June 17th, 2009
06:48 PM ET
9 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. lovepeterjennings

    I am a diehard liberal and live in Raleigh, NC. I never trusted him, seriously. His manner was insincere.

    John, go home and make amends. Help Elizabeth with her furniture store. Have fun with your kids. Make good memories with them.

    Become a philanthropist. Do your volunteering. Whatever. Just don't run for anything.


    June 17, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  2. Bizarro

    Why would anybody care about this guy anymore? And why is CNN facilitating this lame attempt to reenter the political arena? We need fewer guys like this in American politics–not more.

    June 17, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. dan

    If any of you guys has never lied, cheated or even made a mistake in your lifetime then it'll be so correct to say all what I just read. But I believe in second chance for everyone. I you could remember what JESUS said when he raised Mary Magdalaine, people reacted that she was a prostitute, and jesus replied:" So anyone of you who has never lied, stolen from somebody or envie somebody's wife or husband shall throw on this woman who is so honest to admit her wrongdoing the first rock". And then what happened? Noboby had the gut to do so!

    June 17, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  4. catmom

    You see what happens after Republicans went after Bill Clinton so publicly. If they had only left his private life alone....

    June 17, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. D-SEA

    Dear John,

    Even the Dems don't care about you. Go away.

    June 17, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  6. Michael

    Is he kidding? He doesn't know if it was a mistake to lie, deceive and cheat the American people who believed in him? People trusted him, put their faith in him, gave him money and their vote in the primary. If he was elected and then this came out, he would have brought shame to the party, possibly costing us the election. Anyone that would put a dying woman through this type of hell is beneath contempt.

    June 17, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  7. Jay

    Whatever happened to "free love", you go John Edwards!

    June 17, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  8. Brady

    John Edwards committed political suicide a year ago. A snowball has a better chance in hell than John Edwards does in politics.

    June 17, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. Stillwitty

    Why would anyone compare our political system and politicians with that of France? Is our goal to become a 2nd rate, cheesy, oft-invaded, has-been world power as well? Since we do, indeed, hold our elected officials to a higher standard, we feel empowered enough to criticize them even as they are tumbling off their pedestals. Mr. Edwards is certainly a liar, cheat and hypocrite, i.e. a comfortable fit within the Democratic Party.....

    June 17, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. Pepper

    The political futures for John Edwards and John Ensign are questionable at best. It's getting old hearing: gee I broke my wedding vows, embarrassed my family, etc. This just shows lack of judgement. Should have thought about gee I'm sorry long before the evidence came out. If they can't keep a wedding vow to the person they love the most ... it is unlikely they will keep campaign promises.

    June 17, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  11. JJ in NY

    What a scumbag !

    June 17, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  12. truebluedemocrat

    It's still about me, me, me, isn't it John? Had you won the primary and been exposed (pun intended) during the Presidential campaign, McCain and OMG Palin would be occupying the White House. And pls. get off your high horse. $400 haircuts and no one except you is raising the issue of poverty? Give me a break and take a clue from all the negative comments here. Save yourself from utter humiliation and put your efforts into repairing your marriage.

    June 17, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. bill b. from Stratford,Ct

    Who truly cares if he had an affair, he's not the first and he won't be the last, it's just apart of life, 87% of the people out here have cheated once in their life before, so who truly cares.

    June 17, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  14. SD,Michigan

    Edwards is quite done, I'm afraid. But at least he wasn't "doing" his close friend's wife, like that Ensign guy. That's the lowest you can get.

    June 17, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  15. lf

    On talk shows, you mentioned the TV show "Perry Mason" became an inspiration for you to enter legal profession, and you seemed to have done well there. Perhaps, you should return to that business and really donate a lot of time to the needy in endless plights. This could become your greatest legacy since you did not win the 'Oval Office'!!

    For Mrs. Edwards–I wish there were very promising results to defeat her cancer.

    The Best to you and your Family and whatever you decide to do!!

    June 17, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  16. Karen - Missouri

    So the Republicans have this so-called born again Christian having an affair and say he's still a prospect for 2012 and have the nerve to just pass off the guy's lack of morals yet the Repubs want to crucify Edwards? Typical Republicans...hypocrits one and all.

    Then the nerve of the Tennessee Republican to not fire her aide after an absolutely atrocious email photo!!!! And the Republicans just toss it off as nothing. I say we need a witch hunt of the Republicans!!!!

    June 17, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  17. JMC

    I acknowledge the pain that John Edwards caused his wife by his affair but I find the swift death of his political career more disheartening. I think Edwards had the potential to do a lot of good for under represented people and I maintain hope that he will continue his work on poverty and healthcare. I wish the best for the Edwards family in the future.

    June 17, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  18. My2Yorkies

    What a loser. Time will tell? TELL that to your wife, who by the way stuck to your side while you were out doing your own thing. I wonder what his kids will think when they grow up. So sad.....

    June 17, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  19. krisdoyle

    This is a lousy article. It didn't tell me anything. Reminds me of a high school essay. The title is impressive, the body is fluff.

    June 17, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  20. bored.beyond.belief

    Who on earth cares. Gimme a break.

    June 17, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  21. Ridgeway

    Keep your head down where?

    June 17, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  22. Proud American

    I'll bet your gay and in love with Obama? Only you could turn a story about the weather into one about Obama. President is not gay and married to a woman and does not feel the sameway about you. Son of one of the band of brothers. Ha, Ha

    June 17, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  23. Bill Will

    Those of you who wonder why the rest of us can't see the difference in personal and political/professional lives need to pull your heads out of the sand . The person who lies to his own family will lie to enemies, allies, peers, superiors etc. All of us commit sex acts and most of us have lied. But, the politicians who attain superstar status seem to give the impression that they are regal, infallible, and at times invisible. We are at fault also because we confer that superstar knighthood upon them. However we in NC knew better in the case of John Edwards. The only one served when he was a one-term senator from NC was John Edwards. You believed his closing arguments like a totally blonde jury. He could not honestly govern his own household, much less the USA. We deserve much, much better, no matter which party.

    June 17, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  24. Marcus, Great Lakes IL


    Isn't it time to change party lines? You need to become a Republican as they seem to be having extra marital affairs in alarming numbers. I, on the otherhand, am a Democrate who actually believes in my marriage vows.

    June 17, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  25. MOVE ON !!!!!

    @jimmy combs June 17th, 2009 5:49 pm ET
    One notable thing about Ensign and the Dems of the world; at least the guy had the guts to admit his.****He only admitted it cuz.hes knew it was about to come out .......Newt cheated on his dying WIFE he is out everyday talking as spokeman for the Repubs .....So move On !!!

    June 17, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
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