September 21st, 2009
08:13 PM ET
12 years ago

Why are some politicians forgiven in sex scandals?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Damning new allegations about former Sen. John Edwards' extramarital affair are coming out - this time, the claims could spell the end of Edwards' political career.

While the U.S. has a tradition of forgiveness, politicians seem able to gain forgiveness from the public and come back after just about anything. As long as the offender apologizes, gets punished and seems to suffer along the way, they are forgiven.

Edwards admitted to having an affair with former 2008 presidential campaign worker Rielle Hunter. He did a mea culpa.

"In 2006, two years ago, I made a very serious mistake. A mistake that I am responsible for and no one else," he said during an interview with ABC News' "Nightline."

"I told Elizabeth about the mistake, asked her for her forgiveness, asked God for his forgiveness," he said.

But now he's getting the front page New York Times treatment.

Full story

Filed under: John Edwards • New York Times • Popular Posts
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Enough

    because they're DEMOCRATS, everyone knows and accepts that Democrats have NO morals.

    September 21, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  2. No Hillary = No Obama

    John Edwards should not be forgiven and this is why: he had the gall to fool around while trying to get himself nominated as President and father a child in the process. What if he had gotten elected, then what? He does this while his wife is undergoing treatment for cancer. He gets on national tv and lies with a straight face that he is not the father of the child. He provides hush money to keep everything quiet. Can you get anymore sleazy than this? This was not just an indiscretion, this was a fraud.

    September 21, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  3. obama the liar

    basically because they are liberals and follow in the footsteps of the Kennedys',Lyndon, Clinton and most of the Governors of New York.. Being a liberal is an excuse for never having to say I'n sorry...(we already know that, that's what a liberal IS)

    September 21, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. LacrosseMom

    Perhaps its because, we are all sinners. No one is perfect, no one.

    September 21, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  5. Dan

    This one is really something, false faked pseudo apology by a trial lawyer!

    September 21, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  6. GuyInVA

    Some politicians are forgiven because their constituents don't care. If no law is violated, let the guy deal with his constituents and his wife. Another good question is why would Silda Spitzer, Hilary Clinton and others stand next to, and support, a cheater? They are better than that.

    September 21, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  7. Pragmatic

    I think Edwards fall from grace was farther because more people had hoped he was different. They also are more invested in his wife, because of her brave battle with illness and who she is.

    Sanford, Ensign & Vitter? Who cares: Just another string of evangelical Christians who say one thing and do another. Lots of NYers are wishing Sptizer hadn't messed up and left his state to stumble along.

    September 21, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. Elle

    For some reason, I was always something a little slimy about Edwards and I could never quite put my finger on it. As it turned out, the "ick" factor was true.

    September 21, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  9. Joe Fattal

    Very easy why Politicians forgiven in sex scandals, because they dum enough to get caught. You want to cheat, cheat, but don't get caught, and don't even admitted until you get caught. But don't be dum enough to get caught, because some of us are dum enough to forgive you.

    September 21, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  10. Cruisin' with ACORN

    The forgiven politicians are all Democrats.

    September 21, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  11. Amanda

    What politicians, men and women, do in their private lives does not interest me in the least. And that concerns their sex lives.

    September 21, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  12. Felix

    Mr. Edwards is a special case in that he barged into enemy territory. It's a self evident truth that Dems are tempted by cash and Reps by flesh. While Mr. Clinton might have been excused for the corporeal transgression not compatible with his party affiliation-he is a genius, Mr. Edwards does not deserve a public amnesty. So let him suffer and pay child support, too.

    September 21, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  13. Peter

    In the modern world its one wife for one husband!. In the olden days it was one husband for many wives!. King solomon had 700 official wives and 300 concubines.

    September 21, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |

    Sleazy Republicans still in office:

    Sen. John Ensign (R- NV)
    Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC)
    Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
    Sen. Larry Craig (R-Iowa)

    And all these guys ran on the claim that the have superior Family Values!

    September 21, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    Well – he's not in any politcal office now and doubt he will ever run again. However, if he and his friends did something illegal, indict him.

    Same for sitting Senator from Nevada that paid his girlfriend, her husband, and their son.

    Fair is fair.

    September 21, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  16. Reagan was wrong

    Cheating on your wife while she's dying of cancer so you can go impregnate your mistress is unforgivable, regardless of who you are.

    September 21, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  17. phoenix86

    Edwards is a pathalogical liar, a perfect fit for the Obama administration.

    September 21, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  18. Mike in NYC

    My outrage in these cases extends as far as the cost to the taxpayer, plus a little bit added on for hypocrisy, if applicable. Beyond that, it's a personal matter.

    September 21, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  19. S Callahan

    Think of all the 'real' work that would be done in DC if we castrated all of them....shameful thought huh, but it would shorten the moral stories and get on with the buisness of government.

    September 21, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  20. ib

    All he has to do is to blame it all on Bush & Cheney; that's the way demo's do; blame everything on Bush and all is forgiven.

    September 21, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  21. bob in LA

    You ask why some politians are forgiven in sex scandals? Maybe it has to do with what came before it.
    When someone claims to be so pure and holy,then they are held to that standard. If you live a normal life and accept that we all have our own choices to make, then when you slip up people say well, they accepted that sort of thing in others, this isn't a surprise.
    A Democrat that has a gay sex scandal is not going to suffer in the same way as a bible thumping, condemning of others lifestyles Republican. Have they both done something wrong, maybe, but the real crime is in the judging other and that 's why the Republican will get in more trouble everytime.

    September 21, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  22. dave

    and why is Newt the slime Gingrich forgiven for HIS intern scandal and serving his cancer stricken wife with divorce papers in the hospital? and why is Slimy John Ensign not hit hard for dipping into the married campaign staff and hiring his mistresses' son and having his parents (HIS PARENTS! he's 50 years old) pay off his mistress $96,000?)
    BECAUSE the public is accustomed to Republican self centered , family values HYPOCRISY. It is de-riguer. No one is surprised by this crap from a Conservative because they are all liars. ANd where is the media in not leaning on the Washington House where all these slimebags live and cover for each other's affairs?
    Just one man's opinion

    September 21, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  23. jules sand-perkins

    A politician's sex life is his or her own business.
    It is unrelated to the public.

    September 21, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  24. Dino, Washington, D.C.

    Politicans are more likely to be forgiven for a sex scandal if there was no hypocrisy involved. If a politican is screams traditional family values and then gets caught with his pants down people are like wow the pot calling the kettle black. In the case of John Edwards, I think people were upset because Elizabeth Edwards had inoperable cancer.

    September 21, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  25. Margaret Anderson/Boise, Idaho

    His political career was already over. This is a tragedy to his family. I am hoping that people would leave them alone right now. His wife has as much to deal with as she should have to. I am hping that John Edwards will be allowed to be able to do good in the future. He is basically a good man who has a very basic human weakness. I believe that he is very sorry for what he did to his family. Enough alread.

    September 21, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
1 2