Did Edwards staffers plan to sabotage his campaign?

Aides, concerned that the candidate's affair would mean a GOP victory in 2008, reportedly decided not to let him get the Democratic nomination.

Published May 11, 2009 3:05PM (EDT)

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos dropped a bombshell Sunday: In late 2007 and early 2008, staffers on John Edwards' presidential campaign came to believe the rumors he was having an affair -- and decided to sabotage him if it seemed he might win the Democratic nomination.

"Basically, if it looked like Edwards was going to win the Democratic Party nomination, they were going to sabotage his campaign, several former Edwards' staffers have told me," Stephanopoulos reported.

"They said they were Democrats first, and if it looked like Edwards was going to become the nominee, they were going to bring down the campaign."

If it's true, this is pretty amazing; perhaps even unprecedented. Of course, it could also be a bit of ass-covering from people who want to continue careers in politics and have seen the reaction to the news that Edwards went ahead and ran even though he knew his affair could leak.

But it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Some staffers may have been more loyal to the Democratic Party than to Edwards, and they had to see what news of his affair would do to Democrats' chances in 2008 if he were the nominee. Others, as Marc Ambinder notes, were brought in to the campaign by Elizabeth Edwards, not her husband, and so would have even more reason to be upset.

Update: Hadn't seen this earlier -- on Twitter, Joe Trippi, who'd been a senior political advisor to Edwards, said that the story is "Complete BS -- fantasyland -- not true."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections John Edwards Rielle Hunter War Room