October 2nd, 2009
05:35 PM ET

If politicians behaved like Letterman. . .

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/TV/10/02/letterman.extortion/art.david.letterman.cbs.jpg caption="David Letterman on Thursday revealed an extortion attempt based on his sexual relations with staff members."]

Cynthia Tucker

Last night, David Letterman shocked his studio audience when he revealed that he was the victim of an extortion plot. He had had extramarital affairs with female staffers, he said, and a man threatened to publicize the affairs if Letterman didn’t fork over $2 million. Instead, Letterman took the blackmail demand to the Manhattan district attorney, and a suspect was arrested.

There is a lesson here for all the politicians who indulge in affairs and then get enmeshed in crooked schemes trying to cover them up. Two who come to mind are John Edwards, former Democratic candidate for president, and John Ensign, Republican senator from Nevada. Both have engaged in cover-ups that are quite possibly illegal; as usual, the cover-up may bring at least as much damage as the original sin.

Edwards is the subject of a grand jury investigation and a tell-all book.

A federal grand jury in Raleigh, N.C. is looking into whether Edwards’ alleged attempts to cover up his affair with campaign worker Rielle Hunter resulted in a campaign finance violation. Meanwhile, a new book proposal by a former aide alleges the once squeaky clean candidate tried to falsify a paternity test and pushed wealthy donors to help silence his mistress.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Margs L.

    Did he actually say that these affairs were recent? I don't think so.

    Since March?

    October 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  2. Holly

    Where did Dave admit to extra marital affairs? I don't think he did , he said he said he had has sex with staff....

    October 2, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  3. John

    Cynthia, a fact check. These apparently happend awhile back prior to his marriage and so were not extra marital affairs unless of course any of the women involved were married.

    October 2, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  4. Jana

    I agree but then tv stars have everything to gain through scandal whereas with politicians, it is catastrophic career death.

    October 2, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  5. Cindy

    Politicians will NEVER come clean like Letterman because their HUGE egos won't let them. They don't think what they did was wrong so they won't ever admit to anything because they, like celebrities, think that the laws don't apply to them.


    October 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm |