John Edwards’ affair and campaign funds scandal was not tactfully dealt with using image repair strategies. It is abundantly evident that Edwards, although consistently in the public eye, has not apologized for his affair or taken responsibility for his actions.
Broken by the National Enquirer, the Edwards affair was dealt with as a public spectacle from the beginning. Battling cancer in the public eye, Elizabeth Edwards became a martyr for wives scourned by extra-marital relationships. Rielle Hunter, Edwards’ mistress, kept hidden from public scrutiny until she was clearly pregnant and Edwards was potentially the father of her child.
The Edwards’ family was rocked by the affair and posibilty of Edwards’ fathering Hunter’s child. Cate Edwards, the oldest of the Edwards’ children was put in the middle of of a family feud and made to testify in court proceedings on her father’s actions during the affair and alleged campaign funds scandal.
Releasing her words on their relationship, Hunter calls Elizabeth Edwards a “witch on wheels” and other defamatory allegations shifting blame from herself and onto Elizabeth for John’s seeking an extra-marital affair. Since Elizabeth’s passing in January of 2011, Rielle and John have been raising their daughter and maintaining a predominately negative image in public.
Choosing not to apologize and take public responsibility for his extra-marital affair while his wife was battling cancer caused John Edwards to drop out of the 2008 presidential race and left his image tarnished for years to come. Through this lit review on his image repair tactics post-affair realization, we’ll see how perceived family values and priorities can change under public scrutiny.