John Edwards has fessed up to an affair with Rielle Hunter, has admitted that he lied publicly, has agreed that he was indeed with her at the Beverly Hilton Hotel last month. He’s still holding out on claiming the child. And for some strange reason he added that he did not love Hunter.
All this in an interview with ABC’s Nightline that will surely snag a huge rating tonight.
I don’t know if anyone is giving the former presidential candidate media guidance (leaked on a Friday, on Olympics-launch date). At this point the whole thing seems to be like skydiving without a chute. But there are a few quick pointers I’d offer up: if you’re going to confess to something that shows epically poor judgement, lay it all out there. Don’t hedge. Don’t deny paternity of the child unless you’re sure, and unless you can explain facts like that photo the Enquirer published this week of you holding the baby. Edwards told ABC he hadn’t done a DNA test. So he can’t be sure about paternity.
Second, hasn’t Edwards learned anything spurned mistresses from his pal Bill Clinton? It was Clinton’s callous public dismissal of Lewinsky, saying that he hadn’t had sex "with that woman" that helped turn her into a dress-wielding mass of revenge. Edwards just publicly baited his ex-mistress, to endear him to whom? The American public? His wife, Elizabeth? Hunter will make him pay for that, I predict. (See my comments on this in today’s Raleigh News & Observer.)
And finally: The Media. Once again old-time media was forced to chase the Enquirer’s ambulance on a major national story with heavy political implications. The New York Times finally published its first story about Edwards and Hunter today, citing the ABC interview in advance.
How strange. The paper of record has weighed in at the end of the story, rather than the beginning or the middle. Edwards’ political career may effectively be over today, but readers of the Times would never have seen it coming.