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. Sue

    I don't think candidates have to be held to a "higher" standard, but they should be held to the same accountability as all of us: follow the law and live a moral life without hurting others. Should be fairly simple.

    March 11, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Amy

    Does John still live in his know, the one with a total of 28,200 square feet of connected space? If he still lives on the estate with a 10,400 square feet main house, a 600-square-foot bedroom and bath area above the guest garage, a recreation building which includes an indoor basketball court, a squash court, two stages, a bedroom, kitchen, bathrooms, swimming pool, a four-story tower, and a room designated “John’s Lounge," isn't it a little hard to believe he cares about those in poverty?

    March 11, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. constantgardner

    TO Tim in PA-No jokes here buddy, you know as well as I do that if we were to shake out all of the skeletons in the goverments closet & prosecute accordingly, we would not have any govt. Elliott spitzer ran against corruption & as the champion of fairness & good...his counter-actions were the exact opposite & so he had no credibility to govern, he had to go & again unlike most politicians who run on 1 platform & do the exact opposite, I think John Edwards main message shouldn't go unheard because he cheated on his wife & yes I know its dispicable

    March 11, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. Norom

    gary March 11th, 2009 12:43 pm ET

    any man who would cheat on his wife is pretty low but for edwards to cheat on his terminally ill wife is repulsive

    How about Gingrich telling his wife he wanted a divorce while she is in the hospital battling cancer? How about McCain having an affair after his wife is disfigured in a car accident. To think McCain might have been President, and Gingrich is talking about running in 2012.
    Or is it only repulsive if you are a Democrat?

    March 11, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  5. pete

    "the two-time presidential candidate focused his remarks on issue of poverty"

    You meant to say the two-timing presidential candidate. He's got no shame, I feel sorry for his wife.

    March 11, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. RealityKing

    We're going to have to give John a pass on this one..., considering how Obama's spendilous plans are making poverty a "fundamental issue" for all of us.

    March 11, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. meh

    I think his infidelity is absolutely important when it comes to whether or not he should be elected to any public office. And I originally supported this man!
    Think about it. It's about integrity. If he will hurt someone he loves, what will he do to his constituents?

    March 11, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. David

    hey mates, calm down... this affair was private, and it has nothing to do with politics.... Edwards did not lose his political habilities when he deceived his wife... So give him a rest, and respect him like any other politician!

    March 11, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. RA

    Dead on Arrival

    March 11, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. Mari

    GO AWAY JOHN EDWARDS....... and check your ego at your door!

    March 11, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. Marilyn

    John, I think most Americans have decided for themselves, and they have decided that you should just go away. Your political life is over!

    March 11, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    STILL ANGRY: If Edouard wouldn’t have runned, President Obama would have won by a large margin. Remimber with Edouard in the race, President Obama won by 9 points margin in the lowa caucus. Also when Edouard drop of the race, most of he supporter when to president Obama. So stop dreaming that we would have had a different candidate.

    March 11, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. George

    He cheated on his wife, ashamed his family, does he care about the poor Americans or is he only using them to get another woman to bed. Anybody who cheats on their family cannot effectively or wisely represent or lead this country. Sorry John, you blew your own candle, make amends with your beautiful wife, build the trust of your family and learn to lead them with integrity. That would be more important than your political ambitions. You slept with your campaing manager, what more do you want?

    March 11, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. Lori, Houston Texas

    I wonder if we'll ever find anyone perfect enough to appeal to every single voter in America. Perhaps if we consider teaching/practicing/discussing ethics, integrity, behavior and consequences at home, school, and work, we can get through these tough times as a team of Americans rather than as Parties of opponants. Yes, one greedy CEO does affect many as we have just witnessed. Time to dish out the appropriate consequences to the guilty parties. John Edwards' consequences are thay he is no longer trusted as he once was. We all gotta live with our choices in life.

    March 11, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. JJ12345

    JonDie March 11th, 2009 12:46 pm ET

    John Edwards doesn't get it; he is FINISHED as a politician because Democrats are always held to a higher standard than are Republicans (like Newt Gingrich, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani
    You mean like Clinton, Rangel, and the guy with money in the freezer? Neither party is held to a high standard, thats why these scumbags can get into politics. Hypocrite

    March 11, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. catmom

    Typical Edwards arrogance....I notice his hair is still cemented into place....I wouldn't trust this man to look after my dog's fleas....

    March 11, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. S.M

    Did anyone forget about Senator Craig who was caught in the airport restroom soliciting an undercover police officer, but yet he still denies that he's a homosexual?

    The Republicans have a lot of nerve.

    March 11, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. Bubba

    Well, thing is, Edwards did wrong and is ashamed, so he should go away. McCain and Gingrich don't see anything wrong with dumping a chick once she's lost her looks, and a lot of voters feel the same way. GOP voters think dumping an old bag for a hot chick is manly and don't mind voting for someone who's done it, so Newt preens in the spotlight. Democratic voters are more discriminating, which is why I say Edwards should stay out of sight until his pretty hair turns gray.

    March 11, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. Proud American

    This issue is personal and should never end up some place like this. This issue is between him and his family, and before any of you pass judgement clean out your own closet. I keep forgetting that Republicans sit at the right hand of God and are without sin. Idiots

    March 11, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. phoenix86

    Edwards is back looking for a girlfriend.

    March 11, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. Proud American

    I guess he should have been caught in the Mens Room at his local airport coming on to other men. Democrats have to learn to think like Republicans.

    March 11, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. JD

    Here's an idea for a reality show: You put Sen Vitter, former Sen. Edwards, Bill Clinton and other cheating politicians on an island and you put an armed Gov. Palin on that same island and see who comes out that's drama.

    March 11, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. That Other Jerry

    As a lifelong Southerner, I grew up watching an endless parade of these pompous, too-slick, stereotypical Beauregards on the evening news. Of course he's back in the public eye. He can't exist anywhere else. For Edwards and his kind, politics is heroin and a TV camera is a crack pipe. They can no more stay away from Washington than a fish can climb a stepladder. Don't get me wrong; the Republicans have their share of them too, and if they don't rein them in soon they may as well go ahead and join the Obama re-election team.

    March 11, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Unshrub

    He lost my vote.

    March 11, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Pat F

    Crawl back under your rock, Edwards, your day is done. I hope she was worth it.

    March 11, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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