Political scandals can be some asinine shit! John Edwards told his wife about this affair two years ago, so this "scandal" is a non-issue for me because the people who needed to know, knew before anyone else. Case closed! I think that it's completely conceivable that the Edwards could have an open relationship and that his wife condoned this "affair" and all this hoopla is deserving of as little media coverage as possible.
I think that these days, in this society, there is no such thing as "private" or "personal" for any public figure whether they are a politician or movie star. It's not right but it is what it is. As for Mr. Edwards, he screwed up (no pun intended) and if he confessed his sin to his wife, good for him. But he should have known that in the real world he is accountable to more than just his wife. His wife didn't elect him a Senator and his wife doesn't get paid to dig up and report dirt on the rich and powerful.
Oh, and forget about the fact that she has BREAST CANCER. Maaaaaaaan, that's a different kind of "low down" but that also makes it tabloid and talk soup worthy. And even if they did have an open marriage and she had some dude on the side (a BIG "if") then that too is newsworthy in itself based on the standards we govern ourselves by these days. And he can't be/shouldn't be surprised at the attention he's being given especially since he's only mere months removed from trying to run for President.
The privacy issue is just the point. He may be a public figure and his private life may be subject to scrutiny, BUT it's still his private life. MAYBE he came clean privately to his family to avoid this public spectacle. MAYBE denying the affair hoping to protect the private "secret" so his wife wouldn't have to endure all the media attention in the waning months of her life. MAYBE she said, "Hey John, this cancer thing is a pain. I want you to go out and have a good time with another woman." Elizabeth Edwards could come out tomorrow and say, "I ALLOWED him to have this affair," and give very sound reasons, but then SHE looks bad and the attention turns to her. To top it off, he's not even in a public office! This isn't a sitting president or a senator, he's just a handsome guy who's just hanging around these days. It may be "newsworthy" by today's standards, but that just shows you how low our news standards have become!