John Edwards Love Child Scandal
BREAKING NEWS (7/22/08): John Edwards Love Child Scandal Re-Erupts
A story entitled “NATIONAL ENQUIRER WORLD EXCLUSIVE: JOHN EDWARDS LOVE CHILD SCANDAL!” is the top story on memeorandum this morning.
The link now goes to an otherwise blank page with some advertising but, as you may have guessed from the subtle clues in the headline, it originally featured a story about a scandal involving John Edwards and a love child and was published by America’s newspaper of record, The National Enquirer. Here’s an excerpt from the story that was once there but no longer is:
The woman linked to Presidential candidate John Edwards in a cheating scandal is more than six months pregnant and telling a close confidante that Edwards is the father of her unborn child, The NATIONAL ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.
The NATIONAL ENQUIRER’s political bombshell comes just weeks after Edwards emphatically denied having an affair with Rielle Hunter, who formerly worked on his campaign.
But The ENQUIRER has now confirmed not only that Rielle is pregnant, but she is also living in Chapel Hill, N.C. in a gated community, just a few streets away from Andrew Young, who has been a key official in Edwards’ campaign.
The interest of the blogosphere was apparently engaged originally by Matt Drudge, who featured it as a developing story. Considering that Drudge did not use absolutely the biggest font available, much less a flashing siren, one wouldn’t think it would have gotten much attention. Slow news day, I guess.
Brian Maloney speculates, using apparently no evidence whatsoever, that this story is the work of the Hillary Clinton War Room. He has also gotten early reactions from Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, who don’t have much useful to add. Interestingly, Hunter has a passing resemblance to Ingraham.
Mickey Kaus claims that, “I’m familiar with how the initial Rielle Hunter/Edwards rumors, true or not, got to at least one news outlet–and no campaigns, Dem or GOP, were involved. It was a story going around–I’d been hearing it for months. Not all rumors are plants. And some are true. Even in the Enquirer.” ObWi’s Publius thinks Kaus should be fired if the story turns out to be wrong. Because, you know, reporters are usually fired when they print rumors that don’t pan out.
Ace initially dismisses and then embraces the Hillary connection. Apparently, she’s friends with someone named Altman, who owns or is in a senior position at the Enquirer. (It turns out to be Robert Altman, who does indeed own the paper. See “The Clintonite who owns National Enquirer” for background.)
Anyway, Kaus observes that, if the story turns out to have legs, it will hurt Edwards because he “not very subtly put his wife’s illness. and his loyalty to her, near the center of his campaign.” For good measure, he supplies quotes along those lines.
Glenn Reynolds muses, “it makes no sense for Hillary to be spreading this story. Obama, on the other hand, would benefit from having Edwards out of the picture, giving him the undiluted anti-Hillary vote.”
Michael van der Galien figures the “Clinton campaign wouldn’t spread a rumor as vicious like this.” Or, upon reflection, “They wouldn’t spread the rumor if they weren’t 100% sure it’s true.”
As for myself, I’m leaving open the possibility that the story is untrue. It’s probable that Hunter is pregnant but the evidence that Edwards is the father is, as best I can determine, negligible. Sure, the National Enquirer is more believable than the New York Times. But they do get stories wrong every now and again.
Further, as Ace notes, “How dumb do you have to be to get a woman pregnant while running for president? I don’t think Edwards is that level of stupid.” Then again, Bill Clinton did things of similar stupidity throughout his career and it got him twelve years as governor and two terms as president.