Elizabeth Edwards was on The Today Show this morning promoting her new book Resilience. She spoke candidly about preparing for the end of her life from cancer, about the tragic loss of her son, Wade, at the age of 16 in a car accident, and about her reasons for staying with her husband, former Presidential Candidate John Edwards, despite the fact that he cheated on her and ultimately admitted it to the media. Elizabeth came across as determined to keep her marriage and family together no matter what, and you can tell she chooses what to believe when it comes to her husband’s infidelity. She called his affair, which resulted in a child, “one mistake,” and said that he’s otherwise a wonderful husband.
When asked if her book was about revenge or an attempt to rake her husband over the coals, Elizabeth said that she had planned it well before she learned about the affair. As for whether Edwards illegally funneled campaign money to Rielle, who Elizabeth asked not to be referred to by name, she said that it’s not possible because campaign finances are public record. She also claims to have stood by her husband during the campaign because she believed at that point that the affair was just a one night fling. Doesn’t that mean that John made more than one mistake? You would think that lying to her about the affair would count as another separate mistake or at least a compounded one. Add a baby to the mix and that’s three strikes:
“This sounds odd, but except for this very big thing that he had done that was bad, I thought I was married — I believe [I am] now — to a magnificent man, someone who truly cared about other people,” the wife of former North Carolina senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Monday in New York. It was her first live television interview since the publication of her book, “Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities”
Edwards has had her share of adversities. She is living with stage 4 breast cancer that has metastasized to her bones and other organs. And she had to deal with the revelation last year that the one-night stand her husband confessed to her was actually an extended affair with a younger woman that may have resulted in his fathering an illegitimate daughter.
Love despite all
During an hour-long prerecorded interview with Oprah Winfrey last week, Edwards had appeared to vacillate when answering a question about whether she still loves her husband. She told Lauer that her answer was misinterpreted in media reports.
She talked about how, when she knew she had incurable cancer and was lying in bed with her sparse hair going in every direction, her husband looked at her as if she was the prettiest girl in the world. “I see in the way that he looks at me and cares for me that this relationship is the essential relationship of his life as it is for my life,” Edwards told Lauer.
“He’s been a marvelous father,” she said, adding that John Edwards is genuinely dedicated to battling poverty around the world and helping others. “He made this one mistake, so do I throw out all the good stuff and say, ‘That doesn’t matter, only this matters?’ ” she asked.
So, in answer to Lauer’s question of whether she loves her husband, Edwards replied: “I do love him. I wouldn’t be making all this effort and undergoing all this scrutiny if I didn’t love him. I need him and I really believe he needs me.”
In the wake of the highly publicized affair with freelance videographer Rielle Hunter that was originally exposed by the National Enquirer, John Edwards is under investigation for possible felonies connected to payments made to Hunter through his campaign committee. But Elizabeth Edwards said she is confident her husband broke no laws.
“Not possible” that husband funneled money to Hunter
“The way campaign funds are distributed are all a matter of record,” she said. “It’s just not possible” that her husband is guilty of criminal behavior with the funds, she added.
Airing dirty laundry?
Edwards has been harshly criticized by columnists Maureen Dowd of The New York Times and Sally Quinn of The Washington Post for airing her family’s laundry in public. Dowd accused Edwards of “flogging” her husband in public. Quinn excoriated her for letting Edwards run in the Democratic presidential primaries last year while knowing that he had had an affair.
Edwards told Lauer that at the time, she thought that her husband had been guilty of a one-night indiscretion, as he originally had assured her. Had she known that it was much more than that, she said, “I probably would have been more adamant about his not running than I was.”
In her book, Edwards says she hopes that her children will tell their own children that she “stood in the storm.”
Edwards also denied accusations that she wrote the book to gain revenge against Hunter. During the TODAY interview as well as other interviews Edwards has given about the book, Hunter’s name was never mentioned on the air.
“That was never my purpose,” she said.
This lady is dying and I don’t blame her for trying to do what she can to keep her family together and leave a legacy for her children. You can tell that she pins the whole thing on the mistress, though, and doesn’t think her husband is capable of the level of deception required to carry out an affair for months, father a child, and arrange a home, money and decoy boyfriend for the other woman. Yes he might have stood by Elizabeth when she was sick, but was John sneaking out from his wife’s bedside to meet Rielle in hotels? He told her it was just one night and then was caught out in a huge elaborate lie, just like he lied to the media when he claimed Rielle’s baby wasn’t his. Elizabeth kind of faltered when asked what she would do when the DNA test was ordered, and you can tell she hadn’t really considered the possibility or was trying not to think about it. We’ll soon be hearing that the baby is indeed John’s, but given the way Elizabeth is acting it probably won’t cause her much additional pain. She refuses to believe that her husband is at all culpable for the affair and sees it as a blemish on his record rather than the major betrayal that it was.