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John Edwards emerges to not talk about you-know-what and who

June 17, 2009 |  5:50 pm
Democrat ex-Senator John and Elizabeth Edwards campaigning in happier times

Speaking of Republican Sen. John Ensign's just-admitted extramarital affair, another John is back.

Democrat John Edwards of the my-wife's-cancer-was-in-remission-when-I-did-it televised confession has ended his public silence. He says he's not interested in the kind of reputation rehab that other philandering pols try over time. (Think Democrats ex-Pres. Bill Who's-Its and ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer.)

Which no doubt is why Edwards suddenly granted an interview to the Washington Post's Alec MacGillis. With, however, just a couple of caveats:

Ex Senator John Edwards on the campaign trail with his mistress Rielle Hunter in the background

No questions about his mistress Rielle Hunter (background on right).

No questions about her baby and whether he is the father.

No questions about terminally ill wife Elizabeth Edwards' recent memoir that prompted so much public attention and sent the ex-senator off to Central America to do good things out of sight.

And no questions about the federal investigation into whether the Edwards presidential campaign illegally spent political funds on Hunter.

Other than that, fire away.

Edwards claims there are only two reasons for him to be on the planet now: to take care of "the people I love" and to "take care of people who cannot take care of themselves." Edwards says he spends time in their mansion with his wife and two younger children and will return to El Salvador next month to volunteer.

He says he takes pride in pushing both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to talk more about poverty issues and declined to call his presidential race a mistake despite its high-wire counting on the volatile sexual affair not coming out. Unlike many observers, Edwards does not rule out a return to politics, if only as a policy advocate a la Al Gore without the melting glacier slides.

And he dismisses cynicism about his failed campaign. "It was real, 100 percent real," Edwards says. "I want them to be proud of what I stood for, and of what the campaign stood for. The stands were honest and sincere and idealistic. They were what America needed then and needs now." 

MacGillis also talks to others for their views of Edwards and his anti-poverty follow-throughs or lack thereof.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credits: Associated Press (John and Elizabeth Edwards campaigning) (top).

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