June 17th, 2009
06:48 PM ET
5 years ago

John Edwards talks affair, future

 Edwards isn't ruling out politics in the future.
Edwards isn't ruling out politics in the future.

(CNN) – In his first at-length interview in the year since he admitted to an extramarital affair, former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards says he's still not sure whether it was a mistake to run for the White House knowing his act of infidelity could be exposed.

"Did it make sense to run and stay in the race? Time will tell," Edwards told the Washington Post in an interview published on the paper's Web site Wednesday.

The former North Carolina senator credited his run with highlighting the issue of poverty and pushing his chief Democratic competitors - Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - toward more progressive stances on a host of issues.

"If you were to ask people during the campaign who's talking most about [poverty], it was me," Edwards said in the interview. "There's a desperate need in the world for a voice of leadership on this issue... The president's got a lot to do, he's got a lot of people to be responsible for, so I'm not critical of him. But there does need to be an aggressive voice beside the president."

The comments come a month after his wife Elizabeth embarked on a high-profile book tour, during which she documented at length her anguishing reaction to Edwards' affair with a campaign staffer three years earlier.

Edwards - the 2004 vice presidential candidate and onetime frontrunner for an Obama cabinet post - also said he is not ruling out a future in politics.

"Sometimes you just keep your head down and work hard and see what happens," he said.


Filed under: Extra • John Edwards • Popular Posts
soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. fred

    He or She that is without sin, cast the first stone.

    June 17, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  2. TM in CO

    Let those of you without sin cast the first stone.

    June 17, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  3. Karen

    CNN when are you gonna wake up and start vetting Obama? Walpin was fired because he blocked monies to a friend and supporter of President. Did any of you actually take journalism? If so I thought you were supposed to report news worthy stories? If you can't see the connecition with this one no wonder your ratings continue to fall. I guess I have to continue to watch Fox so I can get the facts and form an opinion of my own.... Liberal Media should just close its doors because your reporting is terrible..... and soon no one will want to watch your sickening display of one sided reporting.

    June 17, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  4. j

    he's such a narcissist

    June 17, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  5. Patty from Westfield

    John Edwards, you are so self-righteous, so sanctimonious; we no longer want to hear even an important message about poverty from you. Don't you understand that our politicians are for the most part miserable failures and we find the majority of them offensive and corrupt people who did not do any of the people's work in recent decades? We did not get much with the 80 billion a year we paid for national security prior to Sept. 11. We got no regulation and protection from the greedy Wall Street theft of our investments. This largely besotted group of moralistic prigs that you belonged to grabbed its own health care and salary increases, yet thought the public did not deserve any,. And so on and so on........Just disappear and leave on the stage the few who are not hypocrits and who have not debased themselves. Seek your forgiveness from your wife and children and your pastor. Do not ask us to reconsider you.

    June 17, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. Wendy

    It just makes me so upset that the whole issue is still about himself. He should be so ashamed of what he did to his wife and family! It is the perfect profile of a man who thought he was bigger than life. He thought he could get away with being a hypocrite! ? I just feel sorry for his wife and family. I really liked John Edwards and was supporting his campaign. Now, I think he is made of the same stuff as all the other ego head cheaters. John, do what makes you happy but we don't care! You should redeem yourself in whatever way seems fit.

    June 17, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. Cosmo Lamatra

    Just another lawyer making excuses for his supidity. Paternity test would be interesting but would make no dfference in the long run. What a disgrace this man (boy) has been. A miserable person.

    June 17, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  8. kv

    John Edwards has learned NOTHING and i would never, ever vote for him-what an egotistical jerk-and women HATE you, Edwards-wise up.

    June 17, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  9. Rob

    Maybe if the country weren't so prudish! I'm not condoning the act but in the scheme of things it doesn't affect the politics. Edwards has great ideas and I supported him in the primaries. I hope he is able to contribute to a more progressive America and I still like his politics. (except for his nuclear energy policies) He's a good guy that screwed up on his vows to his wife.

    June 17, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  10. Reggie

    You're done! You won't ever win another election.

    June 17, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  11. Fred

    "Sometimes you keep your head down, work hard, and see what happens?" Then again, other times, you go road tripping with a babe a handi-cam, keep your head up and see what happens. I wan my MTV.

    June 17, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  12. Karol

    Who cares?

    June 17, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  13. KB

    The DB should go back to his piteous ranch built on frivoulous over-priced malpractice lawsuits that cost us all in health care targeting hard working docs for situations out of their control while he reaped the benefits in millions, cheated on his wife and tried to fool us all. Good luck with your future DB, yer done! KB, voice for rational women.

    June 17, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  14. libby

    I could care less what happens between a man and a woman in their marriage or relationship. That does not affect me. What affects me most is having a politician who is stealing my tax money. Such as the leeches in Albany. Now those are creeps we need to get rid of. If a woman wants to stay with a man who cheats then who am I to pass judgement on him? All I care about is what his policies are in regards to helping the American people. If Spitzer could do some good then fire Patterson and re elect Spitzer. Didn't mean anything to me.Get rid of Espada.

    June 17, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  15. Renee

    Blah, Blah, Blah........

    June 17, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  16. Cromwell

    Edwards is a creep.
    I never bought into his pose as a champion of the downtrodden.
    He's just another phony, sleazy politician.

    June 17, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  17. Robert

    Well, John Edwards may believe in the future of America. Though, he may not have communicated directly to leaders who sit atop the towers of power in the central downtown, and surrounding, areas, the imporntance of remaining creative, relaxed, and confident as a role model, provider, or even a debater. Right now I'm worried millions of Americans have adult onset autism from watching the Katrina relief effort, and watching footage of Iraq and Afghanistan. Executives responsible for Souldaboy, the new Christler, and the atrociousl awful box office bomb Wanted may not be directly accountable to the presidency, or to a former president, although they definately are demanding a former candidate rise to the challenge of issuing such forces of anti-creativity, or adult onset autism, time-outs. When is Edwards going to communicate he comprehends such, and respond?

    June 17, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  18. andres

    Edwards is the most cynical politician in the US in decades, this is saying a lot. He pretended to be everything he is not, trying to seem an extremely honest person and with straight face critized many of his contenders and many stands in the democratic party. I am a democrat and he really is an embarasment to all democrats.

    June 17, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  19. Dorothy

    John Edwards. . . put your money where your mouth is on the poverty issue. . . . sell the mansion and downsize as suggested by another writer. .. . use your $$$millions$$$$ to live on while providing low-cost legal services to the poor and underserved. Instead of trying to resurrect a dead political career, go home @ night and make family memories with Elizabeth and those two young children. Who in their right mind would ever believe a thing you say anyway?!?

    June 17, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  20. Texas Teacher

    The affair is between Edwards and his wife... just as the sexual business with Clinton and his wife..... "private problem... not my business!"

    It is rare that a man loses his job over an affair... or a woman for that matter. They may have a time before the stink blows off the subject, but eventually it will. In the time being one keeps their heads down and does the best job they can. That is exactly how it should be with politicians. Unless they steal money from the taxpayers to go on junkets to fantastic places or buy way out personal objects like jewelry... then it would be a different case.

    June 17, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  21. proud democrat

    What do FDR, Lincoln, JFK, Johnson, Eisenhower and Martin Luther King Jr. all have in common? They committed adultery. They still went on to become effective leaders and changed the country for the better. Does the fact that FDR cheated on Eleanor mean he did not care about the poor or fighting Hitler? Of course not. I bet anything that most people condeming Edwards or Ensign would have voted against FDR, Lincoln, Eisenhower and Johnson for that reason alone. And I bet most people condeming Edwards or Ensign would have laughed at Martin Luther King Jr. and call him a hypocrite. MLK Jr. did wear very expensive suits so how could he really care about justice and the poor. Plus he cheated on his wife. Doesn't the fact that he cheated mean he did not care about civil rights at all. It was just an act right. Yet, this is the logic that most of you are embracing. I bet if I look into your personal life, I could label you a hypocrite too. Unless you lived a saint life which I doubt. What did Jesus say again? Let the first one who have committed no sins be the first to throw the stone.

    June 17, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  22. AJ

    He us a trial lawyer who made 50 million on "junk" science etc. Did he donate anything to the other America he spoke about ? How many of these Democrate Hollywood "superstars" actually contribute (time or money) to the needy – yes, there are a few but not many.

    He was 2-faced on the political front so why not on the personal level.

    How really cares about this lawyer or liar.

    June 17, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  23. JJ

    Who cares what this loser, political hack has to say. Go hang out with slick Willie and compare notes.

    June 17, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  24. Marj

    There is financial poverty and moral poverty. Which one is worse?

    June 17, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  25. Time

    "Time will tell"?!?!

    Time has told! He's an idiot, time doesn't have any more to say about it.

    June 17, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
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