Transcript: John Edwards Interview

EDWARDS: Here's what, can I explain to you what happened? First of all it happened during a period after she was in remission from cancer, that's no excuse in any possible way for what happened. This is what happened. It's what happened with me and I think happens unfortunately more often sometimes with other people.… Ego. Self-focus, self-importance. Now, I was slapped down to the ground when my son Wade died in 1996, in April of 1996. But then after that I ran for the senate and I got elected to the Senate and here we go again, it's the same old thing again. Adulation, respect, admiration. Then I went from being a senator, a young senator to being considered for vice president, running for president, being a vice presidential candidate and becoming a national public figure. All of which fed a self-focus, an egotism, a narcissism that leads you to believe that you can do whatever you want. You're invincible. And there will be no consequences. And nothing, nothing could be further from the truth.

WOODRUFF: So your assumption was that you'd just never be caught?

EDWARDS: It was a huge judgment, mistake in judgment. But yeah, I didn't think anyone would ever know about it. I didn't. And the important thing is, how could I ever get to the place, to that place and allow myself to let that happen?

WOODRUFF: …[I]f you thought that you would not get caught, how did [Elizabeth] find out about this affair?

EDWARDS: I told her.

WOODRUFF: This was before there was public reporting on this?

EDWARDS: Oh it was way before. This was in 2006. I decided, it was clear to me very quickly after this happened that I had to tell her that I loved her, she was central to my life, she had to know it and it was painful for her. Hard and painful for her, but she responded exactly like the kind of woman she is. And then she forgave me and we went to work on it. I'm not saying she thought it was okay, I'm not saying that, but she did forgive me. Listen, she understands what I understand which is that I am imperfect and anybody, anybody watching this broadcast or who hears about this who wants to beat me up for this, they should have at it. The truth is you can't possibly beat me up more than I have already beaten myself up.

***

WOODRUFF: Why did you continue to deny it [publicly] and not tell the truth?

EDWARDS: Because I did not want the public to know what I had done. Fair and simple. And there's also a lot of these you know supermarket tabloid allegations are just lies, they're complete lies. But this, this mistake, is the truth.

*** WOODRUFF: When Elizabeth did find out about this, how has she coped? What was her reaction to that?

EDWARDS: She was mad, she was angry, I think furious would be a good way to describe it. She didn't understand. We both went through a process of trying to figure out how it happened, why it happened. But she was amazing, she's just an amazing person. Elizabeth and I have been married 31 years. The admiration she gets from the public is deserved and, but nobody can see -- Bob, you've been married a long time, nobody can see inside everybody's marriage. … This is not something Elizabeth did, this something I did. And I continue to love and admire her because she has just stood with me.

***

WOODRUFF: I need to ask about probably the most controversial allegation. Which is that a report has been published that the baby of Ms. Hunter is your baby. True?

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