March 11th, 2009
12:34 PM ET
9 years ago

Edwards steps back into spotlight

Edwards spoke at Brown University Tuesday.

Edwards spoke at Brown University Tuesday.

(CNN) - Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards waded back into the public eye Tuesday, months after admitting to an extramarital affair with a campaign aide that likely put an end to his political career.

In a speech at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, the two-time presidential candidate focused his remarks on issue of poverty, calling it a "fundamental issue," according to the Raleigh News and Observer.

In a question and answer session following the speech, only one student touched on the controversy that unfolded last summer, asking Edwards if politicians should be held to a higher standard than ordinary citizens.

“I don’t think it’s for a candidate to decide what’s appropriate,” Edwards said. “It’s something for every American to decide for themselves.”

“I have my own view, which I’m going to keep to myself tonight," he added.

Since admitting to an affair with former campaign videographer Rielle Hunter last August, the onetime vice presidential candidate has kept a low profile. Wife Elizabeth Edwards has continued to advocate for universal health care and is set to release a book in the coming months entitled, “Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities.”

Filed under: John Edwards
soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. jeanne

    Come back, we miss you.....2012.....

    March 11, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. sandra

    John Edwards is a hound dog. And his constant blabbering about 'poverty' when he was an ambulance-chaser rings hollow.

    Go back to the quiet obscurity that suited you so well........who cares what you think about anything?

    March 11, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. Proud Member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

    The American public does not want to hear from this man. Disgraceful.

    March 11, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. kim portland, oregon

    it's too bad edwards was so weak and selfish with the affair, there are many things about him that would have made for a great president or VP.

    and it's too bad that an affair (or a bj) can do so much damage to a politician who cares about the american people and our country, while rove, bush, cheney, rummy, condi, bremmer, wolfowitz, bin laden, bolton, john yu, and all the rest of the criminals who destroyed our economy, trashed our constitution, killed our soldiers, destroyed our worldwide reputation still go unpunished. it's time for our own version of a truth & reconciliation council-two words those sub-humans couldn't care less about.

    March 11, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. Rob

    Someone should ask him about the fundamental issue of men fathering children and then denying they're the father, or extramarital affairs when your wife is terminally ill.

    Now after his remarks on poverty did he take his several thousand dollar check for speaking there, get into his limo, and go back to his 25,000 square foot home? Apparently poverty is not only a fundamental issue, but a big source of income for Johnny. "I feel the pain of the poor. So much so that I have to take a moment and compose myself in my gold lined bathtub."

    March 11, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. constantgardner

    Our political system is hyppocritical re: politicians extramarital affairs & their ability to govern. Who cares if they have extra-marital lovers. It doent have anything to do with a persons ability to manage a state. I aggree that you cant run on family values & also have affairs , & expect to have any credibility i.e.elliott spitzer(corruption), and most republicans that were caught in sex scandals... Just look at the French, it is acceptable for their politicians to have a little sex scandal here & there. It's a shame that this mans career is over. He mostly ran on fairness in our society tried to shed light on the inequality btwn rich and poor. Politicians are humans too, they have flaws just like the rest of us. I say give him another chance.

    March 11, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. BKB

    John Edwards is a good man. Good men and women sometimes cheat. They cheat on spouses they love. It happens. Grow up.

    March 11, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. Amy

    In spite of making personal mistakes while in the national spotlight, John Edwards has an important message. It would be a horrible shame if what he has to teach us about poverty and equality gets lost again simply because scandal sells more ads than does an essential message about how we as a nation can work to help each other.

    March 11, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. carlo

    Come on guys. I didn't support him, but he made a mistake. We all make mistakes. Let the man move on.

    March 11, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. ray ray

    Johnny... is it your baby??

    March 11, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Steve

    He needs to go away...I will never listen to anything he has to say because of what he did to his wife who is dying of cancer. does he have no shame? Is he so desperate to be in the spotlight that he will keep subjecting everyone to his blathering? shut up already

    March 11, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Get Well Soon GOP

    I think we are being to hard on John. He only cheeted. His crime was getting caught. If only he had something real to bring to the problem I would say let him back in. How is his wife doing? She and that poor kid are the real victims in all of this.

    March 11, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. Marc in Virginia

    Much too much is made of his lapse in judgement. He had the stones to admit his mistake. Behind Hillary, he was my choice for Democratic nominee. My only issue with Edwards was his endorsement of Obama after the WV primary. It made no sense.

    March 11, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. obama-mama

    What he did was wrong but he is gooood lookin....We all make mistakes. I'm sure his poor wife has unburdened herself. So should we.

    March 11, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. donna

    John Edwards affair not anyone's business...we are always too worried about what goes on in other folks bedrooms but at the same time don't want anyone exposing our dirty secrets...he's a politician but he is also a human...everyone judging his "morals" probably shouldn't be throwing stones at anyone!!!!

    Let him and his family deal with his affair and let him continue to speak on issues that affect everyone...i.e. Poverty....

    March 11, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. Peter

    No, no, John – don't hide from this. Say it was a "youthful indiscretion". Or that if Newt ("Contract on America) Gingrich and Rush (Limberger-Cheese) Limbaugh can go through women in marriage like drinking soda pop, what could possiby be wrong with a little diddle on the side.

    March 11, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. Jennifer

    I miss the focus on poverty that John Edwards broght to the campaign. I wish he hadn't screwed up, so he could bring more focus & credibility to this important issue. I still believe he would have done great things as pres/vp. Or, Labor Secretary.


    March 11, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. Gary

    It's not up to me to forgive him it is up to his wife if she wants.


    1. He lied to his wife and the media so I would not likely ever trust him.
    2. He lives in a mansion with a huge electric bill, uses private jets, takes limosines then lectures us on the environment so I feel like he is a hypocrit.
    3. He managed a hedge fund and did lame medical malpractice so he can't be trusted to be objective in fixing wall street or healthcare reform.

    I think that he is better off staying in the private sector.

    March 11, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. bill b. from Stratford,Ct

    O so what, leave that man allow. What he did, it's his business and his family business. I find it very funny how some in the media and on this site can say anything about an affair when most of them have done the same thing except they haven't got caught or their not in the news like Edwards. Affairs have been going on since the beginning of time, so PLEASE with the ' O mighty holy than thou crap, people. MOVE ON

    March 11, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. dennis

    "Just look at the French, "

    We are NOT France (hello ???)

    "It's a shame that this mans career is over."

    Really ??????????

    "I say give him another chance."

    And I say you are an idiot. His wife is TERMINALLY ILL ! What a sheep.

    I thought we took Edwards out with the rest of the trash.....

    March 11, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. Betty


    March 11, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. PATC

    What a hypocrite. How much did he get to do this speech. More than probably 80% of Americans annual salary and then he will claim he is fighting poverty.

    March 11, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. Tim, PA

    constant gardener, you must be joking. Someone that is elected to represent you does so based on their internal values system. What are you saying? You want us to govern like the French. I suggest you pack your bags, and hey, take that ambiguous partisan comment about "most republicans that were caught in sex scandals" with you.

    March 11, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  24. NO credibility

    Edwards is dishonest and has zero credibility. Our leaders MUST be held to a higher standard. Get off the stage edwards – your 15 minutes of fame are over for this lifetime

    March 11, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. Janeg

    We have to lie in the bed we make for ourselves , but we are also taught to forgive. But it helps to ask for forgiveness , which I am sure he did with his family , but they were oit the only ones hurt by his actions , as a public figure , he should have made a public statement asking for forgiveness. Maybe he did and I am unaware.

    And as for the people on the vast right wing .....left wingers are not the only ones who fall from grace , do you need a list?

    Edwards has a lot more to give , let him make amends.

    March 11, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
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