ABC's Roberts: Elizabeth Edwards an 'Icon of Strength'

August 11th, 2008 3:04 PM

Is one who conspires to conceal a husband’s affair really "an icon of strength"? ABC’s Deborah Roberts seems to think so. In a story about women who fell victim to a cheating husband, Roberts segued into the segment with the news of John Edwards’ admission.

Failing to mention that Mrs. Edwards participated in her husband’s lie throughout his entire 2008 presidential run, Roberts portrayed the first lady contender as choosing "to weather yet another storm with her husband," comparing it to their experience of their son’s death. Roberts even glowed over Mrs. Edwards’ liberal activism as she continued "championing causes like universal healthcare, America’s war on poverty, and cancer research."

Digging back to the past Roberts played an archived 1992 sound bite of Hillary Clinton defending her husband. Deborah Roberts underscored "how hard it was for Hillary Clinton when her husband was running for president." Of course, there was no mention of Senator Clinton’s famous 1998 "vast right wing conspiracy" interview.

The relevant transcript is below.


DIANE SAWYER: Now, back to Senator Edwards and Mrs. Edwards. It's one thing to be a wife in public life and stay with your husband after he admits an affair. But so many of you sent us thousands of e-mails discussing the topic and what it's like when your person in private life, and ABC's Deborah Roberts decided to go out and find three women who wanted to tell you their stories.

DEBORAH ROBERTS: Three women who know the pain very well Diane. And devastation and outrage are the two words that we keep hearing from women on these kinds of scandals. And while most are quick to acknowledge that it's probably not their place to judge Elizabeth Edwards' apparent decision to keep her marriage and family together, so many say hers is a pain they know or fear too well.


FORMER SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): They're bringing their wife to stand beside and show their support. Elizabeth didn't do anything wrong. I not only doesn't ask her to be here, I asked her not to be here.

ROBERTS: But Elizabeth did choose to weather yet another storm with her husband, just as she had when they lost their first son. Just as she had on the grueling campaign trail even after her cancer returned, championing causes like universal health care, America's war on poverty, and cancer research.

ELIZABETH EDWARDS: We agree on a lot of things, including the need for the federal government to get its hands out of its pockets on cancer research and start coming to the plate because we're at the precipice of a lot of discoveries.

ROBERTS: In the aftermath of John Edwards' admission of an affair, Elizabeth is standing strong and by his side as she notes in a recent blog entry. "Our family has been through a lot. Some caused by nature, some caused buy human weakness. But we have stood with one another through them all." An icon of strength, the plight of a political wife wronged is all too familiar.


SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY): I'm sitting here because I love him and I respect him and I honor what he's been through and what we've been through together. And you know, if that's not enough for people, then heck, don't vote for him.

ROBERTS: We saw how hard it was for Hillary Clinton when her husband was running for president. And the cycle continues, public confessions of private betrayals. Remember New York's Governor Spitzer?

FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR ELIOT SPITZER: The remorse I feel will always be with me.


ROBERTS: And yet, even though their spouses strayed, they stayed, prompting so many to wonder why.