ENQUIRER WORLD EXCLUSIVE:  Cheating killed his political career, destroyed his reputation and left his marriage hanging by a thread – but John Edwards has done IT again! The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively that the philandering ex-senator embarked on a "sex-and-booze bender" after what appeared to be a marriage-ending blowout fight with his cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth.

While still publicly not admitting paternity of his love child – who turns 2 in February – the disgraced former presidential candidate shocked eyewitnesses by recently spending several consecutive nights trawling bars in search of women.

Before booting her shameless husband from their home after Christmas, Elizabeth screamed at John that she was "finally signing" the divorce papers she had her lawyers draw up last year during a previous battle over his relationship with Rielle Hunter, the mother of his baby.

Edwards fled to the couple’s vacation home on Figure Eight Island near Wilmington, N.C. – and attempted to bed a female bartender as well as bar patrons young enough to be his daughter, say shocked witnesses.

In a bombshell exclusive interview with The ENQUIRER, bartender Stephanie Breshears revealed that Edwards repeatedly tried to get her to go back to his house for sex.  The 34-year-old divorced mother-of-two said Edwards hit on  her "for four consecutive nights" at the local Kornerstone Bistro, where she works.

"I think he’s scum," Stephanie told The ENQUIRER. "He was definitely looking to pick up women when he came in here – and he wanted me to go back to his house."

Stephanie  revealed she first met Edwards last August when he arrived at the Kornerstone, five miles from his vacation home, with wife Elizabeth and the couple’s 27-year-old daughter Cate.

"But that night was very busy, and I didn’t have a lot of time to socialize," said the pretty bartender. "I didn’t see any of them again until John Edwards came in on Dec. 30 – the first of four consecutive nights.

"He said he’d been thinking about me since he and his wife were in last summer. He said I had run through his mind ‘time and time’ again. He said I was ‘attractive.’

"He asked what I was doing after work and I told him I had plans with friends. But he told me he was staying on Figure Eight Island, and that I should join him."

Incredibly, just minutes after giving Stephanie his phone number, Edwards started flirting with another woman – right in front of Stephanie.

"He told her he was ‘separated, soon to be divorced,’" the sexy bartender divulged.

FOR THE FULL STORY with all the explosive details you won’t find anywhere else – run don’t walk – to get the new ENQUIRER – NOW ON SALE!