STATEMENT OF SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS
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.
Long time readers know that I was a supporter of John Edwards' presidential campaign. I believed in his platform and thought he would make a wonderful president of the United States. You know, I still believe in his platform, but I am woefully disappointed in the man. On the one hand, I don't think sexual habits have anything to do with the ability to be a leader. The list of unfaithful men who Americans swoon over is long: From Thomas Jefferson to JFK to MLK. And none of my Republican friends better say one word to me about this, as their presidential candidate is married to his former mistress.
But I am disappointed that powerful men, even the ones that seem "better than that" seem always to live down to the public's lowest expectations of them.
I am disappointed that another family has to suffer through pain inflicted by a callous father who cannot put his sexual needs behind the welfare of his family--and this family has already suffered through enough pain, including the death of a child and Elizabeth Edwards' cancer. I hope to God that Edwards' "handlers" don't subject his wife to tawdry photo ops and press conferences where she must stand mutely in support of her man.
I am disappointed that someone who could have done a lot of good as a leader may have thrown his career away...and for what?
I am disappointed in John Edwards' overweening ego. How do you enter the presidential primary process at a time when a Democratic win is imperative for the survival of the country and Constitution, knowing that you have recently had an affair and that your paramour is having a baby, and knowing that the press is on to the story (HuffPo wrote about the rumors back in Sept. 2007)? If Edwards had become the Democratic candidate instead of Barack Obama, this little revelation would surely have cost the party November and stuck the country with four more years of shitty government. Really--what kind of egomaniac do you have to be to take that chance?
I am disappointed that some jackass just called the political radio show that I am listening to and proclaimed, "I used to think John Edwards was 'soft,' but this makes me think he is a regular guy. I like him now." WTF?
I am disappointed that we, as a public, are going to be all titillated about this for weeks on end. Gleefully dissecting the Edwards' marriage and acting like this affair means more to us than the people truly involved.
I am just damned disappointed. Period.