"Working On a Dream"
"Tenth Avenue Freeze-out"
"Born To Run"
"She's the One"
"Meeting Across the River"
"Waitin' On a Sunny Day"
"The Promised Land"
"Into the Fire"
"Raise Your Hand"
"E Street Shuffle"
"Dancing In the Dark"
"Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"
When John Edwards returned to North Carolina in the course of his long quest for the presidency, Andrew Young always met him at the airport in Edwards’s big black Chevy Tahoe. Young drove, and Edwards rode shotgun, silently raising his left hand whenever he wanted a Diet Coke, which Young would wordlessly supply.
When Edwards and his family arrived home, Young had made sure there was fresh milk in the fridge, a neatly trimmed lawn and neatly folded dry cleaning. When he arranged their vacation to Disney World in 2004, he naturally booked himself a ticket. And when Edwards’s mistress became pregnant, Young — at the cost of his reputation, his wife’s and his minister father’s — stepped forward to say the child was his.
Young sometimes described himself as Edwards’s “special assistant” and dreamed of serving in an Edwards White House. Other aides, with a combination of disgust — and, perhaps, a bit of envy — referred to him as Edwards’s “personal servant,” or worse, Edwards’s “butt boy.” The relationship was so intense, at least on Young’s side, that it generated friction between him and Elizabeth Edwards. But if Elizabeth and John Edwards sometimes seemed to feel that Young — at 40 no longer an eager kid, with three children of his own — had gotten too close, there was no getting rid of him. He had made himself indispensable.
“John was his idol — his hero — and probably who he considered his best friend and his mentor,” said Tim Toben, a former John Edwards supporter and friend of Young’s who now lives next door to Young on the rural west edge of Chapel Hill. “He thought that he had offered the ultimate sacrifice and was left on the curb.”
Young has fleetingly emerged from the wreckage of Edwards’s political career as a character from central casting. First he was the fall guy, and now he’s the sellout, peddling his story in a tell-all book. But the real story of Young is about the passions of politics and the classic political triangle of the candidate, his wife and the sometimes sycophantic aide. The consuming devotion that politicians command from a small handful of loyalists is familiar — and not just in presidential campaigns.
“Almost every politician has people like that around him who will do almost anything, sometimes to a fault,” said Gary Pearce, a consultant to Edwards’s 1998 Senate campaign.
Neither Elizabeth nor John Edwards responded to a request — relayed through a spokeswoman — for a comment on Young. Young also declined to comment, though he did, through a friend, pass on the names of several allies for a reporter to call. About a dozen former Edwards aides described his relationship with the Edwardses to POLITICO, most on the condition of anonymity to avoid getting dragged into the campaign’s tawdry aftermath.