The John Edwards Affair: Accountability for New & Old Media?

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The Washington Note published several pieces about the details and significance of a potential sexual affair in the middle of the John Edwards presidential primary campaign three times — twice on October 11, 2007 (here and here) and once on October 12, 2007.
I wrote about this after reading Sam Stein’s work at Huffington Post. He broke this story — and the National Enquirer built on the ‘revelations‘.
There are few times when I have received more hate mail and was the target of really awful, excoriating attacks than at that time — and now Edwards admits to the affair he had been denying. The same may be true for Sam Stein.
I frankly don’t care about affairs in general — but I do care about the presumption that the American public can be counted on to be part of the outrage machine when a politician lies about something like this — particularly given the circumstances of Elizabeth Edwards’ health.
My hat is tipped to Sam Stein who was the first blogger to really work this story. He told me then that his sources were solid, and I believed him. He deserves a salute today — even though the story itself is gross and hardly worth the attention we are compelled to give it.
There will be ramifications of this incident on the blogging community and also on mainstream media. Some blogs frequently see themselves as willing vehicles of politicians, unwilling to focus a critical eye on the pol or party they are supporting. Others see themselves as a hybrid of advocacy and analysis. Others see themselves as competitors with mainstream media — covering political news with greater objectivity and creativity than the largely homogenized, too controlled big time media players offer.
Blogging is a real mix of types — but there are many great bloggers out there who were convinced until the last moment that Edwards was truthful and that this was a conspiracy hatched by Clinton or Obama to undo him as a presidential candidate — and then as a vice-presidential choice. Edwards owes these folks an apology for misleading them and the nation — many who were his strongest defenders. And then everyone in this game needs to thank the Sam Steins of the world who are willing to report what they learn and work a story as it should be worked.
I applauded previously Sam Stein’s thoughtful journalism and behind the scenes investigative work then — and given what we now know today — I applaud him again.
I wish John Edwards had done what Alexander Hamilton had done in a similar situation — as I wrote last October — but not to be. Sad.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

47 comments on “The John Edwards Affair: Accountability for New & Old Media?

  1. Kathleen says:

    I get that Ruth is mocking Edwards and she does hit the nails on the head…I’m just putting the issue of honesty in perpspective when I mention Darth’s One Percent Doctrine…..thanks to that tired old adolescent Madame, Hugh Heffner, we’re all rather jaded about infiedelity and promiscuity..it’s the way to be if you’re male, right?

    Reply

  2. Tahoe Editor says:

    Ruth is mocking Edwards. Her final sentence:
    “I don’t think this man is anywhere in the neighborhood of 99 percent honesty.”

    Reply

  3. Kathleen says:

    As opposed to Cheney’s One Percent Doctrine…….

    Reply

  4. Tahoe Editor says:

    EXCEPT Edwards lied about it while running for president
    EXCEPT Edwards made his wife a principal in his campaign
    EXCEPT Edwards was a prospect for service in a Democratic Cabinet
    — and that’s Keith Olbermann of all people!
    BO’s “distraction” shtick is gaining a lot of currency.
    Ruth Marcus: Ninenty-Nine Percent Honesty
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/08/ninenty_nine_percent_honesty.html

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Just one slip from this pissant George Bush, and we could easily find current events morphing into World War Three.
    But we’re gonna sweat Edward’s infidelity, right?
    What a crock of shit. This is a non issue, and nothing more than a distraction.

    Reply

  6. Linda says:

    Time for a little common sense. Surprised that no one has mentioned that Clinton supporters are saying they wish this had come out sooner because then Clinton would have won the Iowa primaries–so one can just as easily get into conspiracy theories about the story being promoted by Clinton campaign as Obama’s. And with what is coming out today also about Clinton strategy of making Obama seem different and not American, I don’t think either campaign has a monopoly on playing dirty hardball.
    Edwards’ affair? My fault – Los Angeles Times
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-miller10-2008aug10,0,4015084.story I’m not good at putting links into blogs, but this op-ed has been the most e-mailed from LA Times for the past 24 hours and with Newsweek on Rielle tells me all I need to know. The author is a professional writer and writing an op-ed and not fiction, and I’m sure LA Times would not have published it without first checking out the basic facts.
    I lived in LA, and everybody has encountered women like Monica and Rielle. Let’s not forget the facts about Monica, i.e., she was an intern.
    Picture yourself or your husband or any CEO in a situation of working late at night with an intern half his age sent out for pizza. She delivers it to him, raises her top a little and lowers her slacks a little and shows him her thong underwear.
    What would any intelligent man do? Yes, it was not an impeachable offense, but it was extremely inappropriate behavior, lied about to everybody for six months and then impeachment took the rest of 1998 from being about any important government business. I don’t care about why or what went on between Bill and Hillary or their personal life or that of the Edwards’ either.
    Also consider that the media climate was different ten years ago with no blogosphere, more real news (like CNN Headline News) and more 24/7 news being punditry, etc. Clinton probably would have had to resign if that happened in today’s media climate, and Gore would have been President and been re-elected in 2000. And that would have been better for the country.
    But Edwards knew the media climate in 2006, and he was stupid too. Women like Monica and Rielle are not that uncommon, especially in LA. They are attracted to power and money–unrealistic in ttheir fantasies and are very likely to “kiss (and more) and tell.”
    No one has to run for President, but if anyone decides to do so, he/she has to be aware of very simple facts of life in today’s world and act intelligently 24/7 to achieve that goal. And I’d advise not singing along with the Beach Boys about California girls. Politics is dirty and mean in this country. The best way to avoid situations like this is just to act intelligently and not get into them. It’s really that simple.

    Reply

  7. S Brennan says:

    should be:
    ..Obama people should be calling for [Axelrod]’s entire entourage to exit the campaign.

    Reply

  8. S Brennan says:

    Just reminder, if the hotel scene has been correctly portrayed by the press we have attempted blackmail. If an investigation shows any involvement by the Obama campaign, we have violations of the RICO Act, which would lead to impeachment of Barak Obama.
    Unlike the hysterics of [Steve’s] original post, this action by Axelrod & Obama could lead to serious damage. Setting aside lame excuses for Obama/Axelrod axis, it’s time to find out what involvement the Obama campaign had in the Edwards hotel set-up. Republicans would jump for joy if we nominated a man who could be prosecuted for aiding blackmail. At the very least, good Obama people should be calling for ‘s entire entourage to exit the campaign.

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  9. shunha7878 says:

    I am so mad about this. If the press had reported this when it first came out, it would be Clinton vs. McLame

    Reply

  10. arthurdecco says:

    Charles Mingus asked: “Who would “those” be, Arthur?”
    Surely you can discover the identities of those who sit on the Boards of Directors of our major media companies as well as I can, can’t you, Mr. Mingus? (Besides, the effort might do you good. With those endless, overlaid spider webs of connection to investigate…in addition to the facts of the case, who knows what you might learn about yourself and the dark motivations I suspect lurk behind your asking this particular question of me in the first place?)
    I’m sure you’d agree: the honest pursuit of knowledge can set you free, can’t it, Mr. Mingus?

    Reply

  11. S Brennan says:

    Just to help those who don’t know about Obama’s past involvement with revelations like this:
    “….No description of Obama’s relationship with the Chicago press can ignore the benefits of Obama’s ties to local strategist David Axelrod, a former reporter for the Tribune, a frequent source for local reporters, and on good terms with most of the paper’s editors. Fortuitously for Obama, Axelrod began the 2004 Senate primary cycle by engaging in early discussions with Obama’s best-funded rival, Blair Hull. Those discussions included Axelrod asking Hull to confirm or deny rumors of spousal abuse; Axelrod told Mendell that Hull offered a “glacial” and evasive answer. Unsurprisingly, Axelrod lost interest in Hull shortly after that.
    As the primary heated up, a consultant for one of Obama’s rivals handed Tribune reporter Mendell a packet of opposition research on Hull — the documents noted that he had been divorced three times, and that his second wife had been granted a court order of protection from him.
    That prompted the Chicago media to demand Hull unseal his divorce records, and his campaign ultimately showed them to Mendell. The contents were devastating — allegations of abuse and threats.
    ….Oddly, within a few months, dogged efforts on the part of the local press would eliminate another Obama rival, this time in the general election. Republican Jack Ryan seemed to be out of central casting — handsome, independently wealthy, sharing the name of a Tom Clancy hero.
    But once again, the Tribune and a local television station launched a crusade to unseal the candidate’s divorce records. Ryan, his ex-wife (actress Jeri Ryan, best known for playing a cybernetic bombshell on Star Trek: Voyager), and his supporters argued that his nine-year-old son ought to be spared the messy details of his contentious divorce. A California judge ordered the records unsealed, and the entire political world heard accusations that the candidate urged his unwilling wife to have public sex in clubs in New York and Paris. Ryan denied the allegations, but no candidacy could survive a revelation like that.”
    It’s seems this Edwards affair fits into a pattern for Obama…I think that helps explain his FISA vote.
    Basically, Obama has seen the benefits of snooping into other people private lives…I really surprised that Steve Clemons implicitly approve of such intrutions into private life, particularly since he was upfront with his wife without any promting from outside forces.

    Reply

  12. Charles Mingus says:

    “Indeed, those two pillars of the American way of life Myth have
    themselves been seeded, fed, watered and harvested from your
    sticky web of commercialized popular culture – a bought and paid
    for culture now solely owned and/or controlled by those who either
    wish you ill or care nothing at all for your opinion.”
    Who would “those” be, Arthur?

    Reply

  13. iKathleen says:

    shunha…what are you talking about? I didn’t see anyone blame Bush for Edward’s getting caught at his affair…..

    Reply

  14. shunha7878 says:

    Wow, 32 comments and nobody’s cares that the MSM tried to hide this story, but most of you found a way to make it Bush’s fault.

    Reply

  15. Paul Norheim says:

    This is a big and complex issue. Basically it`s – as I see it – about
    a breakdown of the distinction between private and public life
    (itself a short lived distinction, historically).
    There is a lot of (political) manipulation, commercial and
    corporate interests, modern media technology etc. involved in
    this. But it`s hard for me to judge to which degree this simply
    creates the phenomenon or adds to, amplifies and exaggerates it.

    Reply

  16. arthurdecco says:

    Paul Norheim said: “This ridiculous and despicable phenomenon is a product of an old puritanical mind set combined with modern voyeurism gone bananas.”
    You will find many who will agree with you, Mr. Norheim, but I won’t be one of them. It’s easy to hold the opinion you hold because that’s the basic storyline that’s been drilled into all of us by endless repetition courtesy of our mythmaking, all-consuming, popular culture Leviathans. That particular incremental conditioning has been going on for generations across cultural boundaries – (a more perfect method of societal control has never been invented, has it?)
    I believe this modern world-wide fascination with superficiality and the attendant aversion to rational self-interest that is its end product are the result of a Deliberate Manipulation of “an old puritanical mind set combined with modern voyeurism gone bananas” – NOT the “puritanical mindset” or “modern voyeurism”, themselves. Indeed, those two pillars of the American way of life Myth have themselves been seeded, fed, watered and harvested from your sticky web of commercialized popular culture – a bought and paid for culture now solely owned and/or controlled by those who either wish you ill or care nothing at all for your opinion.
    These are the kind of people who, if they ever want your opinion will give it to you. And as we’ve seen, they frequently do.

    Reply

  17. Kathleen says:

    The scene in the hotel basement did smell like a set-up,ala Monica/Linda Tripp…book deals, anyone?
    Joe Trippi is basically a Kennedy person…John Edwards had the lead until Trippi joined his campaign..co-incidence, maybe…who suggested a videographer in the first place? How did that footage of Edwards primping his hair leak??? …had to be from the campaign/videographer…..between that and paying $400 for a haircut with campaign funds and it was time for the fat lady to sing.
    Pathetic story…

    Reply

  18. S Brennan says:

    susannunes [below line] makes a good point,
    Additionally, the only campaign that gains from having a extramarital story play out right now seems to be…
    BARAK OBAMA
    Hmmmm…so we have motive for Barak involvement and as pointed out below, it fits his established MO, so the only thing we have left to find is opportunity.
    And we would have BARAK OBAMA involvement in what appears to be a blackmail attempt that was turned back by Edwards.
    So while Steve pats his buddies on the fanny for their good reporting, perhaps we might want to ask who kept pushing this story? After all, that is at least 50% of this story, probably more and as of yet, no reporter seems to have even the slightest curiosity. Why?
    Let’s review, because of his history we know McCain would be hurt by this story, and ditto with Hillary, Edwards clearly not helped here…hmmm…that only leaves Barak who goes on vacation the day the story broke and can’t take questions, but helpfully tells us that neither Elizabeth or John are invited to the convention. Remember, Obama accepts Johns endorsement & delegates, but not even his wife can attend the convention.
    And Steve thinks Barak is a good guy?
    The Obama campaign is the sleaziest campaign I’ve ever seen in the Democratic Party, but then the Democratic Party has lost it’s moral compass, no wonder so many Republicans find Barak appealing.
    ________________________________________
    [1] susannunes, on August 9th, 2008 at 12:50 pm Said:
    Instead of gloating about Edwards’ “downfall,” and by the way, the Enquirer, Globe, and other tabloids have been abuzz with recent stories of Bill Clinton’s alleged current or recent affairs, you better be asking the question of WHO leaked the information to the Enquirer and WHY Edwards suddenly withdrew from the race right before Super Tuesday.
    Somebody from a rival campaign had the information and used it to force him out of the race. Considering a Republican politician in Illinois had to withdraw from the 2004 Senate race because of salacious stories surrounding his divorce, I think it is clear where the Edwards leak came from.

    Reply

  19. Kathleen says:

    Politicians screwing around and lying is news??? So, are McPain and Roooodi in the same category, not fit for public office then, or are we doing double standards still? The problem with American politics is testerics.
    NEWS would be when some First Lady or Senator’s wife screws around with “campaign staff'”…. then you’d see some mass whiplash in the MSM…
    Keith Olberman last night said Pelosi should call Congress back so the House Judiciary Committee can commence impeachment hearings…. Music to my ears…and speaking of Alexander Hamilton, he once said,”Good policy, once established, lasts.”. Unfortunately, bad policy, left unchallenged, also lasts…
    IMPEACH NOW or forever live to regret it. Instead of screwing around to prove one’s manliness, try doing the right thing and defend the Constitution… it’s a rush….

    Reply

  20. Paul Norheim says:

    Yeah, ArthurDecco is absolutely right here.
    This ridiculous and despicable phenomenon is a product of an
    old puritanical mind set combined with modern voyeurism gone
    bananas. Most people living in the Western World today are
    completely unable to distinguish between private and public
    life, between political issues and irrelevant personal facts, trivia
    or gossip. This represents a regression and infantilization in our
    culture: we are all forced to look at the world as trough the eyes
    of teenage girls, and even the political elites are participating in
    these irrelevant distractions.
    The relaxed French attitude towards this kind of stuff is
    superior; they even accept gossip as a part of human nature,
    but realize that there are absolutely no general rules regarding
    the connection between how you conduct your political and
    your private life.
    If we want great, wise and responsible political leaders, the last
    thing to look for is what they`re doing in bed, and with whom.
    “Besides, it’s not Edwards’ lying that appears to be bothering so
    many of you – it’s what he lied about.” (ArthurDecco)
    Exactly. This is stuff for old moralistic aunts and fourteen year
    old girls.

    Reply

  21. JamesL says:

    ArthurDecco is right. News should assist in the public prioritizing of importance of events. How news is written is one issue. What stories or issues are given top ranking is another issue entirely. It is easy to complain about what media omits within a story to simplify or (often now) add bias. But the ordering and display of stories receives less attention, even though for the many whose news is limited to headline scanning, it is the editorial prioritizing that determines what is “important”. “Intresting” or “distracting” is not “important”, but in America, they have become so.
    Americans have become lazy, inept, and perhaps worst of all, indifferent in comprehending essential elements of things outside their experience. This is an unspoken and perhaps fatal weakness of increasingly specialized technological cultures. Now the media is colluding, for purposes of profit, to accelerate this weakness.
    As a friend asked: What makes America great?
    Denial.

    Reply

  22. rich says:

    Before we indulge in another moralizing conniption fit over John Edwards’ regrettable affair, ‘family values’, and the rest, let’s remember just how big an advantage the Republicans have in this category.
    Below are a few lists of the hundreds of Republican elected officials who had affairs, etc., or were arrested for far worse—in the past few years alone.
    These were assembled in response to the Starr Scarlet Letter Incident, and the multiple news reports of moral failings by Republican legislators in the wake of the Clinton impeachment.
    Take a look.
    http://www.armchairsubversive.org/
    http://www.dkosopedia.com/wiki/Examples_of_Republican_hypocrisy_on_moral_values
    http://www.correntewire.com/refresh_your_memory_the_gop_has_always_been_the_party_of_perverts
    Read the whole thing.
    Then tell us whether John Edwards is unusual. Or is getting as much attention as the ‘family values’ crowd on the right. Don’t get me wrong, he deserves his moment of public shame.
    But have all the pundits on all the talk shows and in the DC press corps been pontificating and moralizing with equal fervor about human failings on both sides of the aisle?
    Just askin’.

    Reply

  23. arthurdecco says:

    All politicians lie about nearly everything. It’s a large part of the job. It’s the same thing with lawyers…policemen…predatory businessmen and stockbrokers…even blog commenters do it.
    Everyone lies about something – to protect their privacy, to gain pecuniary advantage, to feel superior, to distract or destroy their opponents and enemies…
    Presidents who don’t or won’t lie can’t do their job. Hell, they wouldn’t get elected in the first place!
    Anyone typing here who claims anything different is lying to themselves and to the rest of us. Besides, it’s not Edwards’ lying that appears to be bothering so many of you – it’s what he lied about.
    I couldn’t care less about John Edwards’ personal dramas or his private quests for emotional comfort. Those issues belong solely to him and his inner circle.
    What I’m finding most appalling about this sordid, media-concocted frenzy-over-nothing-worth-discussing is the resultant morbid fascination and breathless titillation on display in the majority of the responses to Mr. Clemons’ original post.
    Someone up thread mentioned the Anthrax story – Now THAT’S a story worth investigating! John Edward’s lying about an affair is NOT! Trying to shut him out of a cabinet position he would be eminently suited for because of his professional history by painting him as a “scary ol’ adulterer” could be a story worth investigating. But who’s discussing that angle?
    Bill Moyers said: “I came to see that news is what people want to keep hidden, and everything else is publicity.”
    Why do you all care so much about something that means nothing – that never in a million years could be considered an accurate indicator of well John Edwards would have done as your President?
    Grow up, ladies and gentlemen. Your attitude smacks of snickering children. Or office gossips. Don’t you think its time to start thinking about what really matters in the rotten-to-the-core political system of yours that seems more likely to implode and crush you and of those you hold dear, than to rescue your children from an assured bleak future of endless financial servitude under an oppressive, authoritarian, gun metal gray sky?
    1984 is already here and you’re still concerned about John Edwards’ judgment because he found some light in the darkened corners of his what-should-be-private world?!?
    Your particular combination of hypocrisy and naivety astound me.
    How very American of you.

    Reply

  24. Mr.Murder says:

    Steve, can your IP get Gpoogle maps to show the roads and towns of the Georgian Republic?
    Orwellian….

    Reply

  25. JoeCHI says:

    Both John AND Elizabeth Edwards owe the public, especially the
    Democratic Party, an apology.
    Clearly, Elizabeth was wronged by the affair. That said, she knew
    about it in 2006 prior to John launching his Presidential campaign.
    The fact that they both colluded to lie and cover-up the affair and
    then go forward with the campaign put the Democrat’s chances at
    winning back the White House at great risk.
    They are both guilty of hubris.

    Reply

  26. Slim says:

    I completely reject the ‘idea’ that lies (or potential lies, which must be researched with dedication and dogged commitment until the truth is discovered) about sex lives are relevant to our evaluation of candidates for public office.
    You say you disagree Steve.
    So, why doesn’t your search engine return any hits for Vicki Iseman?

    Reply

  27. Robert Morrow says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican:
    “I’d rather have a president thats foolish with his penis than one thats foolish with his army.”
    Would you like a President that LIES? Because if he LIES about what he does with his penis do you think he might LIE about what he does and intends to do with the Army?
    Having said that … Yep, it is slimy to cheat on your wife who is dying of cancer. But compare to Hillary and Bill who hired a secret police, private detectives and used criminal intimidation tactics to cover up all their years of wildly dysfunctional domestic chaos. The Clintons sent goons to beat up and nearly murder Gennifer Flowers’ neighbor, Gary Johnson, on 6-26-92. Also, there was Hillary’s and Jack Palladino’s terror campaign on Kathleen Willey in 1997-98. I could give many more examples.
    One more thing, it wasn’t just wild Bill having hundreds of affairs … Hillary was screwing BOTH of her law partners Webb Hubbell AND Vince Foster. And big-lipped Chelsea is the seed of big-lipped Webb Hubbell, NOT Bill Clinton. Hillary and Bill are a cross of Jerry Springers/Sopranos. John Edwards is just a chump.
    Robert Morrow anti-Hillary activist and Clinton expert Austin, TX 512-306-1510

    Reply

  28. Carroll says:

    Very sad.
    I admire Elizabeth Edwards a lot, I hope this story dies out fast for her sake.

    Reply

  29. Linda says:

    It might be nice to have a president who isn’t foolish about either of the above.

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  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I’d rather have a president thats foolish with his penis than one thats foolish with his army.

    Reply

  31. Mr.Murder says:

    Did John Edwards ever have fake Marine, call boy/credentialed reporter Jeff Gannon stay over all night the Bush White House did?

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  32. JohnH says:

    I’m with Zathras in having “to admit I’m a little ambivalent about politicians and personal morals.” Good people do bad things. Yes, you must feel for Elizabeth, but beyond the family tragedy, where’s the damage? Let’s move on.
    But I am NOT ambivalent about politicians who righteously preach morality and then seem to be the first to practice immoral acts. Larry Flynt, keep up the good work!

    Reply

  33. Spunkmeyer says:

    Bah! Steve, what’s the deal with Mac users having comments
    shown wrapped differently? I don’t have this issue with any other
    web site.
    Elizabeth Edwards on Daily Kos:
    http://tinyurl.com/5f87dm

    Reply

  34. Spunkmeyer says:

    Elizabeth Edwards has posted a diary on DailyKos about today’s
    events… she is a class act as usual.
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/8/8/193337/7354/473
    /564989

    Reply

  35. Tahoe Editor says:

    KEITH OLBERMANN:
    An average scandal as far as politics goes
    EXCEPT Edwards lied about it while running for president
    EXCEPT Edwards made his wife a principal in his campaign
    EXCEPT Edwards was a prospect for service in a Democratic Cabinet
    88 days until the 2008 presidential election, an election campaign that, had John Edwards succeeding in gaining the Democratic nomination, might tonight have turned into utter chaos by his greatest self-inflicted political wound as could be imagined.

    I wonder who John’s thinking of in this 2006 footage:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AE847UXu3Q

    Reply

  36. Paul says:

    I think this once again just shows how immature american politics and media are. As far as I’m aware Edwards hasn’t introduced any legislation over adultery so you can’t use that defense to explain why this has to be covered in the press (unlike Larry Craig who remember, broke the law over soliciting sex at an airport, no matter what you thought about it). This is a non story unless you’re feeling sanctimonious and have never done anything wrong in your life (60% divorce rate, nearly 50% of kids being born to single parents, high percentage of births to couples in which the husband isn’t the father), which should rule out a significant proportion of the US population.
    I mean anybody would think there weren’t any big stories that need digging into, such as whether the US is still torturing people as a policy, destruction of free speech, human rights, corruption in the highest places of government, potentially a war with Iran…oh wait..obviously two consenting adults having an affair is way more important. And you can’t use the wife must know defense as she knew in 2006.
    Quite frankly I think the French had the right idea, be more concerned about the policies the politicians promote, and how do they react under real pressure rather than whether they are cheating on their wives. If Bush is the ideal man because he’s faithful to his wife, I’ll take JFK, FDR, Edwards and Clinton any day.

    Reply

  37. Spunkmeyer says:

    Todd, don’t beat yourself up… I was originally an Edwards
    supporter too. He denied the allegations, and it ends up that was
    a lie on his part. I’m not angry with the fact he had an affair… I am
    more angry about the fact he lied about it repeatedly to the
    American public. And I feel tremendously sad for Elizabeth and the
    kids… even if they did know about this in 2006 that doesn’t make
    things right now any easier, with the whole world knowing your
    personal business. I hope they’re left alone by the media.

    Reply

  38. S Brennan says:

    This is what I wrote in response to Ezra & his posters getting onboard the MSM screed.
    _______________________________________________
    Good looking candidate has affair, Blog Left, the Village, MSM shocked, as conventional wisdom [as handed down by the RNC] had him pegged as a fag.
    News at 11:00
    Frankly I’m a little surprised at the hyperbolic language of condemnation spewing fourth from Obama supporters given the fact that Barak has spoken on the subject and was quite clear that affairs are a private matter and in no way disqualify somebody for the presidency.
    In the process of pillaring Edwards Blog Left is throwing a lot of great Democratic [and Republican] Presidents under the bus. I hope some of the posters above aren’t too clueless to understand, if it comes out that Barak has had an affair you had better expect the MSM to go after him and his supporters with tongs…after all you adopted right wing themes as your own…but hey, when you’re young, you throw a lot rocks, it’s only later you find out the truth in life…we all live in glass houses. All of us.
    It’s a stupid move for a president [candidate] to have an affair, but then again our very best have…and the crappiest ones haven’t, so you can take your pick. Myself? I vote for policies not personalities. Reagan had a magnetic personality, he never got my vote. I am told by the MSM that Scalia is a charmer, I think his decisions suck. See? Not hard, don’t worship personalities, vote for policies you think the candidate will implement. If it turned out Edwards was running a sweatshop in the Marianas Islands, that would effect my opinion of him because it would indicate he was insincere in his policy proposals, but an affair has nothing to do with the campaign pledges Edwards made. Nothing.
    It’s Elizabeth’s and John’s matter to sort out…nobody else’s. I don’t care how sanctimonious you are, you have no business in a candidates marriage. Period.
    Posted by: S Brennan | August 8, 2008 6:54 PM

    Reply

  39. Mr.Murder says:

    When is the operative key here, Mr.Clemons, because it would put his cowtowing to Cheney in ’04 greatly in perspective and says volumes about Kerry(does already).

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  40. Todd says:

    I was one of those schmucks holding an Edwards sign back in February. I even went to Vegas from LA to work on his campaign for the caucus. Is this painful? Sure, but the moment the rumors started swirling, I suspected it might be true. And while I still believe he would be a positive force in American politics, I am not so naive to think this wouldn’t have torpedoed his candidacy and condemn him for such a stupid move.
    I am brought back to the day Clinton wagged his finger about Lewinsky and the years of fallout that created. I remain convinced that Gore’s loss was directly related to the stink of Bill’s indiscretions. You can make a plausible argument that the fallout affected Democratic politics for much of the last ten years.
    Still, between the insatiable appetite of the cable news stations and the constant search for anything even remotely “newsworthy,” this story is garnering much, much more attention than it ever deserves.
    Get me off this ride… I think I’m gonna be sick.

    Reply

  41. Tahoe Editor says:

    Re: Bush, Americans love nothing more than to forgive a man who gives up the sauce for Christ.

    “With his statement, Edwards has poured gasoline on the flames. He has said that the National Enquirer story is 99% lies, because he has been 99% honest. This is what we used to call in Watergate a modified, limited hangout. It seems almost inherently non-credible. Now he has forced all these people he is calling liars to go out and prove they’ve got the truth about payments, and why that woman was in North Carolina, and so I think he’s continued the story rather than put it to rest.” — Pat Buchanan

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  42. Zathras says:

    I always thought John Edwards would get called for rear-ending an ambulance, a case of letting his instincts get out of control. Glad to have been wrong about that, so far.
    I have to admit I’m a little ambivalent about politicians and personal morals. It’s not always the easily visible sins that do the most damage in government, on the one hand. On the other, it doesn’t make much sense to me to cut a guy with a thin record in government service much slack on his personal conduct — immoral, dissolute or dishonest conduct in private life may not necessarily tell us a lot about what kind of public servant someone would be, but suppose there isn’t much else to go on?
    There is also the question of what kind of private conduct is really out of bounds. For people already holding elective office, anything that doesn’t lead directly to jail time is OK these days unless they want to run for something else. People holding or being considered for appointive office are on a much shorter leash. Candidates, especially Presidential candidates, really get as much slack as the opposition gives them.
    John Edwards obviously thought he’d get flushed for his affair if it became public knowledge, and he was probably right. He had opponents (both Democrats and, prospectively, Republicans) prepared to make an issue of it. Suppose he didn’t, though? Other Presidential candidates (for example, John McCain) have made it to the final round without less than admirable conduct toward women in their respective pasts becoming an issue; other prominent politicians (for example, Newt Gingrich) are evidently barred from Presidential contention, at least in part because people think their record of running around says something damaging about their character.
    I keep thinking of George W. Bush, who didn’t do much before the age of 40 but goof off and drink. He drank a lot. Is that an issue of personal morals? Personally, I think it is, though I’d concede that for some people physiology may be involved as well. Most people, or at least most people in politics, don’t agree with me. Some think that partying and drinking, like gambling and sex of any kind, are just recreation and not vices at all; at the other extreme are many others who believe that Bush’s going on the wagon was a redemptive act. At any rate he got a pass on his personal morals from John McCain, Al Gore and John Kerry as well as most of their supporters, which I always thought was a little peculiar given what was at stake. After all, with Bush one could always have piled on the objection to personal dissipation with the more practical objection that, in terms of preparing oneself for the Presidency, twenty years of nothing is a lot of nothing.

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  43. Tahoe Editor says:

    Mike Barnacle called the timing of Edwards’ quasi-confession during Beijing’s Opening Ceremonies the “intersection of cynicism and hypocrisy”.
    BARNACLE: “Are we wrong to be thinking this guy is so cynical, so hypocritical, that he planned even this revelation thinking that it would be much lower key than ordinarily because of all the other events going on. Am I wrong to think that?”
    ROGER SIMON: “No. You may be right. He may be still trying to game the system here.”

    “Being 99% honest is no longer enough.” — John Edwards
    When was it enough?!

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  44. pauline says:

    If Johnnie Boy would have been well on his way to being the Dem candidate and this affair news came out now near his candidacy, this country might as well have crowned the Az McCrankster the new DC mafia boss.
    Steve, really though, this is lightweight stuff that comes across like Access Hollywood. He sung his song to America, he sounded sweet in spots, but he was a shyster and it eventually showed itself.
    Where, btw, is ANY COVERAGE, of the anthrax case?
    IMO, the anthrax case is a much bigger, much more serious fraud, than a lying, conniving lawyer who preached family values. We’ve got a congress and a DC full of them, and they’re a dime a dozen.

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  45. carsick says:

    A local Democratic activist went to Iowa for Edwards. She came back very angry at Clinton and Obama. She actually decided to sit this election out because she was so angry. She’d been very involved in Dem politics even in non-election years for decades.
    Wonder how she feels now?

    Reply

  46. Tahoe Editor says:

    “One of the great things about John Edwards is that he’s so open and willing to try new things and do things in new ways.” — Rielle Hunter
    You have my sympathies, Steve, but at least you now have some vindication.
    I feel worse for the poor schmucks who spent hours on their feet holding “Edwards” placards in the corner, trying to be viable during the caucuses.
    HuffPo blogger Lee Stranahan told MSNBC’s David Shyster he was BANNED from DailyKos for his Edwards post. Nice!
    http://stranahan.com/2008/08/03/ive-been-banned-at-dailykos-because-of-john-edwards/
    Edwards Admits Sexual Affair; Lied as Presidential Candidate
    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5441195&page=1

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