Monday, August 11, 2008

Ennisbrook Put Out Welcome Mat For Edwards Affair Media

News that Rielle Hunter, the other woman in the John Edwards affair, was living in a rented home in Montecito, had the national media converging on the exclusive gated enclave of Ennisbrook this past weekend.

Showing up to see if they could track down Hunter were reporters and crews from Fox News Channel, CNN, NBC, Associated Press TV, the New York Post, the New York Daily News and People magazine. (And no, no one from the News-Press.)

Alas, they were too late. Hunter, undoubtedly given the heads up that Edwards would be making a confession, had already left the Ennisbrook home that had been rented for her.

Andrew Young, the former Edwards campaign official who claims to have fathered the child, was also living in the home with his wife and their three children, who were home-schooled while they stayed there. By Saturday, they were packing up to head back to North Carolina.

Ennisbrook residents actually put out the welcome mat for the press contingent.

A local resident who is a freelance producer for the TV news networks told me that a number of Ennisbrook residents took reporters past the guard house in their cars so they could see the home where Hunter had lived and go up and ring the buzzer at the gate.

In the end, about all the reporters were able to do was confirm the fact that Hunter was no longer there.

The Sheriff's Department made a number of drive-bys to make sure the media contingent was behaving themselves. They were and the assembled press corps was appreciative of the friendly manner of the deputies.

When the reporters weren't gathering outside Ennisbrook's gates they were hanging out on Coast Village Road. Jeannine's seemed to be a popular lunch spot with them. CNN's Kara Finnstrom was seen there and then later on at Los Arroyos across the street.

People magazine reporter Frank Swertlow succeeded in tracking down Bob Short, owner of the Ennisbrook home where Hunter and the Youngs were living. He found Short at his beach house just a stone's throw away on Padaro Lane. Apparently Short didn't have much to say though.

Now that we know that Hunter was living at Ennisbrook, one question that comes to mind is why didn't Edwards meet with her there rather than at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, as he admitted, last month.

Certainly Ennisbrook would have offered a lot more security and seclusion than a hotel where reporters for the National Enquirer could stake out the lobby as they apparently did.

Of course that raises the question of whether Edwards was set up. In his interview he claimed that Goleta resident Bob McGovern asked him to meet with Hunter in Beverly Hills.

I didn't find Edwards explanation for the photo allegedly taken of him at the hotel holding Hunter's baby to be particularly persuasive. He said he couldn't tell if it was him in the picture and if it was him it was probably Photoshopped.

Of course the photo that was published in the Enquirer looked like it was cell phone quality at best.

There's a good backstory on Edwards' interview on Nightline posted over at the Broadcasting & Cable website. According to writer Marisa Guthrie, Edwards is furious with ABC News for releasing details about the interview eight hours before it was to air on Nightline.

My predictions for where the Edwards story is going from here:

1. Sooner or later McGovern is going to surface.

2. Despite his expression of willingness to submit to one, don't hold your breath waiting for Edwards to take anybody's paternity test.