Saturday, August 09, 2008

Edwards admits to having an affair with a campaign worker

From ABC News:

John Edwards admitted to ABC News in an interview with Bob Woodruff Friday that he repeatedly lied about an extramarital affair with a 42-year old campaign employee, but strenuously denied being involved in paying the woman hush money or fathering her newborn child. The former Democratic U.S. senator from North Carolina said he would be willing to take a paternity test and divulge the results publicly.

"Two years ago I made a very serious mistake, a mistake that I am responsible for and no one else. In 2006, I told Elizabeth about the mistake, asked her for her forgiveness, asked God for his forgiveness. And we have kept this within our family since that time."

Edwards, 55, said he told his entire family about the affair after it ended in 2006, and that his wife Elizabeth, who has incurable breast cancer, was "furious" but that their marriage would survive. The couple have three children, Cate, 25, Emma, 9, and Jack, 7. When he confessed his affair to his wife, "she was mad," Edwards said.

What a mess.

Okay, former Senator John Edwards admitted to having an extramarital affair with a former campaign employee Rielle Hunter. And there are a some of sordid details coming out regarding Edwards' affair. The Edwards campaign admitted to providing "assistance" to Hunter without Edwards' knowledge--could that be called hush money? There are rumors that Edwards is the father of Hunter's child. The story of the affair is that Edwards met Hunter in a New York City bar in 2006, and then paid her $114,000 to produce campaign website documentaries, despite Hunter's lack of experience. Edwards claimed that the affair began after Hunter was hired to the campaign.

The first question I would have to ask here is what "head" was Edwards using to do his thinking before he started this affair with Hunter? Even more, is Edwards that stupid for embarking on his 2008 presidential run even as he may have been hoping that this 2006 affair would remain a secret? In 2006, did Edwards even consider that having an affair could possibly destroy his own presidential chances? Obviously not. What is even more scary is that Edwards had a serious shot at becoming the 2008 Democratic nominee. If Edwards had been the Democratic nominee today, this affair story would have destroyed the Democrats chances for retaking the White House after eight years of Bush administration corruption, sending it to another Republican with a sordid marital past, Republican John McCain. Even now, the political pundits are speculating on how Edwards' affair may result in political damage to Democratic nominee Barack Obama's campaign--of which I'll say is political crap. The only damage that has been done is to John Edwards, and whatever potential government service he may have been considered for in an Obama administration.

The fact here is that I still could care less as to who a politician sleeps with, outside of their marriage. This is a private matter between the politician and their spouse. So I don't care if Democrats Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, or even John Edwards had extramarital affairs. I don't care if Republican Senator David Vitter saw a prostitute, or if Republican Senator Larry Craig tried to solicit gay sex from an airport restroom. If they were caught doing something illegal, they should suffer the legal consequences of their actions. I don't even care about Republican presidential candidate John McCain's affair of dumping his first wife, Carol Shepp, for his current wife Cindy Hensley. However, I do care about McCain's second affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, and the possibility that McCain may have used his legislative powers to help Iseman's clients:

Mr. McCain wrote letters in 1998 and 1999 to the Federal Communications Commission urging it to uphold marketing agreements allowing a television company to control two stations in the same city, a crucial issue for Glencairn Ltd., one of Ms. Iseman’s clients. He introduced a bill to create tax incentives for minority ownership of stations; Ms. Iseman represented several businesses seeking such a program. And he twice tried to advance legislation that would permit a company to control television stations in overlapping markets, an important issue for Paxson.

In late 1999, Ms. Iseman asked Mr. McCain’s staff to send a letter to the commission to help Paxson, now Ion Media Networks, on another matter. Mr. Paxson was impatient for F.C.C. approval of a television deal, and Ms. Iseman acknowledged in an e-mail message to The Times that she had sent to Mr. McCain’s staff information for drafting a letter urging a swift decision.

Mr. McCain complied. He sent two letters to the commission, drawing a rare rebuke for interference from its chairman. In an embarrassing turn for the campaign, news reports invoked the Keating scandal, once again raising questions about intervening for a patron.

Mr. McCain’s aides released all of his letters to the F.C.C. to dispel accusations of favoritism, and aides said the campaign had properly accounted for four trips on the Paxson plane. But the campaign did not report the flight with Ms. Iseman. Mr. McCain’s advisers say he was not required to disclose the flight, but ethics lawyers dispute that.

When sex and power start mixing together, then I start to get worried. Because this type of behavior of trading political power for sex among the elitists really harms the American people. This is the type of behavior that we do not need within the Oval Office. And I'm speaking here about John McCain and his improper relationship with Vicki Iseman. It stinks. It is this combination of sexual favors for legislative favors that bothers me. McCain helped Iseman's clients with writing letters to the FCC to benefit two of Iseman's clients Glencairn Ltd and Paxson in allowing both companies to purchase television stations. We're talking about prostitution here with McCain paying Iseman with legislative favors for sex. And it is the American people who are getting hurt by this prostitution.

I probably should say something about the fallout of the Edwards' affair on the Obama campaign. As I've said, it is political crap. I believe the only thing John Edwards gave to Barack Obama was his endorsement. So far, the fallout is that John Edwards will not be attending the Democratic convention, and that the Illinois senator called Edwards' extramarital affair a "personal matter" for Edwards and his family. MSNBC's David Gregory asked whether the Edwards affair was a "skeleton" in Obama's closet, however even I fail to see the connection between Edwards' affair and Obama's presidential campaign. What we do have here is a mainstream media that seems intent on attacking the Obama campaign for Edwards infidelity. The Obama campaign has nothing to do with the Edwards affair, with the MSM bringing up a whole bunch of political hay for this weekend's news cycle. Whatever future position Edwards may have had in an Obama administration--be it attorney general or vice president--is gone. And while I am sure that the GOP would love to attack Obama with Edwards' extramarital affair, the GOP will be facing a huge risk in a potential political and media scrutiny of John McCain's two extramarital affairs. The last thing that the McCain campaign would want is to have John McCain's extramarital affairs being revisited.

And let us be clear here--John McCain was especially mum regarding the Edwards' affair. From the

John McCain declined to say anything today about John Edwards's admission of adultery, per my colleague Lisa Lerer.

“I don’t have any comment on it," McCain said when the topic was brought up at a press conference in Rogers, Ark.

This story will be history on Monday.

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