As most anyone knows, the interview on Oprah's show of EE and JRE was aired this afternoon.
Having seen the interview this evening, I was able to step back a bit, and at the same time, feel some affection for the couple. The story about Emma Claire pointing out from a book that romaine lettuce was good for those who had cancer tugged at my heart strings.
However, I want to point out with some problems in the edits. The timeline of the affair is not linear. There are two instances of when the "grocery store papers" (EE's words for tabloids) found out, October 2007, and then again in July 2008. Winfrey mentions both, but in the first instance, she uses footage of Edwards' denial from July 2008 in response to the October 2007
stories. The main discussion of the affair is placed on when Edwards was forced to admit his mistake publicly. That was July 2008, 7 months after he had dropped out of the race.
That was omitted in the segment. Constantly, Elizabeth is having to explain what she understood and when, and I think the lack of a structured timeframe by Winfrey and her producers is what is causing the confusion for both Elizabeth and for the viewer.
Here is the timeline as I know it:
The affair happened sometime in 2006. My guess is not too far from summer as a contract was signed for videography of John's travels for antipoverty causes and for international travel.
John ends the affair sometime in December, with the videographer's last day being December 30th. John did not wish the videographer to accompany him on the campaign tour, but a friend still saw to it that she was with them and did not want to let go ( p 177 from Resilience). ---Point though, he still was very friendly with her for someone who didn't want her around--
John tells Elizabeth what happened on the 30th. She agrees the campaign has to continue despite her fears, and the rally took place in North Carolina, as planned.
Elizabeth's cancer returns in late March 2007. Although the Edwardses could have stopped the campaign, Elizabeth wants to press on, thinking this is one fling. (my own edit, perhaps she thought many politicians are accused of flings and often dismiss them)
National Enquirer and other gossip tabloids pick up the story in late summer, early fall. Denials are issued, including that of the videographer, who is pregnant.
January 2008, Edwards campaign comes in second in Iowa, third in NH, third in NV, and third in SC. With almost no money left, he has little choice but to suspend the campaign on January 30th.
Late February 2008, the videographer's baby is born.
March 2008, John is on the Jay Leno show, but is spotted staying at the Beverly Hilton. Is it coincidental it was the videographer's birthday?
July 2008, John gets caught by photographers, who were obviously tipped that Edwards was to be visiting the hotel. First, there are denials.
Elizabeth learns more of the truth that John has been more involved than he first let on.
Early August 2008, John admits the affair on ABC's Nightline.
Elizabeth's speaking engagement at the DNC Convention is cancelled.
Elizabeth opens a furniture store in Chapel Hill during the fall.
April 2009, John is contacted by the feds about possible misuse of funds from his PAC and his campaign.
And the rest is drama.
Now, here's what I think about it, fresh impressions.
Unlike Taylor Marsh
, I don’t believe it’s not a sordid mess though. The other woman will have to do a paternity test if she indeed insists her daughter is John’s. As Henry Bloget at HuffPo pointed out, she risks her reputation and lots of money if the DNA isn’t John Reid Edwards’ child.
Regarding the allegation of misappropriated funds, the payment money is a result of late filings for the PAC, and one issue that can be resolved, just as the $400 consultant’s style was an error in filing. If it isn’t, then he pays a fine. So what, he has money in the bank.
And the last sentence is probably more important.
The other woman isn't anywhere in their league, and Elizabeth made that clear, but politely, saying that none of her friends "were like her." She is totally different in how she behaves and not of the same kind of family life as they know and built it.
It’s my gut that Elizabeth isn’t interested in John’s political career or desire for any kind of appointed public service at all anymore. She’s already sacrificed enough. She's got her own business, and John helps her with it, along with other projects.
It will be up to John as to whether or not he wishes to apologize to staffers and supporters for these kinds of risks, especially as one presumes that more went on in the affair beyond 2006. Moi, I don’t need an apology because his message, more than him or Elizabeth as people, struck a deep chord with me. I think he did believe that it was more important to honor work over wealth. It was populist theme, and I think in their hearts politically, it was sincere. John certainly remembered what it was like to be from humble means.
Since it’s over (his campaigning for anything), they can retreat, and they aren’t like me or my late momma. It’s a different level that I understand. Sort of I wish many of us had that kind of extancy because they can financially; however, that’s why Oprah gets the interview as she is in their same boat. And that’s OK.
To me, there isn’t much of story now, despite what many hope for in smelling blood in the political waters. It is now a story that women (especially someone like Mrs. Spitzer or Hollywood types) of Elizabeth Edwards’ stature can learn from when this happens to them. Maybe women who are middle class can learn to not to let infidelity redefine them except in a positive way. I'm hoping Elizabeth will address that in her book readings and articles to come.
And I hope Elizabeth will push as part of the health reform agenda the need for family counseling services.
Elizabeth is very much like Eleanor Roosevelt. She has found her own spotlight.
Labels: benny's world, Elizabeth Edwards, John Edwards, Oprah, Resilience