by Damozel | I was disappointed when the story broke, but Edwards isn't a candidate or currently representing any constituency, so whatever. I feel stupid for thinking he was better than that. As Digby says, the story has no political significance for anyone except John Edwards. It's something that happened, so I'm going to deal with it and move on. I still like him for the stand he's taken on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised. But he stands convicted by his own prior statements (both about himself and about Bill Clinton, as discussed below), which is why I'm calling him out as a hypocrite.
Jane Hamsher nails what I think is wrong with this---"this" meaning the scandal and his response to it---as far as I'm concerned:
I don't really care what people do in their private lives and nobody can know what the relationship is between two people, so unless their personal lives are at odds with their voting records -- demanding that people do one thing while they do another (like being, you know, not gay or something) -- I figure that's their business.
But Edwards did play the family card quite heavily during his campaign, and if he'd gotten the nomination, the Democrats would be sunk right now and we'd be looking at four years of John McCain. So on that count, I'm profoundly grateful that he didn't get it. He was risking a lot for all of us by doing this stuff and running at the same time. It was incredibly stupid.
What more can you say? (FDL)
I can say that I love Elizabeth and feel protective of her. Here's what she says.
John made a terrible mistake in 2006. 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 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.
Because of a recent string of hurtful and absurd lies in a tabloid publication, because of a picture falsely suggesting that John was spending time with a child it wrongly alleged he had fathered outside our marriage, our private matter could no longer be wholly private. .... I ask that the public, who expressed concern about the harm John’s conduct has done to us, think also about the real harm that the present voyeurism does and give me and my family the privacy we need at this time. (Daily Kos (more))
Here's the HuffPost's commentary:
John Edwards repeatedly lied during his Presidential campaign about an extra-marital affair with a novice film-maker, the former Senator admitted to ABC News today.
In an interview for broadcast tonight on Nightline, Edwards told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff he did have an affair with 42-year old Rielle Hunter, but said that he did not love her.
Dear, oh dear. I love Elizabeth, but the last doesn't reflect well on Edwards. I'm not sure what he could have said except this: "At no time was this anyone else's business." Which is pretty much where it lies for me. (HuffPost)
Here's some of the dirt, also courtesy of HuffPost.
It turned out Hunter's documentaries were a sham. Months after she met the Senator at that midtown hotel, the two needed an excuse to continue being around each other. The suggestion was made -- by whom, it's not known -- to make documentaries of the Senator's work for the One America Committee. Hunter would get paid and Edwards would have an excuse for keeping her around. Six months and $114,000 later, the deed was done.
By the time the last check was written to Hunter, in early April 2007, Edwards' wife Elizabeth already knew. According to a source (completely unconfirmed) there was one evening in which she called up a staffer working on the films in an effort to get Hunter's phone number....
John Edwards, meanwhile, launched his presidential campaign on January 3, 2007. His candidacy was based largely on the same tenets of the One America Committee: championing in the causes of the poor and the working class. But the Senator did not shy away from addressing his own story. And, in a March 27 interview with Katie Couric he clearly let it be known that one's personal life was fair game in a presidential run.
"I think every single candidate for president, Republican and Democratic have lives, personal lives, that indicate something about what kind of human being they are. And I think it is a fair evaluation for America to engage in, to look at, what kind of human beings each of us are, and what kind of president we'd make."
The quote came four days after Elizabeth Edwards announced that her cancer had returned and that it was treatable but not curable. (HuffPost (more))
Politico points out what Edwards had to say in 1999 about Bill Clinton:
Edwards had cast himself in his political career as an exemplar of a moral life and a good marriage, and he was a harsh critic of former President Bill Clinton for his Oval Office affair.
“I think this president has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter,” Edwards said in 1999. “It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen.”
Here's his statement:
"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. (Marc Ambinder; emphasis added)
None of this cuts any ice with me. I don't give a damn what these guys do in private, but if they know they're disposed to be naughty, they need to keep quiet about the "values" issues and the importance of their family life in showing them to be superior human beings. In other words, don't campaign on these issues and I won't call you a hypocrite.
Digby points out that the press isn't showing the same interest in the Vicki Iseman story and makes the "sauce for the goose..." argument.
The "crime" of lying to the press seems to apply only to sex matters.
Lying to the press about the anthrax killer and WMD in Iraq, well, not a problem....
Let's assume that the rules now say that denying an affair to the press is a cardinal offense that merits endless bloviating about dishonesty from a bunch of hypocritical celebrities who protect their "sources" when they lie about torture and war. Fine. But this guy actually may very well be president and they took his word for it:
Many people, especially in the press, jumped to defend McCain against the evil New York Times on that one and there has been no follow up....What if it comes out that it was true after he's president? Why surely the press will be as honor bound to obsess over it as they were about Clinton and now Edwards, right? It's not about the sex --- it's about the lying, remember?...
But if the media has decided that even a failed politician who has no chance at the presidency can be subject to this kind of scrutiny, then they need to be a little bit more vigilant about pursuing someone who is the nominee of his party and has been very publicly linked to a specific woman by the paper of record, not the National Enquirer. (Digby)
So anyway, that's that. You can see the video here.