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John Kerry on John Edwards: 'shocked'

February 11, 2010 |  9:24 am
The 2004 Democratic Presidential Ticket- John Kerry and John Edwards and their families

They were Senate colleagues first, then running mates, a photogenic team for the high-stakes 2004 Democratic presidential race.

Now, with John Edwards disgraced by reports that he got an aide to cover for him as he conducted an affair -- and fathered a child -- with campaign filmmaker Rielle Hunter as his wife, Elizabeth, was battling cancer, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts is speaking out for the first time about his former vice presidential selection.

"Honestly, it's a tragedy," Kerry said in an interview to air on CNN's "Larry King Live." "Everybody just feels awful about it, in terms of their family, their relationship that everybody saw publicly, the promise, the hope, you know, obviously a capable career."

Kerry was on the show with his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, to discuss her recent diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. He said he had talked to Elizabeth Edwards recently but had yet to talk to his former running mate. "I have called their home, but I didn't know who would answer," Kerry said. "I certainly was ready and willing, and hoping to say a word."

Maybe he couldn't talk to him because Edwards no longer lives there. According to news accounts, the couple separated. In fact, the National Enquirer, in a report denied by Edwards' staff, says that the onetime senator from North Carolina has asked Hunter to marry him. This latest news bulletin from the supermarket tabloid comes as Andrew Young, the aide who covered for Edwards during his 2008 presidential campaign, turned over to a judge a videotape allegedly showing Edwards and a woman who Young believes to be Hunter in an intimate moment. Young says he found the tape in a box of trash.

As seedy as all that may be, the most stunning revelation in recent weeks comes from the authors of the political blockbuster "Game Change," who report that Elizabeth Edwards was abusive and condescending toward her husband even as Edwards fought to keep the affair secret so that Barack Obama would tap him as his running mate.

Kerry had done that four years earlier. If he is chagrined about his choice of Edwards to be one heartbeat away from the presidency, Kerry didn't mention it to King. He admitted only to being "shocked" and said he was "obviously disappointed."

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Sen. John Kerry and wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, watch as John Edwards introduces his wife and children in July 2004. Credit: Archie Carpenter / UPI

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