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NC presidents not really from NC

In my Sunday column about John Edwards, I wrote: "Edwards was the strongest presidential candidate from North Carolina in the history of our nation. Whether you liked him or not, he was a big story here."

Several readers said I was wrong. One wrote: "Take a bag lunch to work tomorrow. Walk a couple of block to the capitol and feed the pigeons sitting on the heads of three more viable candidates. Wow."

I've been to the Capitol -- and I stand by my statement. Andrew Johnson and James Polk were born in North Carolina. Andrew Jackson is claimed by North Carolina and South Carolina. But each made his political career in Tennessee. None was a North Carolina resident when he ran for president or vice president, as Edwards was. For more on the limited North Carolina roots of those three presidents, click here to read a story by The N&O's Josh Shaffer.

Edwards was born in South Carolina but has spent almost his entire adult life in North Carolina.




Enquirer paid $50,000 for Edwards story?

"You were scooped," one reader wrote, referring to the story about John Edwards' affair. "We pay you to find out." It never feels good to get beat on a story. It's true you pay us to find out. It's also true we don't pay sources for information, as The National Enquirer does.

ABC News' Brian Ross said that when reporting the story about John Edwards' affair, he came across sources who said The National Enquirer was offering $50,000 for information. The Enquirer's Steve Plamann confirmed that his publication pays for information but he didn't say how much it paid in the Edwards case. David Perel, the Enquirer's top editor, told David Carr of The New York Times that he has the best investigative team in the business. If that's true, The Enquirer shouldn't need to pay sources, should it, David? At the least, The Enquirer should come clean and say how much it paid sources in the Edwards case. Carr also points out: "The National Enquirer gets plenty wrong," including missing on Gary Condit and Elizabeth Smart.

Sharon Waxman, the former Hollywood correspondent for The New York Times, says tabloids pay big: "...Without a checkbook, the Raleigh News & Observer was not going to be let into the world of Rielle Hunter." We wanted to talk with Hunter. But we weren't willing to pay to talk with her. When you pay sources, they have incentive to lie or exaggerate. That's one reason why the Enquirer is wrong so often. They got this one right. But the next time they might be settling out of court, as they just did with a woman the Enquirer suggested had borne a child by Ted Kennedy.


How we reported the Edwards affair

Looking back, our coverage of John Edwards’ extramarital affair was on the mark, given what we knew and when we knew it. Read more about how we dealt with this story.

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