Edwards Ducks Questions on Allegations
Former Sen. John Edwards is refusing to answer questions about a tabloid report that he had an affair with a woman close to his campaign.
Though the matter has been mostly ignored by the mainstream media -- and until now by The Pilot -- it has been the object of increasing buzz on political blogs, late-night television, and Fox News.
The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer of Raleigh, both owned by McClatchy Newspapers, reported Thursday that Edwards refused to answer questions from a dozen reporters who attended his speech at an AARP Foundation symposium Wednesday in Washington.
The National Enquirer reported in an online edition last week that its reporters confronted Edwards, who was raised in Robbins, as he left a Los Angeles hotel after seeing the woman and her child.
Edwards is married. His wife, Elizabeth Edwards, has been waging a public battle with a recurrence of her breast cancer.
Edwards had been considered one of the possible running mates for Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate. Edwards was Sen. John Kerry's vice presidential running mate in 2004, and some believed that his populist message would help solidify Obama's support. Edwards made unsuccessful bids for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and this year.
Most news outlets have either ignored the Enquirer report or have alluded to it only by way of questioning how it may hurt his chances of becoming vice president.
Fox News did its own report July 25, saying that a security guard confirmed an encounter between Edwards and Enquirer reporters at the Beverly Hills Hilton.
Fox News quoted him speaking from a campaign event in New Orleans as saying: "I have no idea what you're asking about. I've responded, consistently, to these tabloid allegations by saying I don't respond to these lies and you know that and I stand by that."
The Enquirer claims that reporters saw Edwards enter the hotel where Rielle Hunter, a videographer for the Edwards for President campaign, was a guest.
The Enquirer has not produced any photographs or video. It first alleged the relationship in October.
Both Hunter and the Edwards campaign said at that time that the story was false. A close Edwards aide, Andrew Young, who is himself married, told reporters that the child was his. Edwards called the story "tabloid trash."
According to the McClatchy coverage, Edwards left the AARP speech Wednesday at the Hotel Monaco through the kitchen but met up with reporters at the rear of the hotel.
"Can't do it now, I'm sorry," he said, moving quickly to get into a car. He ignored further questions.
Though most media outlets have avoided the story, it's been fodder for late night comedians Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien. Many blogs have called out the mainstream media for censorship of the story.
Contact Matthew Moriarty at 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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