August 8th, 2007
09:51 AM ET
7 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards: 'Can't make John black' or a 'woman'

Elizabeth Edwards said her husband is utilizing the Internet to gain publicity.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, is gaining attention for recent comments on why her husband may receive less attention from the media – and campaign cash - than the two leading Democratic candidates.

"We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman," said Edwards, referring to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton during an interview with Ziff Davis Media about the Internet's role in the 2008 presidential election. "Those things get you a certain amount of fundraising dollars."

The interview was published Monday.

Considered a top tier presidential candidate, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards lags significantly behind Clinton and Obama in fundraising and in national polls.

During the interview, Elizabeth Edwards attributed the Internet as a way to bypass the "sieve of mainstream media" and reach voters despite receiving less publicity than her husband's chief rivals.

"The idea that you have people standing between you and the voter is diminished, and the capacity to speak directly empowers candidates to trust their own voices," she said.

"Now it's nice to get on the news, but not the be all and end all," Edwards added.

Eric Schultz, a spokesman for Edwards' campaign, told CNN Tuesday that Elizabeth Edwards was "noting what countless reporters and pundits have said for months, that Senators Clinton and Obama get a lot of media attention, and deservedly so, because of the potential ‘firsts’ of their candidacies.”

"But the reality is, with so many candidates in this race, we just have to work a little harder to get our message out and inform the people about John Edwards’ bold vision for America," he added.

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. Julie, Baltimore Maryland

    It's sad racism, ignorance and plain stupidity comes in many different forms. In John Edwards case it's his wife.

    August 8, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. Kevin Chapel Hill, NC

    That's funny that Mrs. Edwards says that because Edwards gets a disproportionate amount of press coverage for a person with at most 11% of potential democratic votes.
    Instead of complaining, she should be encouraging her husband to have more substantitive things to say. Then he would get even more coverage.
    There is a reason he couldn't carry his own state in the 2004 elections!

    August 8, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. Shana, Babylon, NY

    Edwards stands for a lot of important issues such as health care etc. He is almost pushing too, too hard and try to capture the attention of anyone who will listen. He's the underdog and he knows it. Hillary did TERRIFIC on MSNBC debate last nite.

    August 8, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. Anonymous, Woodstock, NY.

    To all of my fellow Americans.

    I am an Afro-American Rock/Pop & Soul musician and World Peace advocate, and it is my sincere opinion that in light of the fact that Al Gore is still not slated to run for the U.S. Presidency, that all persons seriously interested in acheiving truly diplomatic solutions to the current state of near absolute chaos that the world is experiencing, there is only one clear contender for this incredibly difficult job.

    It is Senator John Edwards, without one doubt in my mind.

    Please take a moment to study the situation in depth, and if you are of a balanced and sincerely understanding temperament, you will most certainly arrive at this very same conclusion.

    Good luck to you Sen. Edwards.

    Anonymous.

    August 8, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. James Heath, Detroit, MI

    I supported Edwards in 2004 and I remain interested in him as a candidate, but I must say that I am getting tired of his campaign's attitude which suggests that he is somehow being wronged because the media is paying attention to Clinton and Obama. His poll numbers can't have anything to do with the fact that he had a relatively inconsequential record in his one senate term, no political experience before coming to Washington, was admittedly wrong on what he describes as the most important vote he ever cast in the senate, and has made several public relations mistakes already in this campaign season (mishandling the hedge fund employment issue and his haircuts come to mind). No, those things don't matter. He's behind because he's not black or a woman. I guess that's why he lost to Kerry four years ago, or why Cheney just about cleaned his clock in their debate. Everyone knows that it's easier to win major office as a woman or a black candidate. Just ask all of the blacks and women in the senate and governor's mansions. Isn't he the one that is going around saying quietly that he's a "general election" candidate because of his "southern" background? Mr. Edwards can't have it both ways.

    August 8, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. Jessica, Nashville, TN

    I used to be fans of the Edwards but they are digging deeper holes by the minute.

    What does RACE and GENDER have to do with anything? Obama and Clinton have the smarts and political savvy to run this country. Race and gender SHOULD NOT be an issue.

    The Edwards need to focus on the issues and less on "mud slinging" because that it's bringing down their ratings.

    August 8, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Jeremy / Col. / MO

    John, with all due respect. Can you run your own campain? Your lagging behind because it seems to me has if your wife is tyring to be the President and it appears that your just a puppet.

    August 8, 2007 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. Kevin, Chicago, IL

    Mrs. Edwards just doesn't get it. It's her husband we don't want and it has nothing to do with race or sex. If she were correct, I can only assume Carol Mausley-Braun would have outraised everyone when she ran for President. I think it's time to take her off the campaign trail...she is becoming a liability at this point.

    August 8, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. John, Chicago, IL

    Sorry Liz, you can't make John interesting either.

    August 8, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. vivian jones, Paterson, NJ

    could it be that, John Edwards do not get much media coverage is because his wife would take over the interview. Mrs. Edwards continually put her foot in her mouth about her husband. We would like to hear his view not her's. Is she running for predency or his he?. No he does not have to black or an woman what he need to be is a Man.

    August 8, 2007 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. Rob, New York City

    Really poor form by the Edwards'. I'm sorry its hard being rich, white and male John. I feel for you.

    August 8, 2007 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  12. Bob Raleigh NC

    If anything, Barack has to work harder because he is black.

    John Edwards has been campaigning for 4 years and has basically lived in Iowa. He should he happy that he's received this much attention.

    August 8, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. H NY,NY

    Can't argue with that.
    She has a point. He is just a typical candidate with no unique spin.

    Thank you Mrs Obvious.

    August 8, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. New York

    Are you joking? Is she saying that because he's a white male he's at a disadvantage? is she crazy? I've never met a white male who's at a disadvantage. Try another one lady.

    August 8, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. anon, San Francisco, CA

    Other than the inability to be black or woman, he also cannot wipe out his past failures (in the VP election, and senate re-election), and his experience of international politics. He also cannot tackle the controversies himself without the help of mommy Elizabeth.

    Please don't find excuses for your Johny boy.

    August 8, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. Mia McNeil, Lansing, Michigan

    Do you know what I find interesting about that statement? She didn't give any credit to those candidates regarding public policy being the reason the others are getting more attention. She went directly for their aesthetic features. I understand that she's simply doing what she can to help her husband, and that's cool, but she's beginning to hurt him rather than help. Perhaps she should chill for awhile.

    August 8, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. Jill, New York

    Yes, heaven forbid the white candidate is in the minority and gaining less attention.

    August 8, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. Michelle, Los Angeles, CA

    I would like to see Edwards and Clinton get on the same team. I believe they would make a dynamite duo to run against and BEAT the Republicans. Stop bickering, unite so you are able to do good for your country.

    August 8, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. Jeff, Houston, Texas

    You know, she raises a very good point folks. Take away the uniqueness of the top two, and what do you have? I know i am starting to see some tarnish. I'm lking Edwards more every day.

    August 8, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. MIchael, Atlanta GA

    I'm a Black man and I understand what she was trying to say. But in the world of media sound bites, this will not play well.

    August 8, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  21. Kuro

    It's nice to know that John has his wife to help out with his campaign (insert sarcasm here)

    Whine, whine, whine...

    "It's all their fault that he's not higher in the polls!"

    Yes, but not for the reasons you seem to think, Liz...

    August 8, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. TJFRMLA

    That was really a stupid thing to say.
    Over the past 200 years...white males have always had ( and still do have ) the greatest advantage for everything in this country except jail, low wages and poor housing. If John had something fresh to say people would listen.

    August 8, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  23. Janice Tallahassee, FL

    Elizabeth, you CAN make him a woman!

    August 8, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. Colin, Milwaukee WI

    Hmmmm, not exactly the smartest thing to say, I think.

    If you want your husband to get publicity, how about some fresh ideas or saying things that stand out which he hasn't done up until now, for his wife's comments.

    August 8, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. Dennis One Love

    Elizabeth Edwards is pitiable. She is afflicted with a most serious illness and thus one feels for her. However, it is becoming very clear that, for whatever reasons, she has resorted to very desperate measures to propel edwards to the presidency. At this rate, she will lose my respect sooner than later.

    August 8, 2007 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
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