March 11th, 2009
12:34 PM ET
5 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. JK Ashburn, VA

    Edwards is the quintessential hypocrit. Please go away.

    March 11, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. In Houston, TX

    I wasn't mad at Bill Clinton for his affair, I am not mad at John Edwards for his affair. His personal life is really none of my business, how he handles the affairs of the people is my business.
    And if this man has ever been an advocate of the people, if he has ever served us without corruption or malice, then I believe the public should forgive him. None of us are perfect

    March 11, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. George

    This guy is one of the biggest creeps in this country, and I'm in Illinois where that is a requirement to be a politician. It was good to have this clown out of the spotlight, but just like any self-serving and self-promoting plaintiff's lawyer, he won't leave well enough alone. He was finished a long time ago. Please, let him disappear into this country's long history of political cads and sham artists.

    March 11, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Obama

    I think anyone politically, or in the spotlight should try their best to be an example to others. Just like preachers and teachers etc. BUT.. we all have to remember that everyone is human. Everyone makes mistakes and those that havent can cast the first stone. (like to see who would think they are sinless)

    Also... I do think that people with money, People in entertainment, politics, teachers, preachers. In the limelight... they deal with more people, than most do. Its easy to stray. But they also allow it to happen more than most as well. Or maybe we just hear about it more and think that because they are in the light and up there where others are down here and not in the news. Who knows..

    But I still think people shouldnt judge and I still think that if your going to be in a position that you are looked at by many... be prepared in your life to be the example for others.

    I think where Edwards is concerned.. he just came across as one of those guys that stands by his wife... that has a almost perfect family.. That has his morals in tact. That just nobody I think realized or ever thought that this would come about and happen. And I think its shocked many!! Especially with his wifes illness. So its really struck people in a way most dont.

    March 11, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. dont drop the soap Limbaugh

    Edwards wasnt convicted of any crime.Lets see what am radio station the Alabama nut case was listening to before he did his evil deeds.Can you guess?

    March 11, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. wlma

    Absolute power brings absolute corruption

    March 11, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Mike, Albany

    Wayne LaPierre should be hanging his head in shame today. Why is this news?

    March 11, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. David in Indiana

    Anyone who wants to be an elected official should automatically be disqualified. Add term limits to the mix and we might actually end up with people who will represent us, and not people who make a career out of public service. Our long term public (servants) might have started out serving the people, but as time goes on, we have started to serve them.

    Elected officials are held to a higher standard. Own up to your mistakes and move on. One strike and your out.

    March 11, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. shoegazer

    Just how many of you out there have any idea about the occupants of the White House and how many of those men had a little action going
    on the side.I bet if the truth be known,the number would startle even the most ardent disbeliever.I would bet it ranks in the dozens.

    March 11, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. GiggsisGod

    While I don't have much love for Edwards, I don't feel that having an affair should exclude someone from being involved in politics and public policy.

    I do find it rather amusing that the righties on here are trashing Edwards and using stale talking points (i.e. 'he has a mansion and uses a limo so he is a hypocrite for being concerned about the environment' etc) while I'm sure you were supporting admitted adulterer McCain in the last election. How do you all feel about Newt Gingrich and Sen. David "Family Values = Cheating with Hookers" Vitter? Should they be out of politics?

    A little intellectual honesty would be nice.

    March 11, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. nenecats Houston

    Politically I hope he fulfills his goals. We would all be better off if he
    does. Personally, it's not up to us to judge. It is up to his wife and
    family. I can separate his personal life from the political life. He is
    a very smart man. He has a lot to offer and we have a lot to gain.

    March 11, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. TM in CO

    The man is human. The bible tells us that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. So, those of you without sin, cast the first stone. I think that John Edwards would make one heck of a leader and my hat is off to both him and Elizabeth.

    March 11, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Florida Joe

    John Edwards talking about poverty makes as much sense as the Republicans complaining about the PORK they put into the spending bill............We'd be better off if John stays in the private sector and takes the Repubs with him into retirement

    March 11, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. Karen from Charlottesville

    I could care less about his zipper problem. The sadness of his betrayal is something he and his wife should be able to deal with in private. I feel for Elizabeth Edwards.

    March 11, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Liz

    His actions say a lot about his judgement, his character, and his ability to make decisions. Anyone who gives him a "free pass" on this one should be ashamed of themselves.

    Anyone who cheats is disgusting!

    March 11, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. Kate,Saratoga Springs, New York

    I have always liked John Edwards and continue to do so. It saddens me that he did what he did to his wife and family, but that is between them not us. It is up to them to forgive him not me. I

    Americans delve into other people's personal business too much. It is unbelievable as a nation how much we pry into the lives of other people. No one is without mistakes. Some bigger then others, but none of us is without fault.

    I would like to see John Edwards be nominated for a spot in the Obama Administration.

    March 11, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Realist

    I don't think that Clinton's or Edwards' indiscretions are any of the public's business. Those issues are between spouses and their higher powers.

    As far as presidents go, Carter may have been the only one to NOT mess around in the oval office.....

    March 11, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    The person who is so committed to championing the cause of the poor and marginalized may well be nearer to the heart of God than those who talk as if they are more moral, yet do not care for those who need some help to break the cycle of poverty. "All have sinned", so please leave the judging to the Divine who is gracious and merciful.

    Welcome back John Edwards, a little humility will not hurt.

    March 11, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. single motherhood = poverty

    Hey Edwards, single mothers raising children alone is a BIG cause of poverty. You contribute to this poverty by refusal to take responsibility for your own unwanted child? Man up and take responsibility for your own mess before lecturing the world about our problems.

    March 11, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    OK Liberals...

    I'll look the other way on this man's infidelity if you look the other way on Newt Gingrich's.

    What's that I hear???? Crickets????

    March 11, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. Stacy

    Of course, politicans should be held to a hirer standard.... Being faithful to the biggest commentment (marriage) you will ever make should really just be a given... How can anyone be depended on to up hold the public's trust, when he/she cannot up hold their commentment to their spouse. What a reflection of our times. Do we forget that his wife was battling cancer at the time??? No "man" of any integrity would do that. I wouldn't consider him for any job again...much less a leader.

    March 11, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Ted Cory

    John Edwards is a has been. The affair and the lying finished him. Even Obama didn't want to touch him with any gov positions.

    March 11, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. Ann

    It's unfortunate that his marital problems are made public, but he really should have expected that when he went into politics, nothing can be hidden. Kennedy, Clinton, Edwards, Spitzer, etc...it always amazes me how continuously stupid these guys are, knowing they're in the public eye...don't they learn anything from each other's mistakes?

    March 11, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. karen-Phoenix

    Edwards is a saint compared to what Newt Gingrich has accomplished with the ladies!!! How can the republican party even THINK of Gingrich after we have such a wonderful family in the White House and people who truely care about family life and prosperity, health care and eduction for all.

    March 11, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. GiggsisGod

    Does someone have to actually live in poverty to be concerned about poverty? The whole "he's rich so he has no crediblity in talking about the poor" line is an awfully lazy argument.

    March 11, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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