MCCLATCHY: RALEIGH, N.C. — Former Sen. John Edwards has a deadline to save his spot on the national stage. With two weeks to go before their national convention, a number of Democrats are saying that Edwards needs to publicly address National Enquirer stories that have alleged he had an affair with a campaign worker and fathered her baby. If Edwards fails to clear up the story in short order, he risks party officials deciding not to have him speak or, if they do, creating a distraction from a week focused on Barack Obama accepting the nomination.
“If there is not an explanation that’s satisfactory, acceptable and meets high moral standards, the answer is ‘no,’ he would not be a prime candidate to make a major address to the convention,” said Don Fowler, a former Democratic National Committee chair. Democrats gather in Denver on Aug. 25 and Edwards, as the 2004 vice presidential nominee and a presidential candidate who won delegates this year, ordinarily would be locked in as a speaker.
“He absolutely does have to (resolve it). If it’s not true, he has to issue a stronger denial,” said Gary Pearce, the Democratic strategist who ran Edwards’ 1998 Senate race. “It’s a very damaging thing … The big media has tried to be responsible and handle this with kid gloves, but it’s clearly getting ready to bust out. If it’s not true, he’s got to stand up and say, ‘This is not true. That is not my child and I’m going to take legal action against the people who are spreading these lies.’ It’s not enough to say, ‘That’s tabloid trash,'” Pearce said. MORE
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