August 8th, 2008
05:10 PM ET
13 years ago

Edwards: 'I have been stripped bare'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Edwards: ‘I am ashamed of my conduct and choices.”"] John Edwards released a statement Friday following a report that he had admitted an extra-marital affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter.

Watch: Edwards: 'I sin every single day'


August 8, 2008

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough.

I was and am ashamed of my conduct and choices, and I had hoped that it would never become public. With my family, I took responsibility for my actions in 2006 and today I take full responsibility publicly. But that misconduct took place for a short period in 2006. It ended then. I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established. I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of the baby. I also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby.

It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am sorry. In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic. If you want to beat me up – feel free. You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself. I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help.

I have given a complete interview on this matter and having done so, will have nothing more to say.

Filed under: John Edwards
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Kelly

    Why don't reporters start asking Carol Schepp when John McCain started his relationship with his current wife whom he married shortly after his divorce from her? A women who waited for him to return after being captured. After all he is on the Conservative Republican ticket or doesn't that matter since he isn't a Democrat? Americans don't want people who are dishonest or steal in the White House so lets get to the bottom of our candidates past choices.

    August 8, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  2. Whining Tommy Hussein in St. Louis

    Gotta love the blind right-wing partisans, many of whom showed up in the other thread, who apparently have this belief that only liberals and Democrats engage in immoral behavior such as adultery and illicit sex. This is a belief that flies in the face of reality. I'm not justifying Edwards's behavior, and I usually don't make comments busting on conservative Republicans for their not-so-upstanding moral behavior, but I just think the blind partisans should be reminded of a few scandals involving their own. So here's the list of Republicans who have cheated on their wives or engaged in some form of illicit or unethical sexual activity:

    Mark Foley, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Jim Bakker, Larry Craig, John McCain, Neil Bush, Bob Barr, David Vitter, Paul Wolfowitz, Henry Hyde, Bob Packwood, Jim Ryan, Laura Schlessinger,... Is this list long enough for you yet? It's long enough to prove that it's not just Democrats who do this. I could probably go on and on if I took enough time to accumulate an entire list. And those are just the ones we know about. It's quite possible that, yes, just like Democrats, there could be others on the right who do this and haven't been caught yet.

    Not only do Republicans have just as much trouble keeping their pants on as Democrats, but they also seem just as susceptible to other vices, such as drugs, gambling, divorce, drunkenness, and most certainly greed, among other things.

    Believe me, nothing is more irritating than a blind partisan who has no regard for the truth. And have you noticed, they add nothing to any discussion. That goes for all of you partisans, on any side, whether it's the Republican Party, or Hillary's half of the Democratic Party, or Obama's half of the Democratic Party. I don't know who you people think you're convincing or fooling when you come here and express your unconditional love for the party or faction or candidate you support and blindly bash everyone else, and to hell with anything that remotely resembles truth.

    August 8, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. Peter of Oregon

    Was I the only one that noticed the insincerity in how he spoke, his expressions, and what he said?

    Maybe I'm good at reading people... maybe America looked past these things because he looked like former Presidents and didn't have a funny name.

    Americans are definitely looking past McCain's infidelities with his former wife, which is why McCain or his campaign better not open his mouth about this if they know what's good for them.

    August 8, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. Buck

    While I have never been an Edwards fan, I agree with the comments here that an affair is a family issue. But John Edwards himself made it a public issue by several of his actions. First he lied to the American people. It is the willingness to lie, “the end justifies the means”, that has been at the heart of the Bush administration. By doing this he has shown himself to be cut from that same cloth. And then there is the fact that the person he had the affair with was placed on his campaign payroll doing a job that she had dubious credentials for. It gives the appearance that he was paying for sex with donated funds. Or even worse, he gave her a job since she consented to have sex with him. Either way, it does not reflect well on his personal integrity.

    August 8, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. kelly

    Why we have to continue to stay focused on these people personal lives.
    Try getting the troops out of Iraq THIS YEAR. This is nothing to talk about and who cares about this. Report on the most important issues of this world.

    August 8, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  6. KenB, MI

    Someone dropped a dime on him at the hotel and made off with a few dollars with a cell phone quality photo for the tabloid.

    August 8, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Curious

    Soooo, what about his achievements in serving our country? We too readily focus on issues like this rather than focusing on real issues, like the economy, the war, the disenfranchised. I guess pointing the finger of blame at his personal mistakes keeps us from looking at our own responsibilities.

    August 8, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Lisa

    That's exactly why we should have a Women as President!!

    Hillary 08!

    August 8, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  9. Marc PDX

    Yeah, yeah, we know. Somehow this is the Republicans fault.... (blame blame blame)...

    August 8, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. Rick from Pa

    Edwards is a sad story but after the lies from Obama's relationship with his mentors, supporters and pastors, what's the big deal.

    I am much more concerned about Obama lying about not hearing Reverend Wright in the pews for twenty years.

    Let the media make a big deal about that.

    August 8, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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