The Fall of John Edwards

January 10th, 2010

By Tom Carter

There’s a book just coming out, Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, written by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.  Both are experienced political journalists with access to well-placed sources.  There’s already criticism of the book, particularly from those whose oxen have been gored and others who support them.  I haven’t read it yet, but I’m going to — it sounds too juicy to pass up.

New York Magazine has published an excerpt from the book detailing the implosion of John Edwards’ personal life and the destruction of his political career.  While I don’t normally read gossipy stuff (if you believe that…), I found this to be fascinating.  I can’t vouch for the accuracy of every detail, of course, but for the most part it rings true with the facts that are already known.

I always saw John Edwards as a typical rich personal injury lawyer and an overly slick politician, neither of which is a very attractive picture.  But, I have to admit that his down-home image and apparent sincerity sometimes caused me to think that I might be wrong about him.  After reading this excerpt from the book, I no longer have doubts.  He’s the phony that always seemed to lurk just under the slick facade, and he’s apparently an even worse human being than we’ve all come to understand.

There’s been speculation among pundits and political junkies about how close Edwards may have come to being Obama’s (or Clinton’s) vice presidential running mate or at least attorney general.  According to the excerpt from Game Change, neither of those possibilities was ever real, and Obama in particular never took Edwards seriously.  That’s a good thing, because cozying up to Edwards could have resulted in a history-changing, explosive scandal during the campaign.  If Edwards had eventually become VP, the damage would have been widespread and disastrous.  Think back to Spiro Agnew … this would have been worse.

Finally, Heilemann and Halperin highlight the fact that the mainstream media, agenda-driven as always, wouldn’t touch the Edwards story for months after The National Enquirer had published it.  Edwards was, after all, a Democrat to the left of most others, and the instinct of most of the media was to give him a pass.

I dare you — read the first page of the excerpt.  Then you’ll read it all.


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6 Responses to “The Fall of John Edwards”



  1. larry |

    Yep old John was a phony.
    Maybe its just me but I seem to have a gift for spotting a “Ringer”.
    Had John “Pegged” from the start. However Clinton had already got us past the girl chasing stigma. We accept such behavior today.
    Considering what is happening under Obamas leadership maybe we are better served to watch him.


  2. Lisa |

    Tom, Thanks for the entertaining diversion. I always thought John Edwards was a pip-squeak before the revelations of his affair.


  3. Tom |

    I was amazed at the difference between public perception and reality with both Edwards and his wife. None of us are perfect, of course, but it sounds like these folks were really over the edge. Looks like we dodged a bullet in 2004 and 2008 — can you imagine Edwards being VP or AG, and then all this comes out?

    This assumes, of course, that the book is accurate, but it tracks pretty closely with everything already known about him. As far as she’s concerned, it’s really kind of a surprise to see the way she’s portrayed.


  4. d |

    He was pretty,though.


  5. Lisa |

    I was amazed with the difference in public perception regarding his wife. The media portrayed her as the ultimate victim.
    D, I am so glad that us gals have different tastes, otherwise we would be fighting over the same guys!


  6. d |

    Not for me,too phoney,but easier on the eyes than,let’s say,Bush or Cheney?I thought she was a victim,no?


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