August 9th, 2008
09:02 PM ET
15 years ago

Ex-Edwards mistress says no to paternity test

(CNN) - The woman who had an extramarital affair with former presidential candidate John Edwards won't seek a paternity test to prove whether he's the father of her 5-month-old child, her lawyer said Saturday.

In a statement he provided to the Washington Post, attorney Robert Gordon said Rielle Hunter is a private citizen and that she will not comment further on the media frenzy sparked Friday when Edwards publicly acknowledged the affair.

"She wishes to maintain her privacy" and the privacy of her child, Gordon said in the statement. "Furthermore, Rielle will not participate in DNA testing or any other invasion of her ... privacy now or in the future."

Gordon confirmed to CNN that he provided a statement to the Post. He said Saturday he would not immediately be releasing the statement to anyone else and will not be doing interviews about it.

After months of denying the affair, Edwards admitted making "a serious error in judgment" in 2006 when he had an affair with Hunter, a filmmaker who worked making videos for his presidential campaign.

He said her child is not his, as had been claimed in tabloid reports, saying the timing of the affair would make that impossible. A former Edwards campaign aide, Andrew Young, has publicly said the child is his.

Edwards said he was willing to take a paternity test to clear up the question.

"Happy to take a paternity test ... would love to see it happen," he said in an interview with ABC News.

Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 2004. He made an unsuccessful bid for his party's nomination in this year's election and had been considered a possible VP choice for presumptive nominee Sen. Barack Obama - or a contender for attorney general or another top government post if Obama wins in November.

Filed under: John Edwards
August 9th, 2008
05:10 PM ET
15 years ago

A role reversal for McCain, Obama campaigns

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="While Barack Obama is on vacation, John McCain is hitting the campaign trail."]
(CNN) - It was a familiar scene the past couple of months: Barack Obama out on the campaign trail during the weekends while his, John McCain, was off the trail.

So call it a role reversal this weekend.

The Democrat’s presumptive presidential nominee is in Hawaii this weekend and all next week. So what’s on his agenda? Here’s what he said upon arrival in Hawaii Friday night: “I’m really looking forward to spending some time with my family, having a chance to see my grandma.”

Obama grew up in Hawaii and his grandmother and other relatives still live there. But while his plan for the week is some R and R, it’s a safe bet this could be sort of a working vacation for him.

Why? Because the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Denver two weeks from Monday, and Obama needs to start thinking about his nomination acceptance speech.

But there’s another reason. Obama has a big thing on his to do list before the start of the convention, and that’s pick a running mate.

McCain, meanwhile, is on the campaign trail all weekend. He’s in Las Vegas Saturday, to address the 87th annual convention of the Disabled American Veterans.

On Sunday, the Senator from Arizona will campaign in Erie, Pennsylvania. He’ll team up with Erie native Tom Ridge. The former Secretary of Homeland Security and former Pennsylvania Governor is considered to be in the running as a candidate as McCain’s running mate.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
August 9th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain skewers Obama's judgement on war in speech to vets

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="John McCain accused Barack Obama Saturday of blocking funding for the troops."]
LAS VEGAS (CNN) - After a week spent trying to poke holes in Barack Obama’s energy and economic policies, John McCain returned to the topic of the Iraq war on Saturday, accusing Obama of “varying positions on the surge” and trying to “legislate failure” by voting against troop funding.

McCain told the annual convention of the Disabled American Veterans that his Democratic rival “tried to prevent funding for the troops who carried out the surge.”

“Not content to merely predict failure in Iraq, my opponent tried to legislate failure,” he said. “This was back when supporting America’s efforts in Iraq entailed serious, serious political risk. It was a clarifying moment. It was a moment when political self-interest and the national interest parted ways.”

The McCain campaign made the same charge against Obama in a television ad released last month in key states called “Troop Funding,” citing Obama’s vote against a supplemental appropriations bill in May 2007 during the Democratic primary race. Obama and other senate Democrats voted against the bill in protest because it removed language calling for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

An Obama spokesman said the Illinois senator had voted for every troop funding bill prior to the May 2007 legislation, and the nonpartisan noted that “Obama cast at least 10 votes for war-funding bills before voting against one last year.”


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
August 9th, 2008
02:15 PM ET
14 years ago

Edwards could face political free fall from affair

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former Sen. John Edwards had been mentioned as a possible 2008 vice presidential candidate."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - John Edwards, who made his marriage a central part of his overall message during the 2008 Democratic primaries - was dealt a political blow Friday after admitting to having an extramarital affair.

In an interview on ABC News "Nightline," Edwards acknowledged the affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter, which began after she was hired to make documentary videos for his campaign, ABC said.

Watch: Edwards' interview

Opinions, however, are mixed on whether he would have a future in politics.

CNN contributor James Carville, a former aide to Bill Clinton - who acknowledged an extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky in his second term - said Edwards' career is in dire straits.

"Certainly, his political career is in shambles. It's not going to come back. I humanly feel sorry for Mrs. Edwards. I feel sorry for the Edwards children. But I'm not shocked," he said Friday.

Elizabeth Edwards, in a posting on the Daily Kos Web site, said, "The fact that it is a mistake that many others have made before him did not make it any easier for me to hear when he told me what he had done.

"But he did tell me. And we began a long and painful process in 2006, a process oddly made somewhat easier with my [cancer] diagnosis in March of 2007. This was our private matter, and I frankly wanted it to be private, because as painful as it was, I did not want to have to play it out on a public stage as well."

Like Carville, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger said this incident could hurt his career.

"Obviously, lying like this, brazenly, is going to put an end, probably, to his political career and could affect whether he gets any role if Barack Obama were to win the presidency," she said Friday.

Full Story

August 9th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain again slams Obama 'celebrity' in new radio address

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="McCain has pegged Obama as an out-of-touch celeb."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - John McCain is using his weekly radio address today to continue to attack his opponent, Barack Obama, as a celebrity.

“The Democratic National Convention is just a couple of weeks away. It was four years ago, at the same gathering, that America heard a fine speech from an Illinois state senator named Barack Obama. He's done pretty well for himself since then. And the smart money in Denver is on another celebrated performance,” says McCain in the recorded address.

“But even the most stirring speeches are easily forgotten when they're short on content. Taking in my opponent's performances is a little like watching a big summer blockbuster, and an hour in realizing that all the best scenes were in the trailer you saw last fall. In the way of running mates, Senator Obama should consider someone with a knack for brevity and directness, to balance the ticket,” adds the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

The McCain campaign first termed Obama a celebrity in a television campaign commercial over a week ago. Since then it appears to have become a theme with the campaign, showing up in a number of ads.


Filed under: John McCain
August 9th, 2008
10:40 AM ET
15 years ago

Lieberman donates $115,000 to DSCC

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Lieberman is a backer of McCain."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Joe Lieberman is campaigning for John McCain, but he is digging into his wallet for Democratic senators.

Lieberman, a former Democratic vice presidential nominee, donated $115,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee this year, matching what he contributed to the political arm of the Senate Democratic Caucus in 2007, Lieberman's spokesman confirms to CNN.

Since leaving the Democratic Party in 2006 – Lieberman supporters have said the party left him – the Connecticut senator has crafted a new identity as an Independent Democrat. He is a prominent campaign surrogate for presumptive Republican nominee McCain, but still included in the Democratic head count that gives them a majority in the Senate by the slimmest of margins - one vote.

In turn, Lieberman chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee - a powerful perch with wide jurisdiction over the Bush administration.

"Senator Lieberman supports both Democrats and Republicans, and he gave to the committee as a senior member of the caucus," Marshall Wittmann, Lieberman's spokesman, said Friday.

Lieberman was elected as a Democrat in 1988 and 12 years later found himself standing alongside Vice President Al Gore, as Gore's running mate. Six years later, it looked like his political career had come crashing down. His support for the war in Iraq prompted businessman Ned Lamont to challenge him in the Democratic primary. Lieberman lost.

But he vowed to continue running, a decision that caused many prominent Democrats, including fellow Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, to endorse Lamont. The endorsements weren't enough to seal a victory for Lamont - Lieberman was elected to another term.

The Politico, a Washington-based political newspaper, first reported news of Lieberman's six-figure DSCC donation.

Filed under: Joe Lieberman
August 9th, 2008
10:35 AM ET
15 years ago

Scenes from Beijing: Bush takes up beach volleyball


President Bush plays beach volleyball with U.S. beach volleyball player Misty May Treanor during a visit to the beach volleyball venue in Beijing Saturday. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Filed under: Olympics • President Bush
August 9th, 2008
10:09 AM ET
15 years ago

Poll of polls: Obama retains an edge

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Call it a numbers game. With 87 days to go until the presidential election, our latest CNN Poll of polls shows Barack Obama leading John McCain by five points, 46 percent to 41 percent, with thirteen percent of Americans undecided.

The Poll of polls released Wednesday found an indentical result.

The CNN Poll of Polls is an average of the latest national polls. Our newest edition consists of three surveys, a CBS poll taken from July 31 to August 5, an AP-IPSOS survey conducted from July 31 to August 4, and a Gallup tracking poll taken from August 5 to August 7. Because it’s an average of a number of surveys, our Poll of polls does not have a sampling error.

As we always caution, the presidential election is not a battle for the national vote - rather, it’s a state by state fight for electoral votes. While national polls are important, they are far from the only barometer in determining where the presidential contest stands right now.

August 9th, 2008
09:04 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama slams McCain in official Democratic radio address

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Obama's Democratic radio address is his first since becoming presumptive nominee."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama is contrasting Iraq’s budget surplus and America’s budget deficit as one of the reasons a change is needed in Washington.

The Senator from Illinois makes the comments in today’s Democratic Radio Address. It's the first time he’s delivered the weekly address since becoming his party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

“We learned this week was that the Iraqi government now has a $79 billion budget surplus thanks to their windfall oil profits. And while this Iraqi money sits in American banks, American taxpayers continue to spend $10 billion a month to defend and rebuild Iraq. That’s right. America faces a huge budget deficit. Iraq has a surplus,” says Obama.

“Now, Senator McCain promises to continue President Bush’s open-ended commitment to the war in Iraq, while refusing to pressure Iraqis to take responsibility for their own country. Let me be clear: we are well over five years into a war in a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

"Our brave men and women in uniform have completed every mission they’ve been given. Our country has spent nearly a trillion dollars in Iraq, even as our schools are under funded, our roads and bridges are crumbling, and the cost of everything from groceries to a gallon of gas is soaring,” adds Obama in the remarks, which were released prior to delivery.

Obama says in the address that “the American people are worse off than they were eight years ago” and that the choice the presidential election between him and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain could not be clearer.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
August 9th, 2008
09:03 AM ET
15 years ago

National Enquirer: Edwards story came from credible tip

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="National Enquirer editor-in-chief David Perel says the tabloid broke news of John Edwards' affair in 2007."]
(CNN) - Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards admitted Friday to having an extramarital affair in 2006 with a woman who worked on his campaign.

Edwards has denied being the father of the woman's child, as had been alleged in tabloid reports, and it is willing to take a paternity test.

Wolf Blitzer, filling in for Larry King, spoke with David Perel, editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer, who originally broke the story in October 2007. Blitzer also spoke with Alan Butterfield, a senior reporter for the National Enquirer who confronted John Edwards at a hotel in Beverly Hills on Thursday.

Some highlights:

Wolf Blitzer: What got you guys going in this direction to begin with?

David Perel: We received what we thought was a credible tip, Wolf, and we started investigating it. A lot of times when we go down this road and the story turns out not to be true, we abandon it. But the more we dug in, the more information The Enquirer uncovered that was standing up, we were able to prove that, indeed, John Edwards had a sexual affair with Rielle Hunter. We first did the story in October without naming her and then we came back with a much tougher story in December 2007, where we not only named her, but we photographed her pregnant.

Watch: Perel discusses Edwards' 'character issue'

Blitzer: And at that time, you didn't report that - what you reported subsequently, that you thought that he was the father.

Perel: That's true. We know that Rielle believes that he is the father. And Mr. Edwards today, in his own statement, said he did not take a paternity test. He's now saying that he will take one. We've asked him for months if he would take one and he's ignored that request.

Full Story

Filed under: John Edwards