August 11th, 2008
01:45 PM ET

Does a politician’s infidelity matter?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

John Edwards is the latest in a long line of politicians who cheated on their wives – and without exception, they all thought they could get away with it.

Edwards' behavior is particularly offensive for a couple of reasons. His wife has incurable cancer. And when Bill Clinton got caught with Monica Lewinsky, Mr. Edwards couldn't wait, saying Clinton "has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, his wife and his daughter." Edwards is the consummate phony.

Mike Lupica writes in the New York Daily News that there should be some official condition to describe guys like Edwards:

"Call it political bipolar disorder, afflicting those who think they can rule the world, set the moral compass for everybody else and can't keep their own zippers in place. It's not just Elizabeth Edwards who deserves better. We all do."

Watch: Cafferty: Infidelity matter?

Edwards insisted last week the affair has been over since 2006 – but the National Enquirer says he spent half the night in a hotel with Rielle Hunter as recently as a few weeks ago. The child at the center of this story has no father listed on his birth certificate, and his mother refuses to do a paternity test to see if Edwards is his father. She's definitely mother of the year material. The sex won't ruin his career, the hypocrisy will.

A recent survey by Ladies' Home Journal found that 35% of American women say their opinion on the happiness of a presidential candidate's marriage will impact their vote.

Here’s my question to you: How much does it matter to you if a politician cheats on his wife?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Jerry from Fort Lauderdale writes:
I lost a wife to breast cancer and still would trade places to get her back. I think that John Edwards is beyond description, a low-life to the nth degree. He 'coincidentally' made this admission the opening night of the Olympics to suppress this incident even more. He says that "God has forgiven him”. Not too fast Mr. Slick...I don't believe even a weasel attorney like you can get off so easily.

Steve from Arizona writes:
A politician's possible extramarital affairs should be his or her own private concerns. It is none of our business unless there is something illegal taking place. We will never know all the details of what took place and should reserve passing judgment.

Jim from British Columbia writes:
It seems that it does not matter. Otherwise John McCain would not be a sitting senator and a presidential candidate.

Becky writes:
Yes, it matters. If he cheats on his wife, he might cheat on all of us.

Stephen writes:
Here we go again. If Mr. Edwards’ family was previously aware of the "hot topic", then who's selling what? Shame on the news media: sensationalism, sensationalism, sensationalism. Don't we have bigger issues to deal with other than peeking into someone's personal life?

Alan writes:
It’s not so much the cheating within a marriage, but the lying about it to the public once it’s out that makes me distrust a politician. It’s a violation of trust in a person who is supposed to be representing me, my values, and conscience.

Brian from Hollywood, Florida writes:
I don't care who they sleep with. I just want someone who knows how to run this country.

Jennifer writes:
I think integrity matters, whether it is related to sex or sniper fire. An honest politician is hard to find.

Filed under: Infidelity
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. Charles, Lansing, MI

    Apparently not. The media says nothing about Jo;hn McCains affair with his current wife while wife number one, who waited for him all through the Vietnam War, stayed home with the three kids. Would CNN ever have a different standard?

    August 11, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  2. Jim in BC

    It seems that it does not matter, otherwise John McCain would not be a sitting senator and a presedential candidate.

    August 11, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  3. Eric

    Aparently not if you're part of the McCain factor

    August 11, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  4. Eric

    Amory, MS

    August 11, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  5. Jackie from Minnesota

    I think the real question is, why is the press dwelling on John Edwards for so long? He was caught, confessed, apologized and lets move on. He isn't running for office anymore and is not an elected official.

    The real question should be, why is the press ignoring John McCain's infidelity. He cheated on his first wife who was disfigured in an accident with his current wife as well as many other women at the time he was still married to wife #1. He is running for office and is a seated US Senator (although he hasn't shown up for work in over two months).

    The press seems to brush aside McCains past. Why?

    August 11, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  6. Chad , Los Angeles

    Not enough to get him removed from office. I might not re-elect the politician, but don't take their job, because the innocent party in the marriage will get more in the divorce if the politician is still employed!
    Think of the real victims in these affairs, the family at home, not the public who elected the cheater.

    August 11, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  7. Craig

    yes it does!
    It is not so much a matter of fidelity but a matter of trust!

    August 11, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  8. H Jay

    It should matter only to the family and the spouse.

    August 11, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  9. Mark - Asheville, NC

    It's obvious which politician you mean here. Edwards' affair matters much more because Elizabeth is so well known and admired, and because of her illness. Bill Clinton's affair(s) mattered, but his wife seemed to be able to get past it, and her health was not an issue.

    JFK's many affairs, had they been known at that time, would have cost him reelection, if not an impeachment, because Jackie was an international celebrity and the people simply would not have stood for it. The side indulgences of FDR and Eisenhower were not known either, but each would have been assessed particular to those involved.

    So, strangely, it seems to depend upon the people in the affair, rather than the acts themselves, and of course the nature of the coverups.

    August 11, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  10. circy in New Mexico

    I would be more concerned with a politician that cheats on his wife and doesn't realize it.

    August 11, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  11. Michael, Lorain, Ohio

    Edwards' affair doesn't affect me one way or the other. What really affects me is when a politician is partially responsible for plunging this country into an economic recession, invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, never holding people in his administration accountable, and illegally spying on his own citizens.
    The point is John Edwards didn't commit a crime, but I can't say the same about our current president.

    August 11, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  12. Fish, Richfield, MN

    It gives me a sense of not worthy of leading a country, but I respect it to be a personal family matter and media should stay away from fanning it for the sake of the children involved.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  13. Ed Reed

    It only matters to me if the politician is being hypocritcal; however, as far as the press is concerned, it is all important.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas

    August 11, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  14. Julie from Los Angeles

    Lies matter, Jack.

    And I don't understand why the media has made such an issue of Edwards' infiidelity, but continues to ignore McCain's adulterous affair while married to his first wife. Or why the New York Times story about lobbyist Vicki Iseman's relationship with Senator McCain disappeared from the news in only a day.

    If infidelity matters for a Democratic politician, it should also matter for a Republican. I'd like to see less hypocrisy from the media on this subject, including CNN.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  15. Stacy from Beautiful Loudoun County Virginia

    Jack, infidelity is no one’s business but the family’s business. The only time it matters to the electorate is when the infidelity leads to illegal activity and the person’s office or national security is put in jeopardy. What John Edwards did was morally wrong, but really none of our business. What Eliot Spitzer did was completely illegal and deserves prosecution.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  16. Sonja

    It's none of our business what goes on in other people's bedrooms, but now that it's out in the open it's everyones business, isn't it? My heart goes out to Mrs. Edwards. It is horrible that she must endure such emotional pain in her last days on earth. I know I shouldn't be critical because it's none of my business but for God's sake why couldn't John Edwards have enough love and compasion to wait until the proper time to release the zipper factor. It makes me want to slap him into next week!! Sorry John but your days are over!!

    August 11, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  17. Mike in Colorado

    When a candidate like John McCain, runs around on his wife for months then marries his mistress before his divorce from #1 is even final you have wonder will this guy have any honor or commitment to those who vote for him.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  18. Candy West Virginia

    Not! I don't care what my president does in his bedroom, it's everything he does outside the bedroom that worries me.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  19. Robert C Lowenthal

    Unfortunately many of us, both politicians and plain people, break the seventh commandment. And I'll bet that most of those who do, then lie about it. Judgeing by what we see from politicians today, lying is one of the things they do best. So I guess that committing adultery and then lying about it is actually good training for serving the American people. Possibly schools like Harvard and Yale should have courses in adultery, lying and bribery.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  20. Jackie in Dallas

    Well, obviously it reflects on the total character of the individual, but the details really aren't our business...it is between the politician and their spouse. All this furor about Edwards is an example: we have someone who is not running for office whose infidelity made national headlines, but a Presidential candidate who did the same who is not being held up to the same microscope. What is sauce for one goose, should be sauce for all geese, Jack. And like was mentioned a number of times on Friday's comments on Edwards, if we got rid of every politician who cheated on their spouse, or lied, or took a free trip knowing that it was a bribe to vote a certain way, the White House, Congress, and our state governments would be empty.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  21. james east st louis il

    what's more important jack a lie about sex or alie about war i will take the sex jack

    August 11, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  22. Pat Brendel

    Fidelity to one's spouse should never enter into the decision when electing a public official. Neither should religion, race, or gender. We all make mistakes and for most of us it's a private issue. Unless the behavior is illegal or interferes with the discharge of their office, public officials should have the same privacy.
    Boston MA

    August 11, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  23. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    I have more than enough to do worrying about my own life. I have neither the time nor the inclination to but into other people’s private affairs. This matter is between the him and his family. Once again the world looks at us while scratching their heads and must wonder how infantile and stupid we are. Wait a minute, they know how stupid we are, we voted Bush twice. That says it all.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  24. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Some good presidents were unfaithful – Jefferson, Kennedy, FDR. McCain was unfaithful. Clinton showed some good leadership despite his infidelity. Stop the press about Edwards. He did the same thing the others did.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  25. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    It matters a whole lot to me Jack. If you're a happily married man, you shouldn't be messing around on the little lady. My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  26. Nancy from Florida

    Infidelity is a betrayal of trust. How can a politician ask us to entrust our faith in him (or her) if he has already betrayed the person closest to him?

    August 11, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  27. Ken in NC

    I’ll put it to you like this Jack. My ex-wife ran off with my best friend and I gotta tell you I really miss my best friend. Do I want him back? NOPE. So if a politician cheats on his wife I don’t care because I wouldn’t want him back in office either.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  28. JT in NYC

    It does now. In the old days it was well known that politicians like Roosevelt, Eisenhower & JFK had affairs, but it never made the press. Nobody ever made a big deal of it, not even the political rivals. But today, it is just the opposite. Not only is it the lead story for most media outlets , it is played over and over ad naseum. The media keeps the story alive for as long as they can and the political enemies try to get as much mileage as possbile.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  29. Tom, The Heart of Democracy, Avon, Maine


    As long as our leaders continue to come from the pool of voters, they'll be hornballs like all the presidents that have preceded them. If our mullahs, rabbis, priests, and ministers are monogamous, we are lucky.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  30. Jayne

    Apparently not. If it did, John McCain wouldn't be his party's candidate for president.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  31. Bob

    Darrington, WA:

    It will always be reported by the media, so that is a constant and goes with the territory, and just titilates people, and that doesn't seem to matter much; re-election still seems to happen for a lot of these polititians. It's tabloid level. Short term, there is always a media "scandal", sometimes a real appology, sometimes a resignation, so we all know that formula. Big Deal.

    It does matter when it is used to attack and bring down a polititian during a campaign season or other sensitive time, because the add spin can be so powerful. People (darn it) respond to this powerful spin more that they do the raw tabloid news. Especially when an investigation is launched. The reall makes it "official". There are many examples, from Jefferson to Edwards, and I think history has shown that the very powerful seem to weather it well (Kennedy and Clinton are still highly respected) and the less powerful lose a lot (Gary Hart; what's he doing now?).

    August 11, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  32. Terrance Craion

    It matters to me quite a bit, even though we are all human and make mistakes, fair or not people in public service are held to much higher standard! If one cannot be trusted to be faithful to one's spouse than why should you have the peoples' trust to carry out the duties of your elected office?

    Detroit, MI

    August 11, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  33. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Dear Jack,
    not to me, it don't. It might matter to his or her family.
    Some of our best leaders have been poor husbands like FDR and JFK. Some of our worst leaders have been good husbands like Hayes, McKinley, and W.
    There is no correlation between fidelity and leadership skill.
    Here the Russians are about to tip us into WW3 and all we can think of to talk about is who's doing horizontal aerobics with whom. Some thing is badly wrong with our priorities. This is nuts!


    August 11, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  34. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC


    I'm not one to throw stones. Of course it did get everyone's attention (did Blitzer's ratings go up once a real journalist found the truth?)

    Just like with Clinton, he screwed one person.

    Bush/Cheney have screwed the entire country/world. And no lubricant was even used. (so to speak).

    Have a cigar and relax Jack.


    August 11, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  35. Linda from Seattle

    Not sure, ask John McCain.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  36. Erin in Michigan

    It only matters that he LIES.

    I want to see the day when a candidate can choose NOT to have the adoring wife standing behind him. When he can admit that, though his marriage is strained and his lovelife complicated, he will not make any public announcements pledging fidelity nor will he make any public disclosures regarding the details of his personal life.

    The crux of the issue is whether a politician will cling to appearances over integrity. And one who will actively cover up an affair will cover-up anything!

    August 11, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  37. Ken in NC

    I’ll put it to you like this Jack. My ex-wife ran off with my best friend and I gotta tell you I really miss my best friend. Do I want him back? NOPE. So if a politician cheats on his wife I don’t care because I wouldn’t want him back in office either. Besides, at the rate he is going sooner or later, she is going to turn him from a rooster to a hen

    August 11, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  38. Helen

    Not if your name is John MCain.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  39. Wendy, San Rafael

    It generally does not matter to me.

    The Edwards case is a different matter. Had he had become the nominee, we would be looking at a brokered convention and a probable McCain presidency. of course I am assuming that progressives who supported Edwards would never have supported Clinton, as they did later swing to Obama after Edwards quit the race.

    He knew what he was putting at risk (his party and country) and went ahead anyway. Unforgivable if you ask me.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  40. Ralph, Corpus Christi

    Don't ask me Jack, ask his wife.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  41. mariel

    If a politician cheats on his wife, most women will not vote for him. John McCain's affair when he was married to his first wife must be so far in the past and not discussed in the media that people just don't know that his situation was very similar to that of John Edwards.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  42. Aaron, Denver CO

    Nobody's perfect. I might reconsider their values, but I think I would forgive them. I would much rather judge a president based on the improper use of a cigar than on the improper use of government agencies and warfare.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  43. Brad Mahoney

    Because of the absurd degree to which our nation concentrates on this issue, Bill Clinton's indiscretion indirectly resulted in the deaths of over 4000 of our soldiers and airmen because it resulted in the election of a dangerous buffoon. The fact that we put such value on this issue, instead of the reality of policies, is the real indiscretion here.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  44. Caryn, Washington DC

    No disrespect meant to Elizabeth Edwards but I'm glad that this information came out now. Can we finally talk about John McCain deserting his crippled wife for the young, rich Cindy Lou? We should spend more time talking about the infidelities of a man who is actually still running for President.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  45. raul from kentucky

    Of course it matters. It also matters when a woman acts as docile as a pet. For instance, Cindy McCain looks like the baking cookies type of woman. Can somebody tell her that in the 21st century women can have their own opinion without having to ask for their husband's permission? She looks like a colorless banner behind McCain's podium.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  46. BOB in Michigan

    No Jack their ability to govern is what's important. This country is so hypocritical. We impeach a president for infidelity and don't impeach another for being directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people not only in America but Iraq. Also, why aren't you reporting John McCain's past infidelity?

    August 11, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  47. Joe in DE

    Only if you believe infidelity to be wrong. Sems to take a low prioity with the electorate.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  48. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, it doesn't matter what I or the millions like me think. The media and the political machines will either crucify the culprit or give them a bye. I might rant and rave, but in the end what I think doesn't mean a damn thing.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  49. Mary - Santee CA

    Any person who betrays their marriage vows cannot be trusted as do those who knowingly have an affair with someone who is married. I am especially disgusted with those who approve such behavior and flaunt it.

    Santee CA

    August 11, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  50. William Allen

    Actually it matters a lot cause heres a guy whos job is in the hands of the people, and if he cant be honest with these people, then he no longer has the trust of the people and should get out of politics.

    William N.B. Canada.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  51. Ron- San Diego

    Hi Jack:

    In the case of Mr. Edwards, I think the timing of this revelation was planned. That being said, he can't be trusted. We live in an imperfect world and people at the highest levels of government make repulsive mistakes. A persons actions reveals allot about his or her character. Needless to say the sixth commandment has been taking a beating in American government as of late on both sides of the isle.

    God Bless,
    Ron San Diego

    August 11, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  52. David of RTP NC

    I dunno Jack – I'm not so sure I object to the infidelity per se as much as I question the judgment of somebody running for the nation's most visible and prestigious office all the while waxing in flagrante with a campaign staffer. Either it means the candidate thinks they're beyond reproach or they don't really care. In any case, they won't be on my short list for anything.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  53. kenneth sibbett

    How much does it matter if a policeman cheats on his wife?For that matter, how about judges,plummers, accountants etc. How would it matter to you Jack? A politician is human and hase the same desires and vices as anyone. Let God and Elizabeth judge John Edwards.

    Kenneth Chadbourn N.C.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  54. Jon from Colorado

    Why isn't the MSM talking about John McBush's affairs? You guys just want to keep the election close for your ratings and have not reported on any of McBush's numerous gaffes.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  55. Chris

    It doesn't, but the lying does. Men think with that other brain when eying a sleazy woman. As long as his "upper" brain is functioning when he is running the country, that is all that matters to me. So many powerful men cheat, unfortunately, but just the dumb ones get caught.
    (Why don't you expose McCain's sordid past with his first wife and mistress?)

    thousand oaks ca

    August 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  56. Bizz - Quarryville, PA

    If we would have not elected or impeached presidents that had cheated on their spouse we would have missed the leadership of some great leaders. President Kennedy, President Eisenhower, Franklin Roosevelt and President Lincoln if rumors are correct just to name a few. I would rather have a president of this caliber leadership then what we have in office today. A born again Christian who is a hypocrite. A president's marriage is between him and his wife and no business of mine. How he leads our country is another story.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  57. Jenny Rome Ga

    Personally it would matter a great deal to me if he had the affatir and then lied about it.although it apparently did not matter very much to some as Bill Clinton was elected to the office twice. Does infidility make you a poor leader or Presdient , no. Lying to your wife is one thing, lying about WMDs and dragging a country into a war is another.

    Also how about tee shirts like they give to the winners on AC 360 for the caption contest. I have made you show at least three times and won the AC captions contest none. Just an idea!!!!! Hey I would wear it with pride.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  58. Richard Boley

    They care little about the country so who is surprised if they have the same view toward their families. A politicians loyalty, and "fun time", is reserved for themselves. They come first.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  59. Jed in Redding, CA

    It matters when he or she lies about it. Say what you want about Governor Patterson of New York - he came out day one with full and explicit details of his affairs. It got a little creepy/icky for a while, but it took the wind right out of his opponents sails. I'd trust him after that.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  60. Anthony Smith

    Not much to me but much to their spouse! If anyone holds a politician to high moral values and integrity, I have some land to sell them in my fish bowl!

    Wildwood Crest, NJ

    August 11, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  61. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    Better a cheater than a liar. A cheater only hurts themselves and their families but a liar a President hurts hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions.

    Bush's lie to invade Iraq and McCain's lie to justify keeping the troops in Iraq are both unforgivable and should be font and center in this election. The Bush administration has proven time and time again that being a liar simply precedes being a crook.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  62. Mike from NYC

    A hell of a lot if it is my wife he is cheating with.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  63. Larry in Florida

    This has been going on in politics since the beginning of time. It's a human nature flaw and most people can't control this beast within us. I think everyone has thought about it at one time or another in they're life. I f they deny it, I'd say they're lieing. Edwards lied about it. I think thats the part we can't except. If he (Edwards) and Bill Clinton would not have lied I think it would be much easier to have forgiven them. It's the lieing that people can't forgive.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  64. Jim in Puyallup

    The keyword is "cheats", this quality does not reflect well in the light of trust, honesty, and one's word of honor.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  65. John, NC

    I think in most cases, this issues don't have to do with your credibility as a politician. In the case of John Edwards, he should have never attempt to become the democratic candidate, knowing that his wife was sick with cancer. He needed to dedicate all the time possible to be with his wife. I really think he crossed the line for so many people that trusted him. To make it worst, his letter to the public was intended to make the people feel sorry for him. Come on Mr. Edwards! I just hope he learned his lesson, and starts valuing the wonderful woman his wife is.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  66. Billy G in Las Vegas

    yes it does because it shows a lack of moral character BUT John Edwards is not the only politician with this flaw. people are saying "Oh My God, WHAT if he had been the Democratic nominee" when the current Republican nominee, John McCain had an affair with his current wife Cindy while still married to his first wife Carol. McCain claims he was seperated from Carol before he started dating Cindy but divorce court documents tells a different story.

    I think that IF the right wing "media" and the Republican party tries to play up the Edwards story, they do so at their own peril.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  67. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Somewhere in the wedding vows it says for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health and what I see in some politicians maybe the vows need to be changed because they don't seem to apply to them.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  68. RENEA

    It only matters when they get caught doing the same thing that they preached against. No moral preaching no more problems.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  69. Ryan - Champaign, IL

    It should be of concern for the spouse, children, and close friends that might be affected. The rest of the country and media should show some humility by letting those involved make their peace in privacy.

    We should have learned a lesson in the 90's after watching the ultra-hypocritic republicans demonize Clinton, only to have their own skeletons march out of the closet in the ensuing decade. Nasty stuff all around.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  70. Kay Symonette

    jack, what about John Mccain he was having an affair with his wife Cindy before they married or did the news pundits conveniently forget about his affair. He is running for Pres. of the U.S. so if there is a question about John Edward's career . McCain should be kicked out on his behind.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  71. Heather- Kennesaw, GA

    Infidelity is hardly an impeachable offense.If we were more concerned with politicians mistakes on policy and lying to the American people about more significant issues like WMDs, then we'd be in better shape as country. W hasn't had an affair, so it doesn't seem like personal infidelity is the best barometer for ethical leadership.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  72. Richard McKinney, Texas

    As long as I am not married to them I could care less. Jack these people are only human and humans make mistakes. I could care less who or what a politician sleeps with as long as they do their job and when they are caught, and the fact that they were unfaithful comes to light they don't try to lie about it. The lieing is what upsets people not necessarily the act. The other thing that gets people upset is when a politician insults our inteligence when they are caught in a lie. Edwards fits both of those catagories.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  73. mark, Temple TX

    Yes, especially if you get caught

    August 11, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  74. Renee

    I still can't figure out why the media dropped the McCain infidelity story. Why does it matter if one is unfaithful and another isn't? Seems McCain gets treated with kids gloves.

    I think the issue with Edwards is that his family was such a large part of his campaign and like it not Elizabeth Edwards is as well known and loved as him....and I am a Democrat!

    August 11, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  75. John in CA

    If Bush had been having affairs, maybe he wouldn't have had so much time to screw (up) the country.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  76. Nadine

    Sure does matter, ask Bill Clinton who was impeached! Sadly, he still walks around like he has no shame.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  77. Tom in Desoto Texas

    McCain seems to have had some "overlap" between his divorce and Cindy so he won't be throwing any stones. Then there's the lobbyest. We had 8 years of Bill Clinton, (after all, he's married to Hillary. Can you blame him?) which was tremendously better for the country than George W Bush. About 1/2 the population has been divorced and there probably was overlap in dating during many of those marriages. The French don't seem to have a problem with it. I think the president should be relaxed so he can do a good job and not trash the Consitution like Bush has done.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  78. Patrick in Hampstead , MD

    Jack – Yes. Especially in todays society where immorality is shown on primetime television in full view of our children. There are many of us who still believe that a persons character is important. Infidelity shows poor judgement and a lack of morals. Politicians, like teachers and other role models should be held to the highest possible standards. The fact that they no longer seem to be is a testimony to our failing society. Why did John McCain leave his first wife? Was he any better than John Edwards or Bill Clinton?

    August 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  79. Marie, Toronto


    It might take less time to list how many President's never had an extra marital affair.

    Doesn't anyone care about the health and wellbeing of Elizabeth Edwards? Let's move on already. It's more important to discuss topics that effect all of us in a real way.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  80. Linda in Florida

    John Edwards supposedly told his wife two years ago when it happened. She apparently forgave him. While I don't condone cheating on your spouse, if Elizabeth could forgive him so should we. And, as if it weren't enough that Elizabeth has to relive this now that John has confessed, why does the media have to keep repeating and repeating and repeating it. I am sure seeing it over and over again on TV does not make her feel any better. Why do we have to keep beating a dead horse?

    August 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  81. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack : It doesn't really matter. For almost two days the media slamed John Edward and made him out to be the devil, with horns and hoofs. But in the end his wife will still love him, and so will all his mistresses. Most Americans assume that politicians are without honor. The scandals of their politics, not so much that they are men in high places and lie, only that they do so with such indifference, so endlessly, still expecting to be believed. Americans are accustomed to the contempt inherent in the political lie. However, John Edwards would do well to remember that he has to live with his conscience longer than he does with his constituents.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  82. John Powalski

    If John McCain couldn't even be faithful to his first wife during her recovery from her terrible accident, how can he be loyal to America in our time of need?

    August 11, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  83. Jeff, Galena, MO

    Doesn't matter to me at all Jack, as long as it's not my wife they're cheating with.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  84. John in Atlanta

    It shouldn't, Jack. But, Edwards used this fable that he was a family man and that family is the core of American Values (etc., etc.,). He lied to his family, to the voting public, and his supporters. Long term he should recover, mainly because everyone is focused on the McCain trainwreck of a campaign, the Olympics, Bush and his glaringly failed policies, the economy, the war, and gas prices. Edwards has become a footnote, that frankly, no one gives a damn about.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  85. Marilyn from Louisiana

    Lies matter. However, this is between Edwards and his wife. The media is once again making it their business. Please stop..there are more important things happening to the American people.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  86. Michelle, Washington DC

    It is a truism of American politics that spousal fidelity is mythical. In no way do I condone Sen. Edwards' behavior or any other politician who has been unfaithful to his or her spouse but I can't help but reflect upon all the great leaders who would have been lost to us if fidelity were a requirement to run for President, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Clinton, who else? It's time to face facts, "If men were angels, there would be no need for government." How about we focus on the election and leave the Edwards family alone?

    August 11, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  87. C P in New Mexico

    I'm of the opinion that if they won't respect the rules reguarding marrage, I doubt if they would respect rules about bribery or other forms of corruption...

    August 11, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  88. Ralph in New York City

    Jack, I vote for a man or woman who promises to work hard for me and for our country, and has the ability to do just that. What his/her personal preferences are and their relationship with their families is their business.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  89. Ray, Florida

    on a scale of 1-10 Jack I'd say about a 4.
    Now if he is cheating on his wife, with my wife!
    That would have to be a definite 10!

    August 11, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  90. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    If it mattered, half the people in Congress wouldn't be there. And the Republicans would need a new nominee this year. And a number of our past presidents never would have been elected or finished out their terms.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  91. Richard - A New Independent

    You betcha - It has to do with honesty and integrity.
    Is the person able to keep their word or not.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  92. Howard M, Bolingbrook IL

    Not to me Jack. Who outside of the principles, really knows what goes on within someone's family relationship that may attribute to an infidelity situation. Would you say that JFK, IKE or FDR's harmed their ability to govern because of their infidelity, I wouldn't.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  93. J, Philly PA


    We all have skeletons in our closets. However, those who hold positions in public office or other distinguished professions should hold themselves accountable for their actions and have higher standards of conduct because they are dependent on the trust of the people. You easily lose credibility when doing such amoral things.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  94. Robert W. Brooks


    The more important question is whether or not we are willing to hold our politicians to a higher standard. It seems that when we don't know about the indiscretions we have a higher regard for that individual than before. It is the lies, deceit and cover-up that further destroy that persons character. It's how a person deals with the consequences of the choices they make that really shows us what that person is made of.

    Forest, VA

    August 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  95. Brian - Trinidad

    It matters to me if it is goes against the public image that the politician has personally projected to win votes.The reason Bill Clinton remained successfull as a politician was that he never portrayed himself as a Mr Clean.Yes, he lied,probably many times when asked if he cheated,not just on the Lewinsky bit.Jack,we need some discourse on these women as well,not just on the guys.If you're around succesfull men,in any walk of life,there is a constant train of sophisticated female hustlers wanting to go along for the ride.This is not a politically correct statement,just a fact of life.And we need to have a discourse about that as well.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  96. Ed from Durango, Colorado

    It matters when these politicians are out preaching self righteousness, family values, and so on and are in the middle of infidelity. It is hypocritical and their campaign becomes a big lie. But I guess politicians seem to always lose the truth factor.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  97. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, it does matter whether you are running for political office or not. It was a dumb mistake but everyone deserves a chance to redeem himself or herself. I believe he is truly repentant and the work he has done to help people and the potential he still has to continue to be of service to his country should not be dismissed.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  98. Esther Malka cuyahoga falls ohio

    nice word for adultry–I didn't like it when the president of the united states lied about it 10 years ago. life in america what a shame

    August 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  99. Mary

    The ability to make commitments for life and work to maintain them does say a great deal about one's character, integrity, and sense of compassion and care for others. To violate a pledge, to hurt someone you say you love and then to expect better the next time.

    Do we need elected officals who are monogamous? Perhaps not,but we need elected officals who can consider the impact of actions on others, and keep their word.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  100. Dan, Chantilly VA

    It's amazing how the "family values" Republicans are caught in sex scandals all the time and tend to come out relatively clean (Larry Craig is still senator of Idaho) while every Democrat in recent memory with even the hint of infidelity has seen their career destroyed (Eliot Spitzer was gone within 7 days). Edwards had an affair, patched things up with his wife and moved on with his life. Now the whole thing is revealed 2 years later and we're talking about whether a man who isn't even currently in office (nor was he at the time of the affair) has lost all hope of being a politician. I guess we know which party actually cares about family values.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  101. Greg in Cabot AR

    It is not that important to me if a politician cheats on his wife, but what is more important is that he was careless enough to get caught.

    If he is that reckless with something that could destroy His career, how can I trust him to make the right decision when it comes to issues that matter to me and the future of our country.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  102. Paula from Georgia

    No, it shouldn't matter. Just as long all parties understand one thing. If you are the other woman-remember one thing-He's MARRIED, you agreed to see a married man, you can not sue him or the government for any reason.That means one thing, when it ends, you unnderstood your position. It still a private materr between husband and wife. If it doesn't affect the job. NO

    August 11, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  103. rick viburnum Mo

    A politition is elected to serve the people to make the laws that will help a majority of the people. Infidelity happens when they vote for bills that benifit greatly 1 percent of the population to the detriment of the rest of the people. I really don't care if they cheat on their spouce.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  104. Phyllis/PA

    Unfortunately cheating on your spouse has become far to common in our society. As a result, a politician who cheats does not normally face the end of his/her career. In Edwards case he is done. His wife has cancer during his affair and it looks like he fathered a child.

    I do wish that the media would not use this just to increase ratings. Report new developments fine. Rehash the same information. No

    Personally I am tired of the media making it more difficult for the wife and family than is necessary.

    Media, PA

    August 11, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  105. steve siegel

    it didn't matter for fdr,jfk,lbj or dde. what is galling is the present day politician's sanctimonious behavior and statements.. unfortunately, the press has sunk to over covering this stuff. too much info on this non-critical behavior.report it if you need to and move on to something important... for instance elliott spitzer acted like a demented politician;that is why he should have left office; not whether he slept with kristin!
    in the case of john edwards,he cast stones when he was living in a very public glass house. that is where he went wrong. keep your mouth shut if you can't be honest.
    steve siegel

    August 11, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  106. Jim Bailey

    They can lie to their spouses, familys and themselves all they want...just don't lie to ME!

    August 11, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  107. George Wilson

    Only if he's a Democrat, Jack. McCain, who IS a candidate, gets caught flying around with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, and nobody cares. Actually, the media doesn't care.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  108. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    How many of us are free from "sin"? The standards are simple, "He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind; And the fool will be the servant to the wise at heart". We have a lot of people in politics and athletics that think they are above the law but none of us are above one law. He is paying the price, he's toast.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  109. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Because infidelity among politicians has been so common, all I can say at this point is: "I'm not surprised, just disappointed". However, when they slither through the shame, then go on to make $100 million on the speaking tour as Bill Clinton did, I go from "disappointed" to "nauseated".

    August 11, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  110. john mockus

    i could not care in the least about a politicians private life. if we could just mature enough to understand what politicians do to our country is so much more important. but we won't give them a serious thought and they will continue say the right stuff and do as they please.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  111. Gordon from NJ

    John McCain cheated on his first wife, but he wasn't running for President then, and I guess it is okay because he's a war hero. I campaigned for Edwards in 2004. At first I was only angry at John, but Elizabeth was also complicit in the deception. She allowed his campaign to go forward even after she found out about the affair.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  112. Frank from Peterborough

    If either a man or a woman cheats on their spouse the marriage and family can usually be saved with a little common sense and forgiveness....

    However, if a spouse gets killed while at war the marriage is over and the family is torn apart forever so if given the chance I would take infidelity over insanity.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  113. Bodo in Ann Arbor

    I don't care what Edwards does now that he has lost, but the man was running for President of the United States. If he had actually won the Primaries and the truth had come out just 2 weeks before Denver, his lies to the voters would have destroyed the Democrats.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  114. Marcos from Gaithersburg

    Is it relevant to the problems this county is facing right now? will it affect the november elections? No, not at all

    August 11, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  115. Cynthia

    It doesn't matter at all to me as long as I'm not the one married to him. But I guess it matters to others and it seems to depends on who it is that is doing the cheating.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  116. Annie, Atlanta

    It matters a lot. I know that how they serve us doesn't necessarily go hand in hand with how honorable they are, but I want honor. Maybe the power trip is more than some humans can handle. My heart and prayers go out to Elizabeth.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  117. Bruce St Paul MN

    There are immoral acts, and then there are immoral acts. I don't condone John Edwards infidelity, and I hope his family is able to get through the aftermath. But I can't forgive or forget the really big crimes going on around us every day by what passes for our government. Insider trading, lying to get America and the coalition of the willing to go to war, trying to fix elections by using the justice department to go after Democrats, lying about tax cuts, offshore drilling, ignoring veterans medical needs, etc, etc. I'd rather have a good leader with a rotten personal life tha a rotten leader with a good personal life.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  118. Stacy from Fairfax, VA

    Are we really surprised by this anymore? The real news story would be about the politician who didn't cheat. But then we wouldn't have a good, juicy story to talk about.

    All kinds of people (men and women) cheat. No one is perfect – particularly our beloved politicians.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  119. Kelly, Philadelphia

    Someone's ability to keep a sacred vow made to their spouse is a huge indicator of his character. Perhaps if the American people had a higher standard of ethics we wouldn't have so much corruption in Washinton. Personally, I think they practice deceit on their spouses first and then we the public inevitable get screwed too. It's called "trickle-down deceitfulness".

    August 11, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  120. Jack - Connecticut

    I'd rather have a president who publicly cheats on his wife while setting policies that make things better for my family and me, such as President Clinton, than a president who doesn't publicly cheat on his wife and runs the country into the ground, aka President Bush....

    August 11, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  121. Kelly, Philadelphia

    Someone’s ability to keep a sacred vow made to their spouse is a huge indicator of his character. Perhaps if the American people had a higher standard of ethics we wouldn’t have so much corruption in Washington. Personally, I think they practice deceit on their spouses first and then we the public inevitably get screwed too. It’s called “trickle-down deceitfulness

    August 11, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  122. Ted Beaverton, OR

    Polliticians who lie about their moral standards will lie about anything. Not much trust can be generated for a lack of integrity and moral compass. It leads to things like porking up their personal incomes in home districts at the expense of taxpayers. They get away with it because the words "Senate or House Ethics Committees" are oxymorons. They will condone anything to protect each other. They say its the way of politics. WHY?. I'm damn sick of it. VTBO.... Vote The Bums Out.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  123. andrew


    it doesn't at all matter to anyone outside of the media. you guys can't seem to stop talking about it.

    it doesn't effect their job performance, or lack there of. what they do in their personal lives is no ones concern (as long as it legal, and last time i checked infidelity wasn't illegal).

    columbus ohio

    August 11, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  124. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    John Who?

    John Edwards left the campaign a long time ago.

    This 'dirt' is way past its effectiveness in destroying his political career.

    There are many other truths we need to know – and they involve thousands of lost lives.

    Perhaps Elizabeth blessed John's cavorting.

    Politicians are the targets, too, of libidinous women.

    Lowell, MA

    August 11, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  125. Pat,Lexington, Ky.

    Mrs. Edwards" cancer should have nothing to do with this.

    Just think: some years down the road, John Edwards will be remembered as having had an affair and he may run for office again – and then he'll be just like McCain!

    August 11, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  126. George

    It doesn't matter one iota to me if a polititian cheats on his wife because I shalt not judge someone, lest I be judged. Some couples would have it a lot better chance of working it out if not for third parties of those who have no business sticking their noses into some elses business. Everyone would be a lot better off if they just clean out their own closets, instead of trying to interfere with someone elses. This should be the case regardless if it is male, or female doing who is disloyal.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  127. Jack - Connecticut

    Infidelity matters to Republicans, apparently...

    It mattered so much to Sen. Larry Craig that after he famously condemned President Clinton in '98 by calling him a "nasty boy," he went out to an airport bathroom and tried to solicit a man

    August 11, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  128. Dave from Maryland

    I think it depends on the politician and how hipocritical they are. The ones who act like they are better than the average person and then get caught, makes them seem worse than if it were a normal person. That's one of the things that make Edwards' screw-up (no pun intended) such a story. He preached about Clinton's indescression and then did the same thng. Makes him look like a right wing-nut instead of a Democrat.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  129. Julianna in Biloxi

    Europeans must be laughing theier heads off at the Puritans in the Colonies.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  130. Dee

    Character and integrity matter. We can empathaize with these philandering fellows, as we are all human. But when choosing a president, don't we want someone who is a little better than us – more intelligent, more self-disciplined, more circumspect, and someone who displays more integrity than your average buffoon.?

    August 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  131. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Jack, it matters because these guys seem to think we are all dummies and no one will find out. Elliot Spitzer was the same way. They seem to have egos that are bigger than our national debt.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  132. Dave of Oregon

    Edwards may have been a player in the Obama cabinet but probably not now. The question really is, did the press know about this two years ago because if it did, it didn't come out and Edwards was not appreciated by the media! It is a moot point!

    August 11, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  133. Emerson in Mass.

    All broken promises should matter.
    All lies should matter.

    A candidate's character is part and parcel of his competence.

    August 11, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  134. Docb

    Think the real question would be about 'why' we keep them in office? Because we do...over and over.

    Every cloud has a silver lining! If Edwards kept [a huge stretch] hillery from the nomination –this is it...

    For the Money I would bet that the clintons knew this and thought her coronation was in the bag so did not use it!

    August 11, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  135. William Courtland, Southern Ontario

    So they want the good genes or reputation of a man of power, how might they get them... Severe and sinister plotting, hypnotism and physical manipulations... outright theft of sperm.

    Honesty can defeat seduction, but the plotting by an occult society to commit bigamy for personal or group purposes with a married man of power takes an equal force of protective communications to thwart.

    What laws protect or even make aware such possibilities?

    August 11, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  136. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    I am not sure why you restrict your question to just one class of people – politicians.

    We watch Madonna and laugh, but we do not quit buying her records. We watch Hilton, laught at her, and become jealous of her ‘energy plan’. Your own great Babba Wawa profited anyhow.

    There must be a lesson in there somewhere – perhaps sexual fidelity has absolutely nothing to do with quality, or qualifications? The problem with publicizing this behavior, Jack, is that you give credence to that narrow-minded minority of cretins that help elect things like bush and cheney.

    As for me: I do not care. Not at all. Don’t matter none. Don’t want to know. Don’t want you to tell me. No more, please. Quit the gossip ragging.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  137. Chris

    Jack – you got the question wrong. The question should be, “How much does it matter to you if a politician cheats on their SPOUSE?”

    Anyone who thinks cheating is limited to husbands ONLY has their head in the sand and might some day be in for a rude awakening!

    August 11, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  138. Jackson from Rome, GA

    It comes down to being trustworthy when the chips are down. If we can't trust a politician to do the right thing when he's feeling "randy", how can we trust them to react in the public's best interest when they are really under pressure?

    August 11, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  139. B.E.Lahmon Jackson MS

    If it did matter than who would we have left to vote for ,well I 'll that that back by saying it only matters if they get caught other wise who cares

    August 11, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  140. pat

    Hypocritical politicians, especially those who extoll family values and morality are the worst. A politician's wife who knowingly enables his infidelity, encourages his phony facade by her constant presence and encouragement and also uses their children as 'props' is as culpable as her husband.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  141. John

    Jack: No it does not matter, unless you are Bill Clinton.


    August 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  142. richard a. winkler

    Not at all.

    No one is perfect. If perfection was required no one would be elected to anything.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  143. AndyZ Fairfax, VA

    It doesn't matter at all. A persons personal life is their personal life and that is between the person and their God. However, all of that goes out the window if the person is a Democrat and the control of the Congress is in Republican hands,

    August 11, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  144. Jerry,OK

    Looking back in presidential history...infidelity seems to be a characteristic of great presidents. Maybe being unfaithful should be a requirment...Go figure.

    Jerry N/Tulsa

    August 11, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  145. Keith - Cleveland, OH

    Jack, it's not only that he cheated on his wife... He lied to cover it up; He cheated because he thinks that he is beyond our moral standards. His moral compass is broken, and that is the bottom line.

    The statement that he made: "In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic." is probably the most honest thing that he has ever said. Many politicians are just big egos with law degrees.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  146. Amanda

    The funny thing is that we accept the lying and cheating that politicians do in the execution of their duties if they represent us well – yet we hammer them when it bleeds over into their personal lives. What does this say about us?

    August 11, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  147. Lorna from TN

    Anyone that has skeletons in their closet should not risk being found out.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  148. erin

    it doesnt matter to me, it shows me that politicians are human beings too. my only concern is whether or not the elected official does a good job in office, not what he does or does not do in his private bedroom.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  149. gingerpeachy Hunterdon, NJ


    The senaror doth protest too much...bottom line..a politician cheating DOES matter. It speaks to character, how can someone put country above all else he doesn't put wife or husband above tawdry dallying?

    If you want to lead, you must be a leader on ALL counts and that means you must set an example on moral issues as well!

    August 11, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  150. Al, Lawrence KS

    What matters is how much the media spends on these issues...like this question. Edwards cheated on his wife. I get it...it took me about 5 minutes. Now let me decide if it's important. I don't need the parade of talking heads to lecture me on the subject. Honestly, spending hours of air time on a rather simple subject, rather then the more pressing issues of the day, that's what matters.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  151. Scott - Wichita, Kansas

    I expect it out of any Democrat


    Edwards was the one I didn't expect, so I guess that means I can lower my standards of politicians to include them all.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  152. Bertha Doucet

    Jack,It does not matter to me one bit if a politican cheats on his wife.every man out their giving the chance will cheats on his wife .the guestion should be if it matter to the politican wife!.!!! Houston Texas

    August 11, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  153. Linda, Ruther Glen, Va

    Jack, is the key word here cheater? Or cheat? I'd say when ever you use that word alone it doesn't hold much value for your reputation.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  154. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    What anyone does in their personal life is no one's business but their own. As long as a politician does their job and keeps their hands out of the till,I don't care what they do.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  155. Jason, Koloa, HI

    It matters to their spouse and family. It only should matter to the public if it impacts their job performance. Unfortunately nowadays there is no way for infidelity to not affect their job performance because of the relentless media coverage. The media is what turns politicians into celebrities with their unending coverage.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  156. Joey

    It did in the old generations thinking but in these days no body cares just as long as the job gets done. We all need to look into the mirror before we cast the first stone because we all have a few flaws.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  157. Ozzie

    His infidelity, per se, doesn't matter, but his doing it in the position he put us all in does! I was a strong Edwards supporter until he dropped out. I fell for his whole schtick.
    I'm mad at him AND his wife (whom I had really liked) because they knowingly took a risk that, had he won the nomination, would have thrown us all under the bus and guaranteed another 4 years of McBush.
    He and Elizabeth have shown us they are just the usual arrogant, rich, powerful political couple with an insane sense of entitlement.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  158. Pat McGrew

    Denver, CO

    No, not at all. Politicians have played around since the breed first emerged. How can we expect men and woman who thrive on power not to exercise it? Some of their spouses and partners get it and live with it; others scream and wail to the public. In the end, who am I to judge? That's between John Edwards, his wife, and any higher power he communes with. All I care about when I vote for someone is that they are going to represent me adequately and accurately – and as the divorced mother of a gay son, that is quite enough!

    August 11, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  159. kylucky

    I don't think highly of those who cheat on their spouses. If their wives can't trust them, why should I?

    August 11, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  160. Terry from North Carolina

    Its bad enough John Edwards cheated on his wife, but he lied to the American People when he was a presidential canidate.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  161. Jerry, Monroe Co. WV

    It doesn't matter Jack. And if they don't get caught til they're out of office even better. You got to admit, we have had some damn good philandering presidents. But when they tell you a bald face lie about it on National TV- that's what we can't handle. The truth we can handle.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  162. dennis north carolina

    We try to teach our children the values of a good life so if any person in public life can not be a good example of the right values to live by the they need to disappear from view

    August 11, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  163. stephanie/houston/tx

    Like my Grandfather once told me,If you treat your family like that then how are you going to treat me. Answer, in any self serving way you see fit because you Can Get Away With It. The only thing men who are guilty of adultery feel bad about is you are no longer availiable to Use. Their need for getting away with something because they can, far out weighs any responsibities for their actions and how it affects other people. People should always take this into account before placing any one with no morals in a position to represent any office for any political party.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  164. Charles


    Apparently a president can invade a sovereign nation on intelligence he made up, trample the civil liberties on Americans, and bankrupt the treasury putting the interests of his buddies over the American peoples' and no one does anything. But let a politician cheat on his wife and it's all over the media for weeks and people are calling for his head on a stick! Where are our priorities?

    August 11, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  165. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    Infidelity matters much less to me than the Elected Officials who take money, gifts or favors in return for votes in favor of this or that Corporation. What happens in the Bedroom is no one else's business except the Spouse.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  166. Mike P. L.A.

    They all cheat. I'm not saying it's right, but these politicians get drunk with power and are away from their wives a lot and they just show how weak & lack of self control they have.
    As long as they are fighting for the constitution and the people, I personally don't care where they go for their fun times.
    Look at Clinton, he is weak in the pants, but guess what, he did a whole lot better for the country than that born again who we have in office now.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  167. Janet in Cincinnati

    Gimme a break. Isn't this between Edwards and his wife? We have already seen that even though a President can be unfaithful to his wife he can still be a good President. And the opposite is true as well, just because someone is faithul he can be a lousy President. If this is the only yardstick we measure candidates by then we get what we deserve.

    The media needs to quit making a bigger deal of this then it already is and leave the Edwards alone – after all they are private citizens now!!!

    August 11, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  168. Jeremy D (University of Texas)

    What should matter more to the American people is whether or not they feel that their leader feels a sense of obligation to the people. If our leaders felt obliged to be honest and sincere with their constituents than their honesty and sincerity towards their own personal relationships takes a back sear. In reality that would mean that if a politician had an affair, and immediately admitted it, the American people shouldn't feel slighted because the politician never betrayed their trust.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  169. Vinnie Vino

    What he or she does in their personal life is nobody's business but their own, their spouse and their God. However the righteousness of the individual's character is in question, especially if they lie in their explanation...

    C.I., New York

    August 11, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  170. Bobby, New York, NY

    It matters a lot. It speaks to his character and morals. The greater the political figure, the greater the significance a story like Edwards' is going to have . This was a man who was a VP candidate in 2004, and the third ranking Democrat in this year's primary; therefore, it warrants obscene amounts of media coverage. I don't know about most people, but I don't want my potential president or VP to be immoral, disloyal, and dishonest.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  171. Karen from Jackson, Michigan

    Does a politician’s infidelity matter?

    Jack: It would only matter if the politician was cheating on me. I am more concerned that the politician isn't cheating on the American public. We currently have politicians that have lied us into a war that has stolen precious lives; damaged other lives beyond repair; ripped apart families; damaged our reputation worldwide; and set us up for economical hardships that will take several generations to recover from.

    As a result, the last thing I am concerned about is what is or what is not going on in a politician's bedroom. I want someone who is competent to lead. I'll leave the moralizing to the church.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  172. Bertha malveaux

    Jack,why is the media focusing on John Edwards affair.He is not frist ,nor the last politican to have had an affairs.if their wives forgives them,than that should be good enough for the people !!! Houston Texas

    August 11, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  173. Wyoming Jack

    Who is doing whom has never been much of a concern for me when it comes to voting. But who is concernating whom and being a hypocrite about it does matter. When someone is busy preaching one thing while doing another, that's when I loose all faith in them.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  174. Jeremy D (University of Texas)

    I personally try to focus on issues and not let apolitical issues affect my vote (race, gender, economic status, etc.) So on the surface I would say that cheating on a spouse doesn't matter. However, some politicians trump up their family role and their connection to their wife in order to gain trust from the voters that the politician will be just as honest and sincere as he is with his wife. That's the dangerous road of politics. That's why we can't evaluate candidates just on paper or on issues. So ultimately, as long as politicians politic, their infidelity does matter, because after all, that's politics.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  175. JW Georgia

    Infedelity goes to the core of lying. Lying got us into Iraq and probably has ruined the American economy along with American moral authority in the world. Would you ask the families of over four thousand Iraq war casualties whether or not a level of integrity matters in a political leader?

    August 11, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  176. David Richards

    It matters if they're Republicans with their holier-than-thou family values crap. That's what made David Vitter's prediliction for prostitutes so agregious. I frankly could care less about the sexual pecadillios of John Edwards. I am a bit disappointed that he didn't learn anything from Bill Clinton. when you're affairs are outted, don't lie about it. That's what got Clinton impeached; not the sex but the lie.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  177. Wendy Theriault, Nashua, New Hampshire

    It's the deceit that bothers me...and the arrogance that they can get away with itor are allowed the deceit because they're special.

    I do not think this is an impeachable offense, but it does speak to character...and as the GOP has been fond of telling us for several election cycles...while they're braced to nominate a serial adulterer..."Character Counts.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  178. Rosa Lake City, SC

    Some of the greatest men in history have cheated on their wives. Maybe they had an understanding. That is why i say it's a matter between a man and his wife. Who are we to judge. My thoughts to the Edwards family may God bring them through this.

    August 11, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  179. Jay in Texas

    It makes no difference to me. When a husband cheats on his wife or when a wife cheats on her husband, that issue is between the spouses and their family and is none of my business. When a politician lies to me about important issues facing the nation, as both major presidential candidates have done, that IS my business.
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 11, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  180. Shah Nawaz

    Let me add one more line to what I wrote earlier. If Monica Lwenski issue was not brought up, world would be a better place since, Bill Clinton would have spend many extra years in helping the world.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  181. Mindy

    I don't think it's any of my business or anyone else's if a politician cheats on his spouse. What bothers me about this whole thing, is that it happened in 2006 and Edwards didn't hold public office and wasn't running for anything at the time. Why did he have to publicly confess? He told his wife about it and they have apparently worked through this together. Is the media helping Elizabeth Edwards by making it public? It's only going to further humiliate her and remind her again of something that she must want to keep in the past.

    Apparently, the Enquirer has nothing better to do with their time than camp out at hotels and catch someone meet with their ex-mistress. But I would think that the reputable media would have more important things to report. This affair is over and done with, so let it go. It's a real shame that we can't let some things stay private.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  182. Georgette Wolf-Bertram

    My goodness have all the people in the news and elsewhere forgotton all the affairs of JFK who they adored and forgave.

    And what Eisenhower and his big affair with Kay Somersby. This is ridiculous.

    There were so many other Presidents that had affairs but that does not matter now – just the Edwards thing. RIDICULOUS!

    People need to get on to things that are so important in this year's presdential election that affects each and every one of us. The private affairs of Edwards and how he and his wife are dealing with it is their own to deal with it.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  183. Nuwan Sam

    As long as that politician provide the leadership and does his public service well, I do not thing these private things matters. I would rather like Edwards as the president than Bush. Bush didn't cheat on his wife. But he cheated and betrayed a whole nation. These people become politicians to lead this country and we need to measure these people just for that.

    Nuwan from Houston, TX

    August 11, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  184. Ruth McInerney

    When my daughters were young they knew that no matter what they did, if they lied about it, the punishment would be doubled. Cheating on your wife is bad enough, being dishonest when asked about it makes it even worse.
    Now, we need to leave the Edwards alone and let them deal with this very embarrassing situation without our assistance.

    Samson, AL

    August 11, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  185. Alfred - Sacramento, CA

    Well, may be not if we keep dropping these moral values one after the other. It seems like we are turning into materialists willing to give up on a lot of basics when it comes to maintain our daily needs.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  186. Ben - Portland, Or

    Personally, I don't care what – or who – someone does in their personal time. However, I do think that when asked, point blank, about their possible or alleged infidelity, the truly remarkable people will answer with complete honesty, and will use the question as a way to broach the subject in a manner that's beneficial to the public.

    Marriage is hard. A lifetime's commitment is hard. Living with a cancer patient is hard. We have no idea what the personal life of Mr. and Mrs. Edwards was like at this time, and we have no place to judge him for his affair.

    We do have every right to judge his response. We have every right to be upset at the lie, but the affair is none of our business. It's solely the Edwards'.

    We need less finger pointing. You’d think that sooner or later, everybody would realize that those pointing fingers may soon be on the receiving end. Remember Newt’s confession after the Clinton – Lewinsky scandal?

    August 11, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  187. Kathy

    I'm so sick of the MSM giving McCain a break and not bringing up the fact that he cheated on his first wife with many women and then when he found a rich, young one, divorced his injured wife who waited for him when he was a POW, to marry Cindy. And while we are on the subject of McCain's easy passes with the press, why don't we hear more about Cindy are her drug abuse problems and how she managed to avoid arrest after stealing durgs? I don't want these immoral people in the White House and neither should anyone else, but for now this stuff is only mentioned on the blogs, the press ignore it.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  188. roger dowdle lockhart, tx

    To me, it isn't particularly important. What I find amusing is that the media seems to be more upset that Edwards lied to them when asked about the affair while he was running, than they are about the issue of infidelity. Why don't they bring up McCains falsification of his divorce application, or dumping the wife who had stuck by him while he was a POW. And if character / honesty is such a big issue, how about McCain reversing his stand on almost every issue he has supported in the past?

    August 11, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  189. Adam Sinclair

    Yes, fidelity matters. It shows what kind of person you are, plain and simple.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  190. Desiree

    What a political candidate does in their private life is none of our business – so long as it's not illegal and it doesn't affect their job.

    Period. Besides, there isn't one person among us that can claim our hands are pristinely clean, either.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  191. DP

    If a politician can't keep his vow to his wife and family, why should we believe he'd ever keep his vow to the people.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  192. Chereese New Jersey

    Of course it doesn’t matter if a politician cheats on his wife. It might be morally wrong, but a politician’s judgment in the bedroom does not affect his or her decisions in the name of the country. Look at Bill Clinton, he cheated on his wife but he is still one of our most popular leaders because he knew how to run the country.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  193. RC

    If it REALLY mattered, we wouldn't have enough politicians to fill the congress.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  194. G.William Northrup

    Only if they lie about it Jack!!

    August 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  195. Brenda of Saginaw ,Michigan

    Let yee who has not sinned cast the first stone.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  196. Lisa

    If a Presidential Candidate can not be truthful to his wife...how do we expect him to be truthful to the American people.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  197. Chris

    If he can't even keep his promise to his own wife than how do you expect him to keep his promise to the American people

    August 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  198. Becky

    Yes, it matters. If he cheats on his wife, he might cheat on all of us.


    August 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  199. Paul

    I believe it matters no matter what party it is. It shows just how trustful and honest an idividual is. Although it is their private life it shows that they have no respect for themselves or who voted for them or would vote for them. It also shows a track record of poor judgement.
    Paul Round Rock Texas

    August 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  200. BobField Toronto

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  201. Naomi Kehoe

    I don't think it should make a difference. After all, isn't it normal for men in high offices like that to cheat on their wife? We need the house and senate, so we don't have too much of a choice about it.

    August 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  202. Matt Paradise

    If the wife cannot trust the politician then how can the voter?

    August 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm |