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Will the John Edwards scandal hurt Obama?

The lid could blow off during the Denver festivities

The National Enquirer dropped the first bombshell in October, 2007, when Edwards was still a candidate for the Democrat Party’s presidential nomination:

PRESIDENTIAL CHEATING SCANDAL! ALLEGED AFFAIR COULD WRECK JOHN EDWARDS’ CAMPAIGN BID

The article described the “other woman” as someone who had previously worked on Edwards’ campaign and withheld the woman’s name. But if the story was to be believed, word of the affair got out because she frequently talked about it with her friends.

Just two months later, the Enquirer followed up with a story claiming that Edward’s lover, her name no longer being witheld, was pregnant:

JOHN EDWARDS LOVE CHILD SCANDAL

It had become a “love child” scandal, and now the woman was insisting that the father of her unborn child was former Edwards aide Andrew Young.

Two weeks ago, the story grew legs and started running:

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS CAUGHT WITH MISTRESS AND LOVE CHILD!

Readers of the scandal sheet were treated to a bizarre account of Edwards being chased by Enquirer reporters around a hotel, the place where he was visiting his alleged lover and love child.

Just three days later, a hotel security guard confirmed the Enquirer story of Edwards’ confrontation with the tabloid’s reporters:

“What are they saying about me?” the guard said Edwards asked.

“His face just went totally white,” the guard said, when Edwards was told the reporters were shouting out questions about Edwards and Rielle Hunter, a woman the National Enquirer says is the mother of his child.

The guard said he escorted Edwards, who was not a registered guest at the hotel, out of the building after 2 a.m.

Referring to a notebook one of the reporters had dropped during the chase, the guard said:

“This book has everything in it on him,” he said, referring to Edwards. The guard later confirmed Edwards’ identity after being shown a photograph.

A former campaign staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told FOXNews.com he wishes he were “more surprised” to hear reports Edwards was visiting Hunter. “I’m definitely upset by it. I wish I was more surprised, though.”

So far the mainstream media has kept the lid screwed down tight on this story. Ann Coulter observes:

I assume it would be jejune to point out that the MSM would be taking the wall-to-wall approach, rather than the total blackout approach, to the love child story if it were a story about Mitt Romney’s love child or, indeed, Larry Craig’s love child. They’d bring Ted Koppel out of retirement to cover that. Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Charles Gibson would be anchoring the evening news from Romney’s front yard. They might even get Dan Rather to produce some forged documents for the occasion.

But with a Democrat sex scandal, the L.A. Times is in a nail-biting competition with The Washington Post, The New York Times, ABC, NBC and CBS for the Pulitzer for “Best Suppressed Story.”

So why the media blackout of this story? We know it’s not because the source is the Enquirer, because the MSM was quick to pick up the story when the scandal sheet broke the news of Rush Limbaugh’s addiction to prescription pain killers.

We know it’s not due to the lack of a corroborating witness to the Enquirer story because Fox News reported on the confirmation by the hotel’s security guard.

Why then?

Short answer: It’s the convention, stupid!

John Edwards was assured of a prominent speaking role at the Democrat National Convention just two weeks away. Now that’s all up in the air:

RALEIGH, N.C. — Former Sen. John Edwards has a deadline to save his spot on the national stage.

With two weeks to go before their national convention, a number of Democrats are saying that Edwards needs to publicly address National Enquirer stories that have alleged he had an affair with a campaign worker and fathered her baby.

If Edwards fails to clear up the story in short order, he risks party officials deciding not to have him speak or, if they do, creating a distraction from a week focused on Barack Obama accepting the nomination.

“If there is not an explanation that’s satisfactory, acceptable and meets high moral standards, the answer is ‘no,’ he would not be a prime candidate to make a major address to the convention,” said Don Fowler, a former Democratic National Committee chair.

Democrats gather in Denver on Aug. 25 and Edwards, as the 2004 vice presidential nominee and a presidential candidate who won delegates this year, ordinarily would be locked in as a speaker.

Were this story to break through the MSM’s barrier during Obama’s coronation ceremony in Denver, it would be more than just a “distraction.” Obama’s majestical moments would be upstaged by the kind of negative publicity the Democrats don’t want or need. And the last thing Obama wants is to start the final leg of the campaign with a John Edwards scandal around his neck.

There’s more. Edwards had been mentioned as a potential Obama running mate, although I seriously doubt that he has been on any short list. He’s been there, done that and failed to deliver his home state to the Democrat ticket in 2004. But he did have a real shot at being attorney general or named to some other cabinet-level position should Obama prevail. Now it’s slipping away.

Perhaps the Dems should have let the Edwards scandal out of the bag two weeks ago. It would have mostly evaporated by the time the convention rolls around, and Edwards could have declined his speaking role because of “family duties.” But now it’s beginning to look like the lid may blow right in the middle of the big Obama lovefest in Denver. Enquirer editor David Perel was interviewed by Byron York of National Review:

“Obviously, the convention has not been our driving force behind the story,” Perel says. “The reporting takes however long it takes. It took seven months to go from the December story to the [Beverly Hilton] meeting….But if it happens to be a happy coincidence — if the story just happens to be breaking around that time, in terms of maximum exposure —” Perel pauses. If the convention wasn’t part of the timetable before, it is now. The Edwards pictures might make a nice splash with the Democratic delegates gathered in Denver.

Will John Edwards’ indescretions rain on Obama’s parade? As they say in radio, “Don’t touch that dial.”

- JP

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