Edwards Staffers Were Ready To Sabotage Campaign To Protect Party

As the rumors of John Edwards’ affair with Rielle Hunter spread his staffers eventually began to believe them. They realized how damaging it would be to the party if Edwards won the nomination and the rumors were later verified. George Stephanopoulos reports that some were prepared to sabotage the campaign prevent this from happening:

I’ve talked to a lot of former Edwards staffers about this. Up until December of 2007, most on Edwards’ staff didn’t believe rumors about the affair.

But by late December, early January of last year, several people in his inner circle began to think the rumors were true.

Several of them had gotten together and devised a “doomsday” strategy of sorts.

Basically, if it looked like Edwards was going to win the Democratic Party nomination, they were going to sabotage his campaign, several former Edwards’ staffers have told me.

They said they were Democrats first, and if it looked like Edwards was going to become the nominee, they were going to bring down the campaign.

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8 Comments

  1. 1
    Fritz says:

    Assuming this story is true, it really indicates that Americans are a dreadfully silly people.  There were a lot of reasons to be strongly opposed to an Edwards presidency, but the fact that he had a mistress surely should not be the deciding factor.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    From the perspective of reasons to oppose him, the mistress hardly mattered compared to all the other reasons. However people working for him would agree with my reasons for opposing him (or they wouldn’t have started working for his campaign in the first place).

    From the perspective of electoral politics this makes sense. Whether or not it makes sense, it is true that having this come out would have seriously reduced his chances to win in a general election. Therefore it would make sense for Democrats to prevent him from winning the nomination based upon the affair.

  3. 3
    Fritz says:

    So I think we agree — Americans are a dreadfully silly people.  And the staffers took this into account.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Pretty much, but while the affair was not the reason I opposed Edwards it isn’t totally irrelevant. Prior to the affair I had already described Edwards as one of the more slimy people in politics. The affair further demonstrated his lack of character, especially considering how he has a wife who is dying of cancer.  I took the news of the affair as further proof of what I already thought of Edwards’ character.

    It is also notable that reactions to affairs tends to decrease over time. Having news of the affair come out during the campaign would have been devastating politically. On the other hand virtually nobody cared about McCain’s old affair. There are also polls showing that around 51% of people in New York would prefer to have Spitzer back as governor as opposed to Patterson.

  5. 5
    Undertoad says:

    Forget about the affair.  The staffers’ thinking tells us that John Edwards had not even convinced his own campaign staff that he should be President.

    The Clinton campaign was not similarly convinced in 1992.  He was a leader — he led — and so they followed him, rumors be damned.  And thus it would be Clinton’s leadership qualities that made him a strong President.

    The loss of his own staff is the most damning thing I’ve ever heard about Edwards.  It’s 100 times worse than the “affair” aspect.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    It is true that losing the support of his campaign tells a lot about Edwards. To be fair to Edwards, it is significant that this happened after the Clinton years. People are wary about going through that again. If not for Clinton it is possible that people would not have been as concerned with Edwards’ affair.

  7. 7
    Fritz says:

    It is odious for staffers to get paid by the campaign and also be planning to sink it.  If they were so outraged they should have quit.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    It is certainly odd that they were willing to work for Edwards (and collect pay checks) as long as it didn’t look like Edwards could win the nomination, but were willing to sabotage the campaign should it look like Edwards would win for the good of the party.

    In some ways the opportunism of these people show that they  fit in very well with someone like Edwards, except that Edwards career shows he only does what is good for John Edwards without such higher motives.

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