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August 8th, 2008
07:29 PM ET

Edwards' closed-door impeachment statement

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/08/art.edwards.podium.jpg width=292 height=320]
Tom Foreman
AC360° Correspondent

In case you’ve forgotten... Sen. John Edwards was selected by fellow Democratic senators to give closing arguments in the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton. The excerpt is here below:

Sen. Edwards' closed-door impeachment statement, released into Congressional Record, February 12, 1999

“I think this President has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter. It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen.

So I said to myself, what is the right and fair thing to do? And this is what I have done. I have looked–many times until 3 a.m. in the morning–at the evidence in this case. Because I think that is the way we need to make this decision.

The perjury charge, I believe, is just not there. The evidence is not there to support it. I know many of you believe it is there. I respect your view on that. I don't believe it is there. The obstruction charge is a totally different matter. And this is the way I have thought about the obstruction charge.”


Filed under: John Edwards • Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Michele in FL Panhandle

    The two strongest drives in human beings are for food and sex, both of which insure survival of self and the species. There are reasons why people secretly eat beyond socially acceptable standards (hence the term gluttony) and why they secretly engage in sex beyond socially acceptable standards (infidelity). Science recognizes disorders related to both drives. There is anorexia nervosa and there is sexual anorexia. There is bulimia and there is sexual addiction. If society didn't shame people for their emotional needs for comfort, it's unlikely that these problems would exist to the extent that they do. So, IMNSHO, unless a person has NEVER given in to temptation of ANY kind, s/he has no right to cast a stone. They have the freedom but not the right. It's time all those with God complexes and feet of clay got off their high horses.

    August 11, 2008 at 5:04 am |
  2. Mikey

    I think the most damaging is the fact that Mr Edwards had little to no regard to the pain he created onto his own family, namely, his wife in her battle with cancer.... She must be a very strong lady because she seems to be dealing with both, a cheating husband , and cancer.

    I have always been ' reserved ' regarding Edwards and I am thankful I never did vote for him .

    August 10, 2008 at 7:52 pm |
  3. Pat

    It is not John's affair that has caused the outrage. What caused the outrage is his blantant lies about it for two years and his insincerity, dishonesty and complete disconnect from the man he portrayed himself to be during his Campaign. In fact, his whole Campaign centered on family values, Christian values, honesty, sincerity, and doing what is right for Americans and his Nation. Anyone can make a mistake. We are all sinners. However those who are true to their word and values have the character required to be honest enough to admit to their mistakes. John's lies exposed his lack of character, integrity and concern not only for his family but his Nation. The John running for President was not the real John Edwards only a depiction of the greatness he imagined he possessed. I fear delusional may hold a place next to narcisstic and egotistic in his description of self.

    August 10, 2008 at 9:13 am |
  4. Disgusted Voter

    MY PERSONAL LIFE IS NOBODY'S BUSINESS AND JOHN EDWARD'S PERSONAL LIFE IS NOBODY'S BUSINESS! What the hell is wrong with Americans! Why aren't we talking about poverty in this country and grocery prices!!! ALL THE TIME wasted on discussing other people's personal lives...when we're all guilty of something, sometime...in our past our present. The coverage spent on this makes me sick.

    August 10, 2008 at 8:53 am |
  5. seah

    The Fact tjat he lied to the American people, when directly asked about the subject.

    Why Should he be held Accountable for his lies. If We accept the lies of Obama?

    Obama has lied to the American people, Knowing Straight Faced, blatant bold Lies. When Caught in those lies. Had no remorse, unapologetic, then came back to lie some more.

    He lied on topics of moral fiber, lies of things he did not want you to know. Lies on his family, All of his friends, That he did not hear wright say those horrible things about Our country, then when caught, came back and said he did. plus other lies. Is there more that we do not know about.

    Obama should be judged on the same level and you judged others and held accountable, even more accountable for the position he is in, and the position he may get.

    He should not be given a free ride, because his team has built him up to be more than others. He is not, Obama is just another person running for President. He has shown major character flaws, Major flaws and extremely poor judgment.

    August 10, 2008 at 12:28 am |
  6. Mark J Schumaker

    Thanks, Tom Foreman, for reminding us of Sen. Edwards’ closed-door impeachment statement on President Clinton. He will be judged by those words of hypocrisy in the clear hindsight of today.

    To paraphrase Edwards, I think this Senator himself has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for the people who campaigned for him, for his friends, for his wife, and for his precious children. It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen.

    So I said to myself, what is the right and fair thing for him to do? And this is what I have done. I have looked – many times over the last few minutes – at the evidence in this case. Because I think this is the way he needs to make his decision – to retire from politics and devote himself to his wife and children.

    The infidelity charge, I believe, is there for all to see. The evidence is clearly there to support it. The dishonesty charge, I believe, is also there for all to see. The evidence is likewise clearly there to support it.

    The paternity charge, I believe, will soon be there for all to see. The evidence will clearly be there to support he fathered Rielle Hunter's little girl, if and when he takes a paternity test.

    August 9, 2008 at 7:16 pm |
  7. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    In regards to Edwards' words, I guess his "chickens have come home to roost."

    August 9, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  8. Ann Jones

    The difference between McCain's affair and Edward's affair is Cindy has more money than most other women. Who would he leave HER for? McCain's first wife was not terminal, but she was going through a life changing illness. So there is still life in politics after an affair. The focus should be on Elizabeth and let this issue be between her and her husband.

    August 9, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  9. Jean Collins, Saugerties NY

    We have an entire administration that needs to be impeached for crimes far worse than getting a little sex on the side. Since nobody had to die for what Edwards and Clinton may or may not have done – we need to get over it already! Bush, Cheney and their mob have a list of deaths to answer for and a ton of illgotten cash to show for it. All of this goes on while the rest of us are left to scramble to save our homes (if we are lucky enough to have one) and to pay those same greedy oilmen their overly inflated gas prices. When are we all going to wise up and stop allowing ourselves to be distracted by who is boinking who?

    August 9, 2008 at 9:59 am |
  10. Angel

    It is a sad day when 99% of our government officials are part of some SEX scandal! Now we have heard about the ones that got caught, but I would put money on every single one of them have a "secret", which I am sure we will be made aware of in time. No, he should not have had the affair, but that is not my business, that would be between him and his wife, NOW THE FACT THAT HE STOOD IN FRONT OF REPORTERS, AS A PUBLIC FIGURE , AND LIED TO THEIR FACE AND OURS!! iF he can stand there and bold face lie about it, then what else is he lieing about that matters in our government. I, for one, would certainly not believe anything he said now. He ONLY told the truth after he was caught red handed by the enquirer.
    I do respect HIllary Clinton and John McCain for not dwelling on the fact, their sympathy is with the family and nothing else. Why did Obama feel the need to talk for five minutes on it? And to you that are bringing McCain and Cindy into it, or even Bill Cinton, they did NOT lie about it, he did!!!! When ask about the affair, Edwards could have just said, "I will not comment on that", yes we would all have known the truth but at least he would not have told a bold face lie!
    One more thing–The National Enquirer has said they verify their stories, so I definatly believe what they print–and they have printed ALOT about Obama, so IS it all true??? Reporters, why are you not questioning Obama, oh i forgot, he denies EVERYTHING that is told about him–Lie once and you are probley lieing alot, so let's ask him about everything the enquirer has printed about him–see if he lies.

    So as I see the issue-He is SENATOR–running our country and he is a LIAR!

    August 9, 2008 at 2:46 am |
  11. Dan

    If people can not see the difference between John McCain and his affair, before he was a serious candidate for president, (decades before) and a man (Edwards), who ran for the office a few scant years ago, and by his own admission was not using good judgement, then I think Edwards was correct in thinking that (as I suspect the left does seem to think)
    that the American people ARE stupid and not intelligent to have rational thoughts.

    I wonder how this is going to be blamed on Pres. Bush or how Sen. Obama is going to smell like roses on this network because of this (speech on how its wrong to cheat on your wife for the true believers to swoon over????)

    And no, I do not know for who I am going to vote, but the rants and raves I read on this site and others are sure giving me a clearer picture of the judgment and rational of those who support each candidate (not to mention the clearly biased reporting I've seen all over the media (if you can't see it then yes another example of the ignorance of the American people)

    August 9, 2008 at 2:28 am |
  12. Leslie Perez

    I'm watching this unfold with a touch of amusement actually. I feel bad for the Edwards family but as far as I can see he claimed to be an average American male and it seems he is. I bet I can name at least 4 men who have had affairs in just the last year. What I find most amusing is that I seem to clearly remember Newt Gingrich cheating on his wife who was dealing with cancer,divorced and then married the woman he had the affair with.Then he was divorced again I believe after he cheated on her with I believe one of his students if I remember correctly. And he was toying with running for this prsidental race again last year and I don't believe I remember anyone having hour long shows about how this was going to ruin the GOP.So did Newt have a get out of the tabloids free card?

    August 9, 2008 at 1:48 am |
  13. Elsa

    Why is the media so quick to crucify Edwards? Just because he is a political figure does not make him less of a human being capable of making mistakes!
    Who made any one of us judge and jury? Did he make a mistake? Of course. But this is a private issue between himself, Elizabeth and his family. I say leave them alone to take care of their private issues privately and worry about the real problems in the world!
    I for one do not think any less of him or any other political or famous person who has made a mistake in their personal life...now if he had done something that would have affected our country, our children, our parents..than I would certainly hold them accountable!

    August 9, 2008 at 1:46 am |
  14. WEA

    Remember this is the heart of the Democratic Party. First Biil Clinton and the Monical Lewinski sacandal. Then the Gov. of New York Elliot Spitzer ant the prositute scandal. Now the John Edwards affair and his lies. r
    Don't forget the relationsips of Barack with William Ayers and Bernadine Dorn both memeber's of the Weather Underground. Then his spiratual Menator Rev. Jeramiah Wright and his hate America statements, also Fr. Flueger. The Michelle Obama and her statement about America being a mean country, and about her first time she was proud of America. Obama's relationsip wtih Tony Resco who is indited. This is the heart of the Democaratic Party. This says it all the Democratic Party has no moral compass or moral soul.

    August 9, 2008 at 1:26 am |
  15. Dean Robinson

    The hypocrisy of it all. I no longer expect any liberal Democrat to do anything else than to go out and have have illicit affairs with women other than their wives. The Democrats could learn a lesson here from the conservative Republicans, who would never even consider cheating on their wives with other women. The Republicans are all getting caught having homosexual relationships with other men instead. Dean Robinson Salt Lake City, Utah

    August 9, 2008 at 1:21 am |
  16. KEESA,NEW ORLEANS, LA

    NOW COME ON AMERICA THE MAN WIFE ALREADY KNEW ABOUT HIS AFFAIR, " HIS WIFE DIDNT CARE SO WHY SHULD WE"

    August 9, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  17. Linda DiBartolo

    I feel so bad for Elizabeth and I do hope she divorces him. This woman is fighting cancer and was hit with this news.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:59 pm |
  18. EJ (USA)

    James, Edwards was willing to literally risk the future of the Democrats to advance his career & personal interests. There is something very wrong with that – much more wrong than an 'affair.'

    With the election this year being as important as it is – he will willing to sink the Democrats. If he were the nominee now – he would have sunk the Dems. Clinton was already known to be a playboy – John had this squeaky clean-family man- perfect husband image – and he RAN on that. He talked about good morals and character – In fact he shouted it so loud.

    So add all that together with 1) lying to his most loyal supporters 2) betraying his wife who now has terminal cancer 3) not completely telling the truth about this cover up in which the paternity of a baby is in question (more crazy details to come)

    You don't think that warrants coverage? LOL I'm surprised 360 didn't do 2 hours on it! I applaud them for having the restraint to keep it to one hour!

    Furthermore, when you start thinking about it – Elizabeth was in remission when she found out about the affair. The cancer returned after she found out and now it is terminal.

    This is all very troubling. It's just so dark and sad and cynical and tiresome.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:35 pm |
  19. Rosie

    Its time we come out of denial and accept the fact that public figures are no different then non-public figures, when it come to sin.
    Just as we have non-public figures who commit adultry, we also have public figures who commit adultry. Then we have non-public figures who do not commit adultry, and also public figures who do not commit adultry.
    The problem is, when these individuals come out as public figures, right away we no longer see them as mere men and women, we now see them as Jesus Christ the Anointed.
    We have set our standards above God's standards; who called Moses, who was a murderer, and sent him to Egypt to bring out the children of Israel. Did Moses sin stop him from bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt?
    Then there is David, who committed adultry, and then gave orders to put the husband on the front line, that he might be killed, in order to cover this sin, because the wife was with child. Did God condemn and abandon David because he sinned? David went on to become a great King, whom God said was a man after his own heart.
    So its we, the people, who need to take heed to ourselves, and know that becoming a public figure does not change one into a saint. They are still frail, having the same weaknesses as the non-public figures.
    So its my belief that when we, the people, stop trying to fit our public figures feet into the shoes of Jesus, we will see some more great works being done in the earth.
    For we have the deliverance of the children of Israel, as a witness, that one's sin does not measure one,s worth.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  20. Asarel

    Doesn't she look like (Camila) the woman Prince Charles cheated on Dianna ?

    August 8, 2008 at 11:21 pm |
  21. Gail Young

    As I have watched your coverage on this sad affair tonight, twice I have seen John Edwards yank his wife's arm and once his child's arm in order to parade them more effectively in service of his candidacy. And he keeps that insipid smile displayed all the while.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  22. Eileen , Alabama

    Yes, I bet that Senator Edwards meant every word he said at the time of the closing statements for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. I guess this is the case of walking in someone else shoes before judging.

    I think in this case possibly he found someone which appeared to be caring and understanding because of the situations he and his family were going through and he feel into the trap. Rielle Hunter probably played on his emotions knowing what he was going through. Let's not forget there was two involved here. It appears he's taking all the heat...when she was apart of this and she had absolutely no respect for Mrs. Edwards knowing how sick she was. My thought is when an individual mixes liquor with pleasure there asking for trouble.

    Mrs. Edwards appears to be a strong willed individual and I'm sure she will bounce back. What father could do this to their children considering Mrs. Edward's was terminally ill.

    Mistakes ...are made by everyone Christians and those that aren't Christians may he ask for forgiveness from those involved and the press give it a rest for the benefit of the family!!!!!

    Chelsea Clinton's could certainly be an inspiration for Senator Edwards teen age daughter. Considering we the adults are suppose to be setting an example.

    Senator Edwards I believe you owe Bill Clinton an apology.....your actions are no better!!!

    I do deep down believe you are a good person and hope that people will give you another chance. Your family will be in my prayers!

    August 8, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
  23. James

    Again, a public vs private life should be considered. Does this mean he didn't have the qualifications to hold the highest office of the land? I'm sure if you search into all of the records going back as far as the beginning of this country, you will find this is nothing different.

    John, be strong and continue with your political career. You will rise above all of this and support the party and your country.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  24. WALLY

    Seems like the National Inquirer is more on top of issues that count.
    CNN and most news outlets except fox refused to address this. Ill be subscribing to the National Inquirer for my political news from now on.
    CNN can stick to the Brittney Spears stories. Hi Anderson 🙂

    August 8, 2008 at 10:22 pm |
  25. Annie Kate

    Well, sometimes our words come back to haunt us. I'm sure Edwards is feeling all of that right now. I think though we should move on and not dwell on this for the sake of Edwards' innocent family. Elizabeth's statement asked us too and we should respect her request.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 8, 2008 at 10:07 pm |
  26. Larry

    I hope she divorces him.

    August 8, 2008 at 9:02 pm |
  27. Sassy

    And too be so careless and have unprotected sex!!!!!

    August 8, 2008 at 8:46 pm |
  28. Rory B

    I won't judge Edwards, but I will say that all the lies are just too much. My question is, if he told his wife two years ago, why didn't he go public when people began asking questions. And why do these so called high profile people think the puplic are too stupid to comprehend or understand that they are human to and we all make MISTAKES. Wow what a concept!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 8, 2008 at 8:44 pm |
  29. Larry

    Jack Cafferty is finally being objective about an issue.

    August 8, 2008 at 8:43 pm |
  30. Barbara

    I am sorry to learn of this, and do hope that after today the news
    media backs off so that his family will be spared having the story
    told over and over again. I know affairs happen all the time but
    I will never be able to understand how a public figure can be so
    careless. Secrets can't be kept and this is just another example of
    bad behavior that not only hurt the individual but also his family maybe
    his family even more.

    August 8, 2008 at 8:38 pm |
  31. Pat

    You know, I was ready to forgive and forget on John's behalf. I mean, you know, just another story about a man who got caught – UNTIL I heard about him lying in the face of his Campaign Staffers, Reporters two years ago and to other Media Networks. Sorry John no forgiveness or respect from here! If you can't be man enough to own up to your infidelity front and center without having to wait untill your outed with the proof in the pudding, your not fit to be in Politics! Yeah I hear them now, well Bill Clinton....... but hey, Bill Clinton did tell the truth, "He Didn't Have Intercourse With That Women," technically it was true! John DID and lied through his teeth. Elizabeth, show him the door and use your foot ! Fidelity is shameful especially given his Wife's journey with illness but lieing over and over puts him in the same category with all the other loser smucks!

    August 8, 2008 at 8:38 pm |
  32. michelle marshall

    CNN you are creating a bad name by spending so much time on this Edwards thing. Elizabeth requested that it not be public....can't you respect that....so private...not coo.

    August 8, 2008 at 8:36 pm |
  33. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Perfect example of the old adage "what goes around comes around." People from the Left and the Right need to be careful...... for we all live in glass houses!

    McCain was married when he & Cindy started their......cough......"relationship".

    August 8, 2008 at 8:32 pm |
  34. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    My heart breaks for Elizabeth, who is battling cancer and the children. How sad!

    But before the far-right starts throwing stones let's remember that when McCain & Cindy began their "relationship" they were both married to other people.

    Those who live in glass houses should be careful!

    August 8, 2008 at 8:31 pm |
  35. patsy

    look into Fred Baron's(campaign finance chair for Edwards) payment/payoff of the mistress and the campaign staffer who suposably claimed paternity. Baron has made 100"s of millions of dollars bringing asbestos cases–many of them on behalf of people who were not sick against companies he knew did not cause their asbestos exposure. Look into a Tx bar investigation of Baron" coaching" of witnesses to lie about what products they worked around, He would do anything to get a trial lawyer friend in the white house or as attorney general. Will the liberal press investigate any of this?

    August 8, 2008 at 8:29 pm |
  36. Beau T. Fulearth

    W.T.H.C which stands for who the hell cares. Let's face the possibilites, a large percent of the reporters, politicians, and bible belt woooers where wooing at some chick or guy as the were banging on the door before they got kick out.

    What's more important is why was there more debates and informtion on what the canadiates were goining to do in the primary then there is now. I know more about Tori Spelling then I do about Barack or McCain. Tori is a nice woman who really took the bull by the horns and paved hre own money in this world,I think she's pregnant again.

    Who should I or you vote for and Why should I vote if I or you just don't care who wins. It's not like either canidate has nything interesting to say. Barrack ( is that how you spell his name) Talks calmy with a I can do attitude. And McCain keeps dising Obama and little info on Osama.

    What are the real issues, Like, Gas who gives a spit. Gas should be cheaper, Alternative fuels and wind mill,s including solar pannel airplanes could work, Should Cheap gas be a reason to to vote for one or the other.. Nah,

    To motivate the voters who aren't going to vote mostly cause < the candidates are just boring with nothingnew tosy or anything solid to believe in. They need some Dale Carnagie motivational action to get out the vote.

    Here are some motvational topics, Clean air, Huricane freezing machine, People are still free "give e liberty type of thing, crime free cities, Food for the hungry, Less paycheck taxes, Health Care is a right ..we shouldn;t have to pay for it.

    Hard questions duirng an apply the presure debate."

    August 8, 2008 at 8:25 pm |
  37. Heather,CA,US

    I'm sure he meant all he said at the time,honestly.I think anyone is capable of making statements like that. I think until you come to a point in a relationship when you are completely unhappy you could say what a hypocrite. But some poeple years later might be unhappy and do the wrong thing of acting on unhappiness and cheat and violate their trust.I'm sure he meant what he said way bach when. He was happily married most likely. Years later,I guess he is not. He made a choice,a selfish one at that. If he is unhappy he should do the decent and honest thing and get divorced. Why fly out to Cal to see someone you supposedly don't have a relationship anymore plus stay overnight and show interest for a child that isn't even his?

    August 8, 2008 at 8:21 pm |