Local Politics

Tabloid story could push Edwards off convention stage

Posted August 7, 2008

— Pressure is growing on former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards to speak out about rumors of an extramarital affair that resulted in a child.

Allegations surfaced late last year that Edwards, a Chapel Hill lawyer and former U.S. senator, had an affair with a videographer for his campaign, that she become pregnant and had a child and that a campaign worker stepped in to claim paternity.

The story first reported by the National Enquirer has been kept alive for months through online blogs, and some observers said it could determine whether Edwards speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in three weeks.

Edwards' long-time associates and former campaign staffers couldn't be reached for comment Thursday, and many Democratic officials declined to discuss the allegations. But they privately are urging him to address the issue to put the rumors to rest.

"Hiding and ducking media interviews that's potentially this explosive won't work," former Democratic consultant Joe Sinsheimer said. "It's not that complicated a question, and if the National Enquirer is lying, he needs to tell us they're lying and he needs to basically threaten them with legal action because that's what a world-class trial lawyer would do in this situation."

Sinsheimer said Edwards' refusal to fight the love-child allegations moved the story from the tabloid pages to the front pages of mainstream newspapers.

"The question of whether it's true or not is now a major news issue," said Phil Meyer, a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina's School of Journalism.

Meyer said he covered President John F. Kennedy as a young reporter, and he noted the rules the media uses in its coverage of politicians has changed in the last 50 years.

"There were all kinds of rumors about (Kennedy's) dalliances that we didn't even bother to follow up on because we figured that was a politician's private life," he said. "There is no privacy anymore."

The Democratic National Committee said the speaker line-up for the upcoming convention hasn't been set yet. A cloud of suspicion over Edwards' head doesn't help his chances to make the final list, Sinsheimer said.

"You can't walk into a room with 2,000 political reporters and have these questions unanswered. It would be an embarrassment for him and his family, and it would be an embarrassment to (presumed Democratic nominee Barack) Obama," Sinsheimer said. "If Sen. Edwards wants other people to defend him, he's going to have to start defending himself."


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  • bluewind Aug 8, 2008

    So again North Carolina looks like a bunch of hayseeds because of the people we elect!!! Wake up NC!!! What an embarrassment...

  • giffman Aug 8, 2008

    If the kid is not yours, why admit to the affair dummy?

  • schit Aug 8, 2008

    I agree with you PTA Mom. I am embarassed by him to say the least.

  • PTA mom Aug 8, 2008

    Holy cow- HE just admitted he had an affair with her but denies fathering a child with her. HOW can he be so sure? Only took him months to own up to the affair- wonder how many more months will pass before we find out the child really is his? The man is slime in my book and the Democrats would be wise to get him off their platform asap.

  • PTA mom Aug 8, 2008

    I think we have our answer with each hour that goes by with no comment or legal action taken by John Edwards. Is he the father- only a DNA test will prove that but one would think that if there was a trace of doubt he WASN'T the father he would have ordered that test 2 weeks ago. And a big ole lawsuit against the National Enquirer would have been filed days ago as well.

  • NCPictures Aug 8, 2008

    Looks like Edwards is now admitting to this all! DOH!

    Two Americas Mr Edwards.. Two Americas.... and YOU live in BOTH.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Aug 8, 2008

    Yea, right. Kind of like the wife of the Chicago Mayor. These women don't want to loose their sugardaddy.

    Thats not the point. Some people work on their problems in their marriage. Not jump up and leave when the first problem arrives. That's why there is so many divorces.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Aug 8, 2008

    a Republican not admitting he has a child, this isnt news, its normal =)Thats all they know to do.

  • WilloWSnapper Aug 8, 2008

    a democrat not admitting he has a child, this isnt news, its normal =)

  • oldschooltarheel Aug 8, 2008

    Actually Ninnyboo & others who claim his behavior is not germane to his being in public office (or God Forbid AG) - his behavior is very telling of his CHARACTER. If his philandering is real, then he is no different from any other id-driven schmuck who, without a moral compass, can be compromised by his weaknesses. This is very important to know. Have ya looked to see who's been stuffing shekels into Clinton's "library fund" lately?