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This just in: Latest twist on the John Edwards scandal has Howard Wolfson, former Hillary Clinton loudmouth, er, spokesman, telling ABC News that Clinton would have won the nomination if Edwards had not lied about having an affair last October, when the issue first surfaced.

At first glance, the comments have the ring of one of those ersatz historical novels - What If The South Had Won the Civil War? - but Wolfson's lingering sour grapes tone is hard to miss. With the Democratic convention just two weeks away, and Clintonistas still grumbling about perceived primary season slights from the Obama camp, it's hard to see how his remarks will do anything but reopen old wounds. ABC's report is here.

Note to jqb: Here's the portion of the transcript of Bob Woodruff's interview with Edwards on ABC's "Nightline," in which he mentions his wife's cancer:

WOODRUFF: Your wife, Elizabeth, is probably the most admired and beloved person in this country, she's had enormous sympathy because she's also gone through cancer, how could you have done this?

EDWARDS: Here's what, can I explain to you what happened? First of all it happened during a period after she was in remission from cancer, that's no excuse in any possible way for what happened.

You're right that he says it's not an excuse, but he does so _ only after raising the issue first himself, _ as if it was a talking point he wanted to get in. It was interesting that in talking to several women friends about the interview, that comment was the first thing they all mentioned, saying they found it particularly offensive; it was the take that both Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins offered on in the Times, and it's also a point strongly made in a USA Today editorial this morning. As a practical matter, the fact that it's being discussed and debated so widely as an "ick factor," shows a) how unsuccessful Edwards was in trying to put the matter to rest with the interview; and b) why Edwards' big problem is not the affair but the fact that he lied about it in the first place, as his credibility is now in question on every single statement he makes on the mess.

In other news: The S.F. Chronicle's budget piece this morning offers further elaboration on the Republicans effort to get a constitutional amendment to cap state spending onto the Nov. 4 ballot. As Mathew Yi reports here, Secretary of State Deborah Bowen has set a deadline of Saturday for supplemental measures to be added to the ballot; GOP lawmakers complain that Democrats are stalling any movement on the budget until that deadline is passed, meaning that the spending cap idea would be dead for at least another two years.

And this: As Tony Strickland, the GOP candidate in the 19th state senate district race, burnishes his environmental credentials through his association with a company promoting wave energy, the Sacramento Bee takes a hard look here at the multiple unknowns, uncertainities and unprovables in the field.

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