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  11. Kim

    Senator Edwards,

    We all fall down and we all fall short, this is between you God and your family. I pray that you will be able to move forward. I was not very happy with you this campaign season when you decided to support Senator Obama, but one thing I do realize as a human being is that we are just that Humans, we are not God and we are not perfect and I pray for you and your family, it is a matter for you all to handle not the public.

    August 8, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. Audrey Fryer

    I guess you'll be checking out John McCain's affairs and placing the question on the "Political Ticker".

    August 8, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. Marta

    Disappointed? Yes. But how many people (never mind politicians) would stand in front of a bank of cameras and make the heartfelt statement Edwards made? I think every person who has cheated on their spouse should be required to do that - and then they would be free to judge. Let him/her who is without sin . . . .

    August 8, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  14. lynn r.

    Jack, I always watch CNN, but today I became sick on my stomach listening to more talk about who sins and who else is an adulterer. Probably every news station is reporting on the Edwards situation just as was reported over and over and over about anyone else who society feels did a bad thing. There is not one human being that is perfect and without sin. We have no right condeming anyone or breaking anyone's spirit. One day all of us are going to be before the Judgement Seat of God and every one of us are going to be called out on what we've done wrong. I sure wouldn't want your job and have to talk about people and condemn and basically gossip although that's the news. You and all the rest need a job and need to keep making money. Just sitting and listening to this talk over and over again causes me to really feel sympathetic towards these people that you are gossiping about and calling it "News Reporting". What each person does is their business and they will have to answer for it. The only one that wears big enough shoes to condemn , judge, send to heaven or to hell is the one and only Jehovah God . I wish the best for everyone that has to live through the horror of the "News".

    August 8, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. stacy

    Now maybe people will leave Bill Clinton alone for a while

    August 8, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. Manuel TX

    It's none of my business...or yours.


    August 8, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  17. What!!!

    Wow you all forgive the Dem, but it is ok to after McCain because he had an affair? Nice double standard.

    August 8, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  18. curly

    Wow RDS, almost everyone on this blog cheats. I hope that you in fact owe almost everyone on this blog an apology. Maybe in your circle this is common. Not in mine. Guess this is what Democrats regard as a good family values. It is common place with them, they all do it and so they tell each other it is not big deal. Sad.

    August 8, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. NOTcrusher

    Too bad he didn't have the affair with his hairdresser; that would have been too funny. Edwards narcisstic? What a sleazebag. And you can quote me on that. Do you notice this article and Edwards' statement doesn't mention his recent liaison with this woman at the Beverly Hilton where he ran from the media and hid in the bathroom? Even Jay Leno talks about that every night, and ridicules the MSM for not talking about that.

    August 8, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Disgusted American

    In most circumstances it would be no one's business, but when you're running for President and the stakes are so high it is nothing less than stupid to go screwing around on your wife.

    It's unfortunate for his family, but for the potential harm to the election and votes which will inevitably go to McCain I have lost all respect for Edwards. I never was a big fan of his and this only solidifies my distrust of him and his stupid $400 haircut.

    Another liar politician .... weak.

    Go hide under a rock Edwards ... you have shamed the trust given to you by the people who put you in power and disgraced your family.

    August 8, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. dAN FrOm CALi


    August 8, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  22. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    What would the world be like if all men and women, (including those in the media) who have had affairs man up? Barbara Walters did, now all the press can do so too. Who will be first?

    CNN are you and politico owned by the same people?

    August 8, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. Michael Ray Thompson

    Welll what do you know? John Edwards is another Bill Clinton! He's another Gary Hart! He's living up to be a real Democrat. Congradulations, President McCain!

    August 8, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  24. Marty from Middletown, CT

    I forgive Edwards too, but that doesn't mean I'm stupid. The man did more than make a mistake; he lied about it while seeking the nomination for President. If he lied about that, what else would he lie about?

    How could a man who wanted to be President do something like this expecting that the truth wouldn't come out eventually? If you want to be in charge, you'll be held to a higher standard.

    August 8, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  25. Ellen in CA

    This should be an entirely private matter.
    Bill Clinton's affairs also should have been left entirely private.
    The press covered up all over the place for Jack Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt because the press at that time understood that its job is to cover matters of public importance.

    August 8, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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