August 9th, 2008
02:15 PM ET
5 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. Shame on YOU!!!

    I feel sorry for Mrs Edwards and the Children .......The Heck with that $400.00 Haircut Guy ...he should take some of that money and get his teeth cleaned and straighten......McCain still has a career in polictics ...he Cheated on his sick wife and dump her for Cindy that is why he said no comment when ask about Edwards

    August 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Misty

    You'll leave John Edwards alone. The only people he is supposed to answer and have already done so is his wife and kids. He and Ms Hunter are adults and did what they did as adults. How many men and women have had extra marital affaies but are still good husbands and wife– good fathers and mothers- and good human beings.

    There are worse things we can worry about in people.

    Lying and ommitting the evidence and going to WAR and killing so many of our kids and Iraqi people.

    Ignoring global warming and housing crisis.

    Selling US Soul to Cheap Chinese Goods

    Sending US jobs Overseas.

    WORRY ABOUT THAT– Leave Edwards and people like him alone.

    August 9, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Jim

    Ok, you've spent too much time on this.

    How about covering the confirmed charges that Bush/Cheney ordered papers fabricated to support their intention to invade Iraq as documented in Ron Suskind‘s book “The Way of the World”?

    Edwards lied to protect his wife and family from the yellow journalism that has erupted; Bush/Cheney lied to start a war, and tens of thousands of people have died.

    August 9, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Hans-Erik Iken

    The man made a mistake, owned up to his wife about it 2 yeas ago.

    Why don't the y all just leave them alone and sort out there own mess. The hypocrasy is staggering, cheating on the wife/husband is being done daily by many. The people should stay out and let him and his wife handle it their own way. Get a life of your own instead of poking in somebody elses.

    August 9, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. Richard

    Compared to lying to the country, taking us to war under false pretenses, shredding the constitution, and possibly being guilty of war crimes, this is merely a sad commentary on human fraility and a private matter. Time to move on and let the Edwards family put things back together if possible.

    Bill's daliance in the oval office didn't seem to hurt him to much, so cut it out already.

    August 9, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. William Raymond

    WHO CARES? It's not like he committed a crime by soliciting sex in a restroom stall. Nor did he molest under age pages.
    He's not in the race. Leave them alone.

    August 9, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. Lori

    I wouldn't vote for this jerk for head streetsweeper.

    Yes, adultery is not uncommon. That doesn't make it right, and there's no reason anyone (particularly Elizabeth) should look the other way.

    He denies being the father of that child? Like his word means anything any more.

    August 9, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    All the pots out there will be calling the kettle black. HA !!

    Edwards did no more than what McCain did to his crippled wife that raised his children for him.

    Of course, McCain then married enough money to launch a political career and stay on government provided health care, soc. sec., disability, retirement all his life. It's no wonder he doesn't care about the little people. He has never been one of us. $520 everyday loafers anyone?

    August 9, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. Julie

    The extramarital affair, with possible issue, of John Edwards is clearly an act of poor judgement. Conversely, the woman involved KNEW he was married but participated and likely created the scenario anyway. John and Elizabeth Edwards have my vote for many things but this kind of garbage is why I left the Democratic Party. WHY do Democrats sexualize everything? It's then so EASY for the Republicans to target them!

    August 9, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. Ed

    Why is it that Democrats can't keep their peckers in their pants?? Can we really trust that the Obama with all of his celebrity status can keep his in??

    August 9, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. Marilyn

    Of course his political career is over!!! He put himself forth as an honest, trustworthy family man and now he has shown himself to be a fraud. I know I would never vote for him again! Cheating on your wife while she is fighting incurable cancer is about as sleezy as you can get! He probably is the father of the child and that may be the real reason he dropped out of the race in January. I am disgusted by him and don't want to see his face or hear about him again.

    August 9, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. R. Cooper

    Mr. Edwards hasn't done anything that every other politician has done in Washington. Leave hime alone!

    August 9, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. Yupik1

    McCain's political stature should take a freefall as well.  His marital history is less than perfect compared to Edwards'.  Why do you think he had no comments when the news broke out.

    August 9, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. NCOAK

    I guess it's over for McCain....you know, for cheating on his crippled wife. The outrage!

    August 9, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. Matt from Oregon

    This is absolute garbage. The guy is scum for cheating on his wife, but why has the press not reported on John McCain's ex-wife who he pretty much did the same thing to? Oh that's right, I forgot how bias the media is in their favorable coverage of McCain.

    August 9, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. Dan, TX

    I don't know why people are upset about Edwards. John McCain not only had an affair, he divorced his wife and married Cindy. I guess since Cindy was a millionaire, republicans think that was just good business practice?

    August 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  17. Last Honest Man

    First ......Paul Begala is a complete jerk. John Edwards as well as his wife are liars. If you are a Democrat take off your defensive hats and thank God these two did not get away with their deception. He and she knew the truth. Even though she is a victim in this she is guilty of deception
    for every person they spoke before and every dollar they took.

    August 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. Sarah

    Wait, WHY would this hurt Democrat's chances in the fall? It's not as if the fact that McCain left his disabled wife to marry a younger, blond heiress has been played against him. Edwards isn't even on the ticket!

    One Democrat having an affair hurts the Democratic nominee, but nobody's asking if the Republican nominee's affair(s?) have hurt HIS chances?

    Ridiculous.

    August 9, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. yie lee

    His career is over because he never apologized.

    August 9, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Ivie

    Ok, so the media is going to be all shocked and pretend that John McCain didn't leave his sick ex-wife for Cindy McCain. We are also going to momentarily forget that most all of the politicians have had affairs, secret abortions, etc., as do over half of men and women in other marriages. Of course it is sad and wrong for John Edwards to have cheated on his wife, ill or not. Just as it is for any man or woman to cheat on their spouse. But, there are slim pickens these days for qualified men and women to lead this country. Ironically enough, part of that problem is because of the tabloid manner in which the media have evaluated and raked potential candidates over the coals. John Edwards is a very capable person and cares about the right things. I don't think this country can afford to continue to bring people down for these sorts of things (a trend started by the Republican party, I believe) and discourage qualified people from coming forward to run for office. Judgements that men (or women) make regarding sexual choices have nothing to do with running a country. Clinton is proof of that, so I think it is disingenuous to go there. And, history will show that that is true for past Republicans and Democrats.

    August 9, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. For Edwards

    Don't you people realize that Edwards wasn't thinking about or care about what all of you reporters feelings when he denied the rumors. He was thinking and caring about how this would affect his wife and children. I realize you people love the spin and love to beat a dead horse. I can certainly understand why he lied to reporters. IT IS NUNNIEA (NONE ON YOUR BUSINESS.
    BY the why how's your girlfriend in Bridgeport? Or is that Tampa oh no I forgot it's Dallas Or is it all of the above and more?????

    August 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. Mauri

    Even without this latest deed and confession, John Edwards proved in the primaries that he had no political career. Earning a "big" 12 delegates speaks for itself. So the only thing he has to worry about is devoting his entire time, treasure and lifelong labors for the benefit of his wife, children and his Maker. Only then will he earn the respect and forgiveness of the community.

    August 9, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. Steve

    Everyone thought it was over for Bill when he had his Oval Office recreational activities. He may not be holding office, but he's doing just fine, and still a political mover and shaker. The same will happen to Edwards. Give it a while to blow over. He may never hold a high office, but he'll be just fine.

    August 9, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. Susan

    He did a terrible thing to his wife and children.......something they will never forget. This tells 'what kind of a person he really is'.

    We were for him, but not now. Sure don't want him for VP.

    August 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. mama coo

    While everyone is vilifying John Edwards no one seems to be talking about the role of Ms. Hunter. Ms. Hunter knowingly had an affair with a married man. As with a lot of the women who have gotten themselves involved with a famous married man, they walk away with little to no responsibility but get their 15 minutes of fame. Edwards career is gone, his wife looks pitiful and Ms. Hunter walks away with a lot of money. How sad, but it takes two to tangle.

    August 9, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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