The Raleigh News & Observer, which unlike other newspapers has never declared itself too good for the John Edwards love-child scandal, is first with the angle that will probably at long last propel the sordid tale into the Times and Washington Post and basically everywhere: Edwards' presumed speaking slot at the convention, which "ordinarily would be locked in," may be taken away unless he eliminates questions about his alleged affair and love-child. The News & Observer seems to have assembled the piece before the blurry new pictures of Edwards-and-daughter surfaced today, so it probably shouldn't have much trouble scaring up another statement like this, the only supporting quote in the article:

"He absolutely does have to (resolve it). If it's not true, he has to issue a stronger denial," said Gary Pearce, the Democratic strategist who ran Edwards' 1998 Senate race. "It's a very damaging thing. ... The big media has tried to be responsible and handle this with kid gloves, but it's clearly getting ready to bust out. If it's not true, he's 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.'"

Oh yes, the buttoned-down media will soon be lapping this story up with a spoon.

See, previously the Edwards scandal was just an irrelevant trifle about how the maybe next U.S. attorney general or even vice president had a baby with another woman while his wife died of cancer and possibly paid the mistress hush money and lied to everyone about it. But now it's about how a speaker at a meaningless convention might distract the media from covering the media event in the way media handlers prefer. In other words, a REAL story.

[News & Observer]