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BREAKING NEWS: John Edwards denies affair with campaign worker

October 13, 2007 | 11:43 pm

Former Sen. John Edwards today 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 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 today 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."

(This item was originally posted Thursday evening, Oct. 11. It was removed by an editor Friday but was reposted Saturday in a shortened form.)

(UPDATE: Since some have asked for more details on this post, here they are. Better late than never: Thursday evening John Edwards spoke to a group of reporters, denying an alleged affair, initially reported in the National Enquirer, which had become the subject of intense speculation on the web. The Associated Press moved a story on the denial, and our blogger posted an item on the Edwards denial, including some details of the Enquirer story. It also mentioned a Huffington Post item that identified a woman who worked for Edwards and a feature on that woman from Newsweek last winter.

Shortly after, editors trimmed the post to delete the Huffington and Newsweek material, believing it also had not been verified. About 10 hours later a Times editor, concerned about an item now entirely focusing on the Enquirer allegations, removed the entire post and comments, some of which expressed similar concerns.

After web editors discovered the deletion, they launched an internal discussion about the importance of not deleting items from the site without explanation. That resulted in the item being reposted Saturday evening, minus three more paragraphs of Enquirer allegations but retaining the link to the Enquirer story. A brief explanation for the one-day deletion was also posted. Since the reposted item no longer carried the blogger's name, he felt it inappropriate to be responding online to past reader comments, so he removed his responses.

Other than that, things went very smoothly with this item.)

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