August 8th, 2008
06:37 PM ET

Edwards: “I’m not the best parent”

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

We just found something interesting on the 2008 John Edwards for President web site. The campaign posted a clip of Senator Edwards on June 7, 2007 accepting the “National Father of the Year” award in New York from Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council, Inc..

That’s almost nine months before Rielle Hunter had a baby.  Edwards admits to ABC News that he had an affair with Hunter in 2006. But he denies being the father of the baby.

In a statement released this evening Edwards says, “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.”

That’s Edwards today.

Now, I want to take you to that June night last year when Edwards accepted his award for “Father of the Year”.

Here’s the clip:


At the beginning of his acceptance speech, Edwards told the crowd, “I hate to admit it, but I’m not the best parent in my family. The best parent in my family is my wife Elizabeth, who is with me today.”
By the way, the council says on its web site it presents the Father of the Year/ Outstanding Mother Awards to deserving mothers and fathers of high accomplishment in their chosen fields who have also exhibited enormous achievement as parents.”

Filed under: John Edwards • Maureen Miller • Raw Politics
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Lou (Canada)

    I would tend to agree with others on this site that Elizabeth Edwards did not know about this two years ago and that he only recently told his wife as he knew it was about to come out to the public.

    August 11, 2008 at 8:23 am |
  2. J.V.hodgson

    Morally he should have declined the offer, but since when anywhere in the world have the individual personal morals been the highest item on the agenda of any politician?
    Come to that it does not even seem to be a major factor in American voters decisions either. Bill got re-elected for example.
    I just think you guys love scandal as it gets audience ratings but 2 solid hours on CNN Larry king (Wolf hosted) and AC 360 is ridiculously out of proportion.
    I bet you were real disappointed by the comments from McCain (best thing he has said in the whole campaign) and equal congratulations to HRC and Obama.
    Then you spin all this history as a major political issue which it is for him and him alone, trying to tar the democratic party (as you did) being damaged is beyond all reasonable comprehension.

    August 11, 2008 at 12:05 am |
  3. Anne

    I assumed John Edwards was long ago committed to the upcoming historical 2008 Democratic Convention; with participation a coveted moral responsibility. It was appalling to hear him say he was not attending. Personal shame should not estrange him. His derailment though heartbreaking, pales in comparison to prioritizing public service and leadership. Non-participation adds heaps of shame.

    August 10, 2008 at 9:25 pm |
  4. G. Willikers

    Why don't we hold President Clinton to the same standards someone asks. Why didn't we hold Ike to the same standards? Why given Clinton's Impeachment for a "John error" was John offering his backing and support to a Presidential Nominee? Why given Clinton's Impeachment was John running for President knowing he had committed adultry and if uncovered it would destroy the Democratics chance for the White House?

    John is Unpatriot, Narcisstic? You Bet! John is Pompous? You Bet! John is Dishonest? You Bet! John is Untruthful? You Bet! John cares about his wife, family and Country? Not a Chance! John is only sorry that he got caught. Now he's trying to play the Victim even! John is Nauseating? Very. Elizabeth Edwards in her time of need deserved much more. Every woman deserves much more. America deserved much more. John deserves every ounce of criticism he gets and more for putting a Nation in Peril, for causing his wife and famly heartache and embarassment all due to his own selfish needs, and inflated sense of self worth! The lack of concern and respect he showed towards his family and Nation is shameful!

    August 9, 2008 at 7:50 am |
  5. scott


    August 9, 2008 at 5:48 am |
  6. diane snow

    John Edwards is NOT running for president. What he does in his personal life is none of our ^^%& business. Just as President Clinton's sexual life was NONE of our or the government's business, neither do we nor the government have the right to demand explanations from the Clintons OR the Edwards families. It makes me sick and furious that so much time, energy and taxpayer money is spent "investigating" and reporting private details of peoples' lives. Americans need to stay the hell out of the private lives of our leaders. We have become a very hypocritical and judgmental people.
    I thought it back then, but will SAY it now, "This country needs a [very well paid] royal family to obsess about." Let the American people elect and establish a recognized royal family whose geneology and private lives will be closely scrutinized every minute of every day. Let The Enquirer or governmental watchdogs snoop, peep and report to their hearts' content. Many of us would rather see money spent to provide a lavish llfe style for this family, than to watch Americans and the Media destroy the private lives of those very HUMAN citizens who serve our country. Quite frankly, I am very disappointed that CNN has given credence and SO MUCH attention to the Enquirer – our sleezy, cheap literary version of the paparazzi.
    Millions of men have affairs , and millions of families hurt from these millions of affairs that the Media conveniently OVERLOOKS. Since it appears that extramarital affairs are considered a normal part of life in this country, why then are we SO 'concerned' when some of our leaders fall short of perfection?
    I am more upset that our President conjured up a fantasy about the threat of horrific WMD's and then destroyed the financial, cultural and personal lives of millions of Iraquis and ended the lives of thousands of wonderful Americans. Yet John Edwards and President Clinton are all but crucified for making the same mistake millions make every day.

    August 9, 2008 at 1:12 am |
  7. Janet

    Sometimes is not ringing true about Edwards' comments on this matter. I'm waiting for more to come out - finally.

    August 9, 2008 at 12:29 am |
  8. Sylvia Murphy

    John Edwards should be bashed – his behavior is unacceptable. I do hope that the media will now give some details about John McCain's past infidelity – that story definitely should be published in detail.

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

    What I am most disappointed about regarding Edwards' infidelity is that being unfaithful to one's wife has become so common that we, the public, are no longer shocked, or appalled by such behaviour. In fact, we have become complacent. It's just another man cheating on his wife! How sad it is that our society as a whole has apparently become so desensitized to immoral behaviour that even those running for the Highest Office in the Land are considered just another unfaithful spouse!

    John spoke the truth when he said he is not a good parent. I will go even further, he is not a good role model for our children. I am saddened that we the public no longer expect that our Politicians, National Leaders, Religious Leaders, Social Leaders, set an example that our Nation and it's children can look up to. Not only did he fail morally but he lied about his weakness on several occassions. If John Edwards had won the Nomination and this story had surfaced how would we feel? Should we not expect more from those running for President of our Nation? How much trust can one put in a man who would vye for the Presidency, cheat on his wife and blantantly lie about it for two years?

    August 8, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  10. te

    The media needs to let them heal because this just raises questions about John McCains past too and other previous Presidents.

    August 8, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  11. Jo Anne Cummings

    I think I remember a tear in the eye of John Edwards when speaking of his ill wife. How he "must go on" for her and his children. Preaching "family values". He makes ME ill.

    August 8, 2008 at 9:59 pm |
  12. Annie Kate

    I agree with Edwards – he's not the best parent in the world – he has set a horrible example with this affair for his children.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 8, 2008 at 9:58 pm |
  13. Larry

    Yep, she is the better parent and human being at that. I don't hate John Edwards, I pity him for not appreciating what he already had, unconditional love.

    August 8, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  14. EJ (USA)

    Why do we not hold President Clinton to the same standard that we are now holding Mr. Edwards? President Clinton lied to his family and to all of the American people and he definitely showed poor judgment. Why do we view him with such admiration now? He disgraced the office of President, he disgraced his family, and he disgraced all of us. He is not a Statesman, he is interested in his own ambitions and agenda

    Not only was Clinton (wrongfully) IMPEACHED, there isn't one person who believed that Clinton had been faithful to Hillary.

    Edwards did put forth a much different persona. Loving dedicated husband & father – almost perfect if not perfect (this is the image we saw)

    Also, Hillary was not dying of cancer. Say what you will but that makes the story & situation so much more heartbreaking to so many people.

    I'm not saying that we all should hate Edwards – I don't hate him at all, but I am definitely disappointed and feel sooooo badly for Elizabeth and his children.

    August 8, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
  15. Janice McAllister

    I am listening to the political pundits on CNN commenting today on John Edward's lying about the affair. Ed Rollins commented that as a presidential candidate and possible vice presidential candidate, this man has no character. He lied, he betrayed his famiily and he showed very poor judgment. My question is, how is his behavior any different than that of President Bill Clinton's when he was in office? Why do we not hold President Clinton to the same standard that we are now holding Mr. Edwards? President Clinton lied to his family and to all of the American people and he definitely showed poor judgment. Why do we view him with such admiration now? He disgraced the office of President, he disgraced his family, and he disgraced all of us. He is not a Statesman, he is interested in his own ambitions and agenda and he and Hilary are trying to bully their way into the office of Vice President and status treatment at the convention. Why do we not shun him as we are now shunning Mr. Edwards? The standard should be the same

    August 8, 2008 at 8:08 pm |
  16. Missy

    John Edwards, father of five.

    And I am willing to bet that he just recently told Elizabeth about the affair, not two years ago.

    August 8, 2008 at 7:51 pm |
  17. Cindy

    OK...I think you all are grasping for straws here! Any man who wins an award like this and his wife is there will no doubt try to give his wife the credit instead of himself seeing as the mom in most cases is the one that does the most for the children. I don't see this in any way having anything to do with the affair.

    But he is right...she is the better parent.


    August 8, 2008 at 7:02 pm |