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He's the Daddy

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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 14, 2009; 2:43 PM

I'm not betting against the National Enquirer.

If the supermarket tabloid says there's medical evidence that John Edwards fathered the baby he denies is his, I assume it's true.

After all, the Enquirer not only broke the Rielle Hunter story, it's been right every step of the way.

Who, you might ask, really cares at this point? Edwards is washed up politically, and most people assumed the 18-month-old girl is probably his kid.

But it seems to me that the man who put himself forth for last year's Democratic presidential nomination -- and who could have been vice president if Sen. John F. Kerry had won Ohio in 2004 -- has now lied twice. First he denied the affair with his former campaign videographer. Then he acknowledged it in a "Nightline" interview but said the baby wasn't his.

A lot of people believed in the guy and his "two Americas" message. Imagine the Democrats' plight if he had won Iowa in 2008 instead of finishing second.

The public has been deluged with sex scandals in recent years: Mark Sanford. John Ensign. David Vitter. Antonio Villaraigosa. Larry Craig. Eliot Spitzer. Jim McGreevey. Kwame Kilpatrick. Gavin Newsom. Mark Foley. And on and on. Some have come clean; some haven't.

Just this week, Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino admitted he'd had sex in a restaurant six years ago with a woman other than his wife, after the Louisville Courier-Journal broke the story. The woman has been charged with attempting to extort $10 million from Pitino. Even Bernie Madoff had an affair, according to a former Hadassah CFO's forthcoming book (not that we thought much of his morals anyway).

Politicians, like the rest of us, are flawed human beings, but you wonder about the judgment involved in hooking up with staffers, former campaign aides or wives of friends (Ensign, Kilpatrick, Newsom); journalists (Villaraigosa), or call girls (Vitter, Spitzer). Or disappearing to Buenos Aires for several days (Sanford). Or having graphic discussions with House pages (Foley).

The cumulative effect is to chip away at public confidence in elected leaders, especially after the Clinton impeachment trauma. Elizabeth Edwards has belatedly told what she knows, admitting in a book that she knew about the affair before the presidential campaign. Her husband, who faces a grand jury investigation in which Hunter recently testified, still hasn't. Maybe that's about to change.

Here's the Enquirer piece:

"John Edwards has secretly undergone a DNA test -- and it proves he's the father of his mistress' love child, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.


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