presidential candidate John Edwards on Friday admitted
to an extramarital affair while his wife was battling
cancer. He denied fathering the woman's daughter.
Edwards told ABC News that he lied repeatedly about
the affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter but said that
he didn't love her.
He said he has
not taken a paternity test but knows he isn't the father
because of the timing of the affair and the birth.
A former Edwards
campaign staffer claims he is the father, not Edwards.
daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter, was born on February 27,
2008, and no father's name is given on the birth
certificate filed in California.
Enquirer first reported on the affair in October
2007, and Edwards denied it.
"The story is
false," he told reporters. "It's completely untrue,
ridiculous." He professed his love for his wife, Elizabeth,
who has an incurable form of cancer, saying, "I've been in
love with the same woman for 30-plus years and as
anybody who's been around us knows, she's an
extraordinary human being, warm, loving, beautiful, sexy,
and as good a person as I have ever known. So the story's
Last month, the
Enquirer carried another story stating that its
reporters had accosted Edwards in a Los Angeles hotel
where he had met with Hunter after her child's birth.
Edwards called it "tabloid trash," but he generally
avoided reporters' inquiries, as did his former top
In the interview,
scheduled to air on ABC News's Nightline, Edwards
said the tabloid was correct when it reported on his
meeting with Hunter at the Beverly Hills Hotel last
news organizations refrained from reporting the story,
but newspapers in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., recounted the
Enquirer's allegations in prominent articles on
Thursday. Edwards acknowledged the affair on Friday
afternoon, traditionally a slow-news period even when
the Olympic Games' opening ceremonies are not
preoccupying millions of Americans.
Edwards was a top
contender for the Democratic nomination for president,
pursuing his party's nod even after announcing in March 2007
that his wife's breast cancer had spread to her bone.
Elizabeth Edwards had revealed in November 2004,
shortly after her husband's defeat, that she had been
diagnosed with breast cancer. After months of remission, the
couple announced the recurrence of the cancer 2 1/2 years
He placed second
in the Iowa caucuses last January but dropped out of the
race a few weeks later. He has been mentioned as a possible
vice presidential choice for Barack Obama. The former
North Carolina senator was the Democratic nominee for
vice president in 2004.
have three children -- Cate, Jack, and Emma Claire. Another
son, Wade, died at age 16 in a 1996 car accident.
Edwards's campaign manager for his 2008 presidential bid,
said Friday he was disappointed and angry after hearing
about Edwards's confession.
friends of the senator and his supporters have put
their faith and confidence in him, and he's let them down,"
said Bonior, a former congressman from Michigan.
"They've been betrayed by his action."
Asked whether the
affair would damage Edwards's future aspirations in
public service, Bonior replied, "You can't lie in politics
and expect to have people's confidence."
Edwards's political action committee paid $100,000 in a
four-month span to a newly formed firm run by Hunter, who
directed the production of just four Web videos, one a
mere 2 1/2 minutes long.
The payments from
Edwards's One America Committee to Midline Groove
Productions LLC started on July 5, 2006, five days after
Hunter incorporated the firm in Delaware.
"Website/Internet services," according to reports that
Edwards's PAC filed with the Federal Election Commission.
product consists of four YouTube videos showing Edwards in
informal settings as he prepares to make speeches in Storm
Lake, Iowa, and Pittsburgh, as he prepares for an
appearance on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, and
travels in Uganda in 2006.
followed the six-figure payment with two smaller payments
totaling $14,461, the last on April 1, 2007.
At the time
Hunter was compiling the videos in 2006, Edwards was
preparing a run for president.
Episode 1 of the
four videos captures a conversation between Edwards and
an unseen woman as the two chat aboard a plane about an
upcoming speech in Storm Lake, Iowa.
clips of the speech and the conversation with the woman,
Edwards touches on his standard political themes, declaring
that government must do a better job of addressing the
great issues of the day, from poverty and education to
jobs and the war in Iraq.
"I want to see
our party lead on the great moral issues -- yes, me a
Democrat using that word -- the great moral issues that face
our country," Edwards tells the crowd. "If we want to
live in a moral, honest, just America and if we want
to live in a moral and just world, we can't wait for
somebody else to do it. We have to do it."
The sound track
for the six-minute video is the song "True
Reflections," which begins with these words: "When you look
into a mirror, do you like what's looking at you? Now
that you've seen your true reflections, what on earth
are you gonna do?"
The video, titled
"Plane Truths," opens with Edwards relaxing in his
seat on the plane, telling the unseen woman that "I actually
walked the country to see who I am, who I really am, but I
don't know what the result of that will be."
"But for me personally, I'd rather be successful or
unsuccessful based on who I really am, not based on some
plastic Ken doll that you put up in front of
audiences. That's not me, you know?" (AP)