July 18th, 2007
10:23 AM ET
4 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards offers sharp critique of Hillary

Elizabeth and John Edwards made a stop in New Orleans Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards sought to punch holes in the notion that New York Sen. Hillary Clinton is the women’s candidate in the 2008 race for the White House. For Edwards, that title falls to her husband, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who is competing against Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“She’s just not as vocal a women’s advocate as I want to see,” Elizabeth Edwards said in a wide ranging interview with the online magazine, Salon. “John is.”

Edwards particularly offered a sharp assessment of Clinton’s approach to providing healthcare to everyone.

“On the issues that are important to women, she has not ... well, healthcare, that's enormously important to women, all the polls say, and what she says now is, we're going to have a national conversation about healthcare,” Edwards said in the Salon interview. “And then she describes some cost-saving things, which John also supports, but she acts like that's going to make healthcare affordable to everyone. And she knows it won't. She's not really talking about poverty, when the face of poverty is a woman's face, often a single mother.”

A Clinton spokesman declined to comment on Edwards’ remarks, while a spokesman for the Edwards presidential campaign would not speak directly about the Clinton comments other than to say Elizabeth Edwards was only talking up her husband's ability to offer solutions.

"What she did say is that she believes her husband is the best candidate for president,” the spokesman tells CNN. “And she thinks that her husband would be the best advocate on healthcare, on education, on women's issues and the fight to end poverty."

Elizabeth Edwards also spoke about her recent confrontation with conservative commentator Ann Coulter, the split with her husband on the issue of gay marriage and how she is handling her cancer treatments while campaigning on behalf of her husband.

Edwards announced earlier in the year that her bout with breast cancer had returned in a stronger form, but continues to take a highly visible role on the campaign trail this year.

TIME.com: Can Poverty Define John Edwards?

– CNN's Alexander Mooney contributed to this report

soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Dave, New York, NY

    Who's running for president, Elizabeth Edwards or John Edwards? I've heard more news coverage about her opinions than coverage on what her husband is actually saying. Of course, we all need to remember that her husband is a candidate and that she is going to criticize other candidates in favor of her husband.
    Hillary is a strong candidate, Obama is a strong candidate, John Edwards is not.

    July 18, 2007 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. Barbara Benson, Leesburg, VA

    I feel it is inappropriate for Mrs. Edwards to make comments to and pass judgement on Mrs. Clinton's campaign addresses and issues. Mrs. Edwards is not running for President of the United States therefore should not behave as if she were.

    July 18, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    She's got a right to her opinion, but it isn't the wisest and most well-thought-out remark I've ever heard. Yes, a man would be a better advocate for women's rights than a mere woman, wouldn't he? See if that sounds better after a million repeats on YouTube . .

    July 18, 2007 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. G

    Didn't John Edwards make his millions of dollars suing Doctors? He has an anwer for the health system for this country? How about supporting hard working doctors and not suing them! Politics...politicians...all BS! Most of them are very rich, living in very big houses that are not "green" and only mingle with the public when they want our votes around election time. We should cut out the big campaign spending, limit the campaign commercials and negetive jargon, and encourage good and honest men and woman to go into politics "for the people." God Bless America...it's still the best and most generous country. Ps. Thank you Doctors for all of your hard work!

    July 18, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. Evan, Chicago, IL

    Does anyone know what the "split on gay marriage" is between them? Which believes which?

    July 18, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. Stevie SLC Utah

    While I like both the Edwards and Clintons I think I can be pretty fair minded about Mrs. Edwards remarks. She is campaigning for her husband just like Mrs. Clinton did for her husband when Bill was running for office. I voted for Bill Clinton, Hillary was 50% of the reason I voted for Bill. And that is probably how I will vote in the future, if I pick up on something in the spouse that I don't feel comfortable with, I will not vote for that candidate.

    July 18, 2007 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Jessica,

    Everyone seems to complain about the Bush Administration regarding the war. However, didn’t our country vote him back in office?

    As far as John Edwards, he was a jerk last time while running for office and now, he appears weak because his wife is fighting his battles. As others have stated, the Clintons were very king and supportive when they learned Mrs. Edwards was battling cancer again. Yet this is the “thank you” she responds with.

    If our country thinks Bush is horrible, imagine how corrupt our country would be if Edwards were in office – I think I would move to another country.

    July 18, 2007 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  8. dhiraj, lutherville, md

    One should never make her husband better by knocking the other candidate. If Elizabeth wants to make Edward look better then only talk the issues, do not put others down. It will never work.
    Did she say she is christian? Is this what they teach in church?
    Elizabeth is immature. How can she or husband get elected?

    July 18, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. rae, lisle, il

    john edwards was my candidate until his $400 haircut. the subsequent $1200 haircut took him completely off my list. of all the dem candidates hillary clinton is the most capable, however, i'm concerned about her lack of grace. nothing to do with her fashion sense. it's her defensive response to any criticism. one needs to aknowledge past mistakes, let people know one's learned the lesson, and move on. being defensive and the issues never go away.
    so i thought i'd vote for john edwards. no longer. mr. edwards gets fancy haircuts and my vote goes to hillary clinton.

    July 18, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. Barabas

    Yes, yes, yes....let her tear down Hillary, because Edwards will never win. This just lays out the red carpet for the republicans to go ahead. Go Elizabeth!

    July 18, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Brigid, Woodside, NY

    What is so comical is that Mrs. Edwards speaks on a topic she has no expertise on and I am not suggesting that the politicians are any kind of experts, the healthcare issue is a highly complicated topic. But, as far as Mrs. Clinton, I don't agree with everyone of her views on various topics, but I highly admire her. She is a women of power, leadership, high intelligence, integrity and prefers to stand her own ground in front of her husband instead of behind him and does not pretend to be something she is not. Let's face the truth, this country is not ready for a women president and that is sad and pathetic, and it's even more pathetic that our country who considers itself to be democratic and modern is still buried in the idea that because society says and does so, it is still basically a world where the opposite sex dominates. Kudos to Mrs. Clinton for having the guts to run for the presidency against all MALE candidates. Mrs. Edwards might not want to confront it, but that is what this is all about, the bottom line, the battle of the sexes!

    July 18, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. Beth, Charlotte NC

    John Edwards was a do-nothing senator for North Carolina. Those of us who voted him into office soon learned that he had no intentions of serving his home state.

    July 18, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. Lynn, Washington State

    Go cats go ... cat fights are always fun to watch, especially when one of the cats is that commie, Hillary Clinton!

    July 18, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Susan Atlanta, Georgia

    I think it is fun to see the Democrat Presidential Hopefuls bash on each other. Hillary is by no means a champion of the woman's cause. She is of course a champion on Hillary.

    July 18, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. Lin

    what world are you living in? Hillary (& Bill) doing Anything – much less socializing with the Bushs'? Where do you get this stuff?

    July 18, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Mike, HI

    Steve, Brentwood CA:

    "The far-left should stop trying to get their nose in every aspect of society... Marriage between a man and a woman ONLY should be in the constitution."

    I'm sorry Steve, these two statements do not fit together.

    July 18, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. amanda fresno ca

    Who even cares about a woman's advocate? I love my life like it is. And who knows whats important to me? My family, my husband, my kids. As long as they are taken care of I'm happy. Advocate for them...

    July 18, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. Lisa P. Smith, Atlanta, Georgia

    Elizabeth's comments were terrific!

    Elizabeth wasn't bashing Hillary at all. In fact, all she said, basically, was “She’s just not as vocal a women’s advocate as I want to see...[but] John is.” (Which is true for me, too!)

    Elizabeth's response was a natural (and accurate) thing to say. Why is anyone surprised?

    Elizabeth Edwards is a very intelligent and compassionate woman. (I don't want another stupid, submissive Laura Bush-type.)

    Hillary's plans for healthcare, poverty, and education, the environment, etc. are far too vague and conservative to create any REAL differences for most Americans–poor and middle classes.

    Also, look at how much $$$ Hillary has received from the pharmaceutical companies. Enough said.

    Edwards' plans are more aggressive, and he lays them out with greater detail (and more conviction!) than any of the other candidates.

    John & Elizabeth ROCK!!! Edwards '08!!!

    July 18, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  19. GH, New York

    With Elizabeth bashing Hillary now, there goes John Edwwards' chance to being picked as a presidential running mate with Hillary after the next democratic nomination.

    July 18, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
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