May 11th, 2009
05:34 PM ET
14 years ago

Trippi refutes claim Edwards staffers knew of affair

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Trippi was a former senior adviser to Edwards' campaign."](CNN) - Joe Trippi, a former top aide to John Edwards, is sharply refuting a report a handful of campaign staffers knew about the former presidential candidate's affair and had plans to sabotage his White House bid, telling CNN Monday the claim is "complete bull s**t."

"No one that I know had such a plan, I wasn't involved in a plan like that, it didn't exist, it's a fantasy," Trippi said in a phone interview.

Trippi, a close advisor to Edwards during his Democratic presidential primary bid, also said if any campaign staffer actually knew the affair was true they were "not only malpracticing John Edwards but the country as well by not doing the right thing, going to him, and telling him he had to leave the race."

The comments come a day after ABC News reported several Edwards campaign staffers "in the inner circle" began to believe rumors of an affair were true in late 2007. According to the story, the group had devised a "doomsday" strategy to sabotage the campaign if Edwards looked as if he would win the Democratic nomination.

But Trippi, who worked closely with Edwards' most senior advisors, including Campaign Manager David Bonior and Deputy Campaign manager Jonathan Prince, suggested he would have been aware of a plan if one existed.

"I don't think there was an hour Prince wasn't with me," he said, adding later, "I can't conceive of how it was possible that if someone had a secret plan I wasn't aware of it."

In reality, Trippi said, Edwards' senior advisers immediately discounted the rumors, first reported by the National Enquirer in the fall of 2007, and never raised the possibility they might be true.

"We were thinking there is no way in hell he would do this to Elizabeth," Trippi said. We were thinking how could the National Enquirer do this to her, when she has terminal cancer and tries to make a difference by helping her husband run for president."

Edwards came in second in the Iowa caucuses on January 3, 2008, behind Barack Obama but slightly ahead of Hillary Clinton in the state delegate vote count. But five days later he finished a distant third in the New Hampshire primary. Edwards gave up his bid for the White House on January 30, the day after a disappointing third place finish in the South Carolina primary.

Programming Note: Watch Elizabeth Edwards' exclusive interview on CNN's Larry King Live at 9 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday night.

Filed under: John Edwards
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    Follow the money... just follow the money. Everything will become crystal clear if you just follow the money.

    May 11, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. David

    I was saddened to hear about this whole affair business as it really ruined John Edwards' name after he did so much to contribute to the Democrat primaries. Specifically, he advocated for helping the poor of the world, and he made the other candidates take this issue very seriously. I think the U.S. should do more to address global poverty for strategic and humanitarian reasons. The Borgen Project has good info on the estimated cost of ending global poverty:

    $30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.

    $550 billion: U.S. Defense budget.

    May 11, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. Jon in CA

    Who really cares?

    John Edwards is a lying peice of cow dung.

    His wife is an enabling opportunist looking to get rich of this affair through her book deal.

    The more we hear about it the more lies come out. Everyone would be better off if the Edwards' would drift into obscurity.

    May 11, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. Alfred E. Neumann

    In God I Trust.

    Joe Trippi – I don't think so!

    May 11, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. J.C.

    John Edwards is history. It's not what they say. It's what they do that matters. Why do we waste media time on John Edwards? Don't we have more important things to do than this? Let's talk education, health care, energy, environment. And the economy!

    May 11, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. Wayne Messer

    This is sad. You have Ted Stevenson getting away with kick backs and Duke Cunningham and all you can do is bleed a non-story in the first place.

    He's not RUNNING FOR OFFICE NOW and it is a private matter between spouses.

    He broke NO LAWS. See what Brittenys doing since it's obvious you have no real news to report.

    May 11, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. Edwards Soap Oera needs to disappear

    The Edwards soap opera needs to disappear – and Mrs Edwards needs to shut it down as well. This is becoming nauseating. This is a short story. John had an affair while his wife was sick with cancer. This is as low as you can go. He lied about it. He was a hypocrit on the campaign trail John fathered a child. He lied about it. He continues to lie about it, and to this day will not be truthful with his wife. I did not think he could sink lower, but he did. John paid his mistriss hundreds of thousands of dollars for the child support. He did this probably illegally. he lied about this too, Mrs Edwards went on TV to propmote her book, This was a sick thing to do. This family needs counseling, and they need to take their story off the front page. Nobody cares.

    May 11, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    I don't think anyone cares but it help sell Mrs Edwards book and dying of cancer what story

    May 11, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Kevin in Ohio

    Heck, the report came from ABC News.....not even Fox broke the story. What's not to believe??????? Trippi is just another lying liberal.

    May 11, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. IndepndentAmerican

    Interesting. This whole book & subsequent interviews on every network, is Elizabeth's sad attempt to salvage John's political career. The man wants the presidency, and poor Elizabeth is attempting to absolve him so he can run in 2016. Sad.

    Mrs. Edwards, you are ill, your family needs you, go home and be at peace. We know your husband is a schmuck, wont change my opinion to have you tell me, that you forgive. A schmuck is always a schmuck!

    May 11, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. Lynn

    Joe Trippi right sure you didn't know about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. Adele

    1. Who cares (except in this puritanical country) is a politician has an affair. In other civilized nations, this is a private matter.
    2. The scorned wife should have the decency to keep the matter private as well and not go whining on television.

    May 11, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Phil S.

    Wait, Trippi knows the sabotage rumour isn't true because there is no way he could not know a secret?? BUT IF IT WERE TRUE, it would be the staffers fault because by not telling the staffer would be "not only malpracticing John Edwards but the country as well by not doing the right thing, going to him, and telling him he had to leave the race." Boy that's rich. Hey Trippi, not everyone's first instinct is to lie and think about themselves first, geesh, get used to it.

    May 11, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. Betty

    "In reality, Trippi said, Edwards' senior advisers immediately discounted the rumors, first reported by the National Enquirer in the fall of 2007, and never raised the possibility they might be true."


    Boy, oh, boy. That was the mistake they made as senior advisers to Edwards—They "never raised the possibility," they say. Big mistake. Big blunder. They too were duped, apparently, by John Edwards.

    May 11, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I wouldn't put it past John Edwards that he told her that lie. Elizabeth needs to stop her media interviews, get a grip on her own personal life and deal with her husband in private. If he lied to her then, he's probably lying to her now.

    May 11, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. goodness, who cares

    leave the family alone, for their sake

    unless they are press hounds like Palin, they PLEASE LEAVE THEM ALONE for the public's sake

    in any case leave them alone

    May 11, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. Clay

    A question to women.
    Why do politians wives stay with their husbands after they cheat?
    Why do they go to their press conferences after they were caught?
    Why don't they take half and move on with their life?

    May 11, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. Mississippi Mike

    Wow, ether he is lying or the team trying to get John Edwards into the White House wasn't aware of his largest weakness. It's probably a mix of both but in either scenario, it helps explain why he was a non-factor.

    May 11, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. Psbro

    Of course we believe Trippi. Right? Yeah right. Both Edwards didn't get vicious against Hillary & start doing Obama's dirty work until Trippi got involved. The fact that Trippi was/is one of Axelrod's closet friends had nothing to do with the new startegy. Even when it showed that Edwards vicious attacks were only helping Obama & not them both Edwards kept it up on Trippi's advice. Yeah..Trippi...paragon of integrity.

    May 11, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. AJ

    Who really cares? Edwards is finished.

    May 11, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. hawkeye

    This is not worthy news. John let a lot of people down who really beleived in him. Shame on John, so much for family values.

    May 11, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. TomJay

    Ignorance is bliss. And these guys wanted to be top dogs?

    May 11, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Vic

    Is Joe Trippi saying that Elizabeth Edwards malpracticed the country by not telling her husband to quit the race once she found out about the affair and continued to campaign for him?

    May 11, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Monrob

    He is right!

    May 11, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. The Broker.

    Why? Office-Love, goes on all the time. They only think it's stolen-love.

    May 11, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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