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John Edwards finally admits he is father of baby with his mistress: NBC News scoop

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WASHINGTON–Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) fathered a daughter during the 2008 presidential campaign and after denials, admitted on Thursday the child was his and he lied about it.

NBC News Lisa Myers has the scoop in an interview with Edwards longtime political advisor Harrison Hickman and in a written statement from Edwards, who did not appear on camera in her report. Edwards finally admitted he is the father of Frances Quinn Hunter; the product of an affair with Rielle Hunter, a videographer who followed Edwards on the campaign trail.

“I am Quinn’s father. I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves… It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me,” Edwards said in the statement.

NBC NEWS EXCLUSIVE:

JOHN EDWARDS ADMITS HE IS THE FATHER OF HIS FORMER MISTRESS’S DAUGHTER

NEW YORK – January 21, 2010 – – For the first time, John Edwards is publicly

admitting that he is indeed the father of a 2-year-old daughter conceived with

Rielle Hunter, a campaign videographer with whom he had an affair. In a written

statement provided exclusively to NBC News, the former North Carolina senator

and Democratic presidential candidate says he is taking responsibility for the

child, Frances Quinn Hunter. Harrison Hickman, Edwards’ close friend and

personal advisor, spoke exclusively to NBC’s Lisa Myers on Edwards’ behalf.

A full transcript of the interview, which aired this morning on “Today,” is

below. If used, please credit NBC News.

Additionally, on Friday “Today” examines the Federal investigation into money

that was used to keep Rielle Hunter out of the public eye. And, Hickman will

speak for the first time about Andrew Young, the former aide who claims Edwards

asked him to cover up the affair.

Below, from NBC NEWS…..

“TODAY” TRANSCRIPT:

Lisa Myers:

This statement has been months in the making, and confirms what many Americans

have already concluded that at the same time he was running for president, John

Edwards fathered a child. He’s now publicly embracing that child for the first

time.

After 2 years of scandal, deception, and betrayal that destroyed his political

career and wrecked his personal life, John Edwards this morning is trying to

right a wrong.

“Are you speaking for the Senator today?”

Harrison Hickman:

“I am speaking for the senator to the extent that anyone can, yes.”

Lisa Myers:

Harrison Hickman is Edward’s longtime close friend and trusted political

adviser, coming forward to help deliver a message about Frances Quinn Hunter,

the child born to Rielle Hunter, with whom Edwards had an affair.

Harrison Hickman:

“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.”

Lisa Myers

In a written statement provided exclusively to NBC NEWS, Edwards SAYS: “I am

Quinn’s father. I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love

and support she deserves… It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter

and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me.”

“When he talks about the child, what does he tell you? How does he feel about

this child.”

Harrison Hickman:

“He talks about her being a beautiful child, a happy child. Like any father, he

talks about how it makes him feel when he’s around Quinn, which is very happy. I

think he’s very proud of this child.”

Lisa Myers:

“This child is almost 2 years old. Why did it take so long for the Senator to

acknowledge that he is her father?

Harrison Hickman:

“It was a lot more complicated, I think than most people think. There are a lot

of adults involved. And I think they wanted to handle this the right way for

Jack and Emma Claire and Cate, as well as Quinn.”

Lisa Myers:

Edwards’ attorneys say he’s been seeing Quinn and providing financial support

for about a year, and just signed a child support agreement with Hunter. A

spokesman for Elizabeth Today’s announcement marks another chapter in the fall

of a man once considered a leading candidate for president. A man whose hubris

and recklessness brought personal destruction.

But when tabloid headlines forced a public admission of the affair with Hunter,

his campaign videographer, in August 2008, he denied Hunter’s child was his.

“Did he know at the time that this was his daughter?”

Harrison Hickman:

“I do not know if he knew it was his daughter at the time, but I know he lied

when he said it was not possible, ah, and he knows he lied. And, you know, I

think he is certainly regretful for that.”

Lisa Myers:

“The Senator also has said that the affair with Rielle Hunter occurred when

Elizabeth’s cancer was in remission, however, this child was conceived three

months after Elizabeth announced that her cancer was back and it was incurable.”

Harrison Hickman:

“You’re right. I mean, as he has said, he’s been deceitful about it, he’s lied

about it.”

Lisa Myers:

Elizabeth Edwards is still undergoing cancer treatment and makes occasional

public appearances about health care. She opened a furniture shop last summer in

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, not far from the family’s mansion.

Lisa Myers:

“How is Elizabeth dealing with this new member of the family?”

Harrison Hickman:

“Elizabeth thinks he should acknowledge this. It’s been a very difficult time

for everyone, but for Elizabeth I think, more than anyone else, it’s been a

difficult time.”

Lisa Myers:

Friends say John and Elizabeth Edwards have separated at least for now, but

still talk on a regular basis.

Edwards bought this house for Quinn and her mother to live in, in Charlotte more

than 2 hours away from his home in Chapel Hill, which set the neighborhood

abuzz.

Becca Thompson, Neighbor:

“I haven’t heard anybody say, ‘oh no,’ but it’s been like, ‘oh gosh,’ and then

we thought, ‘oh dear,’ the press will be here alot.”

Lisa Myers:

John Edwards now tries to stay out of the public spotlight. He spends time at

his beach house and went to El Salvador 3 times last year, to help build houses

for the poor.

Harrison Hickman:

“He’s done good old-fashioned work. He’s helped build hospitals, schools.”

In his statement, Edwards said: “To all those I have disappointed and hurt,

these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry.”

Harrison Hickman:

“He knows saying he’s sorry isn’t enough, but he is incredibly remorseful about

the pain he’s caused people. He wants to be a good father and, you know, be a

good person again.”

Lisa Myers: Edwards isn’t speaking publicly today, at least in part, because of

an ongoing federal investigation into whether campaign money was used to try to

cover up the affair. He has denied wrongdoing.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at that investigation and at the former aide who now

claims to have been at the center of that cover-up.

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