When a public figure or company makes a mistake, the best policy is to admit it quickly, express regret and move on.  Former presidential candidate and Sen. John Edwards provides a vivid example of the lasting damage that is caused by delaying the inevitable.

When he was accused of having an affair and fathering a child with a campaign aide, Edwards first denied it. Then he admitted the affair but said he had not fathered the child.  With a book coming out, Edwards has now been forced to admit the truth.  This is a much bigger story because he denied it two years ago.  This refusal to own up to his mistake has caused more pain for his family and more damage to his reputation.

The public is more forgiving of an individual who admits responsibility and takes his lumps when bad conduct is first suggested.  Edwards lost whatever credibility he still retained as a public figure by continuing to lie about the situation.