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Edwards Admits To Affair

According to ABC News, John Edwards has admitted to a long-rumored affair with Rielle Hunter, a filmmaker he met in 2006. Apparently the Edwards family also became aware of the affair that year.

This is a tricky story to write about, and since no one has any idea about the Edwards' marriage, there is not too much to say (other than, per Marc Ambinder's item, we can expect a rather raucous welcome for Elizabeth when she speaks in Denver this month).

Mickey Kaus has been obsessively out front on this story since the beginning, and today he posted an email from Michael Kinsley that reads as follows: 

As for your [Mickey's] laundry list of reasons to cover [the story], I think there's one more much simpler: the MSM told a story about Edwards—they told it often and loud—it was probably one of the best-known and totally accepted stories of the 2008 campaign: John loyally standing by his loyal wife as she deals with cancer. If the story isn't true, they should run a correction. My god, look at the things they run corrections over—the spelling of people's names, and so on. Yet they're leaving this huge story uncorrected, and leaving their readers misinformed. No?

This seems about right. Perhaps this story could serve as a warning to politicians who want to tell everyone, ad nauseam, about how much they love their partners: From now on, doing so will not guarantee a free ride from the press. The hope, then, is that candidates will stop talking so much about their spouses.

As against all this, who knows, maybe they did have a wonderful and loving relationship even after Elizabeth learned about the affair. And Edwards cannot be accused of running a vacuous, agenda-free campaign. (Although, as a friend points out, to run for the Democratic nomination with a skeleton like that in your closet is a selfish and potentially catastrophic thing to do).

Regardless, it was good Edwards came forward now. The American people have a large capacity to forgive and forget, and so the sooner he can move on to the next stage of his political career, the better. It might take a while to get there, however.

--Isaac Chotiner