John Edwards' Mistress Rielle Hunter Is Back In the Spotlight

PHOTO: Rielle Hunteris leaves the Terry Sanford Federal Building and Courthouse in Raleigh, N.C., Aug. 6, 2009.
Jim R. Bounds/AP Photo

The sex scandal that dominated national politics during the last presidential campaign cycle is capturing the spotlight again this year.

The sex tape that John Edwards, a 2008 contender for the Democratic nomination, and his mistress Rielle Hunter made during his bid for the White House has finally been destroyed after a drawn-out court battle, ABC's James Hill reports.

While the story of Hunter and Edwards' affair did not break until after Edwards dropped out of the 2008 presidential race, the juicy details of their yearslong relationship were splashed across headlines throughout the campaign season.

The lawsuits that followed – Hunter suing to get the sex tape back from Edwards' former aide, federal prosecutors charging Edwards with felonies for campaign finance frauds – are just now being resolved and are threatening to again draw attention amid a presidential election.

But Hunter is not the only 2008 campaign icon who is capturing the spotlight again this election cycle. Click through to find out what the likes of Obama Girl, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and other famous names of 2008 are up to this time around.

PHOTO: Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain talks with Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, left, before speaking at a tea party rally in this April 16, 2011 file photo at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo
Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain talks with Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, left, before speaking at a tea party rally in this April 16, 2011 file photo at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa.
Joe the Plumber

In the heat of the 2008 general election between Barack Obama and John McCain, Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, 38, went from a little-known blue collar worker in Ohio to a nationally known symbol of candidate Obama's tax policy.

Wurzelbacher reached national notoriety for asking then-candidate Obama during a campaign sweep through Ohio whether he would have to pay more taxes if he bought a plumbing business that made $250,000 to $280,000 a year.

Obama's general election rival John McCain seized the moment and often cited "Joe the Plumber" as an everyday American who would be adversely affected by his opponent's tax plan, even though analysts offered varying opinions as to whether Wurzelbacher would have received a tax increase or a tax cut under Obama's plan.

Four years and a heavy dose of frustration with elected officials later, Wurzelbacher is taking matters into his own hands and running for Congress.

"Politicians keep playing politics with our lives. I'm sick and tired of it," Wurzelbacher said in an October speech announcing his candidacy. "I'm not doing this because I want to be a congressman. I'm not doing this because I want power. I am going to run because I've been there. I know how it is to live paycheck to paycheck."

Wurzelbacher is running in a contested Republican primary, and if he emerges he'll face long-time Reps. Dennis Kucinich or Mary Kaptur, who were redistricted into the same district as Wurzelbacher and are battling it out in a Democratic primary.

Joe the Plumber snagged the endorsement of GOP big hitter Herman Cain last week and signed on to promote Cain's now-infamous tax plan 9-9-9.

PHOTO: The Youtube sensation "Obama Girl" has posted a new video up on her Youtube page.
Youtube
The Youtube sensation "Obama Girl" has posted a new video up on her Youtube page.
Obama Girl

The Obama Girl is back, but the sexy, singing YouTube sensation who had "a crush on Obama" in 2008 is less smitten with President Obama than she was with candidate Obama.

Obama Girl actress Amber Lee Ettinger said her support for the president has faded in the past four years, but her Obama Girl character will always be a fan of her man.

"I always will feel like I have a connection to him, but this time around I am still undecided about who I will vote for," Ettinger told ABC News.

Ettinger, who recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, said her Obama Girl gig has upped her name recognition but has also closed some doors.

"If you're on YouTube, some people don't see you as an actress," she said.

In a 2010 interview, Ettinger said she would give Obama a B-minus because he was "doing OK" as president. The YouTube sensation said she would have liked to see Obama focus more on jobs and the economy instead of health care, which she told the New York Post was "definitely a distraction because of the economy being as bad as it is."

Despite Ettinger's skepticism, Obama Girl has already re-emerged in 2012. In a video released last month, Obama Girl appears as a spoofed version of the lead character in "Girl With a Dragon Tattoo" and sabotages the GOP candidates' presidential campaigns.

Obama Girl cranks up her sex appeal to taunt Obama in a Grease-style spoof of "You're the One that I Want." "You wanna my vote?" she asks in the video. "My vote you need, or change indeed."

Ettinger said there's "definitely" more to come on the YouTube front for the 2012 campaign.

"As this election starts heating up all the excitement has started to grow again," Ettinger said. "People kind of want to see what [Obama Girl] is up to."

PHOTO: Rev. Jeremiah Wright delivers the keynote address at the Detroit NAACP annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner April 27, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan.
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Rev. Jeremiah Wright delivers the keynote address at the Detroit NAACP annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner April 27, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan.
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright

In 2008, he was the character who threatened to topple Obama's lead over Hillary Clinton in the bitter Democratic presidential primary, but the Rev. Jeremiah Wright has excluded himself from the political spotlight this time.

Wright, Obama's pastor for more than 20 years, became the focal point for Obama's critics after ABC broke the story that Wright had preached that America was to blame for the 9/11 terrorist attacks and told his congregation, "God Damn America."

The Obama family left the church in May 2008 amid the Democratic primary, after months of controversy from Wright's comments.

Wright retired as the senior pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ in late 2008 and has kept a relatively low profile since. He still occasionally preaches at his old church and travels the country giving sermons and speeches.

Wright was in Washington, D.C., last month to give a sermon at Howard University honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day. During the sermon, Wright's plea that worshipers plow forward through tough times seemed to echo the calls of his former parishioner-turned-president.

"This ain't no short-term battle, no brief skirmish. This is a protracted war," he said, according to the Washington Post. "Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out."

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