SPENDIN' CHEESE Edwards, Colbert (inset) (Photo: Getty Images)
John Edwards's people joined the big charade last week, accusing maybe-real presidential candidate Stephen Colbert and his Doritos-sponsored campaign of being "stained by corporate corruption and nacho cheese," adding, "John Edwards has never taken a dime from taco chip lobbyists, and America deserves a president who isn't in the pocket of the snack food special interests."
But as Radar has learned, the Edwards campaign is not without its own dusting of Fiery Habañero: According to campaign filings, the former senator accepted multiple donations from a Frito-Lay executive. Edwards's buddy at Doritos is Joyce Duesman of Texas, a former Frito bandito who is now a VP at PepsiCo (Frito's parent company) specializing in industry relations. She cut Edwards a check for $250 in March of this year, and followed it up with a $500 donation in May. (In the 2004 primary, she backed the apparently more junk-food friendly John Kerry over Edwards.)
Duesman's loyalties may not be enough to win support for Edwards in Pepsi's politically conservative corporate offices. Even before news of his Doritos slam, he received no other donations from Pepsi employees or the industry's political action committee, the American Beverage Association.
Looking back, this all makes sense for a man known in 2004 for pounding back nearly a twelve-pack a day of Diet Coke while on the campaign trail.