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Lee Stranahan Headshot

John Edwards, Change Your Media Strategy NOW! (Ask Me How!)

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Senator Edwards,

I have no idea who is advising you right now but since they suck I'm going to start advising you myself.

A couple of weeks ago, I urged progressives to get out in front of this story. Now I'm urging you to. And pronto because there's an election to win and I don't want you to screw it up by continuing to mishandle the mess you, your ego, and lil' John got so many people into.

What you are doing isn't working and it's not going to work.

I may sound a little flip in this piece but I'm telling you the truth. Your interview was lame and embarrassing and we're supposed to think that that was it? You're done? No more interviews?

Did you think this was going to be over on the weekend? You thought the story would just run on a Friday and people would kind of shrug it off because the Olympics were on and it's only a tabloid story?

Senator, when you skulk without your sick wife's knowledge to the Beverly Hills Hilton late at night to meet the former party girl filmmaker you had a secret affair with because you got a call from her psychic friend...hey, guess what? You're the living embodiment of tabloid.

You may be done for a little while but there's a lot of other people involved and I have feeling they will have something to say. And so will their sister. Then you'll hobble back to the a microphone and it may be too late.

Four quick suggestions.

You're going to have stop thinking like a lawyer.
You have a little devil perched on your shoulder. It's your Lawyer Devil. Let's call him J.D. He's the one who's helped you get so far down this ugly and treacherous road. J.D. makes you parse sentences and withhold information. He's got to go.

I think I see what you and J.D. are up yo. You're just trying to keep leave room open for reasonable doubt. For instance, as long as you deny the baby was yours and as long as Rielle Hunter won't agree to a paternity test, you have enough reasonable doubt that your defenders can argue that the baby isn't really yours. It's a strategy so smart, it's stupid! Because the baby isn't really the issue and reasonable doubt would get you off in murder trial but not the court of public opinion.

Plus, there's that interview you did. Your timeline doesn't make sense. Your motivations for going back to the hotel to meet Hunter are suspect. You haven't really been honest so far and you know it. You've been 'honest'. That's much worse.

There's time to change course if you act quickly. They are going to be talking about you on The View Monday. So ignore J.D. and just go on The View. On Monday.

Let Joy kick your ass for a while. Allow Elizabeth to get all up in your face and just sit there and take it. Let Sherri tell you some embarrassing story and smile and nod when she compares you to herself. I'd advise against sitting near Whoopi. Don't try to control the situation. If you make it off that couch alive, it will make you stronger.

Start thinking like Howard Stern
Right now, you're The Liar. People don't believe you because they shouldn't believe you.

The way to stop being the liar is to start being the Really Uncomfortably Honest Guy. Let it all hang out, John. Everything. Something pops in your head, say it. It'll be hard at first but probably not nearly as hard as that punch in the gut feeling you got hiding in the bathroom at the Beverly Hills Hilton, I swear to friggin' God.

Start thinking like John McCain
John McCain has done some awful things and I'm not just talking about his policy positions. He's cheated on his sick wife and dumped her for someone younger and richer and healthier. How do I know these things? Because John McCain talks about them all the time. He talks about them with reporters. He brought it up first.

Plan to do this for the next thirty years or so, by the way.

Start thinking like Barack Obama
This past March with allegations about his relationship with Tony Rezko swirling, Barack Obama did an interview with the the Chicago Tribune. Take note; it worked.

"The most remarkable facet of Obama's 92-minute discussion was that, at the outset, he pledged to answer every question the three dozen Tribune journalists crammed into the room would put to him. And he did."

I listened to all 92-boring-minutes of it myself. I knew more than I ever needed to know about Obama's real estate transactions.

People without information assume things. Their brains paint made up details in their heads. Bore us the hell out of your scandal, John.

Wrap Up
That's your first advice session and it's free. If you have any friends who can funnel money into a bank account for me, that'd be awesome. Or PayPal, whatever. Santa Barbara is a great town and we love the food at La Super-Rica Taqueria so we'll be fine there for any amount of time anyone wants to put us up. My wife loves to babysit, by the way.