With a complete lack of irony, Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos on Thursday commented on the revelation that John Edwards had fathered a love child. The former top aide to Bill Clinton marveled, "How did he ever think he was going to get through a presidential campaign sitting on all this?"
Stephanopoulos, perhaps not thinking of his old boss and the Gennifer Flowers scandal during the 1992 campaign, chided Edwards: "It is just unbelievable." In a second story on the subject, correspondent Bianna Golodryga introduced the story by explaining, "Former presidential candidate John Edwards, now admits that he did father a child with a former campaign worker."
Golodryga is engaged to Obama White House official Peter Orszag. On January 7, Orszag announced that he had fathered a baby with another woman, venture capitalist Claire Milonas. Perhaps ABC should be a little more careful in who they assign stories to?
In the second piece on Edwards, reporter Dan Harris described the latest Edwards revelation as a "stunning reversal for a man who repeatedly and fervently denied having a child with his mistress, the filmmaker Rielle Hunter." However, in 2007, during Edwards’ presidential campaign, ABC happily played up the marriage of the Democratic couple.
On August 9, 2007, Sawyer gushed that the show had "the very first pictures of a very personal backyard ceremony" and displayed photos of John and Elizabeth renewing their wedding vows.
On July 31, 2007, GMA aired photographs of the two celebrating their marriage at Wendy’s. Co-host Robin Roberts cooed, "It’s an anniversary party of sorts at Wendy’s. That, of course, presidential nominee John Edwards and his beautiful wife Elizabeth. 30 years, their 30th anniversary."
A transcript of the first segment, which aired at January 21 at 7:08, follows:
ROBIN ROBERTS: But, we have that bombshell statement NOW from senator john Edwards, admitting he fathered a child with former campaign worker, Rielle Hunter. Dan Harris has been following the story. He joins us more with now [sic]. Good morning, Dan.
DAN HARRIS: It’s something to see. Good morning to you. We just got a hold of the statement. Here's what it says. "I am Quinn's father. I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves. It was wrong for me to deny she was my daughter. And hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me." This is a stunning reversal. We're going to take a quick look back now on how this story has unfolded. When the story of John Edwards having an extramarital affair, while his wife was battling terminal cancer first surfaced in the National Enquirer, Edwards was emphatic in his denial.
JOHN EDWARDS: The story's false. It's completely untrue. I've been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years, as anyone around us knows.
HARRIS: He issued further denials when reports surfaced that he and his mistress, a filmmaker named Rielle Hunter who was making campaign films for him, were having a so-called love child. In fact, Edwards’ campaign aide Andrew Young, married with children of his own, came forward to say he was the father of the child. But the story exploded in July of 2008, when the Enquirer showed photos that appeared to show Edwards meeting with Hunter at a Beverly Hilton hotel.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sir, were you ever at the Beverly Hilton hotel with Rielle Hunter? And you’ll answer all my questions as usual, Senator?
JOHN EDWARDS: I'm going to answer questions at the press conference.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you. See you then.
JOHN EDWARDS: I've responded consistently to these tabloid allegations saying I don't respond to these lees.
BOB WOODRUFF: That picture is absolutely you. And you are holding that baby.
JOHN EDWARDS: The picture in the tabloids?
JOHN EDWARDS: I have no idea what that picture is.
WOODRUFF: But, you did see it, right?
JOHN EDWARDS: I did see it. And I can't make any sense out of it.
HARRIS: Finally, in August 2008, Edwards spoke to Bob Woodruff and admitted to the affair.
JOHN EDWARDS: In 2006, two years ago, I made a very serious mistake. A mistake that I'm responsible for and no one else.
HARRIS: But he still emphatically denied paternity, of Frances Quinn Hunter, now almost 2 years old.
WOODRUFF: Have you taken a paternity test?
JOHN EDWARDS: I have not. I would welcome participating in a paternity test. I know it's not possible that this child could be mine.
HARRIS: Elizabeth Edwards addressed the issue on Oprah.
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: I've seen the baby. I have no idea. It doesn't look like my children. But I don't have any idea.
HARRIS: Now, John Edwards is changing his story, admitting that while he was running for President of the United States, he had fathered a child with his mistress. A scandal that if Edwards had become the Democratic nominee, could have thrown American politics in turmoil. As we said, a stunning reversal. Let’s go over that statement again. A simple, declarative sentence: "I am Quinn's father. I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves. It was wrong for me to ever deny she was my daughter. And hopefully, one day, when she understands, she will forgive me."
ROBERTS: And we have a pretty good idea, Dan, why he’s coming clean now.
HARRIS: Right, because Andrew Young, his former campaign aide, is coming out with a book in early February, in which he is reportedly going to say he was offered a deal by John Edwards to be covered for life. "Taken care of for life," I believe is the quote, in exchange for claiming he was, in fact, the father. And Andrew Young has done an interview with ABC News, an exclusive interview which is going to air next Friday on 20/20.
ROBERTS: Yeah, he sat down with Bob Woodruff for that. All right, Dan. Thank you.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: How did he ever think he was going to get through a presidential campaign sitting on all this?
ROBERTS: I don’t know.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It is just unbelievable.