Why Edwards admitted paternity now

Former aide about to tell all, including allegation boss wanted him to fake paternity test

By Alex Koppelman
Published January 21, 2010 9:26PM (EST)

So John Edwards finally confessed to what everyone pretty much already knew: He's the father of Quinn Hunter, the daughter of his former girlfriend Rielle Hunter. In doing so, he also implicitly admitted that even when he confessed to the affair back in 2008, he was still lying about the relationship -- he said at the time that it had ended in 2006, but Quinn Hunter was born in February of 2008.

Why admit it now? Why not just keep clinging to the fiction, secure in the knowledge that no one believed him anyway? Well, a spokesman told Politico it was because, "There was just a lot of stuff that needed to be figured out. There were a lot of kids to talk to, which is not an easy thing ... The whole question of the child support agreement — that was what triggered this particular timing. That was the last piece."

It's certainly possible that's true. But there appears to be a much likelier explanation: Edwards' former aide Andrew Young, the one who initially claimed Quinn Hunter was his child in an attempt to shield his boss, has a tell-all book coming out soon. And one week from Friday, Young's interview with ABC News' "20/20" was scheduled to air.

During that interview, Young was apparently going to air some rather explosive accusations: For one thing, Young said, Edwards told him to "Get a doctor to fake the DNA results." For another, according to Young, "He asked me .... to steal a diaper from the baby so he could secretly do a DNA test to find out if this [was] indeed his child."


But wait, it's all OK: Because today Edwards arrived in Haiti to help with relief efforts. Surely the timing had nothing to do with his finally admitting paternity, right?

Yeah, right. The truly sad thing here is that he doesn't appear to realize how transparent stunts like this are, and how they only further suggest his anti-poverty efforts have always been less about sincerely held belief than about John Edwards.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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