- The Washington Times - Friday, August 8, 2008

John Edwards (Politician)” href=”/themes/?Theme=John+Edwards+(Politician)” >John Edwards admitted Friday he had an affair with a woman during his presidential campaign and repeatedly lied about it as he was seeking the White House.

“I had hoped it would never become public,” Mr. Edwards said.

The two-time presidential candidate and former trial lawyer said he felt able to lie about the affair because the National Enquirer didn’t get some details exactly right in its first story last year exposing the liaison.

“If you want to beat me up - feel free. You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself,” he said, adding that he became “narcissistic” during his two presidential campaigns, which he blamed for the affair.

Related story:Elizabeth Edwards‘ statement about the affair

He first acknowledged the affair to ABC News, then released a statement.

“In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake, and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness,” the statement said.

ABC said Mr. Edwards stressed he began the affair while his wife’s cancer was in remission, and that he didn’t love the other woman, Rielle Hunter.

The former Democratic vice presidential nominee and one-term senator from North Carolina told ABC he began an affair in 2006 with the woman, a divorcee, and put her on his campaign payroll, though he said he did not pay her to keep quiet about the story. ABC reported he met the woman at a New York City bar.

He denied he is the father of her 5-month-old daughter, saying the timing didn’t coincide with the affair. Frances Quinn Hunter was born Feb. 27, and no father’s name is given on the California birth certificate. Mr. Edwards said he would be willing to take “any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby.”

Mr. Edwards said the affair only happened in 2006, though ABC said Mr. Edwards confirmed that he did visit Ms. Hunter at her hotel in California last month, as the National Enquirer reported.

Mr. Edwards repeatedly denied the accusations on the campaign trail.

“The story is false. It’s completely untrue, ridiculous,” Mr. Edwards told reporters in October, after the Enquirer first reported on the affair.

“I’ve been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years,” Mr. Edwards said, referring to his wife, Elizabeth, “and as anybody who’s been around us knows, she’s an extraordinary human being, warm, loving, beautiful, sexy and as good a person as I have ever known. So the story’s just false.”

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