Everybody Hates John Edwards

John Edwards (Getty Images) and Rielle Hunter

2008 was a bad year for John Edwards.

It was one thing when the National Enquirer was speculating that Edwards was carrying on an extramarital affair. It was another thing all together when one of the tabloid's photographers caught him leaving his Rielle Hunter's Los Angeles hotel room at 3 am and Edwards responded by ducking into the nearest men's room and holding the door shut.

That's how it all came crashing down for the smooth-talking young politician with the pearly whites and a truckload of pathos (courtesy his loving, cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth). One day he was a Democratic rockstar who seemed like a prime candidate for Vice President. The next, he was the most hated man in the party.

On August 7, 2008, John Edwards admitted to Bob Woodruff of ABC News that he had been carrying on an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, but he denied being the father of her infant daughter. Hunter left the "Father" portion of the girl's birth certificate blank, and Elizabeth Edwards herself has said she doesn't know who the father is, but the general consensus is that it's probably John.

The revelation was particularly damaging to John, whose wife made a point of campaigning with him. For many voters, Elizabeth, who has suffered from breast cancer since 2004, humanized John, and their romance was something John spoke about publicly.

Elizabeth Edwards (Getty Images)
So when his affair with Rielle Hunter became public knowledge, he didn't just look like a hypocrite. He looked like the biggest asshole on the planet.

"How could he cheat on his poor, cancer-stricken wife?" was the question on millions of voters' lips.

It's important to remember that John Edwards had a shot in the primaries. At one point, he had a chance edge out both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. If he had, there's a good chance John McCain would have been elected president. Edwards wouldn't have just ruined his own political career, like Gary Hart, he would have handed the GOP 4 more years in the White House.

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