Don Fowler of Columbia, a former Democratic National Chairman, agreed.
"Any kind of report like this, unless there is some absolute proof that it is not true, will be believed by some people," he said, "and the degree to which it seems to have credibility will be believed by more people. And when you select somebody to be vice presidential candidate the number one rule of everything is, you sure as hell don’t want somebody who will hurt you."
The Enquirer story was mentioned Wednesday night on CNN’s Glenn Beck show. But for the most part, the mainstream media has ignored it. Bloggers have taken note.
Slate’s Jack Shafer called it a double standard, and contrasted it with press coverage of Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, who was arrested arrested at an airport last year “for playing footsies in a toilet stall.”
To Enquirer editor David Perel, the blogosphere is closer to the mainstream than traditional media.
“‘Mainstream’ media is a misnomer, the amount of attention the story is getting online is huge,” he told me Thursday. “Basically, new media is leading the way on this, and that’s going to continue to happen.”
I asked Perel about photos or eyewitness accounts. He wouldn’t talk about that.
“Well, stay tuned, that’s all I can say,” he said. “Everything’s done incrementally. So I’m not going to tell you exactly what our process is. Perhaps my time frame is different than your time frame. I’m not worried about the rest of the media. I’m worried about us.”
Perel called it “an extremely difficult story to work. “We wanted to continue with it until we found a smoking gun. I basically wanted to catch him in the act and that’s what we did. Got day and date, time and place.”
Fowler suggested the story could hurt Edwards more than other politicians.
"If you had this rumor about Bill Clinton it probably wouldn’t cause a ripple," he said. "But given John Edwards and his public relationship with his wife, something close to a model of the perfect family and their perfect relationship, it would hurt that much more."