In 2007 Debate, CNN Asked Edwards About His 'Biggest Sin'

In the wake of the John Edwards affair, here's another archival nugget, the CNN-Sojourners debate, to portray the Democratic contenders as deeply religious, from June 4, 2007. The final question for Edwards, intended as a light puffball? His biggest sin, a question he refused to answer with specifics:  

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Senator, I'm going to have you sit while I ask you another question, if you don't mind. Thank you. And while this is not exactly a confessional, there are a whole bunch of people out there -- we certainly have enough clergy here -- so I'll ask you this. What is the biggest sin...

JOHN EDWARDS: I don't like the way this has started.

O'BRIEN: I know, sorry. (LAUGHTER) What is the biggest sin you've ever committed? Are you willing -- are you willing to say? You can take a pass, sir, as you know.

EDWARDS: Just between you and me? (LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Just between you and me and the 1,300 people in the crowd.

EDWARDS: I'd have a very hard time telling you one thing, one specific sin. (APPLAUSE) If I've had a day -- I turn 54 years old this Sunday -- and if I've had a day in my 54 years where I haven't sinned multiple times, I would be amazed. I believe I have. I sin every single day. We are all sinners. We all fall short, which is why we have to ask for forgiveness from the Lord. I can't -- to try to identify one particular sin that was worse or more extreme than the others, the list is too long.

Edwards also typically played the Elizabeth card:

I can tell you that I pray daily. I've been through a faith journey in my life, you know? I'll be the first to admit that. I grew up in the Baptist church. I was baptized in the Baptist church, personal strong faith when I was young. I strayed away from the Lord for a period of time, and then came back, in my adulthood, and my faith came roaring back during some crises that my own family was faced with.

And I can tell you, it is prayer that played a huge role in my survival through that. You know, when Elizabeth and I lost our son, we were nonfunctional for some period of time. And it was the Lord that got me through that. And the same thing is true when Elizabeth was diagnosed with cancer and then re-diagnosed more recently.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis