How badly did John Edwards blow his confession last night on ABC?  He managed to infuriate the family of his paramour, Rielle Hunter, into challenging Edwards to a paternity test:

In the first reaction from Hunter’s family, her younger sister Melissa told ABC News that Edwards should immediately follow through on his pledge to take a paternity test.

“I would challenge him to do so,” the sister said. “Somebody must stand up and defend my sister,” she said. “I wish that those involved would refrain from bad-mouthing my sister.”

In his interview with ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff acknowledging the affair, Edwards said he knew the child was not his because of “the timing” of the pregnancy and the affair. 

Edwards’ attempt to salvage some shred of his personal reputation at the expense of Rielle Hunter has caused this blowback.  Let’s consider Melissa’s wrath for a moment.  It springs from the notion that Edwards and Hunter didn’t have anything more than a physical affair and that Rielle slept with his campaign manager at nearly the same time — which certainly paints Hunter as something less than a virtuous woman.  

Now, why would Hunter’s sister publicly challenge Edwards to take that paternity test?  It certainly isn’t to encourage him to clear his name, as the rest of the article makes Melissa’s hostility plain.  Melissa apparently has some knowledge of her niece’s paternity.  This strongly indicates that Edwards indeed fathered the child, and that Edwards is still lying.

Why would he do that?  If Edwards fathered the child, it means that the affair continued into May 2007, rather than ending in 2006 as Edwards claims.  Edwards and his campaign announced the recurrence of his wife’s cancer months before May 2007, which means Edwards continued his affair with Rielle while his wife was seriously ill.

All Edwards had to do was either admit to the whole thing at once, or treat Rielle Hunter as something better than a frat-house groupie in his confession.  Unfortunately, once again he proved himself so self-absorbed that he couldn’t see the honest way out.