John Edwards out on the campaign trail.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – John Edwards delivered a speech Thursday where he encouraged voters to reject “establishment elites” and “outdated answers . . . rooted in nostalgia” and where he also said the American public deserves to know “the Lincoln Bedroom is not for rent.”
It was widely reported as a thinly veiled attack on a chief rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner in most national polls.
But on Friday Edwards denied that his effort to cast himself as the true Democratic presidential candidate of change, had been a hit on Clinton.
“Nothing I said yesterday has anything to do with other presidential candidates,” Edwards said in response to a question from a reporter that specifically referenced the Lincoln Bedroom comment. “They need to move off of thinking about themselves and think about what’s important for the country which is what I’m focused on,” he added.
“Gimme a break,” said Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report. “The reality is there’s a campaign going on and he’s in debates with these guys every week and he’s looking for ways to create a distinction with Clinton and Obama.” Rothenberg added that “everybody knew what he was saying and who he was taking a shot at” with the Lincoln Bedroom comment.
Although he denied taking potshots at his main Democratic rival, Edwards did not hesitate to target Republican Mitt Romney’s new health care reform plan. “What I’d like for Gov. Romney to do is come here to New Hampshire and explain to the people I just met with why universal health care was good for the State of Massachusetts but it’s not good for the people of New Hampshire,” Edwards said Friday after meeting with voters at hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire.
– CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart