Edwards’ affair a “betrayal” of his supporters, says Braley

Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrast from Waterloo who is seeking a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, was campaigning on the Iowa State Fairgrounds today and stopped to answer reporters’ questions.

I asked him what his reaction had been when he learned Democcratic presidential candidate John Edwards had admitted to having an extramarital affair.  "Incredible disappointment," Braley began.  "I’ve talked to many other Edwards supporters who gave all thatl they could to help him win the Iowa Caucuses and it’s just very, very disapointing.  I feel very bad for Elizabeth and the children and I know this is a very difficult time in their lives, but I also feel — I think David Bonoir said it best — a sense of betrayal about all of us who put so much of ourselves into that campaign and knowing that now this was lurking in the background, just a great sense of frustration and disappointment."

Braley said he had no hint this kind of a bombshell would drop, nor had he heard before the Caucuses of the National Enquirer story published in December.  "I never heard about the National Enquirer story until probably about three months ago.  It’s not a publication that I read with any regularity."

Braley, a trial lawyer by trade — just like Edwards, backed Edwards for president in 2004 and 2008.  Braley was the first Iowa congressman to endorse a presidential candidate in the ’08 cycle.  Braley isn’t willing to play the "she would have won" game that Clinton folks have started, charging that Clinton could have won the Caucuses had the affair been public knowledge before January 3, 2008 and Edwards was out of the race.  "I’m more interested in focusing on the future than looking back to the Caucuses," Braley told reporters.   "…Speculating on how that could have impacted the Iowa Caucuses is not a productive thing for the party at this time."

Braley spent a lot of time on the campaign trail with Edwards.  "I rode on the campaign bus with the Edwards family and I saw the affection that was shared between then.  I saw, when the kids would come out with sheet music that had Christmas carols on it and the family would be singing while the bus was traveling down Highway 20 — that was the experience that I had with them during the heart of the Iowa Caucuses."

"Now you’re disappointed," William Petroski, a reporter for the Des Moines Register interjected.

"Yes," Braley replied.

UPDATE: here’s the Radio Iowa story.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.