Congressman Bruce Braley says the extramarital affair Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards now admits to was not only a betrayal of his family, but of the people who supported his bid for the White House. Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, backed Edwards in the 2004 and 2008 Iowa Caucuses.
"I’ve talked to many other Edwards supporters who gave all that they could to help him win the Iowa Caucuses and it’s just very, very disappointing," Braley says. "I feel very bad for Elizabeth (Edwards) and the children and I know that this is a very difficult time in their lives."
Braley, who — like Edwards — is a trial lawyer, is serving his first term in congress. A month before the Braley became the first member of Iowa’s congressional delegation to publicly announce he was backing a candidate in the race for the White House. Braley spent a lot of time on the campaign trail with Edwards in the month before the January 3rd Iowa Caucuses and Braley had no inkling of the affair.
"I rode on the campaign bus with the Edwards family and I saw the affection that was shared between (John and Elizabeth Edwards). 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," Braley said. "That was the experience that I had with them during the heart of the Iowa Caucuses."
A Des Moines Register reporter interjected: "Now you’re disappointed."
Braley replied: "Yes."
Braley made an appearance at the Iowa State Fair Wednesday afternoon and reporters asked for his reaction to Edwards’ admission that he’d had an affair. Braley said he was "incredibly disappointed" in Edwards. "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 now that this was lurking in the background, just a great sense of frustration and disappointment," Braley said.
Braley, who endorsed Barack Obama in April, discounts the idea advanced by supporters of Hillary Clinton that she would have won the Caucuses if Edwards’ affair had been public and he’d dropped out of the race. "I’m more interested in focusing on the future than looking back to the Caucuses that are over and behind us," Braley said. "…Speculating on how that could have impacted the Iowa Caucuses is not a productive thing for the party at this time."
The National Enquirer published a story in December, charging that Edwards had had a mistress and the Enquirer’s reporters confronted Edwards in July in a California hotel where the woman was staying. Edwards recently admitted during an interview with ABC News that he had an affair with the woman, although Edwards denies he is the father of her child.