Late today, John Edwards released a very open and blunt statement about his affair. He said that over the course of his campaigns he became egotistical and narcissistic. He also told people that they should feel free to beat him up over this, because he already has. This definitely was not the typical damage control statement from a politician.
“In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough,” Edwards said in the statement
Edwards directly refuted any allegations of paternity, “I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established. I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of the baby. I also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby.”
He took full responsibility for his actions and said that his ego had gotten completely out of control, “It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am sorry. In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic. If you want to beat me up – feel free. You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself. I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help.”
Boy, rarely does one see a politician come out and say that they became an egotistical narcissist. This in no way excuses what Edwards did. The real damage in this situation was done to his family, but those who worked, volunteered, and donated to his campaign this year must feel disappointed and maybe a little betrayed. It seems that all of the stories about Edwards being a pretty boy narcissist have a bit of truth to them. These sorts of political scandals are common place, and this one probably won’t have any long term impact, except to change the way that many people view John Edwards.