Is Edwards’ conduit to Hunter working for Obama, too?

posted at 5:25 pm on August 11, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The John Edwards scandal may have just landed flat onto Barack Obama, regardless of whether Edwards is his running mate or just a bad memory.  Jake Tapper at ABC notices that Fred Baron, the man who sent money to both Edwards’ mistress and the supposed father of her child, has been raising money for Barack Obama as well.  One has to wonder whether his duties at Team Obama are anywhere near as extensive:

The Dallas Morning News over the weekend profiled Fred Baron, the chairman of Sen. John Edwards’ campaign finance committees in both his 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns.

Baron also, as you may know, has been paying significant lumps of cash to Edwards’ former mistress Rielle Hunter, and others involved in the scandal.

Baron claims Edwards knew nothing about it, and Edwards told ABC News Friday the same.

The article states that Baron is currently “raising money for nominee-to-be Barack Obama.”

Well, that certainly raises a few questions. Baron’s largesse towards Rielle Hunter and Andrew Young supposedly never came to the attention of John Edwards, but the implications seem rather obvious. While Edwards denied the affair and the paternity of Hunter’s child, money went to both of the two people who could claim first-person knowledge of the affair through the Edwards campaign. That seems extremely curious, especially given the late-night visit of Edwards to Hunter’s hotel room in Los Angeles last month — when he would have at least been curious how she managed to support herself over the last several months while hiding out from the press.

Now we have Baron raising money for Obama as well.  Did Obama and his team know about Baron’s arrangement with Hunter, too?  And if Baron knew about the affair, did he let his new boss in on the old boss’ secret, especially when Edwards vied for the second slot on the national ticket, or when Obama and Edwards appeared together?

It seems unlikely that Baron would have let Obama pick Edwards knowing that this explosive situation was ripe for exposure.  If Baron told Obama about it, why didn’t Obama cut ties with Edwards before the end of July, when Edwards let himself get cornered by the National Enquirer at the hotel in the middle of the night?

Tapper asked the Obama campaign for some clarification on Baron and his status on Team Obama.  Unsurprisingly, the campaign seems a little slow to respond.


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Follow the money.

Right_of_Attila on August 11, 2008 at 5:29 PM

Did Baron start raising money for Obama to keep the Obama camp quiet about something it knew?

The Obama camp has, in the past, been very successful at ousting competitors from campaigns due to their sexual indiscretions.

MayBee on August 11, 2008 at 5:31 PM

This little scandal is certainly turning out to have some interesting roots into far-ranging areas. Just think, if Edwards had been smart enough to skip the run for President this time around his problem might not have come to light and this elaborate cover-up wouldn’t have been created. Now it threatens to keep spiraling out tarnishing all sorts of people related to it.

Jill1066 on August 11, 2008 at 5:33 PM

So, do we infer that Obama has someone stashed away at 15 large per month? Or why not just start the rumor? It hasn’t ever stopped the NY Slimes…

sabbott on August 11, 2008 at 5:34 PM

This is stretching… Obama certainly can’t know all of the affairs of each of his fundraisers. Maybe revisit the story if there is every any real indication of something shady.

DaveS on August 11, 2008 at 5:35 PM

You raise some good questions Ed. Please stay on it.

davenp35 on August 11, 2008 at 5:35 PM

I think there was a Freudian slip in there Ed. Don’t you mean the father of her child?

Terrye on August 11, 2008 at 5:38 PM

This is huge!
Correction: This should be huge. But if Ayers, Rezko, Wright, et al haven’t been bad enough to bring down Obama, Snoopy and the Fred Baron won’t do it either.

innominatus on August 11, 2008 at 5:40 PM

If this indeed true, WHO? could come out smelling like a rose this close to the dem. convention getting into the news with the conduit with bho and je?
L

letget on August 11, 2008 at 5:47 PM

It seems to me Fred Baron supporting Obama is about as newsworthy as Barbra Streisand supporting Obama. Who’d you think he’d raise money for now? Come to think of it, Babs gave money to Edwards, then stopped. Hmmm.

Marcus on August 11, 2008 at 5:49 PM

hmmmmm Interesting.

becki51758 on August 11, 2008 at 5:53 PM

It seems unlikely that Baron would have let Obama pick Edwards knowing that this explosive situation was ripe for exposure.

This assumes that Baron does not suffer from a feeling that he is invincible (the incredible Hubris of Democrats).

Buy Danish on August 11, 2008 at 5:54 PM

Buy Danish on August 11, 2008 at 5:54 PM

This assumes that Baron does not suffer from a feeling that he is invincible (the incredible Hubris of Democrats).

It also assumes that Baron is more than what is in evidence (a fundraiser, of which there are probably thousands).

DaveS on August 11, 2008 at 5:57 PM

That photo reminds me of a song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEULVyg1O_8

Can Obama get over Edwards, uh er endorsement :)

Dr Evil on August 11, 2008 at 5:57 PM

Hillary Clinton’s campaign war room has just been unlocked, spruced and freshened up. Air conditioners are back on. The refrigerators have been restocked. Odds are good some local joint is gonna get a late night call for delivery of a half dozen pizzas.

jeff_from_mpls on August 11, 2008 at 6:02 PM

This is stretching… Obama certainly can’t know all of the affairs of each of his fundraisers. Maybe revisit the story if there is every any real indication of something shady.

DaveS on August 11, 2008 at 5:35 PM

It’s seems unlikely that Obama didn’t know about Reille Hunter. Even without the MSM coverage, surely he heard the rumors which have been out there for a year. Wouldn’t he have been vetting Edwards as a potential veep candidate or cabinet member?

That being said, I don’t see anything unusual about the fact that Baron if fund raising for Obama, and indeed I’d be surprised if he hadn’t been doing his part to get him elected.

Buy Danish on August 11, 2008 at 6:02 PM

What did he know and when did he know it?

I’ve always wanted to say that…well, type at least.

Wyznowski on August 11, 2008 at 6:11 PM

Tapper asked the Obama campaign for some clarification on Baron and his status on Team Obama. Unsurprisingly, the campaign seems a little slow to respond.

He should be asking the Clinton camp. I’ll bet they wouldn’t be slow to respond.

Cicero43 on August 11, 2008 at 6:20 PM

It also assumes that Baron is more than what is in evidence (a fundraiser, of which there are probably thousands).

Baron is more than just a fundraiser — he was Silky’s campaign finance chair in ’04, before co-chairing the Kerry Victory ’04 Committee.

He’s also, as part of his day job, a poster boy for the systemic corruption of the asbestos plaintiffs’ lawyers’ bar. Look up “Baron and Budd Asbestos Memo” (see discussion here, starting at page 85) to see how his firm coached asbestos plaintiffs to lie about product identification during depositions.

Alex_SF on August 11, 2008 at 6:24 PM

I don’t see the importance of this. Of course a Dem fundraiser would be raising money now for Obama. It means nothing.

blue13326 on August 11, 2008 at 7:25 PM

Don’t worry. He’ll get thrown under the bus soon enough.

Jay on August 11, 2008 at 7:33 PM

Look up “Baron and Budd Asbestos Memo” (see discussion here, starting at page 85) to see how his firm coached asbestos plaintiffs to lie about product identification during depositions.

Alex_SF on August 11, 2008 at 6:24 PM

I wonder if that’s the same firm whose commercials urging potential patients to call has the chest xray backward.

Also, if The Mighty Fred Baron is involved, then I wonder which characters are represented by other Dems. I’m thinking:

Lucy = Hillary
Schroeder = Bill Clinton (musician oblivious to Lucy’s rants)
Franklin = Barack
Charlie Brown = Richardson
Pigpen = ?
Linus = ?

mikeyboss on August 11, 2008 at 8:38 PM

I love it. Baron flew Hunter and the Youngs out to Santa Barbara via private jet. Young got a 5.4 million dollar house and $20,000 a month.

Blake on August 11, 2008 at 8:56 PM

“This is not the Fred Baron I knew.”

franksalterego on August 11, 2008 at 9:00 PM

Just a thought on the bastard child of John Edwards. How did Hunter get pregnant so easily? The woman was 40 when the affair began. Edwards was in his early 50s. To my knowledge Hunter has no prior children. Statistically the chances of a first-time pregnancy with a couple in these age groups is less than poor; it’s downright abysmal. Given that the very nature of an affair means their couplings would have been, um, furtive and unscheduled, the odds drop even further. (In other words Edwards would not have been available ‘on demand’ whenever Hunter determined she was ovulating.)

For these two people the chances of conception were vanishingly small. How, then, did this happen? Well, not by accident I’m sure. I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I don’t think Ms. Hunter’s personal history has demonstrated a talent for long range planning. I think at some point in their affair, perhaps quite early, Hunter had a ‘Cleopatra moment’ and realized that the only a child could bind her to Edwards forever. But of course she’s not stupid; she knows the odds of a 40 year-old mistress getting pregnant by her 50+ lover ain’t good. Bioscience to the rescue. She visits a fertility clinic and procures a variety of medications to increase the number of eggs she releases and the ‘stickiness’ of her uterus. Needless to say, John never knew and indeed had every statistical reason to think their meetings could not result in a child. (In his lawyerly, hedging little brain that may have been one of the reasons he did it.) Another triumph of medical science.

In this scenario Hunter is not a femme fatal but rather the heroine of her own private soap opera, sacrificing for love, justifying her deceptions with sentimentality. And it worked. If Edwards is the father then they are indeed bound together.

If I’m right then the truth will be revealed when the inevitable tell-all book hits the shelves. This is America. The kind of people who do this want to tell their story and need the big pay day that only publicity can provide. It’s only a matter of time.

Character, after all, is destiny.

Vote Sauron 08 on August 11, 2008 at 10:14 PM

Vote Sauron 08 on August 11, 2008

Uhh, the world is full of “oops” babies born to older mothers and fathers who thought that birth control was something they needn’t worry about. My best friend has two children, conceived while in her 40′s. It’s not so rare. Rielle need not have “prepped’ her fertility.

Was she reckless or scheming? We may never know.

Qzsusy on August 12, 2008 at 8:21 AM

One of yesterday’s posts about Silky the Puppy (Kerry was the Poodle) speculated about what led to the National Enquirer getting the tip. With Fred Baron seeing the light and coming over to the chosen One, you have to wonder if he’s the new Deep Throat?

EconomicNeocon on August 12, 2008 at 9:29 AM

How long does it take for the Obama campaign to tell us whether this “isn’t the man he thought he once knew” or whether this is a “distraction”?

jtorres138 on August 12, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Baron is more than just a fundraiser — he was Silky’s campaign finance chair in ‘04, before co-chairing the Kerry Victory ‘04 Committee.

Alex_SF on August 11, 2008 at 6:24 PM

I was naively skeptical about the significance of this Baron+Obama connection until I learned today that David Axelrod was Edwards Presidential Campaign Manager in 2004, a fact that somehow eluded me. Thanks to another commenter, I also learned that Baron was Edwards Finance Chair in 2004.

There is speculation that Edwards was nothing but a stalking horse for Obama to knock Hillary out of the race. See here where Obama’s plagiarism of Edwards words brings it all into focus.

With the all this in mind it I now think Ed Morrissey is absolutely right to ask:

Did Obama and his team know about Baron’s arrangement with Hunter, too? And if Baron knew about the affair, did he let his new boss in on the old boss’ secret, especially when Edwards vied for the second slot on the national ticket, or when Obama and Edwards appeared together?

It is highly probable that the answer is: HELL YES!

Buy Danish on August 12, 2008 at 10:31 AM

Woops, I had too many pages open and thought that Alex_SF’s post came from another thread. He is “the other commenter” I link to – sorry for the redundancy.

Coffee time!

Buy Danish on August 12, 2008 at 10:34 AM