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Elizabeth Edwards: 'Complicated' love for husband

May 5, 2009 |  8:18 am

Democratic presidential hopeful former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C. and his wife Elizabeth arrive at a campaign rally in Ames, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008 

It's the show that already has political Washington buzzing. And it doesn't air until Thursday.

Oprah Winfrey, who offers the biggest, most powerful stage in daytime TV, asks Elizabeth Edwards, who has untreatable bone cancer, if she still loves her husband. That would be John Edwards, the Democrats' 2004 vice presidential candidate, a former senator from North Carolina who has confessed to having an affair while a presidential candidate.

In an excerpt provided to the Associated Press by Harpo Productions, the conversation goes like this:

“’You know, that's a complicated question,’' says Edwards.

"Is it a day-by-day thing?" says Winfrey.

"Neither one of us is out the door, so I guess it's day by day, but maybe it's month by month," says Edwards.

Elizabeth Edwards is promoting her book, called "Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities." In it, she says that when she heard about the affair, she cried -- and told her husband not to run for president.

“I cried and screamed. I went to the bathroom and threw up," she says in the book. John Edwards told her about his affair with Rielle Hunter, a campaign-film maker, just after he declared in 2006 that he was running for president. She told him the news would leak, that he should quit. “He should not have run,” she writes.

To do the show, Winfrey traveled to Chapel Hill, N.C., where the Edwards live with their children, Cate, Jack and Emma Claire. For the show, she spoke with both Elizabeth and John Edwards.

The only restriction: No mention of Hunter by name.

John Edwards -- now being investigated for allegedly misusing campaign funds to buy Hunter's silence, a charge he denies -- publicly acknowledged the affair in August after the National Enquirer reported he was the father of Hunter's daughter. He has denied paternity.

Oprah asked Elizabeth Edwards about the child.

"I've seen a picture of the baby," Elizabeth Edwards says. "I have no idea. It doesn't look like my children, but I don't have any idea."

When they married 31 years ago, Elizabeth Anania told her fiancé John Edwards that she only wanted one gift. "I wanted him to be faithful to me," Edwards tells Oprah. "It was enormously important to me."

-- Johanna Neuman

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Photo: Associated Press