July 19th, 2007
12:45 PM ET
4 years ago

Bill Clinton defends wife's record on women's issues

Hillary and Bill Clinton campaigned in Keene, New Hampshire last week.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton defended his wife’s record on women’s issues Thursday, two days after Elizabeth Edwards contended her husband would be a stronger advocate for women than his Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

"If you look at the record on women's issues, I defy you to find anybody who has run for office in recent history whose got a longer history of working for women, for families and children than Hillary does," the former president said in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America.

In an interview with the online magazine Salon Tuesday, Edwards said Clinton is “just not as vocal a women’s advocate as I want to see. John is.”

"Keeping that door open to women is actually more a policy of John's than Hillary's," Elizabeth Edwards added, noting that she was “sympathetic” to the fact that “sometimes you feel you have to behave as a man and not talk about women's issues.”

“I don't think she's trying to be a man,” Bill Clinton said Thursday about his wife. “I don't think it's inconsistent with being a woman that you can also be knowledgeable on military and security affairs and be strong when the occasion demands it.

“That's - I don't consider that being manly. I consider that being a leader,” he added.

An Edwards campaign spokesman declined to discuss Elizabeth Edward’s comments directly, but told CNN Tuesday she “believes her husband is the best candidate for president 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.”

Both Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Edwards have taken visible roles in the presidential campaigns of their spouses. Bill Clinton recently joined his wife on the campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire, while Elizabeth is the star of a new television ad for her husband running in the Granite State.

Programming Note: Elizabeth Edwards joins CNN’s Larry King tonight at 9 p.m. ET to discuss her recent comments about Hillary Clinton, among other topics.

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Heidi, Anchorage, AK

    I ask, what has John Edwards Done? Who the heck is Elizabeth Edwards? I mean I swear she is trying to win pity points by being so visible when she should be taking care of herself and getting healed of her cancer. It's sad when a women believes she must follow her husband to the ends of the earth and put her own health in jeopardy traveling hither, thither and yon trying to tell everyone that her husband, barely a congressman, has the qualifications to become president. It's sad really....she should be home..or getting good medical care, and trying to get over her cancer. Instead she's all over the tv and news telling everyone how HILLARY is the one who is not acting like a woman. Come now...that's just catty of her. Hillary is quite feminine in her issues. However, just because Mr. Edwards talks about poor people all the time doesn't mean he's the best candidate either. Great, he was poor once. I am poor now..he isn't going to make my life better with talk. Hillary has been a woman of action in the past, and I suspect she knows a little more about the goings on of international issues than most of the candidates currently running.

    July 19, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. Lynn, Seymour, CT

    Wow! It looks like some of you Hillary haters need to go back over to the Fox News website!

    When I see comments like this, it makes me want to vote for Hillary even though I'm kind of on the fence. I just want to vote anti-ignorant people. And alot of you people are a motivating factor.

    I'll have to have Hillary thank you in 'o8....

    July 19, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Barabas

    Look at the picture....Hillary is starting to resemble former President Bush (the first one), and Bill kinda looks like Barbara Bush. Coincidence??? Hmmmmm, I'm sorry if I just blew your mind.

    July 19, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. Susan, Fort Pierce, Florida

    I wish all the Clinton haters would just get a life! The Monica thing is so not an issue! Bill Clinton was a first rate statesman and President. He cared about the poor and middle class. Hillary would also make a great president. If she is the nominee I will vote for her with enthusiasm and pride.
    I also like Edwards a lot. I don't hold it against Elizabeth for her comments about John's record on Womens's issues. She is a wife supporting her husband who is running for President. If John Edwards is the Democratic nominee for President I will proudly vote for him. I like his anti poverty agenda!
    What I will not do is vote for a Republican! I don't like any of the Republican candidates! They would all keep the war going and keep selling us out to the big corporations for greed. All the GOP candidates are eather slaves to the Military Insustrial Complex or Theocrats who would turn this country into a Christian version of Saudi Arabia! No Thanks!
    By the way, Hillary has plenty of steller accomplishments for both kids and women. I just read "London's" Link.

    July 19, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. John S. Chicago, Illinois

    WHAT?! I thought that Hill did WONDERS for the women's movement by standing by her man, after he publically humiliated her by nobbing around with his secretary, merely to secure a future political run at the families second presidency. Way to go Hillary! Way to avoid low brow bashing of your number one competition O'Bama too! STAY CLASSY CLINTONS.

    I'd slap my momma for obama.

    July 19, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    I have no idea how so many people can still support these two. Either a Clinton or a Bush has been in the White house since 1988. If she is elected, it will mean 24 years of Clinton/Bush. They call it a monarchy when members of the same family rule for life. But we're supposed to have a democracy.

    Are there no other viable candidates from any other families in America – anywhere – that we can elect instead??

    July 19, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. Becky, Euless, TX

    As a woman, Mrs Clinton does not not speak for me, when I listen to Mrs talking its like a tape player that just got pressed Play... As an American, her own husband lies to her, she turns around and votes for a war, and now she can't even me "man-woman" enought to apolise? Oh... she can't do that... she has to follow in the foot steps of most Presidents, lie to us, and one word for Mrs Edwards" can you please slow down, and just Shut up!! your Family needs you.

    July 19, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  8. Fitzy

    Lesse if we can get this straight:

    1.Liz Edwards implies Hillary is sort of man-like.
    2.Bill Clinton runs to the rescue and says rumors to that effect about Hillary are not true.
    3. Oh yea??, and Liz says that her foppish husband, John, is more concerned about women's rights than Hillary because... well, just because.
    4. Previously in this little soap opera we have Liz stepping up to the plate and, in a clear set up on Chris Matthews show, attacks Ann Coulter for suggesting that John might be, well, just a little light in the loafers (she didn't say that, but of course that's beside the point).
    Ann Coulter proceeds to grind Liz to a pulp in a "discussion" on the matter.
    5. Meanwhile, back at the estate, John plots out his "poverty tour" while watching "As The World Turns", his very favorite soap opera.

    And so it goes in modern American politics.

    July 19, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    HAHA how does Bill Clinton have a voice when it comes to women's issues? He is America's most famous womanizer!

    July 20, 2007 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  10. Anita Lowery, New York, New York

    All I can say is that Elizabeth Edwards is a woman who loves her husband and proved ignorant on Hillary Clintons record of being a woman first and foremost. In addition, ignorance beyond comprehension escaped her mouth. Spoken about, not just a woman but an individual who is learned, experienced and well balanced that faced a major public upset in her life head on. Never letting it deter her from leading her countrymen into a better America. Crash course Elizabeth, women have been fighting wars and loving themselves, family, friends everyone else around them. Who's the man now!

    July 22, 2007 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
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