By now you’ve probably seen the GQ photos of a pants-less (but not pearl-less!) Rielle Hunter posing next to a pile of her and John Edwards’s daughter’s stuffed animals. Maybe you’ve heard Hunter told Barbara Walters that she, like the rest of America, was “repulsed” by said photos. You’ve heard GQ’s reply that Hunter knew damn well what was going on and could very well have kept her pants on (though it’s a bit late for that, anyway).
You don’t know who Rielle Hunter is? She’s the woman whom former senator, then-presidential candidate, John Edwards impregnated while his wife, Elizabeth, struggled with cancer. The woman who then allowed former Edwards aide Andrew Young to claim paternity of her daughter and accepted money from campaign donors to support her and the child. The woman who may lead to The National Enquirer’s first Pulitzer Prize for baby-mama coverage. The woman whose business card—by her own account—once read: “RIELLE HUNTER: BEING IS FREE.”
Obviously Hunter isn’t, wasn’t, and won’t be the only woman (or man) being free with prominent politicians. And she’s not the only one willing to talk to the media about it (cf. Eliot Spitzer’s Ashley “New York Post sex column” Dupre). She continues a not grand, but perhaps grandiloquent tradition of Oval Office–minded Other Women. And her statements to GQ call to mind a certain mistress of a former era. A clue: her name begins with an M, and it’s not Marilyn.
More clues: If you were alive in the late ‘90s, you recall a certain beret-ed woman for whom a cigar was most certainly not just a cigar.* A Former White House intern who unknowingly told a friend’s tape recorder of her back-office hob-knobs with then-President William Jefferson “Bubba” Clinton. A woman who cherished Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, but for its poetry, not the blowjob scene (come on, guys). A woman with a penchant for The Gap who didn’t do her dry cleaning and rightfully announced in her grand jury testimony that she “hate[d] Linda Tripp.” A woman named Monica Lewinsky.
Okay, so Hunter and Lewinsky both slept with (well, in Lewinsky’s case it depends on your definition of ‘is’**) presidential campaigners (Clinton was running for reelection at the time), but really, what other parallels could there be? Hunter was in her early 40s at the time of the affair, while Lewinsky was a sprightly 24. Hunter had Edwards’s child and Lewinsky went on to get a Masters from the London School of Economics and design handbags. Hunter is blonde; Lewinsky is brunette. Even their partners’ lawfully wedded wives chose different post-affair paths: Elizabeth Edwards got a book deal, while Hillary got a Senate seat.
Yet Hunter and Lewinsky share one uncommon thing: language. The public statements from these two women are like words spoken from identical loving lips. Below are quotes from Hunter’s GQ interview as well as from Lewinsky’s deposition and grand jury testimony in the Clinton perjury case. Thus, we present to you…
*Obvious joke, but, well, could she have more daddy issues? Am I right, Sigmund?
**Obvious joke, but, well, probably the greatest semantic argument of all court-recorded history.
The Indy Government Smut Quiz: Who Said What?
Match the statement to the woman who said it. Choose wisely and you could win your pick of the prizes: a blue dress or a sex tape.
1. I’m not a predator, I’m not the stalker. I didn’t have any power in that way in our relationship. He held all the power.
2. They didn’t want to look at him and think that he could be responsible for anything, so it had to all be my fault, that I was stalking him or I was making advances towards him.
3. I fell in love with him. Head over heels in love. I was a goner.
4. I fell in love. Love with a little bit of obsession. But definitely love.
5. I thought he had a beautiful soul.
6. He is very kindhearted and sweet. He’s very honest and truthful.
7. He looked like a little kid at Christmas.
8. When I looked at him I saw a little boy.
9. I didn’t want to get caught, because I didn’t want to hurt him. I wanted to support the life he was choosing. And love him.
10. I feel very responsible for a lot of what’s happened, you know, but I tried—I tried very hard to do what I could to not hurt him.
11. The force field of our love overrode any issues that would arise from my belief systems about, you know, “It should be going different than it is. He should be behaving differently than he is.”
12. The break in the marriage happens before the infidelity.
13. There are obviously issues that, you know, a single young woman doesn’t have an affair with a married man because she’s normal, quote-unquote.
14. I never expected to fall in love with [him]. I was surprised that I did.
15. He told me that he didn’t want to get addicted to me and he didn’t want me to get addicted to him.
16. Men are men. And I love him for being a man.
17. I saw him more as a man and reacted to him more as a man and got angry at him like a man and just a regular person.
18. He in fact did say to me the first night, “Falling in love with you could really fuck up my plans.”
19. I just knew he was in love with me, and from the way he acted that day, and that’s not something that I would think easily. But just the way he looked at me and touched me, and the things he said, it just it was so obvious to me. And it was shocking.
20. It was a mutual unusual staring going on. There was an instant and odd connection. There was so much attraction and so much… I want to say love, but it wasn’t love at that point. You know, it was just this, this magnetic force field like I had never experienced.
Rielle Hunter: 1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 16, 18, 20
Monica Lewinsky: 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19
BETSY ROSS B’69 is sunshine.