Update 12/27/2007: John Edwards' Love Child Saga, the NBA, and the MSM. Original updates are below -- including the Clinton link to the National Enquirer and an alleged girlfriend named by several investigative reporters.
Drudge just broke the story about a forthcoming National Enquirer shocker. Granted, it's the Enquirer. And maybe I'm just cynical, but doesn't this have the vague whiff of a Clinton caper? Ace says maybe not.
Presidential candidate John Edwards is caught in a shocking mistress scandal that could wreck his campaign, The NATIONAL ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.
Sources have come forward to charge that the “other woman” previously worked on Edwards’ campaign and followed the 54-year-old candidate on trips across the U.S.
A source close to the woman, whose name is being withheld by The NATIONAL ENQUIRER, says that she confessed to having an affair in phone calls and emails, saying that her work with Edwards soon exploded into romance. The shocking allegation — if proven true — could devastate the Democratic hopeful’s campaign, especially because John’s devoted wife Elizabeth is locked in a desperate battle with breast cancer.
“The affair started about 18 months ago,” a friend says the woman confessed to her. “When they met at a bar, sparks flew immediately... She never expected it would turn sexual since John is married and is running for President. But it soon did — and she fell for him.”
In one bombshell e-mail message provided to The NATIONAL ENQUIRER, the woman confesses to a friend she’s “in love with John,” but it’s “difficult because he is married and has kids." In another e-mail, she writes: “Last night and this a.m., he actually has amazed me. He is a great man. My heart is loud and my head is silenced.” Disclosed her friend: “She initially confided in a few of her closest pals that she was sleeping with ‘a married man named John.’
“It became clear the married man was John Edwards. They got together whenever they could, mostly at hotels where Edwards and his campaign staff stayed.” The woman later spelled it out in a phone call to her pal and talked openly about having an affair with Edwards. The friend says the woman told her that she “had a crush on John. One thing led to another, and they soon ended up in bed together. But she knew there was no way he was going to leave Elizabeth, a wife battling cancer.”
The ex-Senator’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. This past March, the couple announced her cancer had returned, but said his campaign would continue. His spokesman said that allegations Edwards had an affair are “false, absolute nonsense.”
The woman’s friend told The NATIONAL ENQUIRER: “As the affair went on, she said that both she and John began to feel real guilty and they decided to end it.”
The ENQUIRER made exhaustive but unsuccessful attempts to reach the woman for comment regarding this article but she would not return phone calls or emails or come to the door of the house where she is staying.
My take is that if this pans out, it definitely benefits Obama, but Mrs. Bill... not so much.
The name of the woman allegedly having an affair with John Edwards was supposed to be a campaign secret, but we can reveal the suspect is Rielle Hunter, formerly known as Lisa Druck. She is reportedly in hiding with her flowering tummy unavailable for comment, if one is to believe the rumor. One hopes that she has proper medical attention because far too many women are lacking basic medical care in this country. One can finally understand why a lawyer would be constantly pitching taxpayer funded health care. His campaign pitch is an attempt to shirk his financial responsibilities.
Rielle Hunter was a campaign worker paid $114,000 to make web commercials touting his virtues, a position which reportedly required her to follow John Edwards around the country. She has been surprisingly unavailable for comment, although our sources say her cheeks are looking rosy.
Update II: Commenter Tom Blumer (creator of top-notch business blog BizzyBlog) observes:
This is odd, because I'm pretty sure the Enquirer is controlled by Clinton cronies... Odd, because if I am right about that, this will be pinned on the Clintons, whether they want it to be or not.
I don't see how this helps her, but in their minds, they must think they pick up most of Edwards' current supporters.
Yep, a Clintonista owns the National Enquirer.
Update III: More on Rielle Hunter and the Edwards campaign from HuffPo in October: "Edwards Mystery: Innocuous Videos Suddenly Shrouded In Secrecy." HuffPo's Sam Stein asks:
Questions do remain. Why is the Edwards campaign so reluctant to disclose such innocuous footage? Why are there virtually no traces of Rielle Hunter on the Internet (unusual for someone in the movie business)? Why are all members of the production company refusing to talk to the Huffington Post, even regarding topics as mundane as the process of making political films?
An email sent to Mimi Hockman and the YouTube poster, MissingVideos, were not answered as of publication.
Update IV: In October, New York Magazine ran an interesting timeline including this bullet:
• August 27, 2007. The Post's "Page Six" runs the following blind item: "WHICH political candidate enjoys visiting New York because he has a girlfriend who lives downtown? The pol tells her he'll marry her when his current wife is out of the picture."
Update V: Overlawyered covered Rielle in September:
Who is the "formerly hard-partying girl who claims that she found enlightenment" who met John Edwards in a bar and was paid six digits by the campaign to make videos of him that "lingers over the former senator's behind as he tucks a starched white shirt into his pants," and why is the campaign suddenly hiding the webvideos she made of Edwards on questionable legal grounds? Mickey Kaus is curious after reading this Sam Stein post. Separately, Garance Franke-Ruta notes the irony of Edwards stumping the SEIU for votes and donations on the leftist union's "Lobby Day." For other Edwards campaign shenanigans on Overlawyered, see Sep. 19.
Update VI: Just saw the National Enquirer story pop... and the scoop gets weirder. Former Edwards campaign bigwig Andrew Young claims the baby is his:
The woman linked to Presidential candidate John Edwards in a cheating scandal is more than six months pregnant and telling a close confidante that Edwards is the father of her unborn child... the political bombshell comes just weeks after Edwards emphatically denied having an affair with Rielle Hunter, who formerly worked on his campaign.
...The ENQUIRER has now confirmed not only that Rielle is pregnant, but she is also living in Chapel Hill, N.C. in a gated community, just a few streets away from Andrew Young, who has been a key official in Edwards' campaign... In a bizarre twist, Young, a 41-year-old married man with young children, now claims HE is the father of Reille's baby.
But others are skeptical about his claim and talk of a political cover up is heating up... Reille, when contacted in person by the NATIONAL ENQUIRER, denied that she was Reille Hunter. Later, she hired a lawyer and issued a statement, saying that Young is the father... But a source close to the 43-year-old divorcee says Rielle has told a far different story privately.
"Rielle told me she had a secret affair with Edwards. When she found out that she was pregnant she said he was the father."
Rielle loves Edwards and will do anything to protect him, the source said... The NATIONAL ENQUIRER has obtained exclusive photos of a visibly pregnant Rielle...