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Elizabeth Edwards walks line between public, private life

CHAPEL HILL — Elizabeth Edwards has long tried to forge a thin gray path between public and private life.

She asks for privacy to deal with the affair that her husband, John, a one-time presidential hopeful, had with former campaign videographer Rielle Hunter.

But as images are splashed across the country of her husband's paramour entering a federal courthouse in Raleigh with towheaded toddler on hip, Elizabeth Edwards is making appearances of her own.

On Wednesday, Edwards was at Wilson Library on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, where she had worked as an English graduate student, talking about her book, "Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities."

The book, released in May, touches on how she dealt with her husband's indiscretion. But questions about that were off limits Wednesday. She was there to talk about the N.C. Literary Festival and her place among the 100-plus authors coming to the UNC-CH campus Sept. 10-13.

There would be no comments on possible DNA tests to determine who fathered Hunter's child. Nor would there be any discussion about the federal investigation into her husband's campaign spending.

When a reporter broached the subject with a question about her resilience during the trying times, Edwards got testy.

She wanted to promote reading and literature, not scandal and tabloid fodder.

"Serious people in the news are talking about serious issues," Edwards said. "Attention to things like this as opposed to the serious issues is one of the things that contributes to the dumbing down."

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