Slate.com's Mickey Kaus touted a National Enquirer article, the headline of which was posted on the Drudge Report website, stating that former John Edwards campaign worker Rielle Hunter is six months pregnant with Edwards' baby. But neither Drudge nor Kaus have noted that the story contained a statement from the lawyer for Edwards confidante Andrew Young stating that “Young is the father of Ms. Hunter's unborn child.” Don Imus on his radio show said about the story: "[W]hat does that say about your judgment, to be -- be president of the United States if you're going around impregnating people?"
In a December 18 entry (updated December 19) on his Slate.com blog, Mickey Kaus touted a December 19 National Enquirer article -- the headline of which was posted on Internet gossip Matt Drudge's website -- that reports that former John Edwards campaign worker Rielle Hunter is six months pregnant and that, according to the Enquirer, “she's told a close confidante that Edwards is the father of her baby.” In an update, Kaus linked to the latest version of the Enquirer story, noting that "[t]he full Enquirer story is now up." Drudge also added a link to the same story. But neither Drudge nor Kaus has noted that the Enquirer story to which they link states, "[Edwards confidante Andrew] Young -- a 41-year-old married man with young children -- now claims HE is the father of Rielle's baby!" The article also states, " 'Andrew Young is the father of Ms. Hunter's unborn child,' declared his Washington, D.C.-based attorney."
Further, while Kaus included a link to Hunter's denial of an earlier Enquirer story that she had an affair with Edwards, he has not noted that the current Enquirer story states "[I]n a statement issued to The ENQUIRER through her attorney Rielle said: 'The fact that I am expecting a child is my personal and private business. This has no relationship to nor does it involve John Edwards in any way. Andrew Young is the father of my unborn child.' "
Nationally syndicated radio host Don Imus joined the fray, discussing the story on his December 19 show; news anchor Charles McCord noted Hunter's denial in the Enquirer article. Guest and CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer stated during the segment: "[I]t appears to me that there's absolutely nothing to it. I'm told that another, a man says that the child is his. I'm told that the woman who seems to be pregnant says it's not his." While Imus said to Schieffer that the story was “probably not true,” in a discussion earlier in the show, after executive producer Bernard McGuirk said in reference to Edwards, “How about wearing a bag there, shyster ... for protection,” Imus responded, "[T]hat's a good point, Bernard. How does that -- what does that say about your judgment, to be -- be president of the United States if you're going around impregnating people?"
From Kaus' December 19 blog post:
What to expect when you're expecting: Drudge teases the National Enquirer ... Update: The Enquirer posts the gist ...Update: The full Enquirer story is now up. ... One initial point: There's no reason to conclude this story was planted by one campaign or another. I'm familiar with how the initial Rielle Hunter/Edwards rumors, true or not, got to at least one news outlet--and no campaigns, Dem or GOP, were involved. It was a story going around--I'd been hearing it for months. Not all rumors are plants. And some are true. Even in the Enquirer. .. P.S.: Here's an earlier analysis of the potential effect of this scandal on Edwards--and Hillary. It doesn't seem all that complicated. Until recently, Edwards not very subtly put his wife's illness. and his loyalty to her, near the center of his campaign. In the process, he said:
In so many ways, you're the guardians of what kind of human being, we're going to have as president. ... And you get to judge us.
and, on 60 Minutes:
[E]very single candidate for president, Republican and Democratic have lives, personal lives, that indicate something about what kind of human being they are. And I think it is a fair evaluation for America to engage in to look at what kind of human beings each of us are, and what kind of president we'd make.
Backfill: Here's Jerome Armstrong's initial Rielle Hunter denial from back inOctober (“completely unfounded and ridiculous”) ...
Update: Many readers report the story has disappeared from the Enquirer's web site. I don't know why, but you can't be too paranoid when Ron Burkle might be involved. (If it hurt Edwards, the story would potentially devastate Burkle's candidate Hillary, who needs Edwards to beat or dilute Obama in Iowa. That's why it's crazy to suggest that Hillary's camp planted it.)
Just in case, I've saved my cached copy. You can do it too!. ...
12/19 Update: The Enquirer has now posted a more complete version. Editor in Chief David Perel emails Wonkette: “Due to a website malfunction a summary of the story went live last night for a brief time. It was then taken down because it was scheduled to be released this morning.” ...
From the December 19 National Enquirer article:
Presidential candidate John Edwards is caught up in a love child scandal, a blockbuster ENQUIRER investigation has discovered.
The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively that Rielle Hunter, a woman linked to Edwards in a cheating scandal earlier this year, is more than six months pregnant - and she's told a close confidante that Edwards is the father of her baby!
The ENQUIRER's political bombshell comes just weeks after Edwards emphatically denied having an affair with Rielle, who formerly worked on his campaign and told another close pal that she was romantically involved with the married ex-senator.
The ENQUIRER has now confirmed not only that Rielle is expecting, but that she's gone into hiding with the help of a former aide to Edwards. The visibly pregnant blonde has relocated from the New York area to Chapel Hill, N.C., where she is living in an upscale gated community near political operative Andrew Young, who's been extremely close to Edwards for years and was a key official in his presidential campaign.
And in a bizarre twist, Young - a 41-year-old married man with young children - now claims HE is the father of Rielle's baby! But others are skeptical, wondering if Young's paternity claim is a cover-up to protect Edwards.
Meanwhile, Edwards' cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth has joined him on the campaign trail.
In a statement issued to The ENQUIRER through her attorney, Rielle said: “The fact that I am expecting a child is my personal and private business. This has no relationship to nor does it involve John Edwards in any way. Andrew Young is the father of my unborn child.”
But a source extremely close to the 43-year-old divorcée 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 says.
From the December 19 edition of ABC Radio Networks' Imus in the Morning:
IMUS: Hey, did you see the National Enquirer thing about Edwards and the love child deal?
CHARLES McCORD (news anchor): Yes, I did.
IMUS: What's up with that?
McCORD: I do not know.
IMUS: Do you know anything about that, Bernard?
McGUIRK: Well, I do know that Drudge first reported the aforementioned Bill Clinton's tryst with Lewinsky.
McGUIRK: Remember that? And it turned into a national scandal, so it has some credibility.
McCORD: But it's just a single thing on the Drudge Report --
McGUIRK: Other than that --
McCORD: - that says, little headline says “developing.” No detail.
McGUIRK: Right. Very ominous.
IMUS: Well, my guy Matthew Hillsick claims that -- I haven't talked to him about this particular issue, but the Enquirer's not -- I mean, they're often right.
McCORD: They're not to be dismissed, actually.
IMUS: Well that's another way to put it.
McCORD: But it --
IMUS: What were you saying when I interrupted you rudely.
McCORD: John Edwards love child scandal, is the thing on Drudge, looking at it, “Woman linked to candidate. Pregnant and in hiding. Developing.” As Bernie said, ominously.
MCCORD: That's all we know.
McGUIRK: [unintelligible] for us.
IMUS: I thought you might know more, Bernard. But you don't know, right?
McGUIRK: I know what I said. I know it has legs.
IMUS: All right.
McCORD: Exclusive --
McCORD: A little bit more about that Enquirer story regarding John Edwards and --
IMUS: A love child.
McCORD: -- a love child and everything. Here's the story about it. John Edwards again may be forced to answer questions about one Rielle Hunter. Earlier this year -- and then find out it's back in October, actually, the National Enquirer had named this woman -- claimed that the Democratic presidential candidate had had an affair with her. This is an October 10th story that it -- they're referring to. The magazine promised a follow-up then with email proof of the alleged infidelity that never materialized. Edwards and Hunter both denied the affair. For weeks, the story went dormant --
IMUS: They know each other --
McCORD: And Edwards told the New York Daily News, here's his quote: “The story disappeared because it's made up,” end quote. According to the report from Rush and Molloy, the magazine stood by, though, that original October story, claiming that it was 100 percent accurate.
Imus: Rush and Malloy are the two people who write a gossip column for the New York Daily News here in New York and happen to be also married and very nice people, by the way, too.
McCORD: Story goes on, this time it all may prove to be more than just an allegation of an affair. The Enquirer supposedly will report that they have now confirmed that not only is this woman -- Rielle -- is pregnant, but she was living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in a gated community just a few streets away from Andrew Young, who has been a key official in Edwards' campaign. According to a portion of the story that was posted online, she claims that John Edwards is not the baby's father. Others reportedly are skeptical about that, according to the Enquirer.
IMUS: Skeptical that he's not the father?
McCORD: That, in other words, the implication is that skeptics think that yes, he is the father.
McCORD: That's it. Whole thing sounds --
TONY POWELL (co-host): We'll just have to wait for the footage, I guess.
IMUS: Yeah, that doesn't sound --
KARITH FOSTER (co-host): I just hope for his wife's sake that that's not true.
IMUS: Well, we always --
McGUIRK: Apparently there are two Americas for John Edwards --
IMUS: Well, that --
McGUIRK: How about wearing a bag there, shyster --
IMUS: [laughter] That will be fine. I don't think -- [laughter] It's ten minutes after the hour --
McGUIRK: -- for protection.
IMUS: -- here on the Imus in the Morning program. How -- what -- here's the thing you have to -- that's a good point, Bernard. How does that -- what does that say about your judgment, to be --
McGUIRK: -- not a lot.
IMUS: -to be president of the United States if you're going around impregnating people? I mean --
POWELL: Well, the president, the current president has screwed a lot of people in the past eight years, so I don't see why that would be an issue.
IMUS: Charles continues here at 11 minutes after the hour.
IMUS: What do we know about -- starting with pressing issues that are facing the nation -- John Edwards' love child?
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, you know I saw that this morning. I believe that -- I believe that's a story that we will be avoiding, because it appears to me that there's absolutely nothing to it. I'm told that another -- a man says that the child is his. I'm told that the woman who seems to be pregnant says it's not his. So I guess -- I guess we're going to pass on that. Unless you come up with some new information on this, Don.
IMUS: Well, you know, Karith said, and I feel the same way, I hope it -- I'm glad it's probably not true because probably everybody in the country feels like I do about Elizabeth Edwards, and the truth is John Edwards seems to me -- I mean, I always, you know, check to see if I still have my watch whenever I see him on TV, but he's still a nice guy, and I just -- you know, you never want a story with that family like that to be true, so I hope you're right. You probably are right.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I think so, and I think there's actually nothing to this. You know, every campaign -- remember when we went through the Clinton campaign, and there was the little love child, and we went through John McCain, and that -- that's libel, that child that his wife, with the cleft palate that they just couldn't leave behind on a trip to Bangladesh, and somehow or another that became a love child. This seems to be just sort of a staple of modern campaigns, that you got through at least one love child which turns out not to be a love child. And I think we can all do better than this one. I'm like you, I not only hope it's not true, I can't imagine that it's true.
IMUS: Yeah, me either.
*CLARIFICATION: Before this item was posted, Kaus posted a new Kausfile entry that noted that the MyDD website “has the claim of paternity [to Hunter's baby] from the lawyer for former Edwards' aide Andrew Young,” with a link to the MyDD post. However, Kaus had yet to acknowledge that the Enquirer article itself contains a statement by Young's attorney that Young is the father.