Following Elizabeth Edwards' funeral over the weekend, her estranged husband, John Edwards, is quietly devising a plan on how to prudently return to public life.

"John is a political animal, there can be no doubt about that," a former friend of the politician tells me. "He knows that he self-destructed [with the cheating scandal] but believes that with the right plan, and the power of time, he'll be able to win back the hearts of the public."