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. Hannah Stevens

    People are saying that John Edwards political career is over. Is Newt Gingriche's career over? He left his wife for another woman while she was having surgery for breast cancer. What is it with these guys. They need to get over themselves. I liked Edwards before I found out about his infidelity.

    June 17, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. James McNeil

    John Edwards is done. He should find another job, stay the hell out of politics and lawyering. No one can trust him any more.

    June 17, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. John Lewis

    They should give this guy a shovel and tell him to go to work like the rest of us.

    June 17, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. SLTPTTCH

    Common Linda, divorce him? Please! The woman is stage 4 breast cancer. They had a long life together of love and tragedy. Why toss it for a huge error caused by a person of questionable motives. I am proud of BOTH of THEM, but especially Elizabeth, what a leader of women.

    June 17, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Imarriedmysister in Alabama

    Go away John,you messed up big time at the wrong time.@TCM,Tell us how you were a 20yr vet, defending our country again.You have a great imagination,just like the coward Dick Cheney.

    June 17, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. bob f

    This story really is just background noise. It doesn't matter what explanation is provided, cheating is cheating; it's no different just because he's a political figure. Once the trust and confidence in his marriage is broken, it is what it is. To cheat (the act) and to lie (not coming forward) are breaches of trust of those in America who supported him. If you do it once, the propensity to do it again always exists. A leopard can't change its spots. Let's move on to something meaningful please.

    June 17, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. LacrosseMom

    John Edwards needs to quietly go back to his family and heal the hurts he caused.

    Enough of airing dirty laundry in books and interviews, the Edwards need to stick with being private citizens.

    June 17, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. John

    Someone give this guy a shovel and let him go to work like the rest of us. What a low-life.

    June 17, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. BGRJ

    Why is anyone still interviewing this SHMUCK!!!

    June 17, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. Sailor

    I love the political philosophy, but as a contributor I still feel a sense of betrayal because of the duplicity. I hope another candidate will replace John Edwards philosophically, but I don't think I could case my ballot for Mr. Edwards. I've always felt that a politician who will lie to his wife is a person who will lie to his country (e.g., Bush & Bush, Clinton, Gingrich).

    I'm a real fan of Elizabeth Edwards, & hope she is able to help our country develop reasonable health care. Loved her book "Resilience" so much I sent my copy to a friend & then bought another copy as a gift.

    Sorry, Mr. Edwards, but you are still in my dog house & I don't see you getting out for a very long time–

    June 17, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. Robin

    Any man who cheats on his wife is a lowlife. But this is the lowest of lows. Go away John. Just go away.

    June 17, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. Kirk Kalvar

    All he's guilty of is making a poor decision. Not like anyone here doesn't ever do that. I think this is between Edwards and his wife not something to be broadcast on national media and made into a three ring circus.

    June 17, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. LacrosseMom

    @ TCM.......... How is that no matter what the article is about you, GOPers manage to make it about Obama? You folks are obsessed!

    Keep thinking the worst, keep up the fear mongering, the lies, the name calling....... when our Nation gets back on its feet from the Bush Disaster, the far-right-extremists will be eating crow!

    June 17, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  14. ch

    Go away and stay away – you were not viable in the 2008 primary race and even less viable now.

    June 17, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. Ensign's a disgusting hypocrite who suffers delusions of gradiosity

    The Repukes condemn Edwards while they embrace Ensign. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy?
    When former Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in an airport men’s room in the summer of 2007, Ensign was among Craig’s toughest critics, saying Craig should step down because he had been charged with a crime.
    During the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton, Ensign, then a Senate candidate, called on Clinton to resign.

    June 17, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Democrat

    I am a Democrat and I Voted for Obama / Biden

    I will never vote for 2 Democrats, if they ever are candidates again:

    1. John Edwards.
    2. Rod Blagojevich

    Because they are unworthy, unreliable and talkative.

    June 17, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. Butch Dillon

    Edwards has never done anything for anyone except himself. He's a self-serving nothing who's got more specious words to spew than leadership actions to document. He's a phony. Edwards will not be allowed back into the public arena – he is a proven liar and cheat. If he will lie to his sick wife he will lie to the people he would propose to serve. Edwards and Ensign live under the same slimy southern rock designed for their scum alone.

    June 17, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. citizenjane

    Jim June 17th, 2009 4:51 pm ET

    why do a significant number of republicans take any and every opportunity to slam our president?
    ------------------------

    Jim, they do it to get a raise out of you. Because they are angry and frustrated, they want you to be as well. Pretty shallow and childish isn't it?

    June 17, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  19. Who Dat

    Who's John Edwards and why is this news?

    Give the man a break now. He's shown himself to be very qualified to be a DC politician, even at the highest level. He's a liar. His only loyalty is to himself. He's self serving. He'll say one thing and mean another. Gore has global warning and Edwards has poverty. It's a living.

    Maybe Edwards can go back to screwing people and companies in frivolous lawsuits. That's a living also. He's qualified for that job as well.

    June 17, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  20. bill

    Dirt Bag, on the other hand to all you people get a LIFE.............

    June 17, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. Larry

    What else would you expect from a pathological, sanctimonous, egomanical, narcissist. But, he does not have a monopoly on being that; in my opinion it applies to the majority of politicans on both sides of the aisle in Washington.

    June 17, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  22. sherry in nc

    How can you say that you are the voice for the poor and continue to live in a 27 thousand square foot house? Why not sell the house -downsize like the rest of America- and give the money to a charity that helps support the poor?

    June 17, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Roxie in the South

    After reading comments posted here, I must say I was not aware that there were so many unforgiving, judgmental, nasty, prudish and hateful people in my country of brotherly love. So sad.

    June 17, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    Annoying, these closed articles.

    @ "To SNIFFIT," who said "You might want to re-read the First Amendment, my friend. It doesn't say what you think it says."

    I know what it says. Read the case law regarding the word "respecting."

    June 17, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  25. Your Daddy

    I don't excuse his extramartital affair, but I do feel concern about our tabloid facination with it and how it disqualifies him from politics. If held to the same standard, many of our most successful and popular Presidents would not have had the opportunity to serve our country. Other political cultures are a bit more pregmatic and realistic in this regard, believing that perhaps everything in someone's life isn't necessarily open to public scrutiny, that we aren't necessarily as entitled to it as we think we are. But the facts are this personal information sells newspapers and feeds a huge national appetitie for dirt, despite what lack of good it may be for the nation as a whole.

    June 17, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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