June 4th, 2007
10:30 AM ET
4 years ago

Contenders clash on Iraq, immigration, health care

Sen. John Edwards blasted Clinton and Obama for not taking the lead on a recent war spending bill.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Democratic presidential hopefuls traded barbs over the war in Iraq Sunday night in New Hampshire, with former Sen. John Edwards blasting two rivals for not taking the lead on a recent war spending bill.

Edwards said his opponents "have been quiet" on calling for a plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

"They went quietly to the floor of the Senate, cast the right vote - but there is a difference between leadership and legislators," Edwards said at the Democratic presidential debate in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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Filed under: John Edwards
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Vanessa, Dallas, TX

    right on– this is the first debate so far where the candidates actually tried to separate themselves, as opposed to collectively hiding under the 'bush did it' umbrella...

    June 4, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. Bebe, Los Angeles, CA

    I think that Senator Edwards makes a legitimate point. I watched that vote and couldn't help but think that Senators Obama and Clinton were calculating the political consequences of their votes as they made them at the last moment, quietly.

    June 4, 2007 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. Nathan, Tempe, AZ

    What, no story on Mike Gravel? You gave him no time to speak, you might as well do a story on his policies.

    Stop letting the media decide our candidates!

    The rest of the candidates pander to the rich, and are openly favored by the media. Do yourself a favor and do your own research on the topics. Make up your own mind.

    And to those who say he's not "serious", that's just a way of marginalizing anyone who is not within the standard orthodoxy.

    Intelligent, serious people will not fall for these games. You need to take this opportunity to really understand what is happening. Even if that doesn't mean you agree with Mike Gravel, don't let your ego say you know more than you do.

    You realize how informed you are on the candidates even if that doesn't stop you from giving opinions on them.

    June 4, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. Gary, Edmonton, Alberta

    I agree with the neglect of Mike Gravel.
    I watched this event take place and time after time Wolf directed questions towards Clinton, Obama, Robertson, Biden. So many times he did not include Gravel. I was not really shocked as it does seem the media runs the show and if they don't a particular candidate seriously, then they must figure we don't want to hear that person either. Utter nonsense and a slap in the face of the American public. Now, is that the democratic way? I think not, but as usual, money talks.

    June 4, 2007 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Mr. Edwards has a penchant for rhetoric, but little substance on any issue. (Sounds like a lawyer, doesn't it?)

    Someone please save us from the obscenely wealthy lawyers running our country.

    June 4, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Bill W, Coatesville PA

    Edwards is my choice. Maybe he can pick John Kerry for his running mate this time. Nathan – the problem is that the majority of Americans are not intelligent and serious and cannot make up their own minds. They are sheep who live in a "soundbyte society" and automatically repeat back whatever they are told by the media.

    Personally, I live in PA, so I don't even feel like my vote counts in the primary. My state votes just about last, and the election is usually mathematically decided before I even go to the polls.

    June 4, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Scott Collins, Chattanooga, Tennessee

    A lot of people have commented that they were turned off by Edwards going on the attack. Edwards was my second or third choice going into the debate. Now he is my first choice. He was right on money in attacking the politcal calculations Clinton and Obama undertook as they voted against the War Spending bill. They should have been attacked for that, and Edwards wasn't scared to lead that attack. Good for him!

    June 4, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. John, Harrisburg, PA

    Edwards really sounds like a fool regarding Iraq. He's on record (2002 tape discussion w/ Bill O'Reilly) saying we HAD to go to war with Iraq, that we couldn't wait, and that he didn't think anyone would politicize the war in 5 years. What a liar.

    June 4, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Karen Lebanon, OR

    We need pick our candidates not the media. The media keep pushing Hilary as the front runner. I believe the Republicans think they can beat her, so they want her to be the nominee. Note recent polls with Gore included.

    They are afraid of John Edwards. He has been outspoken about what needs to done to save this country. He did a great job in the debate!

    June 4, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. Karen~Wahpeton, ND

    Edwards spoke for me. I would like to ask them the same question. This always trying to stay in the middle of the road so that they think they can be elected is preposturous. We need someone leading this country with courage the courage to use their critical thinking skills to make a decision.

    June 4, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. A'ndrea Rotterdam, NY

    Edwards is getting my vote. Most likeable and genuine guy up there. I see the most promise for our country with him. If he has to drop out due to Elizabeth's illness, I'll go to Biden next. I've seen enough lying, cheating, killing with the Republicans. It's time for some major changes in this, once great, country.

    June 4, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. Star Taylor, Fort Worth TX

    I, too, was on the fence going into the debate...Clinton or Edwards...Kudos to Edwards for having the intestinal fortitude to call Hillary and Obama out re: the vote. Did anyone notice that Obama didn't explain why he quietly came in at the last minute to cast his vote, rather he wanted to "zing" John Edwards by saying he was 4 1/2 years to late? John Edwards, you just escalated to the top of my list.

    June 4, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Rebecca Gomez

    I think Hillary Clinton did a great job at the debate and this is certainly the kind of material we need in the next Democratic Whitehouse, a President with experience who is in touch with reality and who likethe rest of Congress was decieved by the Bush/Cheney administration in the reasons for attacking Iraq period. Hillary will be President of the U.S. because public opinion feels this is the way it should be and because its time for a change that only Hillary can bring.

    God bless Hillary Clinton in office

    June 4, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Leonard, Dallas, TX

    I think Hillary showed herselp to be very presidential. The democrats will lose if they have Edwards as their candidate. Take that to the bank. At least with Hillary, it will 2 for the price of one. Bill is still the most popular american alive.

    June 4, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. Scott, Austin TX

    Edwards is my first and only choice of all of the candidates and his performance last night only re-enforced my belief that he is the best choice. His character (admitting that his Iraq war vote was a mistake) and conviction (trying to make amends for that mistake) are both authentic and impressive – enough to make the rest of the field pale in comparison. I'm glad he came out swinging at Clinton nad Obama on the war, and I only hope he continues to swing at them on poverty and health care.

    June 4, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. marie, richond, va

    I wish edwards tell us what he plans to do stop attacking and whining. if edwards win the primary we will lose the general election. the republicans will eat pretty boy alive. We need obama and a biden ticket to win the general election. This is a combination of charisma, hope, vision, and experience. What we need to unify our country.

    June 4, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. Keith, Atlanta, GA

    I voted for Kerry-Edwards in the last election because of John Edwards, but John has been a huge disappointment during this campaign. He’s trying to make points by opposing the Iraq war but he has not addressed the consequences of a unilateral pull-out from that war. He also seems oblivious to the fact that there are Islamic terrorists who do want to attack the United States and he offers no alternative to combating that threat. It seems now that a vote for Edwards is a vote for leaving America defenseless.

    Of course, few of the Democrats are much better than Edwards. When I vote for president next year, it looks like I will have a choice between the party that doesn’t know how to win the war and the party that wants to lose the war. I wish we had a candidate who had a new plan for Iraq other than surrendering.

    June 4, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    It is disappointing to hear that each candidate did not get equal time or some were outright ignored.

    Defeats the whole purpose of having a debate if the leading candidates are allowed to dominate all the airtime.

    Clinton is dominating because she is the only candidate that the media gives attention to. That will not translate to beating the Republicans, nor finding the best candidate from the 10 there are to choose from.

    Edwards or Biden should do well against the Republicans. I don't think the other candidates can win.

    June 4, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. Micaela Myers, Oceanside, California

    I watched the democratic debates on CNN yesterday, and I was very disappointed in the way CNN didn’t give all the candidates equal time to speak (not even close to equal time!).

    The first primary is six months away, and most voters have not decided for sure whom they are going to vote for. A debate should be the ideal time for voters to hear from all the candidates so that we can decide who we think best represents our viewpoints.

    CNN put Obama, Clinton and Edwards in the middle and by far gave them the most time to speak, followed by Richardson and Biden, and then by Dodd. Gravel and Kucinich were stuck at the far ends and barely got to say anything!

    I realize that Obama, Clinton and Edwards are the front-runners in the poles, but does that mean the race is over? Has the media decided they are our only three real choices, or that underdogs like Gravel and Kucinich don’t matter since they’re not up in the poles? It’s way too early for that, and as a voter, I wanted to hear from all the candidates.

    I was very, very disappointed in CNN. I expected CNN to run the debate fairly, with each candidate getting equal time to speak. Shame on you.

    Micaela

    June 4, 2007 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  20. Daniel, Salt Lake City, UT

    Although many of these posting criticize CNN for allotting extra time to the candidates that currently lead in the polls, it seems to make the most sense. It's not CNN's job to help each candidate in their run for president but to report the most important aspects of the race so that the public can have a general idea of what is going on and maybe some useful information when the many candidates are narrowed down to the few.
    I personally agree that, for the most part, Americans are under informed about politics. However, that state of America has always existed to some extent. Thanks to modern-day media coverage we now have a wealth of information extended to virtually everybody. It's sad but predictable that media will favor one direction, however CNN has done several obvious moves to protect America from the real extreme and terrible journalism. A great example of this is their critical coverage of Fox News blasting Obama for being some trained Muslim extremist, when in fact he simply went to a normal school that some weak moralled magazine termed a terror training camp.
    If some voters feel a bit deprived of some information about a particular candidate, they should obviously do their own research and not expect a news station to do it all for them. After all, CNN has most likely done research into what the majority of Americans are interested in hearing about and have geared their time restrained programs towards the most effective display of information.
    I think that it should be an obvious imperative for the news to focus on the candidates that most voters want to hear about.
    I enjoyed the debates, although I really like the idea of the moral issues discussed in debate form almost without mediation, like in the times of Lincoln and Douglas. I guess candidates are likely to look more foolish than revolutionary if they get an unbridled chance to speak their mind until their conscience tells them to stop talking.

    June 4, 2007 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |