Elizabeth Edwards Breaks Silence About Husband’s Affair

By Lindsey Ellerson

Sep 18, 2008 12:05pm

ABC News’ Raelyn Johnson reports: Elizabeth Edwards is breaking her silence about her husband, former Sen. John Edwards’ affair. In an interview published today in the Detroit Free Press, Edwards says she’s going through an ongoing process of finding her feet again.

"There’s a lot of adjustments to make," said Edwards according to the paper. “When you mention trust, that’s probably the most difficult hurdle.”

Last month, the former presidential candidate admitted exclusively to ABC News that he had an extramarital affair with novice filmmaker, Rielle Hunter. Hunter was hired to make videos for the pre-launch phase of Edwards’ 2008 presidential run.

When asked if she forgave her husband for her actions, Elizabeth responded, “I don’t want to feed the monster, if you don’t mind.”

Since the admission, both Elizabeth and John Edwards have canceled previously scheduled public events, hoping to quiet the storm over what they intended to be only a private family matter.

This week, however, marks Elizabeth’s first foray back into the public spotlight, and the first time she has spoken about the affair.

She told the paper that, had her leg been amputated, instead of a child dying or her husband having an affair, people would not ask, “Are you over that leg thing yet.”

In a move seen as standing by her husband, Elizabeth published a statement hours after Sen. Edwards first spoke about the affair to ABC News, saying, “Although John believes he should stand alone and take the consequences of his action now, when the door closes behind him, he has a family waiting for him.”

Though criticized for her statement and for admittedly keeping the affair quiet while her husband ran for the government’s highest office, Elizabeth Edwards remains fiercely loyal to her family, and the advocacy of health care.

The mother of Cate, 26, Emma Claire, 10, and Jack, 8, she says her desire is for her children to uphold the image of their father as “an  advocate for poverty, not for this current picture of him to be the only one they carry with them, as young people and as adults,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

In an audio excerpt not published in the paper, Elizabeth further revealed, “The decisions I make are based entirely on what is the best thing for my children. And so, the best thing for my children has been to lay low and hope that sort of the public interest in this becomes less so, that it doesn’t become a badge that they have to wear.”

Edwards appeared Thursday morning on Capitol Hill, where she discussed the need for heath care reform in front of the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on health.  Edwards veered from her prepared remarks to attack Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain on his health care policy.

"Neither one of us would be insured under his health care plan," she told the committee, an attack she has used frequently against the Arizona senator, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2000.

"I do think that Sen. McCain’s policy does focus excessively on providing a lower cost policy without, at the same time, guaranteeing a basic level of coverage in that policy or addressing the scope of inclusion for all Americans," Edwards elaborated.

In battling incurable cancer, she has made fighting for universal health care one of her top priorities.  Edwards also participated in a health care forum on Tuesday in Philadelphia, Pa.

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