The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, August 11, 2008

Edwards "Money Man" Baron raising money for Obama too...

The plot around the Edwards scandal thickens: first you have a top Clinton aide claiming that the media's suppression of this story likely cost Hillary the nomination (more on this below); now we have an apparent connection between the Dallas lawyer bankrolling the silence (and refusal to request a paternity test) of Edwards' mistress Rielle Hunter. Ed Morrissey weighs in:

The John Edwards scandal may have just landed flat onto Barack Obama, regardless of whether Edwards is his running mate or just a bad memory. Jake Tapper at ABC notices that Fred Baron, the man who sent money to both Edwards’ mistress and the supposed father of her child, has been raising money for Barack Obama as well. One has to wonder whether his duties at Team Obama are anywhere near as extensive:

The Dallas Morning News over the weekend profiled Fred Baron, the chairman of Sen. John Edwards’ campaign finance committees in both his 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns.

Baron also, as you may know, has been paying significant lumps of cash to Edwards’ former mistress Rielle Hunter, and others involved in the scandal.

Baron claims Edwards knew nothing about it, and Edwards told ABC News Friday the same.

The article states that Baron is currently “raising money for nominee-to-be Barack Obama.”

Well, that certainly raises a few questions. Baron’s largesse towards Rielle Hunter and Andrew Young supposedly never came to the attention of John Edwards, but the implications seem rather obvious. While Edwards denied the affair and the paternity of Hunter’s child, money went to both of the two people who could claim first-person knowledge of the affair through the Edwards campaign. That seems extremely curious, especially given the late-night visit of Edwards to Hunter’s hotel room in Los Angeles last month — when he would have at least been curious how she managed to support herself over the last several months while hiding out from the press.

Now we have Baron raising money for Obama as well. Did Obama and his team know about Baron’s arrangement with Hunter, too? And if Baron knew about the affair, did he let his new boss in on the old boss’ secret, especially when Edwards vied for the second slot on the national ticket, or when Obama and Edwards appeared together?

It seems unlikely that Baron would have let Obama pick Edwards knowing that this explosive situation was ripe for exposure. If Baron told Obama about it, why didn’t Obama cut ties with Edwards before the end of July, when Edwards let himself get cornered by the National Enquirer at the hotel in the middle of the night?

Tapper asked the Obama campaign for some clarification on Baron and his status on Team Obama. Unsurprisingly, the campaign seems a little slow to respond.

Could it be that the Obama campaign viewed Edwards as the Democrat answer to Mike Huckabee--i.e. to serve as a foil for Obama against Hillary? As noted earlier, the Clinton camp is certainly beginning to understand how this could have impacted Hillary's chances--(via ABC):
Sen. Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic presidential nominee if John Edwards had been caught in his lie about an extramarital affair and forced out of the race last year, insists a top Clinton campaign aide, making a charge that could exacerbate previously existing tensions between the camps of Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.

"I believe we would have won Iowa, and Clinton today would therefore have been the nominee," former Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson told

Clinton finished third in the Iowa caucuses barely behind Edwards in second place and Obama in first. The momentum of the insurgent Obama campaign beating two better-known candidates -- not to mention an African-American winning in such an overwhelmingly white state -- changed the dynamics of the race forever.

Obama won 37.6 per cent of the vote. Edwards won 29.7 per cent and Clinton won 29.5 per cent, according to results posted by the Iowa Democratic Party.

"Our voters and Edwards' voters were the same people," Wolfson said the Clinton polls showed. "They were older, pro-union. Not all, but maybe two-thirds of them would have been for us and we would have barely beaten Obama."

Two months earlier, Edwards had vociferously, but falsely, denied a story in the National Enquirer about the alleged affair last October, and few in the mainstream media even reported the denial.

Therefore--keeping in mind that the same "money man" involved with the cover up is also involved with raising money for Obama--it follows that to torpedo Edwards too early on by allowing the story to leak, would have served to also torpedo Obama, because there would have been no other viable candidate to siphon off Hillary votes.

This is beginning to read like a Woodward and Bernstein docudrama--only there seem to be very few Woodwards and Bernsteins out there who are willing to follow this story wherever it leads. Apparently that level of tenacity only applies to journalists covering Republicans.
DiscerningTexan, 8/11/2008 08:28:00 PM |