Confronting John over his infidelities, she rips shirt and screams "Look at me!"
Oh. My. Goodness. From Harry Reid's Negro comment to Bill Clinton's most recent sexual indiscretions, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime is proving to be one hot book.
Most fascinating so far are the intimate, brutal details of John and Elizabeth Edwards' marriage on the campaign trail, excerpted in all its soap opera drama in New York magazine this week in an article entitled "Saint Elizabeth and the Ego Monster." John Edwards' Love-Child Hush-Money Cover-Up
Here are some of the juiciest details about the affair:
Women liked John Edwards for his un-pretty, plump wife Elizabeth: "Even before the cancer, she was among her husband's greatest political assets. In one focus group conducted by Hickman in Edwards's Senate race, voters trashed him as a pretty-boy shyster—until they saw pictures of Elizabeth, four years his senior. "I like that he's got a fat wife," one woman said. "I thought he'd be married to a Barbie or a cheerleader."
But campaign staffers saw her as an "abusive, intrusive, paranoid, condescending, crazywoman": "With her husband, she could be intensely affectionate or brutally dismissive. At times subtly, at times blatantly, she was forever letting John know that she regarded him as her intellectual inferior. She called her spouse a "hick" in front of other people and derided his parents as rednecks. One time, when a friend asked if John had read a certain book, Elizabeth burst out laughing. "Oh, he doesn't read books," she said. "I'm the one who reads books."
John Edwards was an 'ego monster': "Some of Edwards's advisers dismissed his outsize confidence as pro forma, but others took it as a sign of something deeper—a burgeoning megalomania." Asked Elizabeth, "Don't you think he"s kind of messianic?"
And Rielle Hunter, a nut bag: "There was nothing legit, however, about Hunter"s behavior. It was freaky, wildly inappropriate, and all too visible. She flirted outlandishly with every man she met. She spouted New Age babble, rambled on about astrology and reincarnation, and announced to people she had just met, "I'm a witch." But mostly, she fixated on Edwards. She told him that he had "the power to change the world," that "the people will follow you." She told him that he could be as great a leader as Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. She told him, "You're so real. You just need to get your staff out of your way." She reinforced everything he already believed, told him everything he wanted to hear.
On the webisodes that Rielle Filled of John: "It was filled with so much flirty banter and overfamiliarity between her and Edwards that it made Baldick cringe. When he and his wife watched it at home in bed on Baldick's laptop, she turned to him at once and said, Oh, my God! He"s f****** her!"
After the initial Rielle Hunter story broke, Elizabeth publicly exposed herself breasts to husband, campaign staff: "At the terminal, the couple fought in the passenger waiting area. They fought outside in the parking lot. Elizabeth was sobbing, out of control, incoherent. As their aides tried to avert their eyes, she tore off her blouse, exposing herself. "Look at me!" she wailed at John and then staggered, nearly falling to the ground."
Many on Edwards staff suspected the affair, several confronted him, three resigned, and a few thought of leaking the story to the media: Tentatively, unhappily, but soberly and seriously, the Edwards old guard began discussing their obligation to the party to come forward with what they knew. When should they leak the truth to the Washington Post or the New York Times? Which of them would make the call?
Elizabeth threatened to walk: "On more than one occasion, she announced to the staff that she could no longer speak in public on her husband's behalf or stay in the same hotel with him. Once, in the middle of the night, she woke up a trip director and commanded, Get me out of here! I'm not campaigning for this a**hole another day!"
Source: An Excerpt From John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's 'Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime' — New York Magazine
Photo via Fame Pictures.