July 19th, 2007
10:00 AM ET
4 years ago

Edwards camp puts Elizabeth front-and-center

Watch CNN’s Tom Foreman report how Elizabeth Edwards is taking a starring role.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards is back in the spotlight, again.

The wife of the Democratic presidential hopeful from North Carolina, John Edwards, is taking the starring role in a new campaign commercial for her husband.

“You’re not going to outsmart him. He works harder than any human being that I know, always has, “ says Edwards, in the television ad now playing in the crucial early primary state of New Hampshire.

For Edwards, who’s battling cancer, it’s another moment in the spotlight. Earlier this week she fired away at Hillary Clinton, telling the on-line magazine Salon that “sometimes you feel you have to behave as a man and not talk about women’s issues. I’m sympathetic; she wants to be commander in chief. But she’s just not as vocal a women’s advocate as I want to see. John is.”

“Despite her battle with cancer, Elizabeth Edwards refuses to be a shrinking violet,” says CNN Political Editor Mark Preston. He also says “this was definitely a shot across Clinton’s bow and there’s no question Elizabeth Edwards is her husband’s biggest political asset, especially when it comes to women voters."

The most recent CNN-Opinion Research Corporation national poll of Democratic women finds Hillary Clinton far ahead of John Edwards. The Senator from New York was the choice for president among 45 percent of the Democratic women polled June 22-24. Senator Barack Obama was second with 25 percent and Edwards far behind at 11 percent.

This is not the first time Elizabeth Edwards has gone after Clinton. Last October she compared herself to Clinton, saying “we both went to law school and married other lawyers, but after that we made other choices. I think my choices have made me happier. I think I’m more joyful than she is.” After her comments made national headlines, Edwards reached out to apologize to Clinton.

Edwards is also speaking out without telling her husband in advance. She got into an on-air battle with conservative pundit Anne Coulter earlier this year, after Coulter fiercely criticized her husband. Edwards later told CNN that “I didn’t talk to John about calling Ann Coulter. I got on the phone when I was watching her.”

Last month Edwards also surprised her husband by publicly splitting with him over gay marriage. While in San Francisco, Edwards told reporters she supported gay marriage. Her husband, along with most of the other Democratic Presidential candidates, doesn’t go that far, and only supports legalizing civil unions among homosexuals. John Edwards told our Anderson Cooper earlier this week that he wasn’t aware of what his wife was up to. “I didn’t know,” Edwards said. But it appears he’s just fine with his wife speaking her mind, telling us that “nothing about Elizabeth surprises me. You can’t control what she says, nor would I ever want to, that’s one of the great things about her.”

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser


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soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Putting Elizabeth front and center... Is the Edwards Campaign struggling to connect with women and thus needs to bring out his wife?

    Does this also allow Elizabeth to become "fair game" since she is now speaking out about policy issues, candidates, etc?

    July 18, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  2. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    John Edwards says, “You can’t control what she says..."

    Loose Cannon (as defined by thefreedictionary online): One that is uncontrolled and therefore poses danger.

    July 18, 2007 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  3. Greg , ashburn VA

    Does edwards really have a shot at being #1 at the DNC convention. or is he trying to be the VP pick again?. Will edwards be in this race for the long haul or will he be quitting soon?

    July 18, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  4. Glenda, McEwen, TN

    Mrs. Edwards, you should not judge others. How can you say, you are more joyful than someone else. Hillary has achieved tremendous success on her own, and maybe that bothers you. Me thinks thou doth protest too much. Fight the issues Mrs. Edwards, not your personal prejudices.

    July 18, 2007 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. Jeremy, Billings MT

    Elizabeth Edwards is a loose cannon. She attacks Hillary (having to apologize previously), splits her husbands' campaign by publically announcing she is Pro-Gay Marriage (whereas John is pro civil union), and continues to feel as though she has something credible to contribute to politics in Washington.

    How about the spouses zip-it and let the candidates do the talking? Or is this the REAL candidate in the Edwards' Campaign?

    July 18, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  6. Greg , ashburn VA

    why isn'st gaining in the polls? i wonder?

    July 18, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  7. Brooke Cox Pocatello, ID

    Elizabeth needs to stop with the negative campaigning. Hasn't she figured out that it just makes people mad?

    July 18, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  8. Greg , ashburn VA

    will his wife help his campaign? He's down in the polls so do you see him staying in this race? And would he be VP again?

    July 18, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  9. providence, RI

    Liz Edwards is pretending that she is running for President, not her husband! She is becoming Eddy's attack dog, like Cheney. He was Bush's attack dog in 2004. Liz is forgetting that by attacking hillary like that she is showing American people that Liz has no class, and she is very low. I suspect that she has a breast cancer. Did not she and her husband, Eddy, try to appeal people's emotion by revivivg the issue of breast cancer? "A man can die but once". Shakespeare- King Henry IV, Part II. Edwards died (metaphorically) in 2004, and his two America, poverty, hair cut for $1200 were the reasons that he will never be back. Never...

    July 18, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  10. Barton Harrison Manila,UT.

    *Senitor John Edwords
    Mr. you are a lucky man with a good Women. As I see it you have the right stuff to be President.

    July 18, 2007 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  11. Alex, Atlanta, GA

    If Elizabeth Edwards decides to run for president, I'll totally vote for her.

    July 19, 2007 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  12. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    She may be one of the few women who can credibly tell the nation clearly why HRC is not the woman who should be the first woman President. Tell us again, please, and again, and ...

    July 19, 2007 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  13. Tom Dedham, Mass

    I was all set to again applaud her for speaking out against Shrillary until I see this blatant lie:

    "Edwards is also speaking out without telling her husband in advance. She got into an on-air battle with conservative pundit Anne Coulter earlier this year, after Coulter fiercely criticized her husband. Edwards later told CNN that “I didn’t talk to John about calling Ann Coulter. I got on the phone when I was watching her.”

    That is a lie bigtime, the producer of Chris Matthews show ADMITTED that it was a setup BEFOREHAND that she would be hammering Coulter, she did not just pick up the phone.

    For all the goodwill you had gained from showing grace with your illness is out the window as it appears that this is an effort by the campaign to use you to hammer Clinton, because nobody would dare hammer back at someone who has cancer.

    Typical of your husband, maybe he is channeling some spirits.

    Obama is looking better for the Democrats each day.

    July 19, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    John Edwards began using his wife when her cancer returned for pity votes. Now he doesn't have to, as probably the only votes he will receive is pity votes but on his own merits not hers.

    If John Edwards was Presidential Material: When Elizabeth's Cancer returned, despite her alligance, loyalty and determination to travel with his Campaign – John would have put his wife's health, and their children's mother first and backed out of the race to support his wife 100%.

    John is for John, that is very evident in his choice of priorities. I feel for Elizabeth Edwards. To be battling cancer for the second time and have such a self absorbed, unsympathetic husband must be heart breaking.

    July 20, 2007 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  15. Tom W - Dedham, Mass

    Hi Trica, I know you are a frequent poster, it is nice for us to totally agree on something. He is a snake oil salesman

    July 20, 2007 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  16. Michael Tolliver, Des Moine, IA

    I think it's sad that Edwards wife is really the politician here. Critics of Hillary have often said that she was a powerful force behind Bill but somehow Lizzie Edwards escapes that criticism at least for now.
    All of our candidates are influential, extremely rich individuals who are only going to get richer if they are elected to office. Nothing says that a man is weak like having his wifey slay his dragons for him. John: I think it's time to actually have your wife declare her presidential campaign and you can be first lady. She is infinitely more masculine that you are anyway.

    July 20, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |