If anyone has harbored the tiniest shred of doubt about whether John Edwards is the father of his mistress' baby, Andrew Young's upcoming book should do away with it.
Young, who worked for Edwards and considered him a close friend, now says that Edwards begged him to claim he was the father of Hunter's baby.
Which he was willing to do. Until now.
Last week, Young sold his tell-all proposal to St. Martin's Press which, we can be sure, will rush the book to print. In the meantime, key details are making their way into the news.
If Young is to be believed, Edwards is without a doubt the father of a small child being raised by a single mother without any visible means of support.
And statistics have long shown that the poorest Americans tend to be single mothers and their children.
Edwards used the theme of poverty to fuel his presidential campaign, exhorting us all to pay more attention to the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves. And no one can argue with that.
Campaign donors, workers and volunteers gave huge amounts of money and time to that cause, passionately hoping to carry him and his let's-obliterate-poverty message to the White House.
Even after he withdrew from the primary and later confessed to the affair (when he also claimed he didn't love his lover), he continued to position himself as an advocate for the poor. He even defended his campaign by saying that it forced Obama and Clinton to incorporate poverty into their own key messages.
So why is John Edwards leaving his former lover to raise their child without any benefit of his millions?
Like many Democrats in central North Carolina, I saw through Edwards from the get-go -- he was widely resented here for using the state as a springboard for his presidential ambitions, and the news of his affair only confirmed our gut instinct that he was never to be trusted.
He and his family live just five minutes down the road from us in their 22,000-square foot compound. They are our neighbors.
We still shudder when considering the possibility of his having won the nomination.
But I digress.
Even though Hunter has not requested a paternity test -- and her motive for this is unclear -- Edwards might have a chance of regaining a modicum of respect if he would just, after all of the hemming and hawing and lying and dissembling, confess the obvious and get on with doing the right thing.
Even if Hunter steps forward with her own tell-all book and makes a bundle, that still doesn't take Edwards off the hook. He still has a responsibility to that child.
And what kind of message does Edwards' behavior send when so many young men today are fathering and then abandoning their children?
While Obama has been encouraging these same young men to step forward and not only claim but also help raise their children, Edwards seems to be saying that it's okay to deny your own kid in the interest of self-preservation.
In her own oblique way, his wife Elizabeth -- in her many interviews -- may have given Edwards permission to publicly claim the child as his own and begin financial support.
They don't need to invite Rielle and little Frances to the house for Sunday dinner, but he should at least make damn sure the child is properly provided for.
Otherwise, he's just one more deadbeat dad. And that puts one more mother and child at risk for poverty.