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The Road to Redemption?

May 13th, 2009

Just what is Elizabeth Edwards doing? The wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards is on the road flogging her new book “Resilience,” which talks about how she has dealt with the death of a child, her battle with cancer and, most recently, her husband’s fooling around.

As a PR campaign, this has a lot of people scratching their heads.

The assumption is that this is Mr. Edwards’ first step back into elective politics—or at least it’s supposed to be. With a couple like John and Elizabeth Edwards—young (politically), ambitious and bright—it’s logical to expect that Edwards expects to jump back into the political arena at some point. The tried and true formula for coming back from public embarrassment is to:

1. Apologize
2. Disappear for a while
3. Reappear and demonstrate how you’ve grown as a person
4. Have a third party declare you stronger/better than ever
5. Resume career

That process has worked for folks from Marv Albert to Hugh Grant to Kim Kardashian. (Be patient Michael Phelps.) In America, we forgive people for their mistakes … eventually.

Time heals all wounds—but you need to let a little time pass. The Edwards affair came to light just last year. And while it would be logical for Elizabeth Edwards to go on tour to discuss how her marriage is stronger than ever and that she forgives her husband and he really truly is a great guy, she isn’t doing that. When Oprah asked her if she “still loved him,” Elizabeth did not say yes—she said it’s “complicated.”

Well, if she’s trying to resurrect her husband’s political career, it isn’t too complicated. His career is over … and she just hammered down the final nail.

Posted Under: Public Relations
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