Confession may be good for the soul, but what does it do for a former presidential candidate who was supposed to make a speech at the Democratic convention? John Edwards told ABC News today that, yes, he had an affair and he had lied about it while running for president, but that he wasn't the father of her baby.
According to ABC News' Web site, friends of the woman, Rielle Hunter, 44, said Edwards met her at a New York City bar in 2006. His political action committee later paid her $114,000 to produce campaign website documentaries despite her lack of experience. Edwards told ABC the affair began after she was hired by his campaign. He also said that his wife, Elizabeth Edwards -- whose cancer was in remission at the time -- and others in the family learned of the affair in 2006.
How trite. How tawdry. How hypocritical. And how ordinary.
If American political life were scrubbed free of all men (and women) who'd had extramarital affairs, precious few would serve. Even Charlotte's own Republican Rep. Sue Myrick, a very public born-again Christian, had an affair before she married her current husband, Ed.
If affairs disqualified men for the presidency, we'd have had no FDR, no JFK, no Clinton, probably no Eisenhower. (No Warren G. Harding, either, but almost everyone agrees that would have been a good thing.) Thomas Jefferson wasn't married while he was president, but he fathered children with his late wife's slave (and half-sister).
Edwards' actions were sleazy, and his credibility is probably destroyed. Keep him off the speaker's podium at the convention. Please. But he's not even a candidate anymore. Can't we devote some of that considerable reporting energy expended on the Edwards love child story to some topics that, in the end, will make more of a difference to more people's lives?
-- MARY NEWSOM, ASSOCIATE EDITOR