John Edwards Finally Acknowledges Paternity Of Baby Daughter

In a statement to the press this morning, John Edwards has finally admitted that he's the father of Rielle Hunter's child Frances Quinn. But even now, his camp is trying to spin things in his favor.

Admitting paternity means, for Edwards, admitting that he lied last year when he said the timing of his affair with Hunter meant he couldn't be and father. He had initially said the affair took place in 2006, during a time when his wife Elizabeth's cancer was in remission. But Quinn was conceived in mid-2007, after Elizabeth's cancer had come back. "He was deceitful," says Edwards's advisor Harrison Hickman, who talked to Today's Lisa Myers this morning, presumably so Edwards could continue hiding his face in shame.

But even now, the Edwards camp seems to be involved in a sad, doomed spin cycle. Hickman told Myers, "The senator wants to say, first of all, that he is the father of Quinn. Secondly, he wants people to know that he has provided for her and will continue to provide for her, as he should, both financially and emotionally." It's as though Edwards wants a pat on the back for supporting his own child — as though, even after his increasingly ludicrous lies (of a photo of himself with Quinn, he once said, "I don't know who that baby is"), he hopes to convince America that he's really a good guy.

The timing of his admission appeared calculated to preempt a February 2 book by Andrew Young, the former aide who initially claimed to be Quinn's father. But Hickman claims the confession has nothing to do with the book. Asked why Edwards waited so long, he offers a lame excuse: "The reason it has taken so long for it to become public is that there were a lot of people involved. There are a lot of adults involved, there are a number of families involved, and there are also a lot of kids involved." Spin aside, Edwards's career in politics is obviously over, and now that he has admitted what became obvious long ago, maybe the American people, at least, can quit being involved.

Edwards Says He's Father Of Rielle Hunter's Child [AP, via Brattleboro Reformer]
EXCLUSIVE: John Edwards Admitting Paternity Of Love Child [Radar Online]
Edwards Admits Fathering Child With Mistress [MSNBC]
John Edwards Admits Fathering Hunter's Child [MSNBC]