Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more from Tina Brown on Elizabeth Edwards on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
The Daily Beast, Editor-in-Chief
Elizabeth Edwards tried to undo the damage she did to herself on the Oprah interview last week by sitting down this morning on the Today show with Matt Lauer. The first segment did the trick—it was all about cancer and the death of her son, and Elizabeth looked solid and sympathetic in her brave blue cardigan; but when she inexorably let Matt bore into John's marital infidelity, she inexplicably blew it again. In fact she made it worse. This time, she told Matt, she had written the book as much for the sake of her children as herself. Huh?
Some first TV impressions are indelibly strong and Edwards’ media blitz now is unlikely, in any case, to wipe out the ghastly car crash of her Oprah exchange.
The hazard of confessional books is how fast the world moves on while they're written. Hearing about that doggy old "misdemeanor"—as she insists on calling her husband's infidelity with a campaign videographer while he was running for president and she was fighting terminal cancer—just drags us back into the messy aftermath of the election season at a time when we are now busy trying to get on with a collapsing economy and save our own lives.
If she had stuck with her health and her loss, Edwards might have held on to our sympathy. But her insistence on belittling to Oprah the dreaded "other woman," Rielle Hunter, who had "spotted him in the hotel," was so embarrassingly self-righteous it almost made me feel sorry for the Democratic twinkie John, who was always under the illusion that he was the next JFK. "I can't deliver the line ['You are so hot'], because I don't know how to deliver such a line as that," Edwards told us, as if this mildly juicy come-on by a campaign groupie had itself been an unspeakable vice.
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