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John Edwards -- yes, that John -- starts his PR rehab tonight

November 11, 2008 |  5:23 pm

John Edwards -- remember him? -- tiptoes back into the public spotlight tonight.

Well, not actually a spotlight. His appearance and remarks at Indiana University are closed to all cameras and media. We'll see how long it takes someone to Twitter from inside.

This could be the first move in the attempted public relations rehab of the man who was once a senator, was once his Democratic Party's candidate for vice president and, this election season, was given a shot at the top nomination -- until Democrats actually started voting.

Former senator and Democratic presidential candidate John and Elizabeth Edwards on the campaign trail before he admitted publicly to an extramarital affair in 2006

After months of dismissing as trash the tabloid reports of an extramarital affair with a campaign videographer named Rielle Hunter while his wife was fighting cancer, Edwards admitted in an ABC interview on an early August Friday night that, well, yes, he did have that fling.

But it was short. He confessed to his wife awhile back. And he wasn't the father of the woman's child.

Edwards went into seclusion. He and his wife, Elizabeth, skipped the Democratic National Convention in Denver as potential distractions. She emerged only in September to continue her work against breast cancer.

Now, according to CNN, Edwards has another speech scheduled in San Francisco tomorrow and an on-stage debate at an upcoming bankers convention with Karl Rove, the Svengali-like political mastermind blamed for many heinous things, including the John Kerry-Edwards ticket's defeat in 2004.

Although sex scandals have doomed the political careers of many politicians such as Gary Hart and Bob Livingston, Americans may be becoming somewhat immune to such personal betrayals.

Although a certain ex-president has not had to run for reelection, Bill Clinton's humanitarian work S.M. (Since Monica) seems to have caused many to move on when thinking of him. A multimillionaire, he now commands a small fortune for every speech and didn't hurt the crowd count while campaigning for his wife, Hillary, in last winter's Democratic primary season, although she did lose the nomination.

What do you think? Can this John pull it off?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press