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. Stephanie from WV

    Go Michael, Canada. Although it is a sad story, it is also a private family matter; between a husband and a wife. The betrayal is not America's it is Elizabeth's and her's alone. How do you think she feels that this is all over the news and we are blogging about it? If my husband had an affair I certainly would not want the public much less our families to know. This is not news or even news worthy.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  2. Mo

    Guy's...Don't you think our country has more important issues to talk about than someone's affair who doesn't even hold a public office? How can Jhon Edwards sex scandal story be more important than Russia who is at war with a US ally?

    August 8, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  3. Joy in Seattle

    We need to judge Edwards by his voting record, his policies, and his works. He is just as devoted to stomping out poverty today as he was before. None of us know the agreement he may or may not have had with his wife. Nor is it our business.

    Our society spends way to much time paying attention to the private lives that are not our business. I do not care at all who John Edwards sleeps with. I never cared who Bill Clinton slept with.

    Let the politicians have their mistresses, worry about what they are doing to the country.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  4. Nandall

    In a way didi Elizabeth lie as well ? She Knew of the affair since 2006 and still encouraged John to run for President.
    She should have stopped him and not have him put the Democrats in danger.
    In a way isnt she as guilty as he

    August 8, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  5. Lisa

    I feel terrible for his wife and kids. I'm not surprised though. I wouldn't be surprised if all of Capital Hill was getting a little on the side.
    It's not just the Dems either remember Strom Thurman? He was such a sweet "Southern Gentleman."

    August 8, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
  6. Wendy

    I guess my comment was 'censored' since I had the nerve to criticize CNN for not even touching the comparison with John McCain who did the same thing while his wife was disabled and disfigured to go have an affair with Cindy, then dump the wife and family to marry the rich, young blonde. Thanks, CNN for blocking my comment. Thanks for hiding all the McCain skeletons.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  7. Niki B

    Politics and morals don't seem to mix well. All men with that drive are prone to cheat. Ruelle is just as culpable she came between two people. Women need to be just as responsible – men do not deal well with temptations of that kind and obviously he was going through a rough time and was lured by the warmth of a woman and erred. John needs to quit while he's ahead – the child may very well be his and prove him to be a bigger liar. However, Elizabeth has forgiven John. Let everyone do the same.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  8. Boone

    I just don't see how he can be 99% truthful about being faithful to Elizabeth when the tabloid got right the fact that he had been having an affair, and they got right who it was with.

    At least until it is proven to me that John Edwards wasn't having an affair recently, that he didn't just go to meet Mrs. Hunter and their love-child together just a month ago, and that he isn't the father of that little girl–I'm going to believe the Enquirer over John Edwards.

    That's just the way it is.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:49 pm |
  9. Gracie

    The only thing John Edwards is sorry about is getting caught. The dark side to this story is that Ms. Hunter is waiting in the wings to marry Edwards after his wife dies from incurable cancer. This whole thing smells. He is the DADDY. Elizabeth Edwards does not know the whole story. How sick is this.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  10. Kathy, Palos Park, IL

    Honesty and true respect for the devoted Americans who provided their hard earned money to the Edwards campaign to support a candidate and his family that they believed shared their basic values has been disregarded by not only John Edwards but also his wife Elizabeth through their deceit and putting what was best for themselves and their family before the very people that they claimed to care so much about. I pray for Elizabeth's physical and emotional healing. Having lost both a family member and close friend recently to cancer, I am sensitive to her current condition but this should not be used as a hand-off shield to not hold Elizabeth Edwards accountable for her part in this years long deception. The position of President of the United States and its ramifications to the entire country can not be discounted. Elizabeth Edwards knew of the affair and stood beside her husband as he repeatedly LIED about his situation while accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting donors. Each of them is more than intelligent enough and politically savvy enough to know the ramifications of their actions and their inability to be honest to the very people who put their trust and hard earned money behind this couple.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  11. Gracie

    The only thing John Edwards is sorry about is getting caught. The dark side to this story is that Ms. Hunter is waiting in the wings to marry Edwards after his wife dies. Elizabeth does not know the whole story. This whole thing is evil. Wake up and smell the lies!!!!!!!!!!!! He is the DADDY.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  12. lori

    Who cares what a someone does in his private life, its just that–PRIVATE. This should be a family matter and not a political matter.
    We have more important matters at hand currently, like who will win the election.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  13. Mona

    Of course it is a shame to every citizen in this country that John Edwards betrayed his wife, family and the public.
    However, the supposed events happened in 2006 and he dealt with it with his family at that time. Elizabeth Edwards and her children have already begun the healing process a couple years ago, it is now the American people that need to cope with it. Don't forget John Edwards was a great politician and rose awareness for issues that needed to be aknowledged. Yes, he did lie, but if you were doing it I think you would be too. It's sad how he probably never planned to come out with it until he got caught- but I beleive we need to cut him a little slack.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  14. GLL

    The traditional media appear to be dumbstruck by the Edwards confession. They dismissed the National Enquirer, refused to do there job as far as investigating him, and obviously buried the story as long as possible. The alternative media covered it all the way and this story has been well discussed on many sites for the last few weeks. One cannot but notice the double standard that the traditional media uses when it comes to sex scandals based on whether the culprit is a Republican or Democrat.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  15. Margaret Martin

    I agree totally with Michael, Canada.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  16. Karen

    Maybe you could compare this to John McCain's story-you know, how he was running around chasing after and having an affair with Cindy while he was still married to his first wife (who waited so patiently for him while he was a prisoner of war). In that case, McCain divorced his first wife and married Cindy a month after the divorce. In this case, Edwards confessed his transgression to his wife and she forgave him. At least Edwards did not desert his first family for the younger woman.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  17. Sharon

    "For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God." Those of you who live in glass house should not pelt boulders. If his wife forgives him, then that settles it. No wonder it appears as if she was supporting Hillary after he dropped out.

    Anyway, I think that inspite of his infidelity, Edwards had the nerve to throw himself in the fray and run President, again! Superman indeed! Did he not think it would come out in the rinse? More like super ego! Or he is not too bright.

    August 8, 2008 at 10:11 pm |
  18. Larry

    This is, I know a terrible thing to say – but.......... You have a good looking Sentaor with a wife with inoperable cancer. I think the Senator is counting on Barak Obama losing and that John McCain will be a one term president – opening up the door him to have another run at the White House. I wonder how many times the Senator has watched the movie "American President"? I know, I know.........a terrible thing to say...........................

    August 8, 2008 at 10:09 pm |
  19. vic nashville,Tn

    I don’t want to know any one personal life , even I don’t care any politician personal life
    I like Bill Clinton and his presidency when he was president I was doing good
    My family votes only for Hillary if not Mc Cain

    August 8, 2008 at 10:06 pm |
  20. Allan

    I understand that John made a mistake. But why do we need to know about it. I mean let's be real. His wife is still with him, why can't we be with him also?

    August 8, 2008 at 10:05 pm |
  21. Annie Kate

    So is the fact he had the affair while his wife's cancer was in remission suppose to mitigate the hurt of what he did? Cheating is cheating no matter when it occurs.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 8, 2008 at 9:56 pm |
  22. Michael, Canada

    I have just 2 words to say: WHO CARES!!!!

    Why is this even a story? I don't understand you Americans. You make such a big deal out of someone's personal and private sex life. To put it bluntly, it's none of anyone's business!!

    The world looks at you and collectively shakes its' head. Someone cheating on their wife is not a story. Seriously, it's not. 🙂

    August 8, 2008 at 9:53 pm |
  23. lampe

    All of you Obama supporters that are trying to shift the story from The EDwards case, to The McCain story, better watch out. The National EnQuirer broke this story last Oct, also ran a story about Obama having a Love Child, maybe if they had one right they also can have two right.

    August 8, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  24. Debbie, Louisiana

    John Edwards is a slug and a liar.

    August 8, 2008 at 9:35 pm |
  25. Terrence

    I can't believe this! Edwards has always projected himself as the strong family man with such high standards and moral upbringing.
    A man for the people.
    Now, something like this from him? While my heart goes out to he and his family I am truly disappointed. I had such high hopes of an Obama-Edwards ticket for the fall.
    This is going to hurt the party deeply. How will we be able to ever trust him again.

    Germantown, MD

    August 8, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  26. Dawn

    I can honestly say I was shocked. I can't believe John Edwards could do such a thing during his wife's illness.

    August 8, 2008 at 8:54 pm |
  27. Larry

    That endorsement of obama by edwards during the primary looks even more suspect as Hillary had momentum.
    Odd that the congress & house are on vacation along with obama when edwards decided to confess.

    August 8, 2008 at 8:41 pm |
  28. MONCH

    I wonder if you who are critical of Edwards because of his infidelity, will have the same cricism for McCain. McCain cheated on his former wife Carol, who was suffering from debilitating injuries stemming from a car accident. McCain left his wife, who was also 2 years younger than him, for a woman 17 years his junior.

    If you find Edward's actions repulsive, you should be twice as repulsed by McCain's.

    August 8, 2008 at 8:38 pm |
  29. Christine

    I do not care who sleeps with who. It is not my concern. An affair is not the end of the world and does not mean that a man or woman is a bad person or can never be trusted in any other aspect of their lives.

    August 8, 2008 at 8:36 pm |
  30. Heather,CA,US

    I think he's sorry he got caught.I think he's sorry he hurt his wife and children and violated their trust and showed a total lack of respect for them.People who cheat generally deep down inside in their minds are unhappy. That's the truth. If she wasn't dying from cancer this would be treated like any other political scandel. It shows how incredibly selfish he really is. He doesn't owe anyone a appology.Only his wife and family. We all can talk about it with our opinions of his behavior. Our opinions are merely gossip. Can you imagine being the talk of the nation? I can't. I feel terrible for his wife who will die of cancer and their sweet children left behind. Yes the cheating is bad so is the lying about it. Wht can't people in general be honest with themselves and their spouse and say I'm unhappy I want out. Why couldn't he just continue to be selfless and support his wife and kids. He didn't make any error in judgement. He was completely and totally selfish.Having sex with someone other than your wife who happens to be dying ofcancer goes beyond the characterization of any error in judgement. Plus why come out here to Cal to spend 5 hours with this women and hold a baby that he says isnt even his?

    August 8, 2008 at 8:07 pm |
  31. mark hoffman, Phoenix AZ.

    Why didn't the adultress "just say no"? She's as much at fault as he is. She knew what she was doing was wrong too. Are we going to hear from her?

    August 8, 2008 at 8:04 pm |
  32. Jo Ann

    I guess Edwards has decided to play the victim. I really don’t have any sympathy for him because he was dishonest to the voters.

    This needed to be exposed because he is tied to the Obama campaign and there was talk about him possibly being considered for a cabinet position.

    Edwards always made his family the centerpiece of his campaign, publicly expressing his love for his wife Elizabeth on numerous occasions. I find it particularly disgusting that Edwards said that he started the affair while Elizabeth was in remission, as if that makes it all right.

    Being narcissistic and egocentric does not excuse anyone from immorality.

    Sooner or later all of these narcissistic famous people get caught with their pants down.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    August 8, 2008 at 7:54 pm |
  33. Barbara from California

    Where have all the good men gone? If Edwards or any sitting politician, male of female, is willing to betray their family, they are willing to betray this country. Until we stop tolerating this blasé attitude toward morality, often perpetuated by Washington and Hollywood, we are asking for our own problems.

    August 8, 2008 at 7:47 pm |
  34. JC- Los Angeles

    Complete hack; he formerly shook down healthcare companies for cold hard cash then campaigned for healthcare reform; I guess he's now shaking down needy women for companionship; all while being married to a woman with cancer; what a class act.

    Put away the swiftboats, all our politicians can sink themselves without any assistance.

    August 8, 2008 at 7:43 pm |
  35. Darla (Canada)

    At least she was not a man.

    This lying made him vulnerable to blackmail etc – not a good thing – just disqualified himself.

    Too bad very good Democratic Presidential Material follow in the tradition of John Kennedy and Bill Clinton – they did not care about their affairs and what they did to the women involved, including their wives – it's a game to them eh?

    August 8, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  36. Terry Nashville, TN

    It's not the affair itself, that's apparent with most politicians. It's the flat out lying and betrayal to someone who is seriously ill, still stood beside him, and campaigned for him through her own sickness. Because it was something "HE" wanted. He's a liar and a cheat. These "entertainer", actor, narcisistic attitudes will not repair this country. These guys are only going to lead us down a more destructive path than we are already on. Obama keeps flipping on his decisions and it's apparant that he has poor skills in choosing the company he keeps. However, he's charismatic and people want to listen to him, however, he never really says anything of substance. Just "change." McCain, what can you say about him....nothing. We really need to rethink our choices in who we want to lead the United States, because this country is also making poor decisions. Can anyone learn from their mistakes and truly stand up for what they believe in? Why do they continue to lie just to get a vote today, and retract what was stated today when tomorrow comes, or they're just saying what they think people want to hear? People want "change", however, the "change" hasn't ever been fully described nor detailed of what that "change" will be. Be careful what you ask for...you just might get it....however, is it what you truly wanted?

    August 8, 2008 at 7:28 pm |
  37. Michelle

    I can't help but feel disappointed and hurt. John Edwards was the first politician I ever believed in – he inspired me and gave me hope that he could make a real difference in America. I called Ohio Democrats and asked them to vote for John in 2004. I shook his hand on the night before the 2004 Ohio primary. I was so sad when he lost the Ohio primary to John Kerry. When he decided to seek the 2008 nomination, I was ecstatic. Even though I knew my Florida primary vote wouldn't count, I proudly voted for John. I had wanted him to be Obama's running mate, but I think this scandal would hurt the campaign. I guess I can be thankful that I never donated any money to John's campaign, but it doesn't make me feel any better. This affair does not define his whole life, but it does cast a shadow on his character. I hope his family finds peace in this difficult time.

    August 8, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  38. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    Cindy - John Edwards dropped out before Super Tuesday. There weren't that many primaries before then, and he didn't "win" any of those. If you recall, the media made it a "historic" race between Clinton and Obama. Even Elizabeth Edwards said, since John wasn't either black or a woman, he didn't have a chance.

    August 8, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  39. Presley Grace

    Oh of course let's expel a casual shrug and chalk it all up to a "human error".

    This story is sad in regards to his wife and for her yes, I do feel very bad HOWEVER do not be fooled and believe this was his first indiscretion, this is the first time he's been caught publicly.

    These people choose to live in the public eye, they, by default, give up some of this precious commodity known as "privacy".
    This wasn't a little mess, he screwed up royally.
    Edwards is appeasing his own selfish ego with this martyrdom rouse.

    I think it's fine some will forgive so quickly, a lot more of us won't.

    I wonder now what will happen to a child that did not ask to be born from a scandal if this child turns out to be his.

    Taking responsibility means taking it head on and manning up at the beginning not falling on hind sight and back pedaling as a safety net.

    Pffffft to Edwards.

    August 8, 2008 at 7:21 pm |
  40. Megan Dresslar

    Not good day for John Edwards....... including I agree with bloggers! John already admitted to people and his famliy....... He lied his affair other woman..... I never forgive what he did to his wife Elizabeth and his kids. he already mistake his life, he just his cover-up, never tell people...... I watched on CNN today. I am not surprised at all. I hope Elizabeth will accept his forgive him.
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, Wa

    August 8, 2008 at 7:02 pm |
  41. Evelyn

    Ref: the John Edwards story: CNN =Certainly Not News How about the economy, gas prices, and Russia invading Georgia etc…. Please remember the people this man speaks for, the poverty stricken and homeless, once the repeated airing of this story destroys his ability to help them, then what? Apparently his wife put this behind them 2 years ago, so why can't we.

    Odenton, Maryland

    August 8, 2008 at 7:00 pm |
  42. Lilibeth

    I’m sad to hear this, but I’m glad Mr. Edwards has issued an apology. Better late than never. That doesn’t make it right, but at least he owned up to his actions. Now let’s move on and take care of the issues that matter to this country.

    Edmonds, Washington

    August 8, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  43. B

    The sad thing is that today it isn't enough to be justified in political views or strategy. Today people judge you based on your family, your friends, you pastors, or even a mole on your face.

    John Edwards had a very substantive view on how the country should be run, but it's a shame that now his entire career is going down the crapper because of something he did a few years ago that offended people who already have forgiven him.

    People who have gone through this kind of thing usually get divorced or separated right away, and then they fight over money and custody and whatnot. The rare few actually move on to live with it and I think it actually brings couples closer together. But you can see that even though Bill Clinton did a great job during his term people still bring up his extramarital affairs even today.

    Whatever... this isn't the first person something like this has happened to and it certainly isn't the last

    Another one bites the dust

    August 8, 2008 at 6:48 pm |
  44. Carroll Moore

    Why do you guys think that American is 'stunned' by the reports of what John Edwards did? We've got better things to do than worry about a has-been politician. Yes, his behavior is sleazy, unethical, almost despicable by my standards, and I have sympathy for his wife and family, but this is as little news as Clinton's affair. Let's solve some real problems like war, the doubled national debt, the lagging economy, the energy situation, and our poor image around the world. Come on! Put this away and talk about something important.

    August 8, 2008 at 6:48 pm |
  45. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    This is a private family matter and not America's business. We all mess up personally every once in a while. Apparently John Edwards is no exception. He's still a good man, and in the end that is what matters.

    August 8, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  46. Beau Mellon

    Human foibles…it happens to the best people too and especially to those we least expect/. That has been my experience in this life. We hurt and get hurt from our own weaknesses...and we all have them. . Mine happens to be that I can’t stop smoking and I buy things on eBay I don’t really need.. Try as we may….we are just not perfect. In the end though…all that matters in John’s family and I do believe they are all a loving and forgiving lot John Edwards is still a good man in my book. I am sure Elizabeth would agree. May God bless them all.

    August 8, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  47. Cindy

    Why should we believe that he is telling us the truth now when he lied about this for so long? The only thing that he is sorry for is that he got caught!

    If Elizabeth chooses to forgive him then that is her business. As for the public forgiving him well that's a different story. I think he knowingly mislead the public who if they had known about this affair may have voted differently in the primaries and we may have had a different outcome!!


    August 8, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
  48. EJ (USA)

    I could just cry for Elizabeth. This is the last thing she needs right now.

    August 8, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  49. EJ (USA)

    What a sad sad story.

    August 8, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  50. jim

    This is what I expect from the Corrupt democratiic party also the republicans. Of course, the democrats are more corrupt thn the republicans. Just og back to President Clinton's term in office. Mr. Hit and Run Jack Cafferty would say it is okay for the democrats but not he Republicans!!!

    August 8, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
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