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A Tad Short Of 99%

In fact, if she wanted to avoid "the present voyeurism," what was she thinking when she supported his running? She knew about his affair, she knew that everything about a presidential candidate's life is at risk of exposure, and she encouraged him? If she cared about shielding her family from this terrible intrusion, what did she think was going to happen if he won the nomination -- or the presidency?

There are two especially creepy aspects to this story. The first is the reverential, almost messianic way Elizabeth Edwards spoke about "this fine man" during the interview with Couric. This was disconcerting at the time; excruciating, in retrospect.

"It's important that the American people have the opportunity to have a president like him," Elizabeth Edwards explained. "I didn't want it [her cancer] to take this away, not just from me but from those people who depend on our having the kind of president he would be."

Or this, just a few months later, asserting that her husband would be a better champion for women than Hillary Clinton. "She's just not as vocal a women's advocate as I want to see," Edwards told Salon's Joan Walsh. "John is."

The second, even creepier part is John Edwards's resort to the exculpatory language of pop psychology to explain his behavior. "I went from being a senator, a young senator to being considered for vice president, running for president, being a vice presidential candidate and becoming a national public figure. All of which fed a self-focus, an egotism, a narcissism that leads you to believe that you can do whatever you want."

Right. The adulation made him do it. I don't think this man is anywhere in the neighborhood of 99 percent honesty.

marcusr@washpost.com


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