Haunted by Elizabeth

By
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 1:10 pm
John and Elizabeth Edwards in Tipton, Iowa, in June 2007. (Photo by John Edwards 2008 Campaign)

John and Elizabeth Edwards in Tipton, Iowa, in June 2007. (Photo by John Edwards 2008 Campaign)

What what she thinking?

That’s the question that continues to haunt the painful saga of John and Elizabeth Edwards. Not that she loves him and stayed with him after he confessed to having an affair (and possible lust child; though whether he told her about that we don’t know).

If we have learned one thing watching Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, it is that marriages are complex, each and every one, with its bargains, and attachments, and wounds that run deep. After, of course, insisting she was not some little woman standing by her man, Hillary Clinton was in many respects just that. It was clearly what she needed to do, sailing on post-presidency into the Senate and her own fierce run for the White House.

Illustration by: Matt Mahurin

Illustration by: Matt Mahurin

No, the question in Elizabeth Edwards’s case is: Why in the world did she go ahead and let him run — run with him, run hard all across the country, giving her all despite her stage four cancer and her two young children — after she knew. After she knew about his dalliance with a bouncy, blond so-called filmmaker with a penchant for New Age spirituality.

In these days of her public humiliation, one wants not to add to it. He is the cad, the creep. Looking back at his charm, his expensively coiffed hair, his caramel-voiced defense of the poor — while he built a palatial country estate. All this was a bit suspicious at the time. There were overtones of another Slick Willy.

But then there was Elizabeth Edwards. She was the moral anchoring point, the class act. So authentic, so warm, so unslick, so graceful, so brave. If a woman of such obvious depth and concern for the country, a woman who had lost a son and had faced cancer with openness and strength — sharing it all but not in a sympathy-begging way — if a woman like that loved a man like that, well then, he must be OK, too.

He must be, underneath the mediagenic voice and looks, real, too. Because he loved her. Because he was proud of her and said so at every turn. Because she was his sounding board, his best surrogate, his No. 1 campaigner.

The country needed her husband, she told us, with that wonderful smile, and she was willing to throw heart and soul into his run. Not just for him, not just to help him fulfill his ambitions — but for us. She made believers of us all — not about him, but about herself. She was the real deal, someone we could all emulate, want to get to know, want for a friend.

Yes, there was carping at the time from some quarters as they launched their White House quest, running side by side and hand in hand. What about the kids? They were little; they needed stability, a mom at home (what about dad?). And what about the cancer? Was she, the mother of such young children, jeopardizing her health by barreling around the county helping to humanize and sell her husband?

There was a bit of that, and the implication that her ego, too, might be involved — that she wasn’t quite as selfless as she appeared. But, with her energy and accessibility, she made believers of just about everyone, especially after she announced the cancer was back and she — they — would still run full-tilt.

Amazing, touching and, perhaps in hindsight, a little nuts. Because she knew all that time about the affair. She had to know the tabloids were after the story and after her husband — stalking him as he stalked the White House. It’s just a little bit bizarre, that disconnect, even from someone so special and admirable.

Somewhere in all this, she, too, put the blinders on. One can only assume she was thinking that he wouldn’t be found out. What if he had somehow gotten into more serious contention? What if he had actually won the nomination? What if had come out now, on the practical eve, of the convention? Would the media and the public just swallow hard and say, oh well, old news. None of our business.

Not this year. It would have been a mess, a bigger one than there is now.

That’s what is both troubling and sad. You can make the argument that this is private stuff, private pain. Many people clearly believe that would be a more desirable state of affairs — where personal lives and personal indiscretions are not constantly fair game. But that is not the world we live in right now, nor the country.

Elizabeth Edwards, so spot on in every way, had to know that. It wasn’t going to be tucked under any rug in her nice, new house. She could forgive him and re-embrace him — as she says she has. But the country might not be able to do that anymore. Bill Clinton seemed to get away with bimbo eruptions when he was first running for president, but the level of cad fatigue has geometrically increased. And, by running with her husband, Elizabeth Edwards, in effect, invited us all in — yes, even those nasty tabloids who had been chasing him from day one.

I just wish she hadn’t. I don’t want to know. I didn’t want to see the requisite mea culpa from the latest cad, didn’t want to have to imagine the disgust and hurt of his wife and family.

At least, John Edwards made the repentance rounds on his own. Elizabeth Edwards did not have to stand by her man, like Silda Spitzer, her face etched in pain and humiliation. That’s something. But the bottom line is the same: if you want to keep it really private, you can’t run for public office. Not today.

Anne Taylor Fleming is a novelist, commentator and essayist for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” She is the author of a memoir, “Motherhood Deferred: A Woman’s Journey.”

Categories & Tags: Commentary| Obama| Politics| Women\'s Issues|

Comments

88 Comments

eyeofwarrior
Comment posted August 19, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

You do something right, they bury back on page whatever in microprint and folks forget about it after they

read it. You screw the pooch and your name is splattered on almost every front page of any major rag that gives

a rat’s a**. Things come back to bite right where you sit! A lot of big people have had their pecadillos and

they are still around. Like the old saying goes “if your going to live on Main street, mind your p’s and q’s!” or

something to that effect. Joe shmoe can go and make a baby on every block, but if you do it? fahgeddaboudit! your

name is mud once the tabloids get wind of it! So everybody puts their shorts on one leg at a time, if enough

people ignore all the rags that put out the c**p they put out, maybe the rags will get a hint when there’s all

them papers stacking up and no money coming across the table. and they’ll print something worthy to read about!

url>(http://eyeofwarrior.spaces.live.com/)


nwilsey
Comment posted August 14, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

I think she is really ill and trying to make the most of her time on this earth. She needs to know that her children will be cared for and loved fully.

The person that should receive all the negative vibes we have is the constantly sleezy Lisa or Rielle. She went after a married man. Yes John Edwards deserves our scorn but this other women is just yuk!


jrktx65
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

Who cares at this point this about the AFFAIR this is a private matter between a husband and wife. They have suffered through life changing events .. We are all human and those of you who put yourself on a pedestal and judge are sick. That is what is wrong with this world everyone wants to tear down others and its like we get pleasure out of seeing someone else in pain. She is dying from a terrible illness, tragically lost a child, and now dealing her husband having an affair. She is to be commended no matter what. None of us can walk in her shoes and just need to respect that she probably has made some of these choices because of her children. Mothers tend to put aside their own feelings to protect them Just because he had an affair doesn’t mean like a light switch she would stop loving him. Things in life happen we are all human and make poor choices. Get over it people and move on… Have you ever heard of forgiveness ???? About the misuse of money lets just face it politics are corrupt (he sure isn’t the first and probably won’t be the last to use money inappropriately) until things change it will continue………


pvcourtney
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 3:25 pm

How about he’s a liar, and he is STILL lying?! Elizabeth didn’t know about the affair until recently! He’s LYING! He didn’t tell her in 2006, and that IS his baby. Anybody who watched that interview should know he is STILL lying!


bobn
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 2:36 pm

Speaking of larger questions, why no paragraph breaks?


bobn
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 2:36 pm

“Why is the media not asking him directly if he had sex with her.”

Exactly! I’ll go even further! WHY aren’t they asking what positions they tried!?!? What rooms they did it in!??!

Apparently, some people need everything spelled out for them. For once, the media chose not to take the road of further vulgarity. Now, THAT is news!

As to the larger question of WHY: because she wanted him to be president.


artistry
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 10:33 am

Hi , Well this is my take. I feel very sorry for Elizabeth and all she is going through with her illness and her husband doing what a lot of men do, go to the store and stay too long, visiting with the clerk. But she is too smart to not know that this was a bomb waiting in the background to explode, on the world stage. I think she wanted this to happen, so that everyone would know how much of an arse he was. She couldn’t or wouldn’t beat him up, she is not going to divorce him. So what better payback than to have him run and ruin his career.

She put the Democratic party in jeopardy, she did not care. It happened just the way she wanted it happen. Now if she passes, his career is in total ruin, and she is satisfied, kind of smart if you ask me, payback is a dog in capital letters. Take that you scoundrel. :o)


colleen
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 9:55 am

I’ve been trying to avoid them and indeed have given up entirely on one blog but this is the third essay I’ve read online castigating Elizabeth Edwards for ‘allowing’ her husband to run.
Her husband’s behavior was and, if the interview I saw is any indication, is politically and morally indefensible as is the behavior of the woman he choose to have an affair with. But Elizabeth Edwards? Please. A woman with two young children and stage 4 cancer did not humiliate herself and her husband by making his affair public?
Why not attack Hillary Clinton for enabling her husbands doglike proclivities throughout their pathetic sham of a marriage. Or the increasing numbers of political wives and former wives who have suddenly discovered that their husbands prefer to have sex with men? Why not chastise Laura and Barbara Bush and both of John McCain’s wives? Why publically criticise a woman with 2 young children and stage 4 cancer and question why she didn’t tell the world that her marriage was a sham and that, because of this, her husband wasn’t qualified to have a political career?
I do not get it.


julien38
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 9:33 am

Why did Elizabeth Edwards let john continue to run? Because she understands the stupidity of the male “mid life” and the craziness of American campaigns. most of us “ameners” have never even been elected to high school homeroom reps.Carole McCain said it best,”john, (McCain) was 40 years old and wanted to be 25 again”. We have indeed become a nation of “ditto” heads let by a crowd of corporate slugs.


klad
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 8:54 am

I don’t care who JE sleeps with and their marriage choices are none of our business. BUT, if his campaign paid $114,000 to his girlfriend so she could hang around, that’s unethical and a slap in the face to his contributors. If she and Young are still being paid big bucks by his campaign manager friend, that’s only our business if any of that money came out of campaign money. If not, then it’s his own stupidity.

Personally, I don’t think being a cad necessarily means he wouldn’t be a good politician. But with all the repeated lies so easily trotted out by JE I don’t want to vote him into any political office.


samspade
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 8:40 am

I care why a couple would do something so mean and stupid because I am one of the millions of people who contributed and volunteered for John Edwards. In some ways the whole thing is understandable since the Edwards are part of the old south in which people were raised with phony politness and insulated from the rest of the county by voluntary segeration.

I am sure that the Edwards, as millions of other Southerns of their age, would tell you that Jim Crow & segeration were a necessary evil; unions are temples of the Communists; voting is ok for some people (depending on skin color); Jesse Helms was a true conservative not a racists; etc. If you can believe that for decades and run as a Senator born and raised in the South you begin understand what they have done to each other just another form of “Southern politiness”.


anghiari
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 8:14 am

I noticed Ms. Fleming acknowledged Elizabeth Edwards’ loss of a son. Perhaps she didn’t notice but John Edwards lost the same son. Their first born. I suspect few of us has any idea how a couple who have lost their eldest child and who have to face the possibility of another death in the family negotiate their relationship and marriage. I also think it is a huge leap to believe that either Elizabeth or John have neatly tucked that loss away. Most marriages do not survive the loss of a child. It would not surprise me that rather than open up his and Elizabeth’s private pain, it was easier to serve himself up a some narcissist rather than try to talk about how tough it is to live a life with this family’s past loss and their potential loss. I suspect Edwards’ fall from grace comes out of attempting to manage those issues rather than some pretty boy view of himself. I think most writers like Ms. Fleming chose the easy route on this one. Mind you, I think John Edwards reaped his own whirlwind and behaved particularly stupidly, but I have a feeling it had less to do with narcissism and more to do with feeling a need to step out of his life for a moment. In saying that, I do not for a minute forget that Elizabeth didn’t have that option and probably wouldn’t have taken it if she had the option. I don’t think John Edwards is Bill Clinton or Elliott Spitzer, neither of them lost a child or knew that there was real potential of losing a wife due to cancer. Those two life experiences constitute a heavy emotional burden and none of us know how we would behave if we had it to carry. I am not letting Edward’s off the hook…but Ms. Fleming’s take dismsses that Elizabeth perhaps understood that politics could help John focus on something important to him, it was time consuming and exhausting…if it couldn’t fill the hole that the loss of his son left, it could at the very least distract him, while talking about important issues that needed to be discussed. I suspect also that John Edwards was vulnerable in a way that even he didn’t know and he made the huge mistake of allowing this silly silly woman into his life…I have no doubt that he is thinking for the millionth time… if only I walked away…He like the others has humiliated himself and his wife and family. I think my speculation on this family tragedy is as valid as Ms. Fleming’s musings. I have absolutely no sympathy for Reille Hunter.


colleenca
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 8:09 am

Americans are naive imo about how people are at the deepest levels of their psyches.

Look at the stresses on the Edward’s family…a son’s death, a wife’s cancer and probably near death illness, with young children in the family, the constant attention of a media that pries into all aspects of a family’s life..and a nation that expects perfection from its leaders (but loves to find out their flaws).

There is also a coldness and meanness to America. I wish the Edward’s family well and hope they can find some peace.

Meanwhile major stories are being ignored by the press. …such as the possibility the CIA wrote a fake letter to fool Americans into a war that is bankrupting this nation. Would Russia have attacked Georgia if the US military were not bogged down in Iraq?

Imo the Bush administration has done tremendous damage to the US and there are questions about crimes that are going unaddressed.

If America had a functioning government there would be impeachment hearings going on now.
And the news would be filled with stories about how corrupted our government has become..that is if we had a functioning media.


suspiciousmind
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 7:59 am

Maybe she owed him one?….Just one more hypothetical.


truthsaspirant
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 7:36 am

Bravo, oldnavyguy, for your comment (I agree with you completely), particularly the penultimate paragraph! Incidentally in your first paragraph there is a typo: “…don’t bother to care a wit….” “wit” should be “whit”.


obamagramma
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 5:07 am

Maybe she thought “I’m going to die & I want my husband to achieve his goal, it’s the last thing I can do for him”.

This isn’t such a shock. Elizabeth wrote in 2007 in an op ed piece in … Reader’s Digest (?) that she could not say her marriage had not had “disappointments”. Well, what do you think that means ? So the fact that he had been disloyal to her, and she knew, was stated in “polite speak” already.

I guess the baby is the shock. And the recency.


lendie
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 3:38 am

Maybe she didn’t “let” him. Maybe she told him to tell the truth in public and he ignored her. Maybe she figured it would come out and he’d get his comeuppance. She’s neither stupid nor naive.


jason_m
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 1:24 am

What was he thinking? What was she thinking? I’ve been baffled, again, but the unbelievable blindness, impulsivity, and denial these folks display. A worthy successor to Bill Clinton, though not with his abandon, apparently. Is it about southern boys? Is it about religion that offers redemption from repeated sin?

It’s hubris. Not so complicated, I guess; the Greeks had a pretty good line on it. Pride, sense of being above human rules, challenging the gods. Our crazy culture amplifies everything, including facilitating the development of a fatal flaw by the adulation, insulation from day to day life, and sheer speed attention, coverage, style of life.

I must admit I’ve never been sold on Edwards. I loved what I heard but felt uneasy with what I saw and felt. Something didn’t track for me. So I’m not a big fan.

A private matter? We’re prudish and puritanical currently? The media are scum? All more or less true. But the flaw, the hubris lies for me in willfully ignoring the state of the culture, willingness to believing that it really was a private matter, and disregarding the potential consequences to his causes, his supporters, his higher purpose.

That’s a big deal in my book.


momsadvice
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 12:57 am

This Edwards mess is being totally overblown and there is a reason. Yes, it


billthinx
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 11:02 pm

I don’t think JE is a creep, I don’t think he’s a cad. I don’t know what arrangements he and Elizabeth made after his getting involved with Rielle. She’s probably is a bit of a flake, but everyone has their own attractions and tastes. I don’t think JE sleeping with RH makes him a bad person, I don’t think he should be excluded from public life, I don’t think it “says” anything terrible about him. Human beings have attractions all the time and occasionally act on them. That’s been going on all through history and latter-day prudes or angry eminists won’t change human nature. Marriages are malleable and sometimes even allow for side action. I did not support JE for President, but I don’t blame Elizabeth a bit for helping John run and trying to keep a private matter private. It IS private. It doesn’t belong in the public conversation. Clinton was a pretty good President and maybe the Monica relationship helped him. I agree with wwasse (posted here)… leave them alone. This is a total non-issue and it’s only currency is to help media sell advertising and uber-moralists condemn someone else.


xargaw
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

Just maybe, she did not know initially. Just maybe, John lied about when he came clean to her and the family. It could be that the campaign was already underway when she found out all the details of what he had done. His story rings hollow in many places. She may not have been sitting by his side because she knew he was going to lie.

And, why in the world would he see this woman long after it was all supposed to be over if another man fathered her child? If, indeed, he isn’t the father, this is all very strange. If he is the father, it makes perfect sense.

This is all speculation, but it certainly appears that there is a great deal more to this story than John Edwards is telling.


trueobserver
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

First, what do we really know of Elizabeth’s medical condition?

Just what they have told us.

As far as Edwards running with this hanging over him, Edwards took a calculated gamble. The gamble was not that bad,

If he had captured the nomination, none of this would have come out.

The Secret Service would never have allowed the media, let alone NE, get near them when they met.

If he had won the election, Drudge might have picked something up maybe in his second term.

Future prospects are not bad for Edwards.

Nixon and Clinton bounced back. No one could have gotten as low as they did.

Nixon is admired by many as the foremost politician of his time. There is great nostalgia for him. (except for the looney left who are always in the middle of a joint and can never see or think straight).

Clinton soiled the Oval Office by doing something that was not mentioned in polite company. Worse, he sold pardons which in many people’s minds is worse than murder because it is the sale of mercy.

We wont mention stealing the White House furniture on the way out.

Amazing, but he will be the featured speaker at the Convention. He may get more applause than Obama.

Clinton is a world celebrity.

There’s still hope for Edwards.


dlake
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 9:55 pm

I think there were a couple things at work with both Edwards. After their son died, politics became their saving. They got involved and it gave them a purpose after the grief.
John was ambitious. Aren’t all politicians? He craved being president more than anything. and Elizabeth needed the campaigning to fill the void of her son and whatever else was going on.
That is why they campaigned after the second diagnoses that spring. They needed to keep campaigning. To not do so was unthinkable to them.
I think between John Edwards ambition and Elizabeth’s need to help him and to keep just that busy as to not think was what kept them going.
They both needed something grand like the presidency to fill them. I also think the affair was part of this as well. He fell into it as a reaction to fear of failure as he embarked on his campaign and facing Hillary and Obama, he knew it was a long shot to his biggest dream.


sandracarringtonsmith
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 9:45 pm

I personally believe that we have more important issues in our country we should worry about. If anyone is interested, I would like to invite you to read my blog post concerning the media circus surrounding this issue. http://sandracarrington-smith.blogspot.com/2008/08/pointing-fingers-is-john-edwards-affair.html


theboys
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 9:31 pm

I find it difficult to believe that during the affair that those around him including his wife didn’t know. Look at the videos, clearly there were sparks. Some time ago on a special cancer program Elizabeth was one of a few guests speakers. The program was meant to explore those currently battling cancer and the ups and downs and the sometimes miracles. Elizabeth was super in the program. One passing comment really bothered me at the time and perhaps makes more sense today. BTW, I too am a cancer survivor and hence my interest in the program. Elizabeth made mention that she has asked her husband to come on that program, but he refused, and she had hoped he would be give the perspective of the spouse living with another spouse that is dying. It bothered me a lot that he refused, it bothered me that her tone was sad. It was just a passing comment – maybe nobody heard it but I did and I knew how she felt. She chose to support a man that doesn’t deserve her love and attention and unfortunately he dragged her down into the sewer with him. I found it equally sad and depressing that she chose to blog on the Daily Kos because that site personally attacked her during the Petraeus ad that caused all the controversy. I don’t mean they didnt’ just disagreed with her view, I mean they were mean and hateful to her. Why choose that venue to express herself? She did so much damage choosing to blog there.


atomicrob
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 8:49 pm

John and Elizabeth Edwards have used the cache of their personal tragedies to garner attention and to reinforce their celebrity. They had become addicted to the limelight to such an incredible degree they can’t fathom a life without constant media scrutiny, despite pleas to the contrary. Their ruminations about a loss of privacy is manufactured. They actually have an agent who is actively seeking public speaking venues where they recieve between 15,000 to 40,000+ per engagement. Here in Massachusetts, they will be speaking about “how they ahve overcome their personal tragedies” at Salem State College in September and it was huge feature on the evening news.

The issue here isn’t that John Edwards had an affair. The issue is he and Elizabeth systematically lied about it to maintain their status and power base of supporters who they obviously need to get through their day. Their behavior has mutated into a political version of Munchausen Syndrome or creating attention so they can cast themselves as some sort of victims to garner attention, and because it’s based in some public sympathy, no one challenges the behavior, until now.

I think finally, I’m beginning to read versions of this theory written by competent journalists. It’s amazing how gullible Americans are regarding this rather obvious power grab. This is a one term senator who really didn’t accomplish much of anything, but has marketed and branded himself as some superstar. Amazing.


mccainwho
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

Did John McCain have a romantic relationship with his lobbyist or did he have sex with her. Why is the media not asking him directly if he had sex with her. Anyone can define romantic relationships but sex is sex. You either had sex or did not have sex.


elizabeth2
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 7:21 pm

Maybe because she didn’t. Simple as that. The information probably wasn’t available when this article (“Edwards Took Mistress on 2006 Presidential Announcement Tour, Washinton Post, “The Trail” 8/12/08)

was written but it’s now known that Hunter was traveling with Edwards **when** he announced for the presidency (Dec. 28, 2006) and for several days afterwards. They were sitting next to each other on the campaign plane on 12/29, not being stiff and awkward (the opposite, in fact, in a photo taken 12/27). —- It is simply INCONCEIVABLE that she would still be hanging around if John Edwards had already informed his Elizabeth about the affair. So when in 2006 could he have ended the affair and told Elizabeth? 11:00 pm on New Year’s Eve??? — What should/could she have done if presented with a fait accompli? “I’ve had an affair and I’ve already announced my candidacy.” Blow a whistle and announce to the world that he was disqualified?? —- Yes, this would mean that John Edwards is once again lying to us: he didn’t end the affair in 2006 and he didn’t tell Elizabeth in 2006. And it means she’s going along with that lie, possibly because she feels it’s no one’s business, possibly because she wants to preserve some shred of dignity for her husband. ——- I agree that Elizabeth is too smart (setting aside everything else) to let him run knowing this bomb was ticking away. Whatever her feelings might be for him at the time, she would not want the humiliation that her children are now having to deal with. In light of today’s revelations, I don’t think that she did let him. ——- In fact, I have to wonder when in 2007 he finally did tell her? Was it before or after that very moving interview with Katie Couric in March 2007, when they discussed Elizabeth’s now-incurable cancer? Again crediting Elizabeth with brains (since he obviously wasn’t using his), would she have let pass that most understandable of reasons to get out of the race? to spare her children what they are now facing? I don’t buy it. Whatever she says, I cannot believe that she knew about the affair until sometime AFTER March 2007. In fact, wasn’t she very present in IA, NH and NV and not so often seen after that? ——- All of this matters only insofar as it affects people’s opinions about her and the chance she may have, and would certainly deserve!, to continue in a public role, perhaps as an advocate for health care. You’re right that there is something very off-putting if “she knew all that time about the affair.” — But what if she didn’t know?? Speaking for myself, I don’t want to take John Edwards’ word for something that condemns Elizabeth Edwards. In fact, I’m not even willing to take HER word for it, given at this most awful of times, if it condemns her for something that seems so atypical and that, frankly, is contradicted by the only hard evidence there is: those photos of Hunter at his announcement trip and the timeline of Elizabeth’s active participation in the actual campaigning. Now that it’s broken out and public, now that there have been new lies (he didn’t tell her last month when he went to the Hilton), she’s probably in Mother Bear mode and willing to do anything to make it less painful for her children. I don’t blame her a moment – she knows that he will probably be the only security those young ones have. —- But what she says now doesn’t make sense, not with Hunter’s presence on the announcement trip, not with what I vaugely recall of her shifting involvement in the campaign. I remember her in IA, and in NH …. was she there in NV? I’m pretty sure she wasn’t there much or at all in SC. And she, atypically, had nothing to say when he made his withdrawal speech. What if, in fact, she only learned about the affair in mid-January 2008 …. and, in fact, made him get out of the race before Feb 5th? That fits the evidence more closely than what they are both now telling us.


madamedefarge
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 7:19 pm

Meanwhile…….Georgia and Russia are going at it; our national debt is so insanely high that no one can even remember the amount….it’s “telephone numbers” now.
Everyone who is reading the entrails and pontificating about what he/they should have done is falling right in line with the program. Bread and circuses; keep the lumpen masses busy with with the trivial, glittering distractions whilst the country sinks. Wake the f**k up! Read the new sites and blogs that are responsibly providing real information; important news that needs to be read and digested. There’s an election coming, this man isn’t running. Leave them and “it” alone and get a grasp on what is happening rather than happened. We need to pay attention and to avoid the temptation to react to the bait.


roselassi
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

I am constantly amazed at the sense of self importance, pompousness even, that people who pass judgment on the Edwards family seem to possess. Did it occur to any of you that perhaps Elizabeth’s perspective, as a woman who is dying, takes on a much more focused, determined, clear view than any of us can have of the situation? She was not wrong or selfish to think that this was an issue that was between them – and even that if revealed it would not matter as much as it might – John McCain did worse, Clinton far worse. But ultimately, perhaps the answer is simply that she is dying – and she knows that John has the ability to change the direction of this country, to focus on the needs of the poor and disenfranchised, and she felt, correctly I might add, that what mattered was helping John to reach a position where he could make a profound difference in the lives of the poor – and that remains true today. Regardless of his ‘sinful’ nature – news flash, we are all capable of making mistakes. He has devoted his life to helping improve this country, and he deserves far more credit than we have given him. And for Elizabeth, she remains all the things we have always seen in her – honest, brave, steadfast, intelligent, articulate, one in a million! Give her the benefit of the doubt. When faced with dying, things become very clear in a way we cannot possibly begin to understand.


snpena
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

At a time when the future of this country was at stake both Edwards could have had little regard for the people. Sure it is all hypocrisy, but that has become the norm along with reality shows. Clinton could have slept with an armadillo for all I care. But knowing that his every move was being monitored by the far right he should have controlled himself. They should add a line to the oath of office where the new president forswears carnal sins during the term in office.

As to Ms Fleming’s article, it expressed what many people feel. I was uncomfortable with her grueling campaigning. When my kids were young I used to pray for enough years of life to raise them. It is possible that for her the campaigning was a way of proving to her husband that she was way above him. She was ten times better than Hillary. Were it not for her illness she would have been the better candidate.


msboc
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

Is it possible, just possible, that despite what Edwards states, that Elizabeth actually didn’t know about the affair until recently?


leenyc
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

Oh enough of this shit already. He couldn’t keep it zipped. He admitted being an asshole to the entire country. This country is so prudish it is ridiculous. Why did she let him run? Because he was the only one talking about reversing the cannibal capitalist ideology. It is smarmy to criticize Edwards for living in a mansion. The only people who think it is hypocritical to flaunt wealth if you care for the poor are the people who always had money. Any poor/working class person who hits the big time doesn’t care.

Stop the hand wringing. This wasn’t about letting him run for president–like she has complete responsibility for it. Criticize the strategy of not owning up to it as soon as the Enquirer got the story, but stop the whining.

Now I have to wash the pseudo tears off my hands. I felt slimmed while reading this.


karenfern
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 4:12 pm

Maybe she was in denial. Maybe she was trying to deal with too many issues. Finding out you have breast cancer is pretty devastating. Finding out that it has metastasized must be the most awesome thing in the world. Maybe that was how she held it together — telling herself it didn’t matter. Not that it wasn’t happening; she’s too intelligent for that. Rather than having breast cancer and her husband having an affair didn’t matter and that she could go ahead with her life by bracketing it. In any case, I sort of understand. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 4-1/2 years ago and it changed me. I’m not sure it was for the better but it changed me. My life will not be the same but I, too, have to bracket it and find ways to go on with my life. I’m doing it my way and she’s doing it her way.


dari
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

Ms. Fleming:

As a married woman of Mrs. Edwards age, I am very mindful of the bargains and balances of each private relationship; yet, I too, felt very uncomfortable with the question which would not go away


more0ver
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 3:43 pm

< >

Because it’s nobody’s business but their own maybe? Why in the world would he owe any answers to the National Enquirer or the press? If your husband had an affair, and you had worked it through, would you feel he had a responsibility to answer to other people about it? It’s has nothing to do with them and is none of their business. And to keep trying to dig up dirt about it is only going to further hurt an innocent woman at a time when the last thing she needs is more stress. This is really getting sick.


wwasse
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

I wish all the “pundits” would just leave them alone. She’s ill. His career as a candidate is most likely dead. Leave them alone.


sfdem
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

Not only did she let him run, she let him lie repeatedly to the National Enquirer and others about it. She let him lie to his devoted campaign staff. What happens to these people in politics? Do they find themselves in such a bubble that they lose all sense? Do they come to believe they’re all powerful? How could they have thought this wouldn’t be exposed? It’s nothing short of incredible.


oldnavyguy
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 3:19 pm

You can’t run for public office today if you’ve had an affair because of media idiots like Ms. Fleming make it an issue. There are so many things wrong with this article that it’s mind-boggling but let’s settle on the few low points.

a. First example: “his caramel-voiced defense of the poor — while he built a palatial country estate.” There is an enlightenment concept (we are, after all, the children of the Enlightenment) that one first makes money in order to be above the fray and then commits oneself to public service. In the mindset of the idiot baby boom self-interested media hounds having money and committing oneself to public service and–yes–actually caring about the poor is obviously an example of hypocracy because overpaid corporate media mavens no longer share anything with the great majority of Americans who live in the middle and lower classes and don’t bother to care a wit about their condition. Virtually all of the country’s founders as well as the Roosevelts and Kennedys fell and fall into this category and the country is better for their commitment. One could make the case that the Bush family falls into this category in defense of the privileged classes but, of course, there is no hypocrisy there: they openly stand for privilege, self-interest and cronyism.

b. Second example: “You can make the argument that this is private stuff, private pain…But that is not the world we live in right now, nor the country.” Not if the Flemings of the world have their way–this is journalistic chutzpah. Aside from the fact that John Edwards holds no public office and is not currently running for office, there is still an overwhelming segment of the population that feels that this is really a private matter. During the Lewinsky scandal Clinton’s approval ratings were consistently between 60 and 80 percent and the public in overwhelming majorities kept telling pollsters that they considered it a private matter between Clinton and his wife. So it is the media culture that made the Lewinsky affair a scandal and that has given this story more attention than it deserves.

>

Why did Elizabeth allow John to run for office? The dynamics of their marriage is between them and that’s how it should stay. Ms. Fleming apparently is unaware that we had a president who had a child out of wedlock: Grover Cleveland. The nature of his relationship, even in the Victorian era, was acknowledged as a private matter, particularly in an atmosphere where the Republican candidate and Republican Party in general had a well-deserved reputation for public corruption. The question then (as now) is whether one running for PUBLIC office who has consistently behaved in the public interest should be judged by PRIVATE behavior of a non-criminal type that has no connection to one’s public duties. Franklin Roosevelt had an affair prior to the decision to run for president and Eleanor, knowing that he did, continued to support him. Why did she support him? History shows that she felt that his talents and public virtues were more important than taking actions to deny him the office for which he was undeniably qualified to hold. Our history would be very different without Franklin Roosevelt’s simultaneous commitment to democratic self-government and free enterprise moderated by democratic and republican virtues in the public interest. He saved this country from its worst economic collapse, counteracted extremism from the left and right that would have undermined our republic and ensured the country was ready against Japan’s and Germany’s expansionist intentions.

>

The only people interested in this affair are Republicans desperate for any issue that will take attention away from their disastrous policies and the culture of cronyism and corruption that they have created and media mavens all too willing to repeat Republican talking points. This is not news and the American people realize that it is not.


oldnavyguy
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 10:19 am

You can't run for public office today if you've had an affair because of media idiots like Ms. Fleming make it an issue. There are so many things wrong with this article that it's mind-boggling but let's settle on the few low points.

a. First example: “his caramel-voiced defense of the poor — while he built a palatial country estate.” There is an enlightenment concept (we are, after all, the children of the Enlightenment) that one first makes money in order to be above the fray and then commits oneself to public service. In the mindset of the idiot baby boom self-interested media hounds having money and committing oneself to public service and–yes–actually caring about the poor is obviously an example of hypocracy because overpaid corporate media mavens no longer share anything with the great majority of Americans who live in the middle and lower classes and don't bother to care a wit about their condition. Virtually all of the country's founders as well as the Roosevelts and Kennedys fell and fall into this category and the country is better for their commitment. One could make the case that the Bush family falls into this category in defense of the privileged classes but, of course, there is no hypocrisy there: they openly stand for privilege, self-interest and cronyism.

b. Second example: “You can make the argument that this is private stuff, private pain…But that is not the world we live in right now, nor the country.” Not if the Flemings of the world have their way–this is journalistic chutzpah. Aside from the fact that John Edwards holds no public office and is not currently running for office, there is still an overwhelming segment of the population that feels that this is really a private matter. During the Lewinsky scandal Clinton's approval ratings were consistently between 60 and 80 percent and the public in overwhelming majorities kept telling pollsters that they considered it a private matter between Clinton and his wife. So it is the media culture that made the Lewinsky affair a scandal and that has given this story more attention than it deserves.

>

Why did Elizabeth allow John to run for office? The dynamics of their marriage is between them and that's how it should stay. Ms. Fleming apparently is unaware that we had a president who had a child out of wedlock: Grover Cleveland. The nature of his relationship, even in the Victorian era, was acknowledged as a private matter, particularly in an atmosphere where the Republican candidate and Republican Party in general had a well-deserved reputation for public corruption. The question then (as now) is whether one running for PUBLIC office who has consistently behaved in the public interest should be judged by PRIVATE behavior of a non-criminal type that has no connection to one's public duties. Franklin Roosevelt had an affair prior to the decision to run for president and Eleanor, knowing that he did, continued to support him. Why did she support him? History shows that she felt that his talents and public virtues were more important than taking actions to deny him the office for which he was undeniably qualified to hold. Our history would be very different without Franklin Roosevelt's simultaneous commitment to democratic self-government and free enterprise moderated by democratic and republican virtues in the public interest. He saved this country from its worst economic collapse, counteracted extremism from the left and right that would have undermined our republic and ensured the country was ready against Japan's and Germany's expansionist intentions.

>

The only people interested in this affair are Republicans desperate for any issue that will take attention away from their disastrous policies and the culture of cronyism and corruption that they have created and media mavens all too willing to repeat Republican talking points. This is not news and the American people realize that it is not.


sfdem
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 10:35 am

Not only did she let him run, she let him lie repeatedly to the National Enquirer and others about it. She let him lie to his devoted campaign staff. What happens to these people in politics? Do they find themselves in such a bubble that they lose all sense? Do they come to believe they're all powerful? How could they have thought this wouldn't be exposed? It's nothing short of incredible.


wwasse
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 10:35 am

I wish all the “pundits” would just leave them alone. She's ill. His career as a candidate is most likely dead. Leave them alone.


more0ver
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 10:43 am

<<why in=”in” the=”the” world=”world” did=”did” she=”she” go=”go” ahead=”ahead” and=”and” let=”let” him=”him” run=”run”>>

Because it's nobody's business but their own maybe? Why in the world would he owe any answers to the National Enquirer or the press? If your husband had an affair, and you had worked it through, would you feel he had a responsibility to answer to other people about it? It's has nothing to do with them and is none of their business. And to keep trying to dig up dirt about it is only going to further hurt an innocent woman at a time when the last thing she needs is more stress. This is really getting sick.</why>


dari
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 10:45 am

Ms. Fleming:

As a married woman of Mrs. Edwards age, I am very mindful of the bargains and balances of each private relationship; yet, I too, felt very uncomfortable with the question which would not go away


karenfern
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 11:12 am

Maybe she was in denial. Maybe she was trying to deal with too many issues. Finding out you have breast cancer is pretty devastating. Finding out that it has metastasized must be the most awesome thing in the world. Maybe that was how she held it together — telling herself it didn't matter. Not that it wasn't happening; she's too intelligent for that. Rather than having breast cancer and her husband having an affair didn't matter and that she could go ahead with her life by bracketing it. In any case, I sort of understand. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 4-1/2 years ago and it changed me. I'm not sure it was for the better but it changed me. My life will not be the same but I, too, have to bracket it and find ways to go on with my life. I'm doing it my way and she's doing it her way.


leenyc
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 11:20 am

Oh enough of this shit already. He couldn't keep it zipped. He admitted being an asshole to the entire country. This country is so prudish it is ridiculous. Why did she let him run? Because he was the only one talking about reversing the cannibal capitalist ideology. It is smarmy to criticize Edwards for living in a mansion. The only people who think it is hypocritical to flaunt wealth if you care for the poor are the people who always had money. Any poor/working class person who hits the big time doesn't care.

Stop the hand wringing. This wasn't about letting him run for president–like she has complete responsibility for it. Criticize the strategy of not owning up to it as soon as the Enquirer got the story, but stop the whining.

Now I have to wash the pseudo tears off my hands. I felt slimmed while reading this.


msboc
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 12:01 pm

Is it possible, just possible, that despite what Edwards states, that Elizabeth actually didn't know about the affair until recently?


snpena
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

At a time when the future of this country was at stake both Edwards could have had little regard for the people. Sure it is all hypocrisy, but that has become the norm along with reality shows. Clinton could have slept with an armadillo for all I care. But knowing that his every move was being monitored by the far right he should have controlled himself. They should add a line to the oath of office where the new president forswears carnal sins during the term in office.

As to Ms Fleming's article, it expressed what many people feel. I was uncomfortable with her grueling campaigning. When my kids were young I used to pray for enough years of life to raise them. It is possible that for her the campaigning was a way of proving to her husband that she was way above him. She was ten times better than Hillary. Were it not for her illness she would have been the better candidate.


roselassi
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 12:33 pm

I am constantly amazed at the sense of self importance, pompousness even, that people who pass judgment on the Edwards family seem to possess. Did it occur to any of you that perhaps Elizabeth's perspective, as a woman who is dying, takes on a much more focused, determined, clear view than any of us can have of the situation? She was not wrong or selfish to think that this was an issue that was between them – and even that if revealed it would not matter as much as it might – John McCain did worse, Clinton far worse. But ultimately, perhaps the answer is simply that she is dying – and she knows that John has the ability to change the direction of this country, to focus on the needs of the poor and disenfranchised, and she felt, correctly I might add, that what mattered was helping John to reach a position where he could make a profound difference in the lives of the poor – and that remains true today. Regardless of his 'sinful' nature – news flash, we are all capable of making mistakes. He has devoted his life to helping improve this country, and he deserves far more credit than we have given him. And for Elizabeth, she remains all the things we have always seen in her – honest, brave, steadfast, intelligent, articulate, one in a million! Give her the benefit of the doubt. When faced with dying, things become very clear in a way we cannot possibly begin to understand.


madamedefarge
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

Meanwhile…….Georgia and Russia are going at it; our national debt is so insanely high that no one can even remember the amount….it's “telephone numbers” now.
Everyone who is reading the entrails and pontificating about what he/they should have done is falling right in line with the program. Bread and circuses; keep the lumpen masses busy with with the trivial, glittering distractions whilst the country sinks. Wake the f**k up! Read the new sites and blogs that are responsibly providing real information; important news that needs to be read and digested. There's an election coming, this man isn't running. Leave them and “it” alone and get a grasp on what is happening rather than happened. We need to pay attention and to avoid the temptation to react to the bait.


elizabeth2
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 2:21 pm

Maybe because she didn't. Simple as that. The information probably wasn't available when this article (“Edwards Took Mistress on 2006 Presidential Announcement Tour, Washinton Post, “The Trail” 8/12/08)

was written but it's now known that Hunter was traveling with Edwards **when** he announced for the presidency (Dec. 28, 2006) and for several days afterwards. They were sitting next to each other on the campaign plane on 12/29, not being stiff and awkward (the opposite, in fact, in a photo taken 12/27). —- It is simply INCONCEIVABLE that she would still be hanging around if John Edwards had already informed his Elizabeth about the affair. So when in 2006 could he have ended the affair and told Elizabeth? 11:00 pm on New Year's Eve??? — What should/could she have done if presented with a fait accompli? “I've had an affair and I've already announced my candidacy.” Blow a whistle and announce to the world that he was disqualified?? —- Yes, this would mean that John Edwards is once again lying to us: he didn't end the affair in 2006 and he didn't tell Elizabeth in 2006. And it means she's going along with that lie, possibly because she feels it's no one's business, possibly because she wants to preserve some shred of dignity for her husband. ——- I agree that Elizabeth is too smart (setting aside everything else) to let him run knowing this bomb was ticking away. Whatever her feelings might be for him at the time, she would not want the humiliation that her children are now having to deal with. In light of today's revelations, I don't think that she did let him. ——- In fact, I have to wonder when in 2007 he finally did tell her? Was it before or after that very moving interview with Katie Couric in March 2007, when they discussed Elizabeth's now-incurable cancer? Again crediting Elizabeth with brains (since he obviously wasn't using his), would she have let pass that most understandable of reasons to get out of the race? to spare her children what they are now facing? I don't buy it. Whatever she says, I cannot believe that she knew about the affair until sometime AFTER March 2007. In fact, wasn't she very present in IA, NH and NV and not so often seen after that? ——- All of this matters only insofar as it affects people's opinions about her and the chance she may have, and would certainly deserve!, to continue in a public role, perhaps as an advocate for health care. You're right that there is something very off-putting if “she knew all that time about the affair.” — But what if she didn't know?? Speaking for myself, I don't want to take John Edwards' word for something that condemns Elizabeth Edwards. In fact, I'm not even willing to take HER word for it, given at this most awful of times, if it condemns her for something that seems so atypical and that, frankly, is contradicted by the only hard evidence there is: those photos of Hunter at his announcement trip and the timeline of Elizabeth's active participation in the actual campaigning. Now that it's broken out and public, now that there have been new lies (he didn't tell her last month when he went to the Hilton), she's probably in Mother Bear mode and willing to do anything to make it less painful for her children. I don't blame her a moment – she knows that he will probably be the only security those young ones have. —- But what she says now doesn't make sense, not with Hunter's presence on the announcement trip, not with what I vaugely recall of her shifting involvement in the campaign. I remember her in IA, and in NH …. was she there in NV? I'm pretty sure she wasn't there much or at all in SC. And she, atypically, had nothing to say when he made his withdrawal speech. What if, in fact, she only learned about the affair in mid-January 2008 …. and, in fact, made him get out of the race before Feb 5th? That fits the evidence more closely than what they are both now telling us.


mccainwho
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 3:41 pm

Did John McCain have a romantic relationship with his lobbyist or did he have sex with her. Why is the media not asking him directly if he had sex with her. Anyone can define romantic relationships but sex is sex. You either had sex or did not have sex.


atomicrob
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

John and Elizabeth Edwards have used the cache of their personal tragedies to garner attention and to reinforce their celebrity. They had become addicted to the limelight to such an incredible degree they can't fathom a life without constant media scrutiny, despite pleas to the contrary. Their ruminations about a loss of privacy is manufactured. They actually have an agent who is actively seeking public speaking venues where they recieve between 15,000 to 40,000+ per engagement. Here in Massachusetts, they will be speaking about “how they ahve overcome their personal tragedies” at Salem State College in September and it was huge feature on the evening news.

The issue here isn't that John Edwards had an affair. The issue is he and Elizabeth systematically lied about it to maintain their status and power base of supporters who they obviously need to get through their day. Their behavior has mutated into a political version of Munchausen Syndrome or creating attention so they can cast themselves as some sort of victims to garner attention, and because it's based in some public sympathy, no one challenges the behavior, until now.

I think finally, I'm beginning to read versions of this theory written by competent journalists. It's amazing how gullible Americans are regarding this rather obvious power grab. This is a one term senator who really didn't accomplish much of anything, but has marketed and branded himself as some superstar. Amazing.


theboys
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

I find it difficult to believe that during the affair that those around him including his wife didn't know. Look at the videos, clearly there were sparks. Some time ago on a special cancer program Elizabeth was one of a few guests speakers. The program was meant to explore those currently battling cancer and the ups and downs and the sometimes miracles. Elizabeth was super in the program. One passing comment really bothered me at the time and perhaps makes more sense today. BTW, I too am a cancer survivor and hence my interest in the program. Elizabeth made mention that she has asked her husband to come on that program, but he refused, and she had hoped he would be give the perspective of the spouse living with another spouse that is dying. It bothered me a lot that he refused, it bothered me that her tone was sad. It was just a passing comment – maybe nobody heard it but I did and I knew how she felt. She chose to support a man that doesn't deserve her love and attention and unfortunately he dragged her down into the sewer with him. I found it equally sad and depressing that she chose to blog on the Daily Kos because that site personally attacked her during the Petraeus ad that caused all the controversy. I don't mean they didnt' just disagreed with her view, I mean they were mean and hateful to her. Why choose that venue to express herself? She did so much damage choosing to blog there.


sandracarringtonsmith
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

I personally believe that we have more important issues in our country we should worry about. If anyone is interested, I would like to invite you to read my blog post concerning the media circus surrounding this issue. http://sandracarrington-smith.blogspot.com/2008…


dlake
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

I think there were a couple things at work with both Edwards. After their son died, politics became their saving. They got involved and it gave them a purpose after the grief.
John was ambitious. Aren't all politicians? He craved being president more than anything. and Elizabeth needed the campaigning to fill the void of her son and whatever else was going on.
That is why they campaigned after the second diagnoses that spring. They needed to keep campaigning. To not do so was unthinkable to them.
I think between John Edwards ambition and Elizabeth's need to help him and to keep just that busy as to not think was what kept them going.
They both needed something grand like the presidency to fill them. I also think the affair was part of this as well. He fell into it as a reaction to fear of failure as he embarked on his campaign and facing Hillary and Obama, he knew it was a long shot to his biggest dream.


trueobserver
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 5:39 pm

First, what do we really know of Elizabeth's medical condition?

Just what they have told us.

As far as Edwards running with this hanging over him, Edwards took a calculated gamble. The gamble was not that bad,

If he had captured the nomination, none of this would have come out.

The Secret Service would never have allowed the media, let alone NE, get near them when they met.

If he had won the election, Drudge might have picked something up maybe in his second term.

Future prospects are not bad for Edwards.

Nixon and Clinton bounced back. No one could have gotten as low as they did.

Nixon is admired by many as the foremost politician of his time. There is great nostalgia for him. (except for the looney left who are always in the middle of a joint and can never see or think straight).

Clinton soiled the Oval Office by doing something that was not mentioned in polite company. Worse, he sold pardons which in many people's minds is worse than murder because it is the sale of mercy.

We wont mention stealing the White House furniture on the way out.

Amazing, but he will be the featured speaker at the Convention. He may get more applause than Obama.

Clinton is a world celebrity.

There's still hope for Edwards.


xargaw
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 5:40 pm

Just maybe, she did not know initially. Just maybe, John lied about when he came clean to her and the family. It could be that the campaign was already underway when she found out all the details of what he had done. His story rings hollow in many places. She may not have been sitting by his side because she knew he was going to lie.

And, why in the world would he see this woman long after it was all supposed to be over if another man fathered her child? If, indeed, he isn't the father, this is all very strange. If he is the father, it makes perfect sense.

This is all speculation, but it certainly appears that there is a great deal more to this story than John Edwards is telling.


billthinx
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

I don't think JE is a creep, I don't think he's a cad. I don't know what arrangements he and Elizabeth made after his getting involved with Rielle. She's probably is a bit of a flake, but everyone has their own attractions and tastes. I don't think JE sleeping with RH makes him a bad person, I don't think he should be excluded from public life, I don't think it “says” anything terrible about him. Human beings have attractions all the time and occasionally act on them. That's been going on all through history and latter-day prudes or angry eminists won't change human nature. Marriages are malleable and sometimes even allow for side action. I did not support JE for President, but I don't blame Elizabeth a bit for helping John run and trying to keep a private matter private. It IS private. It doesn't belong in the public conversation. Clinton was a pretty good President and maybe the Monica relationship helped him. I agree with wwasse (posted here)… leave them alone. This is a total non-issue and it's only currency is to help media sell advertising and uber-moralists condemn someone else.


momsadvice
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

This Edwards mess is being totally overblown and there is a reason. Yes, it


jason_m
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 8:24 pm

What was he thinking? What was she thinking? I've been baffled, again, but the unbelievable blindness, impulsivity, and denial these folks display. A worthy successor to Bill Clinton, though not with his abandon, apparently. Is it about southern boys? Is it about religion that offers redemption from repeated sin?

It's hubris. Not so complicated, I guess; the Greeks had a pretty good line on it. Pride, sense of being above human rules, challenging the gods. Our crazy culture amplifies everything, including facilitating the development of a fatal flaw by the adulation, insulation from day to day life, and sheer speed attention, coverage, style of life.

I must admit I've never been sold on Edwards. I loved what I heard but felt uneasy with what I saw and felt. Something didn't track for me. So I'm not a big fan.

A private matter? We're prudish and puritanical currently? The media are scum? All more or less true. But the flaw, the hubris lies for me in willfully ignoring the state of the culture, willingness to believing that it really was a private matter, and disregarding the potential consequences to his causes, his supporters, his higher purpose.

That's a big deal in my book.


lendie
Comment posted August 12, 2008 @ 10:38 pm

Maybe she didn't “let” him. Maybe she told him to tell the truth in public and he ignored her. Maybe she figured it would come out and he'd get his comeuppance. She's neither stupid nor naive.


obamagramma
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 12:07 am

Maybe she thought “I'm going to die & I want my husband to achieve his goal, it's the last thing I can do for him”.

This isn't such a shock. Elizabeth wrote in 2007 in an op ed piece in … Reader's Digest (?) that she could not say her marriage had not had “disappointments”. Well, what do you think that means ? So the fact that he had been disloyal to her, and she knew, was stated in “polite speak” already.

I guess the baby is the shock. And the recency.


truthsaspirant
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 2:36 am

Bravo, oldnavyguy, for your comment (I agree with you completely), particularly the penultimate paragraph! Incidentally in your first paragraph there is a typo: “…don't bother to care a wit….” “wit” should be “whit”.


suspiciousmind
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 2:59 am

Maybe she owed him one?….Just one more hypothetical.


colleenca
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 3:09 am

Americans are naive imo about how people are at the deepest levels of their psyches.

Look at the stresses on the Edward's family…a son's death, a wife's cancer and probably near death illness, with young children in the family, the constant attention of a media that pries into all aspects of a family's life..and a nation that expects perfection from its leaders (but loves to find out their flaws).

There is also a coldness and meanness to America. I wish the Edward's family well and hope they can find some peace.

Meanwhile major stories are being ignored by the press. …such as the possibility the CIA wrote a fake letter to fool Americans into a war that is bankrupting this nation. Would Russia have attacked Georgia if the US military were not bogged down in Iraq?

Imo the Bush administration has done tremendous damage to the US and there are questions about crimes that are going unaddressed.

If America had a functioning government there would be impeachment hearings going on now.
And the news would be filled with stories about how corrupted our government has become..that is if we had a functioning media.


anghiari
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 3:14 am

I noticed Ms. Fleming acknowledged Elizabeth Edwards' loss of a son. Perhaps she didn't notice but John Edwards lost the same son. Their first born. I suspect few of us has any idea how a couple who have lost their eldest child and who have to face the possibility of another death in the family negotiate their relationship and marriage. I also think it is a huge leap to believe that either Elizabeth or John have neatly tucked that loss away. Most marriages do not survive the loss of a child. It would not surprise me that rather than open up his and Elizabeth's private pain, it was easier to serve himself up a some narcissist rather than try to talk about how tough it is to live a life with this family's past loss and their potential loss. I suspect Edwards' fall from grace comes out of attempting to manage those issues rather than some pretty boy view of himself. I think most writers like Ms. Fleming chose the easy route on this one. Mind you, I think John Edwards reaped his own whirlwind and behaved particularly stupidly, but I have a feeling it had less to do with narcissism and more to do with feeling a need to step out of his life for a moment. In saying that, I do not for a minute forget that Elizabeth didn't have that option and probably wouldn't have taken it if she had the option. I don't think John Edwards is Bill Clinton or Elliott Spitzer, neither of them lost a child or knew that there was real potential of losing a wife due to cancer. Those two life experiences constitute a heavy emotional burden and none of us know how we would behave if we had it to carry. I am not letting Edward's off the hook…but Ms. Fleming's take dismsses that Elizabeth perhaps understood that politics could help John focus on something important to him, it was time consuming and exhausting…if it couldn't fill the hole that the loss of his son left, it could at the very least distract him, while talking about important issues that needed to be discussed. I suspect also that John Edwards was vulnerable in a way that even he didn't know and he made the huge mistake of allowing this silly silly woman into his life…I have no doubt that he is thinking for the millionth time… if only I walked away…He like the others has humiliated himself and his wife and family. I think my speculation on this family tragedy is as valid as Ms. Fleming's musings. I have absolutely no sympathy for Reille Hunter.


samspade
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 3:40 am

I care why a couple would do something so mean and stupid because I am one of the millions of people who contributed and volunteered for John Edwards. In some ways the whole thing is understandable since the Edwards are part of the old south in which people were raised with phony politness and insulated from the rest of the county by voluntary segeration.

I am sure that the Edwards, as millions of other Southerns of their age, would tell you that Jim Crow & segeration were a necessary evil; unions are temples of the Communists; voting is ok for some people (depending on skin color); Jesse Helms was a true conservative not a racists; etc. If you can believe that for decades and run as a Senator born and raised in the South you begin understand what they have done to each other just another form of “Southern politiness”.


klad
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 3:54 am

I don't care who JE sleeps with and their marriage choices are none of our business. BUT, if his campaign paid $114,000 to his girlfriend so she could hang around, that's unethical and a slap in the face to his contributors. If she and Young are still being paid big bucks by his campaign manager friend, that's only our business if any of that money came out of campaign money. If not, then it's his own stupidity.

Personally, I don't think being a cad necessarily means he wouldn't be a good politician. But with all the repeated lies so easily trotted out by JE I don't want to vote him into any political office.


julien38
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 4:33 am

Why did Elizabeth Edwards let john continue to run? Because she understands the stupidity of the male “mid life” and the craziness of American campaigns. most of us “ameners” have never even been elected to high school homeroom reps.Carole McCain said it best,”john, (McCain) was 40 years old and wanted to be 25 again”. We have indeed become a nation of “ditto” heads let by a crowd of corporate slugs.


colleen
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 4:55 am

I've been trying to avoid them and indeed have given up entirely on one blog but this is the third essay I've read online castigating Elizabeth Edwards for 'allowing' her husband to run.
Her husband's behavior was and, if the interview I saw is any indication, is politically and morally indefensible as is the behavior of the woman he choose to have an affair with. But Elizabeth Edwards? Please. A woman with two young children and stage 4 cancer did not humiliate herself and her husband by making his affair public?
Why not attack Hillary Clinton for enabling her husbands doglike proclivities throughout their pathetic sham of a marriage. Or the increasing numbers of political wives and former wives who have suddenly discovered that their husbands prefer to have sex with men? Why not chastise Laura and Barbara Bush and both of John McCain's wives? Why publically criticise a woman with 2 young children and stage 4 cancer and question why she didn't tell the world that her marriage was a sham and that, because of this, her husband wasn't qualified to have a political career?
I do not get it.


artistry
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 5:33 am

Hi , Well this is my take. I feel very sorry for Elizabeth and all she is going through with her illness and her husband doing what a lot of men do, go to the store and stay too long, visiting with the clerk. But she is too smart to not know that this was a bomb waiting in the background to explode, on the world stage. I think she wanted this to happen, so that everyone would know how much of an arse he was. She couldn't or wouldn't beat him up, she is not going to divorce him. So what better payback than to have him run and ruin his career.

She put the Democratic party in jeopardy, she did not care. It happened just the way she wanted it happen. Now if she passes, his career is in total ruin, and she is satisfied, kind of smart if you ask me, payback is a dog in capital letters. Take that you scoundrel. :o)


bobn
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 9:36 am

“Why is the media not asking him directly if he had sex with her.”

Exactly! I'll go even further! WHY aren't they asking what positions they tried!?!? What rooms they did it in!??!

Apparently, some people need everything spelled out for them. For once, the media chose not to take the road of further vulgarity. Now, THAT is news!

As to the larger question of WHY: because she wanted him to be president.


bobn
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 9:36 am

Speaking of larger questions, why no paragraph breaks?


pvcourtney
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 10:25 am

How about he's a liar, and he is STILL lying?! Elizabeth didn't know about the affair until recently! He's LYING! He didn't tell her in 2006, and that IS his baby. Anybody who watched that interview should know he is STILL lying!


jrktx65
Comment posted August 13, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

Who cares at this point this about the AFFAIR this is a private matter between a husband and wife. They have suffered through life changing events .. We are all human and those of you who put yourself on a pedestal and judge are sick. That is what is wrong with this world everyone wants to tear down others and its like we get pleasure out of seeing someone else in pain. She is dying from a terrible illness, tragically lost a child, and now dealing her husband having an affair. She is to be commended no matter what. None of us can walk in her shoes and just need to respect that she probably has made some of these choices because of her children. Mothers tend to put aside their own feelings to protect them Just because he had an affair doesn't mean like a light switch she would stop loving him. Things in life happen we are all human and make poor choices. Get over it people and move on… Have you ever heard of forgiveness ???? About the misuse of money lets just face it politics are corrupt (he sure isn't the first and probably won't be the last to use money inappropriately) until things change it will continue………


nwilsey
Comment posted August 14, 2008 @ 10:04 am

I think she is really ill and trying to make the most of her time on this earth. She needs to know that her children will be cared for and loved fully.

The person that should receive all the negative vibes we have is the constantly sleezy Lisa or Rielle. She went after a married man. Yes John Edwards deserves our scorn but this other women is just yuk!


eyeofwarrior
Comment posted August 19, 2008 @ 11:22 am

You do something right, they bury back on page whatever in microprint and folks forget about it after they

read it. You screw the pooch and your name is splattered on almost every front page of any major rag that gives

a rat's a**. Things come back to bite right where you sit! A lot of big people have had their pecadillos and

they are still around. Like the old saying goes “if your going to live on Main street, mind your p's and q's!” or

something to that effect. Joe shmoe can go and make a baby on every block, but if you do it? fahgeddaboudit! your

name is mud once the tabloids get wind of it! So everybody puts their shorts on one leg at a time, if enough

people ignore all the rags that put out the c**p they put out, maybe the rags will get a hint when there's all

them papers stacking up and no money coming across the table. and they'll print something worthy to read about!

url>(http://eyeofwarrior.spaces.live.com/)


margiehartman
Comment posted February 15, 2010 @ 11:14 pm

You would never be able to understand a long marriage until or unless you have been in one. It would take an awful lot to kill what those many years meant to you. There are children, assets, memories, knowing, for the most part, each other like a book. Eliz. Edwards probably knew about all the affairs and chose to ignore them. Knowing and hoping that in the long run he would probably come back to her. I have been married to a man 53 years. He is my life-my passion, my sunshine, my world. Do you really believe that you can turn this type of relationship off over night. It never happened. She will probably grieve the rest of her life for the loss because it is and would be like a close death.


margiehartman
Comment posted February 16, 2010 @ 4:14 am

You would never be able to understand a long marriage until or unless you have been in one. It would take an awful lot to kill what those many years meant to you. There are children, assets, memories, knowing, for the most part, each other like a book. Eliz. Edwards probably knew about all the affairs and chose to ignore them. Knowing and hoping that in the long run he would probably come back to her. I have been married to a man 53 years. He is my life-my passion, my sunshine, my world. Do you really believe that you can turn this type of relationship off over night. It never happened. She will probably grieve the rest of her life for the loss because it is and would be like a close death.


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