Thursday, January 21, 2010

John Edwards admits paternity of Rielle Hunter's full video

The news -- first reported by Lisa Meyers on "The Today Show" -- that former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards has acknowledged fathering a child with his mistress is both sadly expected and devoid of any real political impact.

Edwards, after repeated denials on the campaign trail in 2008, said in a statement this morning that "I am Quinn's father", adding: "It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me."

Edwards' decision to acknowledge his paternity of a child with mistress Rielle Hunter comes just days before the expected release of a tell-all book penned by Andrew Young, a former Edwards aide who initially said that he was the father of Hunter's child.

The practical political effect of this admission is close to zero. Edwards' political career was over the minute he was forced to admit that he had repeatedly lied about an extramarital affair with Hunter.

Edwards' admission this morning seems likely to -- finally -- brings an end to a saga that has captured the public's attention for the better part of the last 18 months.

It is also a sordid final chapter in a political life that began with such promise just over a decade ago when Edwards ousted Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R) in a Senate race in the Tarheel State in 1998.

Just six years later, Edwards launched a longshot bid for president but caught on with Iowa voters who propelled him to a surprising second place finish in the Iowa caucuses. He performed so well on the campaign trail that Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry chose Edwards as his vice presidential running mate for the 2004 general election.

After the ticket's loss, Edwards never stopped running -- working to re-position himself to the ideological left by apologizing for his vote in favor of the Iraq war resolution and cozying up to organized labor.

Despite his proven strength in Iowa, Edwards was never able to compete financially with then Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 presidential contest.

Prior to the revelations regarding his affair, he was mentioned as a possible Attorney General in the Obama Administration although those close to the President insist Edwards was never on their radar for the post.