August 9th, 2008
02:15 PM ET
13 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.

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soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. A. Lillian Greenwood

    Not knowing all the circumstances as to why he did what he did makes it very difficult to say he should be crucified forever for his mistake. Have all politician's careers ended when confronted with infidelity (i.e. Clinton)? Edwards told his wife and family ...that is the most important fact regarding this issue. I don't like to see this kind of "dirty laundry" all over the airwaves. Personal matters should be personal!

    August 9, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. Jerry, Florida

    Oh well! I am not going to say I told you so. However, this should get all voters thinking about Senator NObama's judgment. Senator Edwards' escapade was common knowledge way back. It simply suited Senator NObama to accept Senator Edwards' endorsement so that the voters that supported and were faithful to Senator him would switch over and support Senator NObama. How convenient. How hypocritical.

    Wake up American voters. Is this the person you want in the White House? Senator NObama is the same individual who just stopped by the Senate long enough to ask for directions to the Oval Office.

    More to come!

    August 9, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  3. mel

    He is only human and I think the news should let them have
    their privacy. His wife was aware of this affair 2 years ago. The
    news should just step back and stop worrying about it rating.
    It is bad enough that the news media is trying to hurt Obama
    election to office by talking about him more in a negative way,the
    media is helping McCain. So the Edwards alone and let the two
    candidate win on their own without the media taking sides.

    August 9, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. Carol

    It seems that Mrs. Edwards is blaming everyone else except her husband. This is not the Enquirer's fault – and, let's face it, the MSM kept this covered up for weeks.

    "I did not want to have to play it out on the public stage..." Who went into the public eye? They both did! I don't remember any surge of voters demanding Edwards get in to the presidential race. I don't recall any huge demand for Elizabeth to voice her opinion on everyone and everything, either.

    I have no sympathy for either of them.

    August 9, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  5. dollorbil

    By 2012 it will be history untill the press brings it back.
    Really the only thing that is a tragedy is if the baby that has been born is Edwards'.
    If Ted Kennedy can stay alive politically after Chapaquidick. Then I think Edwards will survive.
    There are a lot of politicians that have survived a lot worse.

    August 9, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  6. Belinda Montegut

    So what! Concentrate on more important issues CNN

    August 9, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. Marie

    The fact that Elizabeth Edwards knew before he ran for President is disturbing. The fact that his supporters were fooled into believing in his honesty is heartbreaking. He is political toast.

    August 9, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |

    Folks need to mind their business at this point. I feel that is was hard enough for him and his family to have to admit to the public about the affair and now the medica wish to make a circus out this matter.

    Give me a break. As Good Christians we should be praying for this family and I know as good Christians, we are not judging. Let's go back to Sunday School. Thou shalt not judge.

    August 9, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. Marlow Kurtz

    When I first heard that another politician was involved in an extramarital affair, I immediately thought it was a republican, then I discovered it involved a woman and didn't take place in an airport restroom and I realized it was a democrat. Seriously, has anyone actually looked at the lengthy list of bizzare sex-capades of the so-called "moral" party? It reads like something pulled from the pages of the Marquis de Sade and Hustler.

    August 9, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  10. m ogden

    Why do you have an american retard interviewing the presidewnt of georgie.
    Incredibly at one point in the interview he asked if Georgia wanted military support. What a moern and a dangerous one at that. Please employ people who have more than a basic intellegence or else CNN will be the catalyst for WW3

    August 10, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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