The image: Earlier this month, John Edwards, the fallen Democratic golden boy from North Carolina, was indicted on charges of illegally spending nearly $1 million in campaign funds to cover up his affair and love child with videographer Rielle Hunter during his 2008 run for president. Edwards pleaded not guilty to six counts of conspiracy, issuing false statements, and violating campaign contribution laws. On Wednesday, his mug shot was released to the press (see a larger version of the photo below), prompting a certain incredulity: Even in a dark hour before a typically unflattering camera, Edwards appears perfectly coiffed and beamingly happy.

The reaction: "It's comforting to know that former Senator John Edwards even wears his trademark creepy smile to all photo ops, including but not limited to the taking of mugshots," says HV Politics at HyperVocal. "Eerily reminiscent of Tom DeLay, no?" Sure, "he's smiling, but probably not too happy inside," says Mark Joyella at Mediaite. Maybe, but I just can't get over how good he looks, says Caitlin Tremblay in the International Business Times. "It's like he had vanity lighting, hair and make-up... if he comes out on the other side of this he can save some money on new head shots for future campaign posters." Check it out:


(REUTERS/U.S. Marshals Service)