In the face of mounting pressure from the National Enquirer, John Edwards has finally admitted that he did in fact have an affair with 44-year-old campaign videographer Rielle Hunter. Bob Woodruff will interview Edwards tonight on Nightline, and he will deny that he is the father of her baby girl, although he has not taken a paternity test. Edwards says that "his affair ended too soon for him to have been the father," reports ABC News; the baby was born February 27, 2008. Also, he's not in love with Hunter, so that's alright, then. This has taken longer to unfold than we predicted back when the affair rumors first appeared in October 2007, but unfold it finally has.
Update 1: Marc Ambinder over at The Atlantic reports that, "according to people close to the Edwardses, Elizabeth Edwards has secured a primetime speaking role at the Democratic National Convention; John Edwards, as of this point, does not." Ambinder supposes that he will not show up at the convention at all. Even so, combined with all of the Clinton participation, this makes for a convention straight out of Days of Our Lives.
Update 2: For those of you who haven't seen the National Enquirer photos purporting to catch Edwards with the baby, they can be found here. It also should be noted that Edwards will emphasize tonight to ABC's Woodruff that his wife Elizabeth's cancer was in remission at the time he started the affair.
Update 3: The National Review noticed something awkward about the timing of all this: ABC reports that Elizabeth Edwards and their children found out about the affair in 2006. But a Newsweek story that came out in the last week of December of that year reported that Hunter was still under contract with the campaign. So she was working for the Edwards family even after they found out she was sleeping with John? Yuck.
Update 4: Elizabeth Edwards has published a statement at DailyKos: "John made a terrible mistake in 2006. The fact that it is a mistake that many others have made before him did not make it any easier for me to hear when he told me what he had done. But he did tell me. And we began a long and painful process in 2006, a process oddly made somewhat easier with my diagnosis in March of 2007."
Below, the full text of John Edwards's statement:
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.
John Edwards' statement [Politico.com]
Edwards Admits Sexual Affair; Lied as Presidential Candidate [ABC News]
For more on this story, read these earlier posts:
John Edwards's Docudrama: The Anatomy of Innuendo
‘National Enquirer’ Still Chasing John Edwards–Affair Story; Claim to Have Caught Him in Hotel Tryst
Allow Bret Easton Ellis to Introduce You to Alison Poole, A.K.A. Rielle Hunter