December 19, 2007

The absence of...

... news.

Well, it was there before....

And the blogosphere goes wild.

UPDATE: When I originally posted, the first link came up with a picture of John Edwards, and no story. But now the story is clearly up and featured on the National Enquirer's home page. The paper may be trashy, but they are as susceptible to a libel suit as anyone. Edwards is a public figure, which limits his capacity to bring a lawsuit, but the paper also names another person. Read it for yourself.

ADDED: "Edwards' lawyer called The ENQUIRER and denied the well-coiffed Democratic candidate is the...." The well-coiffed candidate...

158 comments:

Jill said...

Got libel, Madam Law Professor?

Ann Althouse said...

I'm not saying it's true, Jill. I'm pointing out that the blogosphere is going wild over a rumor and noting that the Enquirer pulled down its story. These are events.

John Z. said...

Click on the "Breaking News" tab and you'll see the story. It's still there.

Fen said...

Stupid hit job. I don't care if Edwards had an extramarital affair or a baby from it. Poor form to play this card while his wife is fighting cancer. Prayers out to her.

Although I'm sure FOX will add this titilating bit to their usual Chandra-Lacy-Natalie underwear sniffing rubberneck. They've become the entertainment news channel. What a waste of our first right-leaning MSM broker of information.

Simon said...

I thought we were told a few weeks ago that there was a sex scandal coming down the pike involving a leading candidate. If this is it, it turns out that it was half-true at most: not so much leading candidate as also ran!

L. E. Lee said...

This is pretty ugly rumormongering. Anyone with any class and professionalism will stay away from it.

Henry said...

If you read the story you come across this phrase:

"the well-coifed Democratic candidate"

That's a fact he cannot deny.

John Z. said...

Oh yes, how terrible. Please have some respect, and ignore the possibility that John may have knocked up his paramour while his wife was dying of cancer.

Roger said...

My conspiratorial mind looks at the ABCWAPO Iowa poll today that has Edwards on top and this story hits--hmmmmmmm. Somehow Rove must be behind this. What Fen said...

Eli Blake said...

But there IS news today. The Eisenhower Executive Building, which houses the Vice President's office is on fire.

My explanations for how it happened:

1. With the clock running down on the Bush administration, they were going to build a bonfire to burn all those documents on Cheney's energy committee hearings, but with his penchant for secrecy he suggested that they hold it indoors.

2. After all those years of the CIA trying to get him with those exploding cigars, Fidel Castro finally got his revenge. He sent a box of them to Cheney, and Cheney, not knowing who they were from, lit one.

3. We now know where the 'secret, undisclosed underground location' is, and it's a hell of a long way down under the Eisenhower building, and quite hot down there.

4. Speaking of the devil, Dick Cheney forgot to extinguish himself this morning when he entered his office.

5. The ghost of Ike is sending a message that he doesn't like what Cheney and his crew have done to the military, the country and the Republican party.

6. With Congress withholding funding for Iraq, the Bush administration took out one of those risky subprime mortgages on the building and now they are also trying to collect the insurance money.

7. It is sort of cramped in there, so it was inevitable that they'd waterboard somebody too close to an electrical outlet.

8. We will find out who started the fire, because Scooter Libby will tell Bob Novak.

9. They just made the building non-smoking, so it started with Cheney sneaking a smoke in the bathroom. He accidentally caught the toilet paper on fire.

10. They experienced a short circuit in an electrical cattle prod during an interrogation session. After it melted one set of testicles, the fire really took off.

Gretta Van S said...

It's a new low here at Althouse -- calling attention to a "story" so baseless that the National Inquirer pulled it. But that doesn't stop our fearless professor from adding fuel to the fire. Hey, it's an "event" she reasons, lamely. And it will get her more hits!!

Libel is an "event," too, professor. So is lameness.

Roger said...

Apologies: not an ABCWAPO poll but this one: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/12/18/524511.aspx

Roger said...

Methinks the Edwards camp must have some bots monitoring the blogosphere for their war room or equivalent thereof.....Jill and Gretta are apparently on the job and both using the term libel as if they knew what it meant.

Simon said...

Eli, I wondered how long it was going to take for someone to suggest "Bush did it"...

Gretta, why don't you go bitch to Memeorandum instead, since they're giving it a lot more coverage. You trite, cowardly little hack with delusions of adequacy. I'd say that goes for Jill too if I weren't certain you aren't both the same man.

L. E. Lee said...

I did not know that the National Inquirer was now considered a reputable news source. Does the law school have a subscription?

This story strikes me as "Lets call him a 'pig F*cker' and make him deny it." hit job.

Taking part in spreading it is quite irresponsible.

rhhardin said...

Edwards put it out there to squelch the gay rumor.

Eli Blake said...

11. Dick Cheney is known to sometimes be a volcanic hothead. So this morning his temper got the better of him and the fire started in the room he was in due to spontaneous combustion.

12. The Vice President's answer to global warming: burn documents that were left in the office by the previous occupant.

13. On April 10, 2003 Dick Cheney said that the rioters who were burning all those government buildings in Baghdad were just 'blowing off steam.' So with tension rising in the Vice President's office, maybe he thought it was time to do the same.

14. With Congress passing the new energy bill, oilman Dick Cheney is doing his own research to try and develop a cleaner burning fuel.

15. While hunting quail in his office, Dick Cheney misfired with his shotgun and hit an electrical fixture.

mcg said...

It's in a different place now, but it is still there.

Ann Althouse said...

roger: "Methinks the Edwards camp must have some bots monitoring the blogosphere..."

I'm sure it does, but Jill has her own blog which you can get to by clicking on her name, so she's taking responsibility for her statements. Gretta, on the other hand....

Look, the word is already out, but these threats about "libel" are shameful. It doesn't work on me, because I know the law, but obviously you mean to scare and push back other bloggers who dare to talk about what is in the news. Squelching free speech. You should rethink your approach, Jill. I think you're embarrassing yourself.

Eli Blake said...

Simon:

In jest of course. Hopefully nobody is seriously injured. I already heard that Cheney himself is OK, otherwise I wouldn't be making him the butt of so many jokes.

L. E. Lee said...

It is not about free speech Ann. It is about personal decency and not being so quick to engage in gutter talk.

This is a shameful story. A magnanimous person would not be salivating over it.

Fen said...

L. E. Lee: I did not know that the National Inquirer was now considered a reputable news source.

Well, there's CBS with their fake but accurate memos. And CNN covering up Saddam's atrocities in exchange for "access". TNR fables by Beauchamp. Newseek myths about flushing the Koran. Reuters with their doctored photos. AP parroting DNC talking points verbatim. I could go on and on but I stopped keeping count.

National Enquirer is not so much worse.

AllenS said...

Those were great, Eli.

mcg said...

It's a new low here at Althouse -- calling attention to a "story" so baseless that the National Inquirer pulled it.

Apparently, so they could re-tool the link and put it on the front page!

Roger said...

jeweejewish = trademark dave?

mcg said...

Not a bad guess!

Fen said...

Jill: I would give anything to have a Lesbian couple move in next door instead of the toothless redneck/nigger/wetback that lives there now.

Ah yes, another ignorant bigot complaining about free speech. Why am I no longer surprised?

mcg said...

This is a shameful story.

The nature of the evidence is irrelevant; it's the seriousness of the charge that matters. Isn't it?

Eli Blake said...

To be honest, I'm pretty skeptical about this story in the first place. Edwards was thoroughly vetted by the Jesse Helms machine when he ran for the Senate against a Helms protege in 1998. Very few organizations have been as effective at digging dirt on an opponent as Helms.' Then, when he ran for Vice President with Kerry four years ago, Edwards' past was again scoured with a fine toothed comb looking for any hint of scandal.

I'd be more inclined to believe this if it were someone who came out of nowhere and hasn't been so thoroughly parsed in the past, but I am more than skeptical about this story. It sounds like a made up story to me.

The question is: with Edwards running neck and neck with Clinton and Obama just on the eve of the Iowa caucus (but also the only first tier Democrat to lead in head to head matchups with Republicans in some otherwise red states, this S.U.S.A. survey of Oklahoma is a prime example), who would want to discredit him now? The suspects are many and varied.

Fen said...

Sock Puppet: Squelching free speech?... you're a shallow misogynist with a silly blog, not a major news organization.

Free speech is only for news organizations? Ask your college for a refund.

L. E. Lee said...

mcg wrote:

"The nature of the evidence is irrelevant; it's the seriousness of the charge that matters. Isn't it?"

If that is the rationalization that lets you look in the mirror in the morning, so be it. Pretty sad though.

mcg said...

I'm sorry you missed the reference.

Bruce Hayden said...

It is not about free speech Ann. It is about personal decency and not being so quick to engage in gutter talk.

This is a shameful story. A magnanimous person would not be salivating over it.


Sorry, it is big news, and it has little to do with whether or not Edwards has that love child or not. What is interesting is not the actual story, but the back story.

This is the October Surprise of the primary season, unless there is one waiting for Obama too. Suggesting that it was Rove behind it is either extreme BDS or an attempt at humor (or both).

My view is that the timing, the claim, the lack of empathy for the Edwards family (esp. given his wife's cancer), etc. all point in one direction - the Clinton campaign.

Remember, it was Team Clinton that really perfected the October Surprise. And how many here believe that Sen. Clinton is so empathetic that she would not do something like this? Just ask yourself, which candidate running for election, and most likely on the Democratic side given the timing, is ruthless enough to put Mrs. Edwards through this?

Roger said...

Bruce: It was me! I confess I mentioned Rove--it was an attempt at humor because every one knows Rove is the anti-christ and is heavily involved in the democratic party primaries!

I think your analysis is close to the mark--esp since its a clinton crony who owns NE

Fen said...

who would want to discredit him now?

Edwards is really not on the GOPs radar, he's a lightweight that will stumble if he wins the nom. If anything, gains by Edwards or Obama destroy Hillary's aura of inevitability and recast the entire race. So there's little interest from the Right in damaging him at this time.

I disagree with Kaus. Smells more like Hillary to me. She has more to lose if Edward's wins his all-in bet on Iowa.

Also, an easily discredited rumor of an affair serves as a platform for Hillary to spin when another Jones/Wiley steps forward.

Doyle said...

Mickey Kaus is a scumbag for flacking this, and you're a second-order scumbag for following along.

These are events.

What are, Ann? The Enquirer headlines? The Mickey Kaus posts?

I wonder which you have less capacity for: critical thinking or honesty about what a party hack you've become.

Fen said...

mcg: "The nature of the evidence is irrelevant; it's the seriousness of the charge that matters. Isn't it?"

Lee: If that is the rationalization that lets you look in the mirror in the morning, so be it. Pretty sad though.

You missed the irony. MCG is merely quoting the statement routinely used by the Left when pushing a fake GOP scandal. The mirror is yours, not his.

Doyle said...

Edwards is really not on the GOPs radar

Well if so they're even dumber than they appear. He polls the best in head-to-heads and it's not even close.

Trooper York said...

I am sorry but the link was somewhat confusing. Did John Edwards get Jamie Lynn Spears pregnant? That can't be good.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Somehow Rove must be behind this."

Why, yes! Of course! The Republicans would be sitting around, deciding the right time to bring down a candidate who is leading is in the Democratic primary, so that they get to face a candidate they have nothing on to bring down in the general election!

Brilliant!

Try the more simple and significantly more probable explanation. It isn't Rove. It is a rival Democratic campaign or supporter of a rival Democratic campaign.

Trooper York said...

But maybe if the running for president thing doesn't work out he can put out a rap record like K-fred.

Fen said...

Doyle: Well if so they're even dumber than they appear. He polls the best in head-to-heads and it's not even close.

Well then, I hope you guys can get him nominated. Please. Of the three, Edwards is the weakest, despite what your popularity polls say today.

Why, yes! Of course!

He dropped the sarcasm tags. Its hard to parody the BDS Left these days.

Roger said...

Doyle: however you slice or parse this, it does appear that some nasty ole democratic campaign is behind this leak--politics of personal destruction and all that. The republicans don't have a dog in the Iowa fight and dont have to get their hands dirty. Me" I suspect the Republicans would love to see Edwards get the nomination. (other than Gravel or Kucinich of course)

mcg said...

Here's my theory. Senator Larry Craig was rebuffed by John Edwards in an airport bathroom, and this is his revenge.

Fen said...

Doyle: Mickey Kaus is a scumbag for flacking this, and you're a second-order scumbag for following along.

Does that make you a third-order scumbag for adding to the post count?

rhhardin said...

scoured with a fine toothed comb

A broad brush might have been used.

Fen said...

Banned Sock Puppet: She's not Peter Zenger, she's a silly woman with a blog.

Again with the exceptions to free speech.

But you know that, Fen old horse...

Careful now. You are "new" here, not some banned troll who knows me.

Roger said...

Thought experiment: replace John Edwards with George W. Bush in the enquirer story--I KNOW we would have the same amount of outrage over the stories release from those on the sinister side of the blogosphere (sinister in heraldic terms, please)

mcg said...

Here's another theory. It was John Edwards who suggested to Paul Anka that he cover Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit. Die hard Paul Anka fans were gobsmacked. And you just don't do that to Paul Anka fans. We are witness to their response.

Doyle said...

however you slice or parse this, it does appear that some nasty ole democratic campaign is behind this leak

Leak? What are you talking about? This is just a ridiculous Enquirer story that's made its way through the Drudge-Kaus-Wingnuttosphere-Althouse gastrointestinal tract.

If this weren't a bogus rumor, and a rival campaign actually had evidence of it, you think they wouldn't leak it to any real reporters?

And if, entering Mickey Kaus's fantasyworld for a minute, Ron Burkle put the story in the Enquirer to help Hillary, the target would have been Obama.

Does that make you a third-order scumbag for adding to the post count?

No because I'm objecting to it having been flacked. Although I take your point about how by my posting here I add to Ann's comment count, page views, etc. I've thought about that, believe me. I just think my posts are consistently critical enough to make up for it.

mcg said...

Or was it Van Halen's Jump? I can't keep my rumors straight.

Roger said...

Doyle: Obama's turn is coming--first the kindergarten story, then the cocaine story....and if you mean wingnuttosphere to apply to right wing sites, the only thing that might be on those sites is bit of schadenfruede--This is an effort by some nasty democrat however much you are trying to spin it.

Fen said...

Doyle: This is just a ridiculous Enquirer story that's made its way through the Drudge-Kaus-Wingnuttosphere-Althouse gastrointestinal tract.

Actually, according to Kaus, this story has been bouncing around in back channels for some six months.

Aren't you at all suspicious of the timing?

Bruce Hayden said...

Roger,

Sorry about the accusation there about BDS. I don't follow everyone on this blog that closely, and there is always a bit of BDS here, or even CDS (C for Cheney).

For those who still think that it is the evil Republicans behind this, there are none of them so secure in the nomination right now that they would be wasting their time going after Edwards.

Maybe Edwards does poll well against Republican candidates. But he is still more vulnerable than the other two top tier candidates to their attacks. If he does poll so well, it is because he hasn't been really attacked yet, as he would be, should he get the nomination. He has no relevant experience, is a lightweight intellectually, and in particular against the other two big Democrats and most of the top tier Republicans. Besides, his claims to be advocating for the second America are easy to combat by showing pictures of his house, etc., and reminding everyone about how he got rich and who ended up paying for it.

I still contend that the candidate who most worries the Republicans is Hillary. The reason is her discipline, ruthlessness, skill, money, and machine.

But Obama is also a worry, though likely less of one. He is bright, articulate (though a bit flaky), nice, and probably most importantly, Black. Esp. the later two are likely to make it hard for Republicans to effectively attack him, should he get the nomination.

Trooper York said...

I still can't find the link. When I googled John Edwards/Spears, the only citation was for Britney. It seems that both John and Britney flashed their vaginas when they got into limos. Allegedly.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that Roger is right. Obama is also getting hit right now under the belt, and putting the two together, it sure smells to me like the Clinton machine.

mcg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

Hmm. Helluva a sword Andrew Young is falling on if the kid's NOT his. He's got a wife and young kids, too, you know. While this sucks for the Edwards camp, it really, really, really sucks (a phrase you will almost NEVER see or hear me use) for Mrs. Young--whose name the Enquirer article uses! Yuck!--and their young children. Whether it's true or false about Young being the father (which he says he is).

Boy, is this godawful.

mcg said...

Since when is making fun of Ann's BS an attack on free speech in general?

The point, oh Dense Trademarked One, is that accusations of libel are no less silly just because they are directed at a "silly woman with a blog."

And since when does Ann posing as a free speech martyr when made fun of

For one thing I hardly think "Got libel, Madam Law Professor" constitutes making fun of anyone. Heck, you're even better at it than that.

But what I'm not seeing is any sort of suggestion on Ann's part that she's some sort of "martyr". Methinks the only thing overinflated here is your need for attention. You should have taken your ban like a man and stayed away.

Doyle said...

there is always a bit of BDS here

Bush is more hated than Nixon, so there's a little BDS pretty much everywhere you go. A better diagnosis might be Stupidity Deficiency Syndrome.

Fen said...

Since when is making fun of Ann's BS an attack on free speech in general?

There's a difference between mocking Ann's views and attempting to bully/browbeat her into silence. She routinely gets the latter when the Left finds her guilty of heresy.

Besides, you're the one who made the distinction between Ann's blog and news organizations re free speech. You appear to believe that citizens don't have the same 1st ammendment rights. You added qualifiers and exceptions to it.

Roger said...

Bruce: add to the mix of timing and new Edwards poll numbers, the warm hearted folks with whom HRC has surrounded herself--Clintonistas like Sid Blumenthal and James "20 dollar trailer park" Carville, along with the owner of the NE--I would be shocked to think they would do something like this. Couldnt possibly have crossed their minds. Too busy getting HRCs Christmas message together.

Ann Althouse said...

L. E. Lee said..."It is not about free speech Ann. It is about personal decency and not being so quick to engage in gutter talk. This is a shameful story. A magnanimous person would not be salivating over it."

The "it" I'm talking about is Jill and Gretta's trying to scare me (ridiculous) and others with a lawsuit. I consider that shameful. As for reporting the story and linking to the reports when they have completely broken out into widespread discussion, you can say that that is wrong, but spare me the crap about lawsuits. I call bullshit on that. You're going to want that free speech later, so Jill and Gretta should rethink their stupid, repressive approach.

Now, am I "salivating" over the story? No. I have not chosen a candidate for 2008. I am an observer, and this is part of what is happening, and I damned well mean to observe it.

And "jeweejewish" -- you are a banned commenter. Get the hell out and don't come back. You are in bad faith.

rossi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Roger: I would be shocked to think they would do something like this. Couldnt possibly have crossed their minds. Too busy getting HRCs Christmas message together.

Thats another good point re Hillary's baggage. Even if she's not guilty of planting this, her record comes back to incriminate her. Like getting away with a dozen bank robberies and then being collared later for a heist you had no part in. Justice?

Trooper York said...

Hey, Andrew Young just admitted that he fathered Melissa Etherigde's baby. David Crosby is really pissed.

rossi said...

I wish you'd avoid the temptation of the simple linking and calling them blogposts, a la Glenn Reynolds. I like to read this blog, Ann, because you dive into analysis (or photojournalism) with your own spin.

Just putting simple links up (even in place of full sentences) seems lazy (like Glenn) and I frankly bypass most of these. I stopped reading Instapundit because I don't have the patience/time/bandwidth to open page after page just to find out that what the "HEH" is was nothing more than drivel about the four stroke lawn mower engine over at Popular Mechanics. I also found that I can find most of those articles on my own and it's actually compelling writing that drives me to a blog. Well, that and hilarious comments.

I hope the recent proliferation of these links-as-posts isn't a pattern on this blog. I think I even saw you post one of those "heh" links (a word which, in and of itself, should result in a warning letter from Reynold's his colleagues over in the UT English dept.). My plea: Don't succumb!

Just my humble .02 (to join the rest of the humble thoughts appearing in the comments here today)

edited because I hit publish before preview

madawaskan said...

Honestly I hate to type cast here but you can almost bet they are Liberal when they consider "free speech" to be a right of the big group the "news media" rather than a right of the

INDIVIDUAL.

And here is another thing I'm going to say both this gal and Jamie Lynn Spears are having the baby-there's something to be said about that because usually the something said about them leads a lot of young women to make other choices.

The Observer Effect...

Heisenberg or Hawthorne?

Trooper York said...

Andrew Young was just on Air America and admitted that he fathered three out of the four orphans that Angelina Jolie has adopted. As well as Jodie Foster's kid, two of Michael Jackson's, Suki Cruise and this years winner of the Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro! When he was leaving the studio he was overheard repeating "Luke, I am you’re father." Tim Russert could not be reached for comment.

madawaskan said...

John Edwards:

He who lives by the hair dies by the hare.

Simon said...

Eli - yeah, I know... Sorry. I was getting ready to leave to go to the dentist and was already pissed at Gretta/Jill's bullshit. Just a little on edge. Didn't mean to take it out on you.

Doyle - no credibility. You have no credibility whatsoever to criticize anyone about anything, to make any kind of assertion until you answer the questions posed here. Don't hijack this thread by answering here here, don't hijack this thread by arguing about this, just either go back to that thread and answer the questions, or leave until you're minded to. You can call me all the names you like, but you're going to answer or you're going to become even more of a laughing stock than you already have done. You who snidely criticizes others for doubting something when you yourself have no answer to a criticism that destroys the theory. How dare you criticize anyone, least of all Ann.

reader_iam said...

Hey, Andrew Young just admitted that he fathered Melissa Etherigde's baby. David Crosby is really pissed.

Well, OK, I get the point. Who knows what's really going on? But I find this to be the most interesting part of the story, because of the oddness, and because it potentially speaks many more volumes in the area of ethics etc. than a simple affair, baby or no baby.

If Young is NOT the father, and he did NOT say he was, then I think the Enquirer potentially might have a problem, depending on specifics.

If he IS the father and he DID say he is, then his personal failing (he's not a candidate for office, remember) and his family's pain and tragedy has been very much cynically used by who ever is behind the priming, leaking and now pumping of this story.

If he is NOT the father (and knows it) but says he IS--well, WTF? Why would he fall on this sword, taking his family along for the stab? For what? What does he get out of that? How did this chain of events come to be?

Etc. Etc. Come up with your own scenarios.

Sorry for all the mixed metaphors, but damn, this is one weird story. I can't think of one scenario that doesn't contain slime in some way, though to whom that slime should stick differs depending on which scenario is the truth.

Simon said...

Fen said...
"There's a difference between mocking Ann's views and attempting to bully/browbeat her into silence. She routinely gets the latter when the Left finds her guilty of heresy."

And it's worth adding that even when she's had public dustups with "the right" - the libertarian thing a year ago jumps to mind - I don't think the pushback has ever gotten as vicious as it routinely is from the childish Orwellian left. I've disagreed on issues and imagine I'll do so again, but I think I've always been polite or at least civil about it, something the left-leaning critics seem pathologically incapable of. They prefer ad hominem first, ad baculum second, and childish insults always.

MadisonMan said...

This would be a better story if Edwards were Jamie Lynn Spears' kid's dad.

I figure the story is true. The woman told a friend about it -- women don't lie about such things.

Trooper York said...

Simon what is ad bacala attacks? That sounds kind of fishy to me.

Simon said...

Trooper - ad baculum. Appeal to force or coercive threats, which would encompass not only physical violence but Jilly's comment (which reads, in
essence, "you'll stop talking about this if you know what's good for you").

reader_iam said...

I figure the story is true. The woman told a friend about it -- women don't lie about such things.

I'm not sure whether this is to be read straight, or as sarcasm, or in an ironic tone. (Not a criticism, MM--it's me: I sometimes have a hard time discerning your tone, and often change my mind about it. Just one of those things.)

But it's a good jumping-off point for something I sort of ducked saying earlier:

IF--a big IF--if in fact Edwards is the father and somehow got the other guy to say he's the father, and got the woman to say the other guy's the father--that would bother the living hell out of me, much more than any affair or "oopsie" pregancy ever could. I mean--then what are we to think? The guy was paid off? Was manipulated to hurt his own family that way? The woman is being paid off? Manipulated to deny the parentage of her own child? I mean, this is really, really ugly stuff. Ugly if it's not true. Ugly and horribly unethical and manipulative if it is. You know, there are some very obvious innocent bystanders, after all.

Doyle said...

I am an observer, and this is part of what is happening, and I damned well mean to observe it.

Translation: I have no choice but to promote this crap, and I intend to act haughty about doing so, too.

Keep fighting the good fight, you clown.

George said...

Huffington ran a story about a possible affair in October....

The Enquirer story is still up...they got the best Australian reporters in Florida...

A big boost to Obama.

Simon said...

(As opposed to ad bakula, which is appeal to the script of Quantum
Leap
)

John Z. said...

Ha ha. Lots of juicy new details coming out by the minute.

I say Edwards and Young should both take paternity tests, and have the results announced during the course of a Jerry Springer episode. This show is quite popular in the "other America" -- the one Edwards hopes will get him elected.

He could even advertise during the commercial breaks: "Are you a lifelong smoker? Been in a wreck? Had a disability claim denied? Had a child with a birth defect? Call the law offices of John Edwards. I will fight for you!"

Fen said...

reader_iam: But I find this to be the most interesting part of the story, because of the oddness, and because it potentially speaks many more volumes in the area of ethics etc.

Echo. Young's added twist as intriguing as sleuthing out the source of the attack on Edwards.

If he is NOT the father (and knows it) but says he IS--well, WTF? Why would he fall on this sword, taking his family along for the stab? For what?

Loyalty? I know after following Micheal Steele around Maryland last election, I came to feel so strongly about him that I would have taken a hit to keep his candidacy from being slimed. Young can reconcile with his wife later, off the record, perhaps even with Edwards dropping in to admit the truth. If this is the case, then Young's actions tell me there must be something honorable in Edwards to inspire such sacrifice.

But FTR, I don't believe the story to begin with. Edwards is not as stupid as Gary Hart. He wouldn't put his wife on center-stage and then humiliate her like that.

Trooper York said...

Thanks Simon. I thought ad bacala was rubbing your nose in really stinky fish, which is what seems to be the case here. Allegedly.

reader_iam said...

Normally, I would prefer to ignore this sort of story altogether. The problem is, if the "big IF" scenario did turn out to be true, then I DO want to know about it. Because it has HUGE ethical implications, the sort that--in my opinion--would disqualify a person from high positions of public trust. Not the affair part, or the baby part. But the manipulation, the coldness, the skullduggery--and worse--part.

Trooper York said...

The Clinton campaign has been guilty of an ad blackula attack as they have claimed that Obama is a vampire.

reader_iam said...

Young can reconcile with his wife later

Oh, yeah? And what about his kids?

That's a very dangerous game, and I think there's something very sick about someone who would play it out of "loyalty" to a politician.

YMMV.

reader_iam said...

there's = there would have to be

Simon said...

Fen said...
"Young's added twist as intriguing as sleuthing out the source of the attack on Edwards. If he is NOT the father (and knows it) but says he IS--well, WTF? Why would he fall on this sword, taking his family along for the stab? For what?

Anyone checked the FEC records of his campaign donations? His prior employment (i.e. was he ever on Edwards' payroll)? What leverage might someone in the Edwards campaign have over him? Etc. I can understand someone having a great deal of loyalty, but Edwards seems utterly devoid of the qualities that inspire it. As much as I have a visceral loathing for Barack Obama, I can understand why he would inspire that kind of loyalty, but not Edwards.

Fen said...

Oh, yeah? And what about his kids?

I don't know. How old are they?

That's a very dangerous game, and I think there's something very sick about someone who would play it out of "loyalty" to a politician. YMMV.

For my mileage, it would depend on whether Edwards is guilty or the victim of a smear.

Eli Blake said...

Madison Man:

I figure the story is true. The woman told a friend about it -- women don't lie about such things.

Boy, are you naive.

First, the source is a tabliod. Regardless of whether women lie about stuff like that, gossip writers are well known to lie about all kinds of things.

Second, for reasons I went through in my 10:24 post, there is every reason to believe that Edwards never had a zipper problem in the past. As for the very recent past (since the last time he was minutely parsed, in 2004) I'd point out that he knew he'd be running for President, and unlike Bill Clinton or Rudy Giuliani who have a long history of affairs and obviously don't have the self-control to keep their pants zipped it seems much harder to believe that a guy who has been dug through very carefully at least twice before and have the history of not doing anything, would suddenly turn stupid.

And as for women lying about stuff like that? That happens quite a bit. As I said you are quite naive if you don't think so. You want a good motive for it in this case? Edwards, who became rich as a trial lawyer, has about fifty million motives for a woman to accuse him of fathering a child, especially if she thought that his running for President might induce him to settle her claim quietly.

Fen said...

Are we paying Trooper for the comedy breaks? Nicely done btw :)

Fen said...

eli: Second, for reasons I went through in my 10:24 post, there is every reason to believe that Edwards never had a zipper problem in the past. As for the very recent past (since the last time he was minutely parsed, in 2004)... it seems much harder to believe that a guy who has been dug through very carefully at least twice before and have the history of not doing anything, would suddenly turn stupid.

Despite my contempt for Edwards, I have to agree. I would add that, having watched my father battle cancer, the will to fight is critical. Edwards would be aware [a mere 6 months ago?] that a blow like this could easily "kill" his wife. So the story just doesn't ring true. Not in his character. He's not stupid. If anything, his flawed vanity would not permit him to expose himself to such public ridicule.

Trooper York said...

Due to a recent upswing in John Edwards’s campaign in Iowa, the Clinton campaign has launched an ad baklava attack by claiming he is just so, so sweet.

Simon said...

Fen - personally, I don't care about John Edwards. My only concern's this: if he's in the race, the nutroots et fils vote will split between him and Obama, instead of consolidating, which increases the chances that Hillary will be the dem nominee. I think we can beat any of them, but if we've got to risk getting beaten by someone, I'd rather it was someone who could actually do the job.

MadisonMan said...

Where were the ad balaclava attacks done?

Eli: Hook, Line and Sinker.

Roger said...

MM: re ad balaclava: is there a Crimea, Iowa?

Trooper York said...

The Giuliani campaign has announced that once the billing records are examined and the campaign finance filings are made, that Senator Clinton will be the "well cuffed" candidate. Rudy was quoted as saying "If I can bust the Chin, I can bust the Double Chin with the leathery pouches." Mayor Giuliani’s cosmetologist could not be reached for comment.

Legal Scholarship said...

Ann watches trash TV. And what do you know, she writes a trash blog!!

I fail to ascertain any reason why I should "adapt" in any way that moves towards this kind of trash.

jeff said...

I can't stand John Edwards, but I seriously doubt this story, for the same reasons others just commented on. Unless there is actual evidence coming later it seems the only thing we know for sure is that some woman who used to work on his campaign is pregnant, that a married man who was also connected to his campaign claims responsibility and that "someone" claims the woman told her that Edwards was the father. So it comes down to an anonymous accusation. With nothing in Edwards past to suggest he has ever cheated on his wife, much less since she was diagnosed with cancer the presumption on innocence has to given to him. Whoever leaked this (assuming the anonymous person is the only evidence) did so with complete disregard of Edwards, his wife, his kids, Young, his wife, his kids, and the woman herself. Pretty crappy thing to do. Oh, and Doyle continues to be a idiot. As does the sock puppet.

jeff said...

"I fail to ascertain any reason why I should "adapt" in any way that moves towards this kind of trash"

Perhaps you could point to where someone said you had to. There is depth to this story that you ignore. Such as where it came from and who is pushing it. While I believe the story is bogus, I am very interested in where it came from. I wonder why you do not?

reader_iam said...

Simon, Young has worked on campaigns for Edwards since the late '90s. He has held such positions as director of operations and NC finance director.

Fen, the guy is 41, or thereabouts. How "young" his children are is not specified, but I'd be pretty comfortable betting we're not talking adult children here.

AJ Lynch said...

Simon said he loathes Obama. I am surprised because you seem even -keeled. Care to say why you don't like Obama?

Simon said...

AJ:
Sure: the short answer is it's because he propounds hides highly ideological and partisan judgments behind language of neutrality and bipartisanship. That is, he holds himself out as being post-political and above the partisan fray, either because he's completely disingenuous or because he lacks the intelligence and/or self awareness to understand what he's doing.

To give two examples, one general and one specific, he talks about "moving beyond the culture wars" despite giving no indication that he means anything other than "win the culture wars," and I don't know how anyone can read the statement he gave when he entered the race that "[p]olitics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions" and not feel a wave of visceral nausea and revulsion at the sheer disingenuity of it, the sheer gall of suggesting that somehow there are big problems that have platonic solutions that we could reach if only it weren't for all those horrible partisans an their big money "gumm[ing] up [the works]." It's pure fluffy, phony, Unity '08 bullsh*t.

The slightly longer answer can be found in a series of three posts linked from this one. I just find him absolutely unbearable, and let's not even get into the facially preposterous idea that he's a credible agent of change, even if one assumed the sincerity of his desire to be one. He's going around trying to sell a repackaged, reheated of the same old dead-wrong dogma and either doesn't mind lying to sell it, or (actually even worse) doesn't know that's what he's selling. There's the possibility he really sincerely believes this claptrap, believes that the old cant is in fact a new kind of politics, platonic, pristine and neutral solutions that have only eluded us because of all those grumpy old politicians. Either way, he sets off a visceral reaction of total revulsion in me. If he wins, I'm going to ask my neighbor if she'll sell me the "not my president" bumper sticker she's used during what she so charmingly calls Bush's "reign."

AJ Lynch said...

Simon:
Thanks- I will read the links, etc. Agree with some of what you say- he has a little Clinton in him I fear. And is too far left for me so far.

Pogo said...

So the choice becomes the vacant leftism of 'Change Agent' Obama or the "Scorched Earth" faux centrism of Hillary Peron, the girl with the most cake?

And on the GOP, a smarmy Huckster grabs the spotlight briefly.

Looks like another vote of mine for Rocket J. Squirrel and Moose.

AlphaLiberal said...

Whaa? The Enquirer is "susceptible to a libel suit as anyone"? Do you mean to say that the story must, then, be true?

Look, Ann, that's just flawed on so many levels. Really, if you think like that, you must also think Hillary had a love affair with an alien (my wife bought that copy and still have it).

Judas Priest this country is becoming insipid!

AlphaLiberal said...

"Henry said...

If you read the story you come across this phrase:

"the well-coifed Democratic candidate"

That's a fact he cannot deny."

Uh... I think among the candidates only Dennis Kooch and Ron Paul can deny the charge.

You think Romney's pompadour is free? Or that Reagan's was?

Reagan was such a sissy.

Simon said...

AlphaLiberal said...
"you must also think Hillary had a love affair with an alien (my wife bought that copy and still ha[s] it)."

Insert immigrant joke here.

Pogo said...

Hillary had a love affair with an alien

You are mixing up your tabloids!
That's the now defunct Weekly World news, not The Enquirer.

Acoording to the WWN, Hillary was having a love affair with P'lod, an alien with a foot-long tongue.

But 12 inches does not a ruler make.

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

Alpha: "Whaa? The Enquirer is "susceptible to a libel suit as anyone"? Do you mean to say that the story must, then, be true?"

Not "must" be true, but it's some evidence that they checked into the story. Obviously, they knew this would be big. They could still be wrong.

Fen said...

And if they are wrong, I'll bet their standards re any correction/retraction is better than that of CBS or TNR.

jeweejewish said...

Simon said...

he [Obama] holds himself out as being post-political and above the partisan fray, either because he's completely disingenuous or because he lacks the intelligence and/or self awareness to understand what he's doing.


And I repeat -- how is that the slightest bit different from any of my mockeries of Ann? It's practically word for word..

So why shouldn't you be banned as well? You know...bad faith and all that?

jeweejewish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeweejewish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcg said...

I suspect Simon might very well be banned from Obama's blog if he posted that kind of stuff repeatedly. Seems reasonable to me, it's his blog.

knoxwhirled said...

I just hope it's not true for Elizabeth's sake. I can't stand Edwards, but I wouldn't have predicted this. Esp. with the cancer thing.

jeweejewish said...


Blogger mcg said...

I suspect Simon might very well be banned from Obama's blog if he posted that kind of stuff repeatedly. Seems reasonable to me, it's his blog.


Oh, so it's really all just about Ann being incredibly thin-skinned.

Pathetic.

Simon said...

jeweejewish - because your assertion is a lie and demonstrably false. Pretty simple, really.

mcg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcg said...

No, jeweejewish, it's about you being an insufferable ass. If she were that thin-skinned she'd have banned AlphaLiberal, Doyle, and who knows who else long ago. So really, what is pathetic is your insistence on hanging around where you're simply not wanted.

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeweejewish said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

jeweejewish, why haven't you left yet?

From Inwood said...

The Enquirer was just channeling Grover Cleveland:

Ma, Ma, where’s my pa?
Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha.

From Inwood said...

This just in:

“The National Enquirer, December 19, 2007:

“Senator John Edwards said today regarding The Enquirer’s exclusive story: ‘I did not have sex with that woman.’ ”

From Inwood said...

Trooper Y
I’ve got it: your education resulted in an A. B. (Artium Baklavum, or was it Artium Balaclavum?)

Simon, please no statement, ad baculum, or ad ostendendum, or even ad recte docendum oportet. I know there is no ars atrium in my Latin

Henry said...

The National Enquirer is well known for the quality of their fact-checking. There's a reason they haven't been bankrupted by lawsuits.

So I believe every word of the Enquirer story. I believe Edwards is well coiffed. I believe Raille was wearing a black sweater and loose fitting slacks on Dec. 12. I believe the Enquirer has a source who said what they say the source said.

Do I believe the source. No.

Ann Althouse said...

Henry: "Do I believe the source. No."

So, you believe Andrew Young was accurately quoted but not that he was telling the truth? Connect the dots.

From Inwood said...

Simon

"post-political".

I like that. But they're all trying to sell us that same BS.

Fen

About your comment on the tabloidization of FOX news. Ever notice how the NYTimes, for one, declines to jump in right away on the tabloid frenzy du jour & then a day or two later sums up the then current status of the tabloid frenzy, with much disdain,& with more erudite phrasing, & perhaps some attempted in-depth analysis to something which has no depth?

Henry said...

I assume that Andrew Young is not the anonymous source. The anonymous source is the one I don't trust.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

That's a very dangerous game, and I think there's something very sick about someone who would play it out of "loyalty" to a politician. YMMV.

For my mileage, it would depend on whether Edwards is guilty or the victim of a smear.

Can you see why that's actually non-responsive, especifically in terms of our exchange and especially given the details of my comments?

reader_iam said...

Totally trivial, but: I HATE that copying doesn't pick up typeface designations. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

I work with copy all of the time, and I guess I'm spoiled by virtue of what I'm doing and how, but I just do not have to worry about that, and so it's hard to shift gears, and remember that I need to re-add bolding, italicizing, & etc. ESPECIALLY and most PARTICULARLY when I'm not getting paid for it.

/bullshit, whiny, trivial mini-rant.

From Inwood said...

Eli Blake

Sent your first list about the Ex Office fire to all my friends.

Regards

titusballs said...

Well I think we can all agree that at least he is not gay.

I thought he was gay. Coulter told us he was a faggot so maybe he wanted to prove that he wasn't a gay.


This is typical behavior of liberals and democrats though. Their family values that they promote is obviously a sham.

Revenant said...

It seems unlikely that Edwards would have had an affair while campaigning. If he was the sort of person who did that sort of thing he'd have done it before now, many times over, and we'd know about it.

reader_iam said...

This is typical behavior of liberals and democrats though. Their family values that they promote is obviously a sham.

Normally I'd ignore this. But you know what? Unless he/she can it explain it away effectively, that's pretty close to what Fen--of the "liberals don't really believe what they lecture us all about" meme (which, by the way, I have a certain sympathy with, in enough circumstances for it to have some real significance)--did, in a particular context admittedly***, in this thread.

Fen?

---

***The problem is that, looked at from more than one relevant point of view, the particularity makes it more problematic, not less.

knoxwhirled said...

Totally trivial, but: I HATE that copying doesn't pick up typeface designations. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

Yessss. When I copy copy (hehe) from Word into inDesign, I lose all the italics, etc. So I have to go back in and do it all by hand... then the editors have to catch all the ones I've missed... extra work for them, extra work for me.

/OT sympathizing

Bill_45 said...

Mistress of the Senator, as sung by Audra McDonald. From the Michael John LaChiusa musical Hello Again.

Some lyrics:
I can play Advisor to the Congressman.
Hire me to work on your image.
I'll manipulate the press.
We'll buy a registered house with a Georgetown address
We'll write the place off
As a work expense and screw the I.R.S.
I'll play Advisor to the Congressman.
That's a role that takes a lot of soul to do.
I'll be useful down in Washington.
I'll be anything for you.
I need a change of scenery.
I need a new career.
I need a new adventure, and
I can't wait another year.
I can't wait another day,
Not when I have you.
You need to win important races.
I need to play in better places.


Good song.

Fen said...

Fen?

Sorry reader, I'm rushed [packing for trip] and am not following you.

You want me to "explain [something] away effectively" that ties into my liberals don't really believe.. meme?

Fen said...

Did a quick re-read...

You're asking me to square my support of family values with my defense of Edwards? Is that it?

reader_iam said...

Try again, without the bullshit this time. Defense of Edwards? Real cute.

Fen, you're sharp, one of the sharpest here: I mean, that's manifest. (Agreement or non-agreement, in whole or in part, on any particular issue, much less a collection, has not a whit to do with it, in any of the ways just alluded to.)

Let me repeat part of that, for emphasis: Fen, you're sharp. I recognize and have respected that. So why go so fuzzy now?

You want I should reproduce the thread of comments with the appropriate fisks inserted?

Fen said...

Ease up Tiger. I'm trying to be cooperative, not snarky. I thought I was defending Edwards:

"Stupid hit job. I don't care if Edwards had an extramarital affair or a baby from it. Poor form to play this card while his wife is fighting cancer. Prayers out to her." [9:28AM]

"But FTR, I don't believe the story to begin with. Edwards is not as stupid as Gary Hart. He wouldn't put his wife on center-stage and then humiliate her like that." [12:31PM]

"Despite my contempt for Edwards, I have to agree [with Eli]... So the story just doesn't ring true. Not in his character. He's not stupid. If anything, his flawed vanity would not permit him to expose himself to such public ridicule." [1:03PM]

[...]

Again, I'm trying to respond to you in good faith. If you think my "defense" of Edwards is faint, fine. I've no quarrel with you as I have always found you to be reasonable and civil. I'm not trying to go ten rounds with you, I simply don't understand what your question is.

Bruce Hayden said...

I accidentally ended up loading the NE article, and it was very clever the way they did it. A good chunk of the article is denials. For example, some woman visibly pregnant leaving an ob/gyn and denying an affair with Edwards, that it is his kid, or that her name was even that of the woman being accused of all this.

If you go into it believing the story to be false (as I did), you are likely to find enough to support a belief that this whole thing is made up. But if you believe it true, then all these denials by everyone appearing to be involved is just further evidence of a conspiracy to hush this vile situation up.

You wonder how the NE doesn't get sued more often? This is probably part of the reason. There is plenty in the story to challenge any defamation suits that might be filed. There is plenty in the story to support that the NE was doing somewhat responsible journalism, esp. given all those denials. As I said at the start, it was very well done.

Fen said...

reader_iam: That's a very dangerous game, and I think there's something very sick about someone who would play it out of "loyalty" to a politician. YMMV.

"For my mileage, it would depend on whether Edwards is guilty or the victim of a smear."

Can you see why that's actually non-responsive, especifically in terms of our exchange and especially given the details of my comments?

I don't see where you wanted me to be responsive. You appear to be saying that taking a bullet for your guy [even if the allegation is false] is deceiving the public and unethical. I can't disagree with that. You hold the higher moral ground here, because I admit I would still take the hit for him.

My own morality wouldn't come into play until I knew my guy was guilty, that the allegations were true.

Jill said...

What fools you all are, and how entrenched in the conservative Culture of Victimology you are.

How the heck is pointing out that a law professor passing on what is essentially gossip designed to defame a presidential candidate may constitute libel?

I'm not an attorney, but I can Google with the best of them, and if this story isn't true, anyone who passes it on in the hope of damaging said candidate has defamed, said candidate, right?

What possible reason would I have to "threaten" Ann Althouse with a lawsuit? It's not ME she's defaming (though some of you are, except that not one of you is worth suing over). If there was a lawsuit to be threatened, it would come from those affected, not from me. Heck, I'm not even a convention delegate.

It's just interesting that whenever someone calls bullsh*t on the kind of ridiculous swill that wingnuts pull out of their behinds, you all scream that we're trying to silence you.

What a bunch of whiny babies.

Ann Althouse said...

Jill, I'm not saying that you are threatening to sue me. I'm saying that you were trying to scare me off of writing about something that was happening by making me think that someone else would sue me. The fact that the story was reported and widely discussed was important. I'm writing today about how Bob Kerrey was saying that some people think that Obama might be trying to take over the government for Islamic jihad. By your theory, I'm not supposed to talk about that. That's ridiculous! You think I should be dragged into court over that. Think again? What kind of a world are you advocating? It's full of repression and censorship. You should look beyond the narrow view that might be about your feeling of wanting to protect Edwards to what it means as a general principle.

And now look at you, writing in absurdly crude and insulting language. Is this what you want to be? You are wrong, and I'm laying on the line so everyone can see you are wrong. If all you can think to say is that I'm "whining," you are pathetic. I could just as well say that you were "whining." That's a remark without substance.

Ann Althouse said...

And, Jill. A little legal pointer: First Amendment.

Palladian said...

Jill sure has her thick high-waisted cotton panties in a bunch, doesn't she?

Fen said...

Jill: What a bunch of whiny babies.

[yawn]

Jill on her blog: I would give anything to have a Lesbian couple move in next door instead of the toothless nigger/redneck/wetback that lives there now.

Go back to your fever swamp, you bigoted pig.

L. E. Lee said...

Ann, you are obviously throwing up a smokescreen by claiming that you are the victim of having your freedom of speech threatened. No, one here believes that this type of trashy rumormongering of a public person that you were trading in yesterday would open you to a libel suit. I realize that when someone engages in unsavory behavior, like hateful rumormongering, it is then a natural protective reaction when she is called out on it to claim that she is in fact the victim!

It was interesting to see who picked up on this sick rumor yesterday. Ann, you joined less than stellar company. Even Rush Limbaugh said yesterday when repeating the rumor that he did not believe it. You on the other hand wrote at 9:15 PM "Connect the dots."

Ann Althouse said...

LE Lee: "It was interesting to see who picked up on this sick rumor yesterday. Ann, you joined less than stellar company. Even Rush Limbaugh said yesterday when repeating the rumor that he did not believe it. You on the other hand wrote at 9:15 PM "Connect the dots.""

What are you saying? Did you connect the dots? I was talking to Henry who said "So I believe every word of the Enquirer story. I believe Edwards is well coiffed. I believe Raille was wearing a black sweater and loose fitting slacks on Dec. 12. I believe the Enquirer has a source who said what they say the source said. Do I believe the source. No."

I was asking Henry to be logical putting together the set of things he just said he believed. Apparently, you think the dots connect up a particular way that is so clear that it's the same as if I made an assertion about what I think is true. But you're looking at the inside of your own head. What did you see? Seems like in your eagerness to attack me you gave yourself away. I have stated no conclusion.

L. E. Lee said...

Ann, putting the disingenuous on your part aside, when you read the National Enquirer story/link did you say to yourself "you know that just might be true."

(I suspect you will not answer this question.)

Ann Althouse said...

Of course, I thought it MIGHT be true. I think the stuff about Andrew Young is surpassingly weird. My main thinking is about who put the story forward and, relatedly, who benefits. Personally, I hate to see sexual crap get into the debate, but I am very interested to know who is behind the story. I think the greatest beneficiary is Obama, but I think the campaign that is playing dirty is Clinton.

L. E. Lee said...

Ann, I agree to a truce concerning my previous point that I hammered enough already today.
-----------------
I don't think the Andrew Young aspect is "weird" at all. Posit that Young is the father and does not want his foibles to drag himself and his family into the glaring hot national spot light of a presidential campaign. Also, posit that John Edwards is a decent person who does not want the private people around him to be dragged into the national arena because of their all too human failings. NOW, read the the National Inquirer article. Do the dots now connect?

99.99% of the population will never be in the national news. To be pulled into the national spot light because of some personal, though very common, failing must be quite terrifying. I suspect most people when faced with such a prospect will do what ever they can from being pulled down that slippery path.

Lindsey

P.S., I suspected wrong.

Ann Althouse said...

I spent some time puzzling over whether Young's statements are true or false. I'm going to assume he made the statements and was accurately quoted. Why would he say that if it is true and why would he say it if it is false? Is it more like that he'd say it if it is true or more likely that he'd say it if it is false? I don't think the answer is clear. To me, the weirdest thing is that he said it.