John Edwards - Henpecked husband?

Apparently, there are a couple of people who worked for John Edward's presidential campaign who really had it in for the guy - and his supposedly angelic wife Elizabeth.

The new book "Game Change" has the inside story on the affair, the love child, the incredibly dysfunctional relationship between Edwards and his wife, and peels the mask off of Elizabeth revealing her to be a harridan, a wife who publicly belittled her husband's intellect, and courage. The book also shows John Edwards to be a (surprise!) empty suit who most staffers thought was asexual.

This piece in New York Magazine goes beyond shocking and enters the rarefied atmosphere of beyond belief. To quote the tease:

A candidate whose aides were prepared to block him from becoming president. A wife whose virtuous image was a mirage. A mistress with a video camera. In an excerpt from the new book Game Change-their sweeping account of the 2008 campaign-the authors reveal that, inside the Edwards triangle, nothing was too crazy to be true.

Marc Ambinder fills in some details:

I don't want to give away the whole book... but I would be remiss if I did not point to the chapters about the unbelievably dysfunctional husband and wife team of John and Elizabeth Edwards. Not only, it turns out, did many senior Edwards staffer suspect that John was having an affair, several confronted John Edwards about it, and came away believing the rumors. At least three campaign aides resigned because of their knowledge of the affair well before the national media picked up on those early National Enquirer stories.

And John and Elizabeth (who the book says was known to Edwards insiders as "abusive, intrusive, paranoid, condescending, crazywoman") fought, in front of staffers, about the affair. The authors describe a moment where Elizabeth, in a such a state of fury, deliberately tears her blouse in the parking lot of a Raleigh airport terminal, "exposing herself. 'Look at me," she wailed at John and then staggered, nearly falling to the ground." (That's page 142.) (This was in October, by the way, well before the media took the reports of the Hunter affair seriously.)

The New York Magazine piece is a long read but well worth it. I guarantee you will never look at John or Elizabeth Edwards in quite the same way again.

More from The New York Magazine piece:

With her husband, she could be intensely affectionate or brutally dismissive. At times subtly, at times blatantly, she was forever letting John know that she regarded him as her intellectual inferior. She called her spouse a "hick" in front of other people and derided his parents as rednecks. One time, when a friend asked if John had read a certain book, Elizabeth burst out laughing. "Oh, he doesn't read books," she said. "I'm the one who reads books."

During the 2004 race, Elizabeth badgered and berated John's advisers around the clock. She called Nick Baldick, his campaign manager, an idiot. She accused David Axelrod, his (and later Obama's) media consultant, of lying to her and insisted that he be stripped of the responsibility for making the campaign's TV ads. She would stay up late scouring the Web, pulling down negative stories and blog items about her husband, forwarding them with vicious messages to the communications team. She routinely unleashed profanity-laced tirades on conference calls. "Why the f**k do you think I'd want to go sit outside a Wal-Mart and hand out leaflets?" she snarled at the schedulers.




Hat Tip: Ed Lasky