August 8th, 2008
05:48 PM ET

Edwards: "I made a serious error..."

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/08/art.johnedwards.jpg]Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards has admitted to an extramarital affair in an interview with ABC News, the network reported Friday.

Speaking to ABC, Edwards acknowledged an affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter, but he said he did not love her. According to the network, Edwards made a point of saying that his wife's cancer was in remission when he began the affair with Hunter. Since then Elizabeth Edwards has been diagnosed with incurable cancer.

The affair began in 2006 after Hunter was hired to make documentary videos for his campaign, ABC said.

Edwards has denied being the father of Hunter's child as had been alleged in the National Enquirer.

A former campaign aide, Andrew Young, has said he's the father of the child who was born on February 27, 2008.

Just moments ago, Senator Edwards released this statement:


August 8, 2008
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough.

I was and am ashamed of my conduct and choices, and I had hoped that it would never become public. With my family, I took responsibility for my actions in 2006 and today I take full responsibility publicly. But that misconduct took place for a short period in 2006. It ended then. I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established. I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of the baby. I also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby.

It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am sorry. In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic. If you want to beat me up – feel free. You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself. I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help.

I have given a complete interview on this matter and having done so, will have nothing more to say.

We'll have the latest details on this developing story tonight on 360, starting at 10pm ET.

Filed under: John Edwards • Maureen Miller • Raw Politics • T1
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Adam

    My heart and prayers goes out to the Edwards Family. I'm sure they've gone through a lot over the years, and that will continue to be the case. It's just unfortunate that, this being politics, sometimes these things are blown out of proportion. But at the end of the day, the media is trying their best to do their jobs. I've been a big fan of John Edwards, but that doesn't take away the possible "sins" that he has committed here. I understand the fact that they wanted to keep this a private situation. I know Elizabeth is strong, but why are Earth would she let her husband go through with his last campaign? I don't know, but maybe not all of the details came out until just recently? But from what I've heard, it sounds like the details came out to her in 2006? Did their family just need so much money? Did his campaign team think too highly of him to let this spoil his chances? I just don't know, but I'm sure more details will continue to come out. I also understand how big politicians can become attracted to other people. But when these politicians put their career ahead of the facts, then that's when you have issues. I hope that isn't the case here. I credit John with finally coming out to say something. I just hope the right things are said, and that the timing was good enough? Who knows, but maybe the Edwards are more committed to each other now? No one is perfect! But, sometimes you can go too far! Eventually, your weaknesses catch up with you! The important thing is that you learn from these trials! Does John Edwards' career continue? Well, that's up to his family and his beliefs! Forgiveness is always a possibility. For example, just ask Bill Clinton!

    August 9, 2008 at 3:14 am |
  2. Switching Granny

    Wow... folks seem mostly upset that Edwards did have the affair. Yet I feel the dark lies he told previously are what are causing the "sensation" this story is stirring. Like other Democrats before him He lied.. He.. denied. Until He was caught.. then years later He confesses. I am sad regarding the moral actions of the folks who are trying to (and succeeding in) running for the very top political positions in our country. Knowing our candidates can out and out lie to us and even consider any future in political service is a crime! Not because they had the affair.. (that is bad enough.. and unless conducted on the time clock.. or in the oval office LOL) the affair could be something that we might never have learned of. But the lying.. denying and lying.. all the while considering themselves still people who should be voted on for political office. Shame on the American Public for allowing this behavior and still promoting these people.

    I also see the media sort of saying that these so called Men of Great Power are somehow entitled to infidelity!

    Some things are morally un acceptable.

    May God show HIs mercies pleantiful for John and Mary Edwards. May He draw this other woman into His loving arms and towards His cross. She could be mightily forgiven then and very used by honestly sharing her story after she's found the Lord.

    I know that he and his wife have discussed this over the past year. And I believed they desired to put this behind them and go on with politics ... until the baby came into the picture.. and then nearly getting caught in the Beverly Hills Hotel seeing her (the mistress) and the baby...
    It wasn't until this "getting caught" that caused him to finally admit his lies.

    I am sad for him.. his family...and for this "other woman".

    I hope Christian America stands in the gap and prays diligently for these folks involved.

    August 9, 2008 at 2:38 am |
  3. Sherita

    Under most circumstances I always want to know if my politicians are honest. I do feel that John Edwards did betray his party. I know that he lied...but we all need to let this go and not speak of it again. We should do what John Edwards did not do in this one instance of an otherwise great life of Public Service...lets honor Elizabeth Edwards and allow her to spend whatever time she still has here on Earth in peace, not concentrating on this coverage.

    August 9, 2008 at 2:00 am |
  4. reisha lasater

    about Edwards-he is not the first and he is not the last. He is human, and I am so sure that his wife is aware of this. I continue to dislike women who tries to destroy a good person that will make a great change for our country. Most women who do this is for the p.r.... and then in a few years we will all say..oh, yea, whatever

    August 9, 2008 at 1:38 am |
  5. DH

    America wake up, we all have a few skeletons in the closet.

    August 9, 2008 at 1:20 am |
  6. Johnetta

    Let he that is without sin cast the first stone. He's not the first and surely won't be the last.

    I feel for his family, but all is forgiven in their hearts. Let's do the same. Pray for everyone of them, including Ms. Hunter.

    August 9, 2008 at 1:01 am |
  7. adrienne

    I'm mad at both Edwards and Elizabeth. They both knew that John held a death card for the democrats if he had won the primary. And they both ran anyway knowing it. Both covering up a story that would have cost us the election had he won the primary. What the hell?

    August 9, 2008 at 12:44 am |
  8. Sophia, NJ

    Someone not being completely forthright with a mistake they made does not mean that they are not truly sorry when all the beans spill. I don't think it is human nature to expose one's darkest secrets. It takes an extraordinary person to be completely honest about the wrong they do. So we should all take a long hard look in the mirror before we harshly judge another person.

    August 9, 2008 at 12:35 am |
  9. Florida

    We all have sinned??? He was so high and mighty while running for president, telling all of us how to live.
    The real sin is so called (REAL) news organizations like ABC, CNBC, and CNN that they did not break this and it was a tabloid. Start reporting news instead of worrying about what will get a democrat elected and hiding what will not.

    August 9, 2008 at 12:28 am |
  10. Linda Buchanan

    Okay, I’m sick about this. I’m a Republican, but am from NC and liked John Edwards. I thought he was a true family man. My heart and prayers go to his lovely wife and to him, because he will have to live with this one for the rest of his life. The one thing I don’t get though, is this man is no longer running for President. And because he is being crucified on CNN tonight his political career is over. Why is what he did so horrible, while as our President of the United States, Bill Clinton had an affair, lied about it continuously and nothing happened. For God’s sake, he was voted in as President again. So why is he so holy and John Edwards is the devil. I really wish someone could explain that to me!!!!!

    August 9, 2008 at 12:20 am |
  11. VvL

    Cut me a break. Edwards "came clean" whenever he thought he'd been caught. I just watched his interview (on another network) where he talked about his wife being unaware of his meeting at the hotel with Hunter a few weeks ago. Does he think anyone is stupid enough to believe he called his wife and told her about the meeting the morning after because he felt she needed to know? Absolutely not. He told her because he got caught.

    How dare he sit there and repeat time after time that it wasn't his wife's fault. Does he think that this "defense of a victim" of his behaviour is going to score points or make him more believable? How interesting of him to spend a lot of time in this interview lashing out at tabloids and calling them dishonest. My friend, you are now less trustworthy than a supermarket tabloid.

    August 9, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  12. Lyn, KCMO

    Does John McCain really want to open up this can of worms? Think about all the women McCains's had affairs with over the years, and the fact that he left a disabled woman for a rich rodeo queen. I think he would prefer this just died away... If he pushes it, he's more of a hypocrite than I thought.

    August 9, 2008 at 12:08 am |
  13. c

    People, why is this a lead/main/ breaking news story? And why aren’t we talking about more important matters that effect the USA and the world as a whole, (ie food shortages, the crisis in US public schools, healthcare for the masses, the increasing jobless rate)? I am very disappointed in you AC.

    John Edwards is a private citizen of the USA who had an affair. There are most likely more CEO’s of major companies, high ranking journalist, and other PUBLC officials who are having affairs and lying about them right now. So, why aren’t they on the news reel? They help make and/or are making more major decision for the USA and the world then a private citizen would. Remember we just vote and hope we have a voice, but more then not the voice we have is over shadowed by the major companies, lobbyist, and public officials own greed.

    Yes, he ran for President, but that does not give us the right to broadcast his private life. Even if he made it to the nominee status, we still have no right. We have two people now who may not have had an affair, but have done some things in the past that they are and have lied about and yet they are still the nominee. Grow-up people and let his family handle this Private matter like they were. You never know, in this day-in-age Elizabeth could have given him the ok for the affair because of her cancer scare. What is the saying from the Bible” Let not who is of no sin cast the first stone”

    August 9, 2008 at 12:00 am |
  14. M.Reres

    I think that it is dispicable that you spend an entire newscast on the
    tragedy of the EDWARDS family.I agree that what he did is morally
    wrong and certaintly do not condone it but what about his family? It
    seems to me would could respect his wife and children and not keep
    fueling the fire.He who is without sin cast the first stone.We are indeed
    a morally bankrupt society and you at CNN are not helping the situation.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:59 pm |
  15. Shirley

    I really don't care if John Edwards had an extramarital affair. That is their personal business. When is the media going to focus on real problems like the Bush Administration destroying the Constitution of America? Our country has gone to heck in a handbasket and the fiddlers are just fiddling. Get off the sex and onto the real problems of this counrty. Have you all lost your minds?

    August 8, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  16. Denis Lenoiret

    McCain did denie his relation with Vicki Iseman the same way John Edwards did. why the media is giving McCain a free pass by not digging deep?.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  17. Barbara

    This is another example of what lying can do to you as well as your
    family. Public people should know that secrets can't be kept
    Lord , secrets can't be kept even if you are an average person like I am. My heart goes out to his wife and children, hopefully, for the family
    the story will run it's course over the next few days.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  18. Suzanne

    This may explain his $400 haircuts. Also for being 55 years old he has very few wrinkles. Is he so narcissistic that he does Botox.? I thought his narcissism bled through at the New Hampshire debates when like a little school boy he told Hillary that she was acting the way she was because she lost Iowa. I think his wife should have asked him not to run. That he could have ruined the Democratic Party for 2008 shows the height of his arrogance. Get that paternity checked out now so we can be done with this.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  19. Pat

    I emphatically disagree with the statement that this is a family affair and not the public's business. It became the public's business when John put his hat in the ring for President of his Nation. In my opinion, the belief that immoral behaviour by Public Figures is not our business is the reason our world is so immoral today. And by making that statement and believing that statement, you are saying that those in positions of authority, even those vying to run your Nation, can do whatever they choose regardless of how immoral and we just tell our children it's o.k. and it's none of our business!

    It is time we hold those in such positions accountable and it is time we demand they set an example for the children of their Nation. I believe it is this complacency among citizens that has given our children the understanding that they can do as they please as well and it's not our business! Is it any wonder our Nation and World has no compass on morality, justice, value of human life and truth? When our Leaders are free to lie, cheat, embellish the truth and forsake their marital vows how do we tell our children this behaviour is wrong? How do we explain to our children that this administrations' killing of innocent lives was just? We have truly lost our compass and our Nation and children are paying the price. I can still see John Edwards' face smiling up at Elizabeth during his Campaign. I always felt there was something less than honest in his demeanour. I couldn't understand why a man whose wife was going through such a horrific journey would opt to continue his campaign even with her blessing. Today he enlightened me. I can only imagine the pain Elizabeth has endured. At a time when she needed John the most she heard about his betrayal. Shameful.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:32 pm |
  20. claire from Houston

    Yes, Edwards made a serious blunder, but the worse moral blunder is the blunder of George W. Bush. He made a pre-empted strike against Iraq for what? He keeps changing the reason of why we struck that country.. This moral blunder cost 4,000 plus soldiers to lose their lives. While thousand more were maimed. Countless Iraqian civilians have been killed. He has put our economy in dire straits and ignored our constituitional laws as he protect his infamous gang; Scooter, Rove , Miers to name a few. He has endangered out nation's national security by exposing Valarie Plane. He has unearthed enemies that may have have remained silent by striking a country because it suited him. Our educational system is in ruin, chasing a test cirriculum that does not benefit our children. American's outrage is misdirected. Edwards hurt his sick wife and his children and that does not equate to the magnitude of the Bush blunder. If this is the kind of experience that John Mc Cain is alluding to. The country is in imminent danger . Experience with poor judgment will be disasterous to our nation. America wake up infidelity is a modern occurence, but what the Republicans have done to our nation is unforgivable and deplorable.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  21. Laura

    What else would you expect from a guy that purchased a $400.00 haircut? It's all about him.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:19 pm |
  22. Cheryl Michigan

    No doubt people have affairs. No doubt of sympathy for Elizabeth. However, the bigger issue is, John Edwards consistently lied while "running for president" until today's admission. Once finally confronted coming out of the elevator is when he finally realized this was all going to surface.

    In listening all day/evening to the TV cable analysts, I've yet to hear any program commentator address what took everyone by surprise last year when Edwards suddenly said he was dropping his bid for president based on the good of party". Personally, I think he knew that the media/press & extreme capacity of the internet/blogs/etc. would find all of this out. I agree that, if nominated, he could have cost the Dems a victory. The same would apply if it was a Rep candidate. For those posting about "who cares", well everyone should care – I do -but respectfully still cannot justify how Elizabeth knew and yet went along with the coverup. Stand by her man philosophy? She's a very nice strong lady who, once she found out, should have told him to fess up and come out. His family values? I don't think so; he just plain got caught and had no choice but to do what he did today.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  23. Dori in AZ

    How painful for Elizabeth and her children.... If she chooses to remain with him despite his betrayal of her and their life together (whether it had become public or not), that's her choice. Lots of women live with (and die while still married to) philandering men.

    In the public eye, it's about truth and trust. John Edwards has proven himself to be yet another deceitful and duplicitous politician who just happens to also be a lying, cheating husband who only owns up to some semblance of responsibility when he's caught with his pants down.

    He is not the decent and loving family man he has portrayed himself to be. A decent man wouldn't have an affair (whether or not his wife has cancer, and whether or not the disease is in remission!), and run for the presidency knowing that his private life could sink his party's chances. He would not work hard to deceive his wife, his children, his family, his friends, his supporters, his country. Decent men don't behave that way, though many offenders and their wives and families rationalize such behaviors as something lots of people do, therefore, are somehow more acceptable. Almost expected.

    I liked John Edwards, at least the man I thought he was, and would have supported him as VP. After this, Elizabeth can keep him if she likes, but many of the rest of us say, "No, thanks!"

    August 8, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  24. John

    John McCain didn't meet his wife Cindy until 1979. Him and his first wife were divorced at least 5 years before that.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:15 pm |
  25. Luc

    Your voyeurism make me sick. Anderson I thought you had a little bit more decency than all the other media but sadly I can put in the same basket.

    This is a family business and you have no right, nor does that Enquire trash paper, to put your nose in that matter. Would you be happy if somebody knock at the door of your family and put a camera in their faces and ask personal question about yourself?

    This is simply outrageous.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  26. Sam

    AC360: Spending an hour show on this, guess a slow news day. (Russian tanks on the move, the Presidential Race, and the Olympics, I guess is old news).

    Hope you decide to spend as much time on JM's girl friend lobbyist? Now that might be a hot scoop worth a couple of hours!

    August 8, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  27. Alan

    I have been watching the show tonight, going back and forth between the Olympics. I actually took the time to boot up my slow laptop to write this. I cannot believe what I'm hearing. Analysts saying they can't believe he would think about running for president after having an affair.Hello? Anybody ever heard of Bill Clinton? John F. Kennedy? Do you actually believe they had all their affairs after taking office? Unbelievable what I'm hearing. Play Clinton's denials after Lewinsky. Look how adamant he was. This is a story I'll give you that but it is definitely not unique in any shape or form.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  28. Sharon

    If anyone wants to run for president he/she should have that idea formed way back in elementary school- serious.
    114k indeed. Hush money more like it. If the paternity test turns out against him, he will be politically dead indeed!

    Paul Begalia, get real! We have been lied to about a war that has killed thousands of our sons and daughters, not to mention the economical disaster, yet you think we don't care if a politician lied to us about their personal affair. You can bet your bottom dollar we care about what they do and say. That is why we are looking for a few good men if they are out there. Truth and justice is what we need

    August 8, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  29. Sofia

    Elizabeth only forgave John for what he told her in 2006. She doesn't know he continued the relationship, impregnated his mistress, and is still carrying on with his sexual affair.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
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