August 9th, 2008
02:15 PM ET
9 years ago

Edwards could face political free fall from affair

Former Sen. John Edwards had been mentioned as a possible 2008 vice presidential candidate.

Former Sen. John Edwards had been mentioned as a possible 2008 vice presidential candidate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - John Edwards, who made his marriage a central part of his overall message during the 2008 Democratic primaries - was dealt a political blow Friday after admitting to having an extramarital affair.

In an interview on ABC News "Nightline," Edwards acknowledged the affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter, which began after she was hired to make documentary videos for his campaign, ABC said.

Watch: Edwards' interview

Opinions, however, are mixed on whether he would have a future in politics.

CNN contributor James Carville, a former aide to Bill Clinton - who acknowledged an extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky in his second term - said Edwards' career is in dire straits.

"Certainly, his political career is in shambles. It's not going to come back. I humanly feel sorry for Mrs. Edwards. I feel sorry for the Edwards children. But I'm not shocked," he said Friday.

Elizabeth Edwards, in a posting on the Daily Kos Web site, said, "The fact that it is a mistake that many others have made before him did not make it any easier for me to hear when he told me what he had done.

"But he did tell me. And we began a long and painful process in 2006, a process oddly made somewhat easier with my [cancer] diagnosis in March of 2007. This was our private matter, and I frankly wanted it to be private, because as painful as it was, I did not want to have to play it out on a public stage as well."

Like Carville, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger said this incident could hurt his career.

"Obviously, lying like this, brazenly, is going to put an end, probably, to his political career and could affect whether he gets any role if Barack Obama were to win the presidency," she said Friday.

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soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Tabloid Politics

    What who are you kidding? how can you have a fee fall if you are already bottomed out?

    If he was a preacher, then people would forgive him. But not a politician–we hold those bums to a higher standard.

    August 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. Mike Dallas

    Dallas Morning New Attacks Edwards for Infidelity

    Your self-righteous and judgmental editorial attack on John Edwards and his current marital problems shows hubris alright, but not with John Edwards, but the DMN editorial staff. You skewer a man and attack him everyway possible, who I might add is NOT running for public office at this time. However, before you trot Mr. Edwards out as public enemy number one, I would suggest you Google John McCain, who last time I noticed was currently running for the Presidency, and see how Cindy McCain came to know John McCain, so to speak, there was an ill and disfigured first wife involved and a soon to be new trophy wife on the sideline. Cindy McCain also had the money to salve the first wife's pain by providing her with lifetime medical care. So, if you are going to skewer men for infidelity and adultery, do not pretend that John Edwards invented the practice.

    NOTE: If the aggrieved wives in both of the above situations have come to terms with the issues and forgiven their respective husbands, just how does that make it any of yours, mine or anyone else's business?

    August 9, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. Joan

    I am always suspicious of a husband who tries to make political hay out of his wife's cancer diagnosis and treatment. Kudos to Elizabeth for handling his "indiscretion" so well while also having to deal with a cancer diagnosis and all the weeks of treatment.

    Eizabeth's support of Clinton became obvious when she ceased appearing with Edwards after he announced his endorsement of Obama…..and Elizabeth wasn't at his side at that time, nor since.

    It must be a very strained household. Edwards is a rat!

    August 9, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. jimmy

    Mrs. Edwards is a very courageous woman and will get thru this and and the children will
    still love their father no matter what. John does not need a political career. He is a good lawyer. One mistake does not end his life and profession. Look at all the politicians and even ministers, pastors
    of churches who made the same mistake and who are still "
    "practicing".. There have been even many of our Presidents who did the same thing. We simply do not beat up on a fallen man .

    August 9, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. yankeegirl15

    JAMES CARVELLE SAID THIS COULD END EDWARDS CAREER???? What kind of dope is Mr. Magoo on? The original Clinton A– kiss thinks this will ruin Edwards career. Put Edwards and Clinton on stage on Wed. of the convention. "Southern Narcissitic Mens Night. " Followed by HIlls and Liz-staying because I'm dying, staying because I have NO self-respect and lots of ambition I cannot fill myself".

    August 9, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. libs be dopes

    Obama/Edwards 2008!


    August 9, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. obama is the most dangerous man alive

    Democrats are very proud to be stupid. Just look at obama and his followers.

    August 9, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. Tim

    Good to see the MSM was all over this story. If it was a Republican presidential candidate, it would have been much different. But bias, what bias?

    August 9, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Kjetil

    I belive he will come back, and i dont understand why he should not attendt. His wife has known this for like two years, and no reason for us to be so insulted by this. People do mistakes, and its ofcourse not good to lie about it, but its very private, and most of us would have difficulties even talking to friends about something like this in our own lifes.

    PS. Will Jimmy Carter talk before Bill Clinton since both are privious presidents? I also hope Al Gore, John Kerry, Bill Richardson, John Biden and John Edwards will attend and talk. For me its not that important that Edwards or Bill Clinton has had an affair as long as their wifes have forgiven them.

    August 9, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Jason

    Are you kidding? The domocratic party loves this in its people!! Look at Banrey Frank. Of course his escapade was with a young mana page I believe. Congressman Jefferson who had cold hard cash in his refridgerator. He was given a standing ovation by his Democratic peers. Edwards only hang up is that it wasnt with 10 woman at once. It may be hard for the democrates to overlook just one woman.

    August 9, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Matt, Manchester, CT

    It couldn't happen to a nicer hypocrite.

    August 9, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Travis

    Ya shoulda used the head with the most brain John .or did you?..who


    August 9, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. That's my opinion

    No man tells his wife he’s cheating on her unless he gets caught. Who would intentionally bring that kind of pain on a spouse unless they had a lot of explaining to do? And NO man is dumb enough to continue to see his supposedly “ex”-mistress if the affair is truly over, especially in the middle of the night two years later.

    I really liked John Edwards; he was my first choice for President. Now he’s just another dirty dog trying to talk his way out of a “gotcha”.

    August 9, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. nate

    When you look into a person's eyes and lie to them, they will never trust you again. In this case that person was the American public. Bill's case was different because he already had been the most powerful man in the world for yrs.

    August 9, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Steve Harrison

    political free fall hmmm. You think!!

    August 9, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. California Gold

    John Edwards is a fine lawyer and a politician who has logged in years of working for the betterment of his constituents. He is a favorite with many voters because he grasps the change we want and has the talent to get the slow wheels of government turning. That's what is important about John Edwards. That is why we need to keep our focus on reform and change.

    August 9, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. sefb

    they're all guilty of affairs and mistruths.. however, at least the democrats are sleeping with women!

    August 9, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. C'mon CNN, post this one...

    So, how much of the centrist democrat, white vote did Edwards siphon off of HRC? Enough to land Obama the nomination? Perhaps Obama and Edwards colluded, with the promise of VP to the other. Of course, Edwards' "little secret" ruined their plan. Why else is Obama now scrambling at the 12th hour for a VP and trying to make nice with the Clintons all of a sudden? Given this new information...HRC should place her name in nomination!!!

    August 9, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. Nolonger Republican Obamacan all the way 08

    well what can we say, Clinton had a woman on the side but he did not leave his wife, McCain had Cindy, but ....waite he did leave his wife.
    I guess Money and Power will make some immoral men feel like they can have any and every woman they want…I notice that the McCain camp and or Fox new is not jumping all over this…. I wonder why hmmm…. That is right he did his ex-wife one better not only did he have an affair but he LEFT his wife for Cindy Big bucks, and the would be the cat trying to call the kettle black

    August 9, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Ella

    He is still most likely not telling the 100% truth. What was he doing in that hotel? He is trying to say "I admit it, I am out of politics for now, leave my wife and family to suffer, and maybe I'll be back in a few years". The scam is obvious....

    He will surely dodge the paternity test!!!! He surely thinks we are idiots!

    These politicians have relied on the stupidity of the public for too long... Give the public some nice talking and they can "buy" the story! Beware of the "unknown" when it comes to politicians"!!!!!!

    August 9, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. J.C.

    I agree with Carville and I am not shocked, either.
    That's why I would not vote for Edwards in the primary.

    August 9, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. Sanford

    At least John McCain never cheated on his wife.

    Oh... wait...

    August 9, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. Grow Up

    Same old pathetic capaign from Mcsame. You have nothing to offer the american people, so just trash your opponent. Your not going to be able to fool enough people this year Mcsame!

    August 9, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. Rex, Michigan

    He had sex with another woman. So...

    August 9, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. Emster

    Well ... John McCain seems to have carried on just fine in politics, even after he had a well-known affair with Cindy while McCain was still married to his first wife. Edwards referred to this during his public statements. So why does McCain not get any negative scrutiny about his past adultery?

    August 9, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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