New York, Aug.8 : From being one of the Democrats' strongest presidential candidates, John Edwards has virtually become a party pariah.
Dogged by stories in the National Enquirer about an alleged affair with a campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter, who gave birth in February to a daughter said to be Edwards' "love child," he who won't be allowed to speak at the national convention on August 26.
The handsome former North Carolina senator is considered a stirring orator, and still has 19 delegates pledged to him, which would make him a key speaker under normal circumstances.
The New York Post has quoted top Democrats as saying that if Edwards doesn't publicly address the scandal and put it to rest, he won't be allowed to become a embarrassing distraction during the Denver convention, where Senator Barack Obama will accept the presidential nomination.
Democratic strategist Gary Pearce told the Charlotte Observer that "If it's not true, he's (Edwards) got to stand up and say, 'This is not true. That is not my child, and I'm going to take legal action against the people who are spreading these lies.' It's not enough to say, 'That's tabloid trash.' "
Don Fowler, a former Democratic National Committee chair, told the paper: "If there is not an explanation that's satisfactory, acceptable and meets high moral standards, the answer is 'no' - he would not be a prime candidate to make a major address to the convention."
A veteran party operative said: "I don't think anyone wants to go near him unless he answers all the questions." Another Democrat said, "He will probably go, but do no interviews and try to be invisible."