It’s easy to understand Elizabeth Edwards’ pain, said Maureen Dowd in The New York Times. What’s puzzling is why—in a new book, and on Oprah Winfrey’s TV show—she is dredging up the story of how her husband, John Edwards, cheated on her with Rielle Hunter, one of his presidential campaign workers. The renewed “public flogging” of the North Carolina Democrat certainly won’t do the couple’s kids any good.

“Elizabeth Edwards is out to prove that resilience isn’t just the title of her new book,” said Josh Grossberg in E! “It’s been her life.” She is dealing with her husband’s infidelity and her own terminal cancer all at once, on the public stage. Instead of questioning her motives, we should be grateful Elizabeth Edwards is talking. (watch a clip from Elizabeth Edwards’ appearance on Thursday’s Oprah show, or read transcript excerpts) “It’s some kind of story.”

Whenever someone casts a critical eye on Elizabeth Edwards, said Michael Goodwin in Fox News, “the temptation is to shout, ‘Leave the poor woman alone.’” She was battling breast cancer when she learned of the affair, she lost her first son in a car accident. But, remember, she also kept quiet for too long, and “helped to perpetrate a fraud on voters, namely, that her husband was fit to be president.”