Did Elizabeth Edwards Know When She Said This?

By Jennifer Parker

May 6, 2009 12:22pm

Elizabeth Edwards’ admission that she knew about her husband’s affair "days after" his presidential announcement back in 2006 puts this interview I had with the two of them in a new light.

It came just two days after Edwards announced his presidential bid.

And in the course of the interview I asked Elizabeth whether she had a veto over his decision to run:

I have to say, during the course of that interview there wasn’t a hint of tension between the two of them. They bantered easily – even playfully – about the campaign, and their political differences. I also frankly can’t believe they could have given an interview like this had they both known but I guess we’ve all been surprised by performances like that.

–George Stephanopoulos

Dec 30, 2006 Interview (aired Dec. 31)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The Senator and I have talked several times over the last few years and every time he talked about getting into the race, he said he was going to make the best decision for his family.

Did you get a vote?

MRS. EDWARDS: I probably could have vetoed it, but I didn’t. Part of it was my health, which is good now, and the other is whether or not we would support him and, of course, I have to say he was beside me every step of the way during my fight against cancer.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You look great now.

MRS. EDWARDS: Thanks, I appreciate that. And that’s what a marriage is about. I’m with him in the fights that he has to undertake.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you see your role in this campaign?

MRS. EDWARDS: The way I’ve always described it is that I’m a window, I mean, in a sense, another surrogate, somebody who believes in him and believes in what he’s saying and if I can reach out and talk to people.

I think there’s a big question about — and there may be spouses who don’t fall in this category, but how much difference a spouse actually makes, except that if I can talk to 200 people in a day that he didn’t get to talk to, that’s helpful.

EDWARDS: That’s a gross understatement. That was very humbling and I appreciate the humility of Elizabeth on that.

She is my most trusted advisor and always has been, always will be, and I care what she says about things. We disagree, you know. There are some serious things that we…


EDWARDS: Not on camera, I’m not going there. But we know what they are and she is a strong willed woman. She may be sitting there looking meek and mild. She’s a very strong willed human being and is not shy about speaking her piece.

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