July 19th, 2007
12:45 PM ET
7 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. Harry, NY NY

    What exactly has Hillary done?

    Has she had a job other than being a lawyer and a politician?

    That hardly constitutes a valid argument for Hillary being an advocate.

    I think the problem is Hillary has no identity. She is the pure politician, ever shifting to be popular to the majority of people, regardless the issue or her audience's point of view

    July 19, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Providence, RI

    Liz Edward proved herself to be a very low class woman, who attacked Hillary, by saying that Hillary is manly. Hillary is not manly, but she is feminine and feminist, who believes in gender equality. Hillary does not behave like a man. She presents herself more presidential than any other candidates, including phony Edwards. John is obsessed with his hair. If he is obsessed with his hair, how can Johhny lead this country? John will be in front of the mirror for hours before he goes to oval office. Elizabeth is desparate!!!

    July 19, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Bubba,

    Not Elizabeth Edwards' finest moment IMHO.

    July 19, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. Mickey Droke

    Sorry willie but its time you faced the truth that your little jewel has bigger boys(balls) than you do, and i bet she tried a little monica on for herself. seeing as how she can do anything you can only better...picture the cigar senario with monica and hilary...oh you already have. anyway i think that hilary wants to be pres so bad she would do any..one to get there.and if you say no then they end up like on the looong list of other people/friends that commited suicide by blowing out their brains from directly behind themselves like all suicides are done ! ! ! bill you of all people should be glad she needs your help gettin elected, cause if she didnt you would be expendable and would not have seen the year following your removal from your own term as pres. cause when she is done with the race one way or the other you better find some creative ways to make yourself valuable to her again. or it wont be good to be you anymore (rest in pieces)..she will have you bumped off and laugh all the way to her own interns little cigar humidore (if ya get my drift.). so willie you just better get busy and come up with some better lines than hilary is not trying to be a man. thats kinda lame and i bet she thinks so to, you owe her big and dont you forget it cigar boy....

    July 19, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Rudy you the man in Wichita KS

    So this week "Hillary" (note: not CLINTON) for President is embracing Bill (aka Dirtbag)and his comments as an asset to the campaign. We are all aware of how creditable and what a good judge of character he is!!! They (Bill and Hillary) probably share the same backbone, and once elected (I am afraid to say) the War on Terror now dubbed the Iraq War (thanks to the liberal biased media) will be back on U.S. Soil, and not the terrists back yard.

    July 19, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    I want a "delete" button for the candidates' spouses. I'm not voting for the better (or worser) halves, and I'm tired of seeing and hearing them. especially Bubba.

    July 19, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Tris, Minnesota

    Hilary is smart and charismatic, but as a woman I'm going to vote on the issues. If Hilary doesn't support what I support then I'm certainly not going to vote for her just because she's a she. On the other hand, I hope people don't hesitate to vote for her just because she's a she either.

    July 19, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. Ted & Sally, Cambridge MA

    So in other words, a woman (Elizabeth Edwards) says that her man (John Edwards) knows more about womens' issues than a woman does.

    I'm not sure if that says less about the femininity of Hillary Clinton or more about the femininity of John Edwards?

    Hillary may make a better President than John Edwards but apparently Mrs. Edwards is suggesting that her husband would make a better woman?

    July 19, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. moose, tampa, Fl

    Hilldog sure wears the pants in that family!

    July 19, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Guillermo I. Castillo-Feliu, 1041 Pinecrest Drive, Rock Hill, SC 29732

    An English correction to the quote by Bill Clinton concerning Hillary follows. I don't believe he would make this mistake if he were to write down his own words:

    "I defy you to find anybody who has [could be "who's run"] for office in recent history WHOSE [should be "WHO'S] got........."

    July 19, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Travis

    Glad to see that Bill and Hill made the news again today. And what for? Yes thats right, the Clinton News Network.

    July 19, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. Daniel SLC

    President Clinton. I love it! She should just take over NOW.
    PS. I would love for Bill to be our Vice President.

    July 19, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Erica, Seattle, WA

    It's great that John Edwards is addressing fighting to end poverty. Less than half of aid from the United States goes to the poorest countries where people earn less than
    $2 a day so it would be great to see the US upping it's game on that aspect.

    July 19, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. DMW, Roeland Park, KS

    America is still very sexist and from some of the comments about Oprah and Obama, still very racist. We have a long way to go as decent human beings.

    Some of you people really make me sick. Whenever a strong woman appears, you all want to complain that she is acting like a man. Hillary must be doing something right since most of you all are attacking her! I think you all are jealous, scared of strong women, or are just negative people in life generally.

    Just because Bill was President, this does not eliminate Hillary from also trying to be President. As last I looked, the Constitution does not say if your spouse was President, then no one else in the family can be.

    If Hillary is the nominee, I will vote for her.

    Go Hillary...more of us are so proud of you although the media and all of these haters are trying to convince us otherwise.

    July 19, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. Mrs. America

    I'm always eager to hear what the spouses have to say. After all, they can be a significant influence on what goes on in our government–like Nancy Reagan getting her info from a fortune teller and relaying it to Ronald. It's called the first family; we kind of elect them all, for better or for worse.

    July 19, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    We easily give more to battle world hunger than anybody and we still catch a ration of bleep because we "should do more".

    I would cut aid to these other countries until our elderly, veterans and people needing assistance are taken care of first.

    July 19, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |


    July 19, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Glenn,B'ham,Al

    Can anyone name something that Hillary has primised, that she delivered?

    July 19, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. London, England

    It would be nice if before folks say dismissively 'what has Hilary done to be an advocate?', and disparage her work, they take the time to at least look at her record. This write-up gives a load of information on her pro-bono work especially on child related issues.


    July 19, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. Joe, Foxborough, Mass.

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

    Good thing she doesn't have to defend HIS record on women's issues. Cigars, blue dresses and allegations of rape.

    July 19, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    To those who don't know what work Hillary Clinton has done for Women's Rights, Health Care, Military Veterans, the Poor, the Homeless, Child Care, Education, etc. etc. etc.
    Why don't your try READING. I'm a Canadian and I KNOW so get with it!

    July 19, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    I sincerely hope Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Nominee for President. She above all other democratic candidates would motivate the Republicans (and the "Oh no not another Clinton" crowd) to vote in droves. While I admit during the Clinton administration the economy did well (however I would argue the President has extremely LITTLE impact – otherwise everyone would be singing the Praises of Pres Bush right now since we're economically moving forward)... but MOST Americans see Bill Clinton as the President who was fooling around with Monica – and REALLY does not want him, his wife, or anyone directly connected to them in the White House again.

    Go Hillary!

    July 19, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. Joe-Foxborough, Mass.

    Posted By Tricia M Charlottetown PEI : July 19, 2007 3:39 pm

    Please, educate us. What has she done?

    July 19, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. T-Bone

    Hillary needs to prove herself. Ok, now
    Send a message about Michael Vick! If you read the indictment you will see that a witness describes how Michael Vick "repeatedly slammed a dog against the ground to kill him after he lost a fight". Let the Atlanta Falcons know what you think of this and ask that they take this matter seriously by joining the Animal Humane Society in asking "NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Michael Vick from the NFL immediately. Anything less would be an outrage".

    Sign Animal Humane Society Petition here


    July 19, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. Glenn,B'ham,Al

    I went to the site that was recommended, found that she has successes in a bill for Children's Health Insurance. The site also states she is a strong supporter of the Iraq military action as well as Afghanistan.
    I know from other research that She is now receives more Insurance donations than all senators other than one. Just not much of a record really. Sorry have to say she had her chance & failed will look at both Obama & Thompson.

    July 19, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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