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. Out with McWar

    What is this he said lasted a month back in 2006 then read he has been seen sneaking around hiding in a Hotel in Ca. in the midnight hours what was that escapade about to be back in the sack ,letting Little Johnny loose to check out the scenery ,its his kid or both.
    He has just admitted only the dam was leaking but just wait the dam is ready to burst . they have opened the flood gate.

    How can Obama be blamed for what J.E. does its like blamingObama for what McCain did to his wife and 3 kids while still married to her he was cheating with Cindy read he purchased a marriage license to marry Cindy before he was divorsed .
    A long list of both Republicans and Democrats known
    including all types of sexual misconducts throw them all under the bus but include them all .

    August 9, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. jeremy

    why is it that nobody ever mentions the fact that McCain also had an affair? he is the one still in the campaign?

    August 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. MARGARITA

    SO IF HE TOLD HIS WIFE 2 YEARS AGO AND IT WAS OVER?

    ... WHAT WAS HE DOING IN HER HOTEL ROOM A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO?

    THOSE PICTURES N THE ENQUIRER LOOK LIKE A DAD PLAYING WITH HIS BABY...

    THANK GOD FOR BLOGGERS AND ALTERNATIVE NEWS... CAUSE THE MAIN STREET MEDIA IS DEAD.

    August 9, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Northwest Washington

    This is such a sad story. Reminds me of John McCain,s story and how he and Cindy met and what happened to his first wife.

    August 9, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Paul Revere

    Yeah, he lied. He struggled with his wife's sickness and had to think of his own needs to get through it. He's human. Unfortunate but true. Curious NO ONE is up in arms about our current President, VP, etc. lying and getting THOUSANDS of our troops killed in the process. NO ONE is up in arms about the White House and the Justice dept. highjacking this country and leaving us to foot the bill FOREVER. NO ONE is upset that Speaker Pelosi is sandbagging impeachment hearings (though I know it could jeopardize the election for Obama) THIS is what we should be upset about. I am indeed disappointed in Sen. Edwards, but that is between him, his wife and family and their God.

    August 9, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. Darryl Miller

    What about John McCain continuing to Lie...

    Time and time again, McCain was on the wrong side of key debates when it mattered most. In addition to his opposition to a federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., McCain was the deciding vote against overriding President Bush’s veto of the 1990 Civil Rights Act–the first defeat of a major civil rights bill in a quarter of a century. To make matters worse, just last weekend McCain defended the vote by equating it to “quotas,” even though the bill had nothing to do with quotas.

    May 2006: McCain voted against an amendment that would provide $20 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for health care facilities.
    April 2006: McCain was one of only 13 Senators to vote against $430,000,000 for the Department of Veteran Affairs for Medical Services for outpatient care and treatment for veterans.
    1
    March 2006: McCain voted against increasing Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.

    March 2004: McCain once again voted for abusive tax loopholes over veterans when he voted against creating a reserve fund to allow for an increase in Veterans' medical care by $1.8 billion by eliminating abusive tax loopholes. Jeez, McCain really loves those tax loopholes for corporations, since he voted for them over our veterans' needs.
    October 2003: McCain voted to table an amendment by Senator Dodd that called for an additional $322,000,000 for safety equipment for United States forces in Iraq and to reduce the amount provided for reconstruction in Iraq by $322,000,000

    August 9, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. Sad, but often typical...

    Too bad. The typical wannabe. Could of been...Should of been...Now, crashing and burning in both a public and private fiasco. I feel sorry for his fine wife and children as well as the rest of his family. Just let it go and know that he wasn't the first and won't be the last. Real love still does (inspite of this) live forever...all over the place.

    August 9, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. ch

    What career?

    Kerry/Edwards lost in 2004 and he didn't even make it to Super Tuesday in 2008.

    August 9, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. CONSERVATIVE VOTER

    Sen Mc Cain DID WORSE THAN Sen Edward because he HAD AN AFFAIR with Cindy while HIS CRIPPLED wife was suffering , and he DIVORCED her to MARRY THE HEIRESS. Edward did not DIVORCE his wife. An GUESS what Mc Cain is THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT and CALLS HIMSELF A MAVERICK. WHAT A JOKE AND DOUBLE STANDARDS.

    August 9, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Edwards is, not only, a moral jerk, he is now a huge political liability and embarrasment. He is a liar and a hypocrit. I have such synpathy for his wife. How could he do something so rotten to a woman going through cancer? What a pig!

    August 9, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. Karen

    Dear CNN,
    Why have you never reported how John McCain
    cheated with Cindy on his 1st wife Carol?
    Carol was even confined to a wheel chair.

    August 9, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. William Courtland, Earth

    The level of hypnotism found corrupting the higher levels of power is amazing isn't it, but that is a topic of religion still and not just the laws against witchcraft as witchcraft insights violence.

    the evolution of communistic Nihilation.

    August 9, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. jimmie brenner

    Who Cares about these things anymore. Sadly, it's become the norm!

    August 9, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. Emma, San Jose, CA

    I disagree. Many Americans see Edwards as what the country needs.

    August 9, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. MC- Atlanta,GA

    He'd still be a great president...

    August 9, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. Ken

    The biggest looser of our lifetime!

    August 9, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. mrspeel

    This story has saturated every TV station, every blog and every newspaper for over 24 hours now and I find myself asking one question over and over again: Why? Why is this such a big story when he's not the first pol to have an affair, then turn around and lie about it?

    I can think of 3 Politicians that the country still loves that walked that slippery slope and lived to tell about it, so let me count the ways!

    Has he done anything worse than Bill Clinton, who actually had HIS affair in the White House while serving as POTUS, then lied about it?

    Any different from Newt Gingrich who laid around – then left – his wife while she had cancer?

    How about John McCain, who had numerous affairs and then got his marriage license to marry Cindy before he was even divorced?

    Why isn't the media discussing these? Especially John McCain, since HE is actually a candidate RIGHT NOW for the highest office in the land. Yes, the same man that has the gall to tell everyone within earshot that Sen Obama "doesn't have the judgment to lead this country", when in reality it is HE that lacks judgment!

    August 9, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. Barb Noel

    To all news people on CNN: When will this Edwards saga end? My common sense tells me that it takes 2...female too. She is getting away with not being involved..only John Edwards. It takes 2. She said it was life altering for her. Enough is enough. There is enough other news going on like the Bejing athletes.

    August 9, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  19. Len in Washington

    OK, CNN enough is enough. It's starting to look like you won't be happy until you destroy his family as well. Don't come back with "He did it, not us." That won't fly. You're doing this for ratings and it's blatant.

    Shame on you.......

    August 9, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  20. Jim in Orlando

    If we never hear of John Edwards again, that will be fair enough.

    August 9, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  21. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    I don't believe this admission will hurt Edwards carreer, this is a tactic by hillary supporters out of spite.

    August 9, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. Ken

    The media was busy going to Chicago to dig dirt about Obama. Obama went through hell during the primary and he deserved better!

    August 9, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  23. beth

    Its not the affair that upsets me as much as the timing of his wife battling cancer, that man is sick

    August 9, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  24. J.C.

    We all know that Edwards won't be on the short list.
    If he isn't running, it is none of our business any more.
    CNN, let's leave the Edwards' alone and move on to important issues facing our country ASAP.

    August 9, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. Bob

    I'm not sure why anyone would suggest this might end Edwards' political career. At least he's still with his wife and kids. John McCain left his wife and small children for a woman he met in a bar in Hawaii and it didn't end his career. McCain's political career appears to be moving along fairly well. Given this obvious comparison why would CNN even suggest 'political free fall' for Edwards?

    August 9, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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