Former Sen. John Edwards tonight denied a story in the National Enquirer that he had an extramarital affair with a former campaign worker who followed him on numerous trips around the country.
Without naming the woman, the supermarket tabloid reported online today that “Presidential candidate John Edwards is caught in a shocking mistress scandal that could wreck his campaign.” The paper’s only source is an unnamed friend of the woman who says the two met at a New York bar about 18 months ago. The newspaper quotes the woman as saying, “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.”
The Associated Press reported this evening that Edwards told reporters, “The story is false. It’s completely untrue, ridiculous.” He said the story was “made-up.”
“I’ve been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years,” Edwards added, about his wife Elizabeth, who is suffering from incurable cancer, “and as anybody who’s been around us knows, she’s an extraordinary human being, warm, loving, beautiful, sexy and as good a person as I have ever known. So the story’s just false.”
According to the Enquirer’s unnamed female source, the campaign worker developed a crush on Edwards, which blossomed into romance. “They got together whenever they could, mostly at hotels where Edwards and his campaign staff stayed,” the anonymous friend is quoted as saying.
She also is quoted: “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 said that the woman herself would not respond to their queries or visits to her house.
Also today, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post posted an article and photograph about a woman named Rielle Hunter, also known as Lisa Druck. According to the article, Hunter was an aspiring actress/filmmaker who met Edwards in a New York bar and proposed filming a series of Web episodes on the inside workings of his campaign to show “the real John Edwards.”
According to a Newsweek online article last December, Hunter traveled widely with Edwards, filming from Iowa to Africa and producing a series of webisodes, which Newsweek cited as evidence of Edwards’ new campaign Web savvy. Each Web episode began with a themed shot that lingers on Edwards’ backside as he tucks his shirt into his trousers.
The Huffington Post article says Edwards’ One America Committee, dedicated to combating poverty, paid the 44-year-old Hunter $114,461 for the film work last year. But this last spring, shortly after declaring his candidacy, the Edwards campaign removed all the film from public view. Some has since shown up on YouTube.