GREENSBORO, N.C. - A former campaign spokeswoman for John Edwards testified Wednesday that his wife angrily confronted a key donor about his support for the presidential candidate's pregnant mistress in 2007 at a hotel in Iowa.
Jennifer Palmieri also said she eventually distanced herself from the former candidate after he acknowledged the affair in an August 2008 television interview because he hadn't been truthful about the baby he had with his mistress. The former aide later began crying while discussing her friendship with Elizabeth Edwards from the stand at Edwards' corruption trial.
She said the candidate had called her to the Davenport, Iowa, hotel room where Elizabeth Edwards was arguing with campaign finance chairman Fred Baron and his wife about the couple's financial help to Rielle Hunter.
Palmieri had become close friends with Elizabeth Edwards, and her husband hoped her presence could help calm the situation. Palmieri is now the deputy communications director for President Obama.
That day in October of 2007, Palmieri said Baron's wife, Lisa Blue, admitted to Elizabeth Edwards that she had flown Hunter to Los Angeles for a shopping trip.
"You've got to hold your friends close and your enemies closer," Palmieri quoted Blue as telling the enraged wife. Blue added that Hunter was a "loose cannon" who could have exposed the affair to the media, Palmieri said.
At the time, a tabloid was publishing an article about the affair, and Palmieri said the campaign was absorbed with keeping the story from crossing over into the mainstream media. Edwards had told his wife he had a brief fling with Hunter, but that he had ended the affair many months earlier, according to earlier testimony.
In fact, Edwards had continued the affair and Hunter was then pregnant with his child. A close aide to Edwards, Andrew Young, had rented the mistress a home a few miles away from the Edwards family estate in Chapel Hill.