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John Edwards admits to having an affair PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Times

John Edwards, the Democrats’ 2004 vice-presidential candidate, admitted last night that he cheated on his wife during his latest bid for the White House – a bombshell revelation forced out of him by reports that he had fathered a love child.

Mr Edwards, whose wife Elizabeth suffers from incurable cancer, said that he had repeartedly lied to the public about the affair with Rielle Hunter, 44, a film maker who travelled with him for much of 2006. He said that he had never loved Ms Hunter, and denied he was the father of her child.

Mr Edwards, 55, who has been accused by the supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer for the past seven months of being the father of Ms Hunter’s child, insisted that he knew he was not because of the timing of the baby’s birth. He said that he was prepared to submit to a paternity test.

A former campaign aide, Andrew Young, a married father of three, has said he is the father of the baby girl.
In a contrite statement issued last night Mr Edwards said: “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 recognised my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness.”

The admission ends any hopes that Mr Edwards had of a government job if Barack Obama is elected President. The former North Carolina senator was tipped to be the next Attorney-General in a Democratic Administration. He was expected to speak at the Democratic convention later this month, but is now unlikely to do so.

After vigorously denying theEnquirer’s allegations when they were first made in October 2007 as “completely untrue”, pressure mounted on Mr Edwards when it reported last month that an undercover team confronted him in a Los Angeles hotel at 2.40am on July 21. The story alleged that Mr Edwards had been visiting Ms Hunter and her child. He told reporters: “I don’t talk about these tabloids. They’ re tabloid trash and just full of lies.”

In yesterday’s statement Mr Edwards admitted that he had himself been lying. “I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic. If you want to beat me up – feel free. I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help.”

Mr Edwards met Ms Hunter in a New York bar in 2006. His political action committee hired her in the summer of that year to produce a series of “webisodes”, short video diaries of the day-to-day life with the soon to be declared presidential candidate. She was paid a total of $114,000 (£59,000).

Ms Hunter abruptly left the campaign in December 2006, shortly after Mr Edwards announced his presidential candidacy, and her video diaries disappeared from his campaign website.

Ms Hunter spent much time with him, travelling around the country and on a trip with him to Africa. The Edwards have three children. He emphasised that his wife’s cancer was in remission when he began the affair.

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