Opinion: The John Edwards statement, acknowledging his infidelity

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In the wake of conceding to ABC’s ‘Nightline,’ in an interview to air tonight, that he engaged in an extramarital affair, John Edwards today issued the following statement from Chapel Hill, N.C.:

‘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 percent 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.’


A raft of questions persist -- such as why Edwards rendezvoused with Rielle Hunter last month at the Beverly Hills Hilton, if as he asserts the affair with her began and ended two years ago, and whether he will follow through with a paternity test.

If Edwards maintains his posture of having ‘nothing more to say’ on the matter, it’s hard to imagine he will be making any public appearances -- not only at the approaching Democratic National Convention but at events related to his much-touted effort to eradicate poverty in America -- in the foreseeable future.

(UPDATE: Later Friday Elizabeth Edwards issued her own statement. The complete text of that is available here.)

-- Don Frederick