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John Edwards admits paternity -- why the wait?

January 21, 2010 |  7:53 am

So now onetime Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards has acknowledged what everyone else already assumed: He is the father of Quinn, the not-quite-2-year-old daughter of onetime aide Rielle Hunter.

"It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me," Edwards told NBC News.

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The shock is not that the former senator from North Carolina had an affair with his filmmaker while his wife, Elizabeth, was battling cancer. He's already admitted that and a grand jury is investigating whether campaign funds were illegally used to pay Hunter. Meanwhile, he and Elizabeth -- subject of a scathing portrait as a shrewish wife in the new book about the 2008 campaign -- have apparently separated.

The news here, as "Game Change" author Mark Halperin said on MSNBC, is that Edwards lied first about the affair and then about his paternity -- and enrolled several aides in the deception -- so that he could earn a spot as a speaker at the 2008 Democratic Convention, which nominated Barack Obama, and then could lobby Obama for a shot at the vice presidency.

Some people call it Potomac fever, that moment of illness when your morals sink to your ambitions.

-- Johanna Neuman

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