Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards' Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal that Brought Him Down / by Andrew Young

By the year 2000, John Edwards meteoric rise from trial lawyer to North Carolina senator had been well documented and more than a few political pundits prognosticated an unlimited future for the homegrown Democrat who preached family values, equal housing opportunities and "college for everyone". He became a household name during the 2004 presidential campaign when he was selected as running mate to then presidential hopeful John Kerry. Their subsequent defeat prompted Edwards' own ambitions for the highest office in the land and his campaign for the 2008 democratic nomination began in earnest in 2005. But in 2007, a scandal broke about an extramarital affair between Edwards and staffer Rielle Hunter, the latter claiming Edwards had fathered her child. Though denied by Edwards initially, the relationship and ultimately the parentage were finally acknowledged after months of abnegation. The presidential hopeful's dreams came to an end as his political career and life began spiraling downward.
Author and former political consultant Andrew Young recounts his time as not only an inside man with tactical access to the senator, but, candidly and with remorse, as a primary player in the scandal--Young was induced by Edwards to initially claim (falsely) that he had fathered Rielle Hunter's child. Young chronicles his time with Edwards'--John and his family--from beginning to end: first as a volunteer in the campaign for the initial gubernatorial seat, becoming more intimate as the Democratic party eagerly adopted and promoted Edwards, and finally as the senator's right-hand man in his bid for the presidency. With time Young was drawn more and more into a series of comprimising assignments that culminated with Edwards asking him to help conceal the Senator's adultery and ultimately lie about the parentage of his own illegitmate child. More than a few sordid moments are encountered throughout the text as the reader is drawn closer in to this epic, personally wrenching scandal.

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