Edwards drops plans to speak at Hofstra

September 4, 2008 6:32:55 PM PDT
Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards canceled an appearance at Hofstra University in New York and said Thursday he will not speak at any public engagements until after the November election, extending an exile that began last month after he admitted to an extramarital affair. "Nothing is more important than electing Barack Obama and Joe Biden," Edwards said in a statement released by his speaking agency. "I don't want my appearance at these events to be a distraction from the important issues of the election, or from the important purpose of these meetings."

Edwards had been scheduled to speak next week at Hofstra University in New York. That speech was canceled earlier Thursday. Edwards had last week confirmed his intentions to speak at Hofstra on Tuesday even after his wife, Elizabeth, backed out of what was to be a joint appearance.

Hofstra spokesman Stuart Vincent said an agent for John Edwards told the school Thursday that he would also not attend an event was booked months before Edwards admitted to an affair.

"We regret that our students will not have the opportunity to hear Mr. Edwards talk about his experiences as the 2004 Democratic nominee for vice president and his two presidential campaigns, but we respect his decision," Vincent said.

The former North Carolina senator hasn't spoken publicly since admitting to an affair a month ago. He was scheduled to speak about his experiences over two presidential campaigns as part of a series of events leading up to the Oct. 15 presidential debate at Hofstra.

Both John and Elizabeth Edwards had speeches scheduled for later in September and October. Salem State College said earlier this week that the couple canceled a Sept. 23 talk at the Massachusetts school.

Don Walker, president of the Edwardses' speaking agency, said Elizabeth Edwards plans to speak at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and Cooper University Hospital in New Jersey later this month.

The former senator acknowledged last month that he had an affair with Rielle Hunter, who was hired to produce videos of him in 2006. She spent time with him on the campaign trail as he toured the nation and the world highlighting poverty and the gap between rich and poor.

A 2004 vice presidential nominee, Edwards began his campaign for president at the beginning of 2006 with Hunter still in tow. She left his side as the campaign began in earnest.

Edwards dropped from the race before the Super Tuesday primaries after placing second in the Iowa caucuses.

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