Edwards Admits He Is Baby's Father
In a statement released to NBC's "Today Show," John Edwards publicly acknowledged Thursday that he fathered a child with a former campaign videographer.
"I am Quinn's father," Edwards said in the statement. "I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves. I have been able to spend time with her during the past year and trust that future efforts to show her the love and affection she deserves can be done privately and in peace.
"It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me. I have been providing financial support for Quinn and have reached an agreement with her mother to continue providing support in the future.
"To all those I have disappointed and hurt, these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry."
Edwards, a former U.S. senator who grew up in Robbins, made two runs for the Democratic presidential nomination and was Sen. John Kerry's vice-presidential running mate in 2004.
The admission comes on the heels of a new poll that shows Edwards is the most unpopular figure in the history of the North Carolina polling firm.
Public Policy Polling, based in Raleigh, announced Tuesday that Edwards' dismal favorability rating of just 15 percent is the worst that anyone has garnered since the poll has been around. A staggering 72 percent of North Carolina voters view him unfavorably.
Edwards did not appear personally on the television show, but was represented by a close friend and adviser, Harrison Hickman. Hickman said Edwards had been seeing and providing for his youngest daughter for a year but could not publicly acknowledge her until now.
The situation was "complicated" with other adults involved, according to Hickman. There has been speculation that an investigation into whether campaign funds were illegally used to cover up the matter is one reason Edwards has not spoken out or appeared at any press conferences.
His wife, Elizabeth Edwards, has known since last summer that her husband was the father, according to Hickman. The two have been living separately, with Edwards spending much time at a beach house on Figure Eight Island - a private, gated community on the North Carolina Coast.
Edwards, in his statement, went on to apologize to his little girl and express the hope that, when she is older, she will forgive the wrongdoing he did to her in his previous denials.
Hickman, in the "Today Show" segment, described that as "a lie." He said his friend knew that saying he is sorry is not enough, but that Edwards is truly penitent and remorseful about it.
Edwards loves his daughter and will do his best for her, Hickman said. Edwards said in his statement that he has been providing support for his daughter and has signed a support agreement.
Former high-level workers in Edwards' 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns told The Pilot that the name Quinn - from the Latin word for "five" - was chosen to represent his daughter as his fifth child.
John and Elizabeth Edwards lost their first-born son, Wade, in an automobile accident, an event she chronicled in "Saving Graces." In a new book, "Resilience," Elizabeth Edwards tells of her struggle coping with her husband's affair with Rielle Hunter, Quinn's mother.
According to Hickman, Elizabeth Edwards has thought for some time that her husband should acknowledge his daughter.
Conflicts between John and Elizabeth Edwards and her frequent tirades at staff and disdain for his Robbins roots were described recently as "the best-kept secret" of his 2008 presidential campaign, according to excerpts from "Game Change," published in New York Magazine last week. John Edwards was described as an egomaniac and a narcissist.
A book by former aide Andrew Young, due to hit bookstore shelves next month, is said to recant Young's previous claim that he was the father.
"The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards' Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down" is set for release Feb. 2. It tells what others close to Edwards' campaigns knew all along, and, like Young, helped to hide in the belief that he would be a great president.
Only as they began to realize that it would come out during the election and virtually guarantee a Republican victory did they start to pull away.
As for the poll, Edwards set the record last May when just 19 percent of voters viewed him favorably. The news release cites the release of "Game Change," which included an unflattering depiction of Edwards and his wife.
"As more and more dirt about the Edwardses comes to light, it's taking a toll on both of their images," Dean Debham, president of Public Policy Polling, said in the release. "John doesn't have much further to drop, but Elizabeth is not being viewed as sympathetically as she was before this book came out."
Once an extremely popular and admired figure, Elizabeth's favorability has dropped sharply after the book was published, the release said.
Just 46 percent of voters in the state have a favorable opinion of her now, which is down from 58 percent in May. The number of voters who hold a negative opinion of her has also increased, from 22 percent to 27 percent.
The firm surveyed 678 North Carolina voters from Jan. 15 to Jan. 18.
In December, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that Americans considered Edwards to be the most disappointing public figure of 2009.
Staff writer John Krahnert III contributed to this report. Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story