September 2nd, 2007
05:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Edwards: If you can't answer Iowans, you shouldn't be president

Edwards campaigned in Iowa on Sunday.

TIPTON, Iowa (CNN) - Responding to questions Sunday on why he agreed to pledge to skip states that are disobeying party rules by moving their primaries up, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said this election "should be based on substance, real ideas and who can actually change the country and who has the personal characteristics to be president. [It is] not a fundraising contest."

On Friday, the four states allowed by the DNC to hold their nominating contests before February 5, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, asked the Democratic field to sign a pledge not to campaign or compete in Florida if it violates party rules.

At a stop in Tipton, Iowa Edwards continued, "Every candidate now will have to come to Iowa and do what I did today and what I've done hundreds of times before, which is stand in front of an audience and answer their questions–in many cases hard tough questions... If you're not ready to answer questions in Iowa, you're not ready to be president of the United States."

Obama, Clinton and Edwards all said Saturday they would sign the pledge.
They joined Senators Joe Biden of Delaware, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson–all of whom signed on Friday.

- CNN's Chris Welch and Jamie Crawford

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. JohnS, FortLauderdale, FL

    It's all a very simple message...
    DEMS to FLA: Drop Dead!
    GOP to Dean: We love You!

    Any additional campaign dollars spent in Florida by the Democratic candidates are wasted. The Democrats have handed Florida over to the GOP in the general election.
    And I guess that Edwards doesn't realize that substance and real ideas matter to Floridians too!

    September 2, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  2. linda british columbis canada

    i used to think highly of john edwards and his wife, but there recent personal attacks against obamba and hillary turn me off. i know he needs to get up in the polls but personal attacks like this are best done by republicans.

    September 2, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. Providence

    Edwards is desperate! His wife is sick, like Gustave Flaubert's Madam Bovary, who is constantly attacking Hillary and Obama. Ed has a ZERO chance winning the primary and the general election. He is busy with $400 hair cuts, 36,000 sq feet mansion, and One America. It is the highest example of hypocrisy...

    September 2, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. David, Salinas, CA

    Now all the candidates from both parties will continue to have the opportunity to pander to Iowans about ethanol subsidies.

    September 2, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  5. Brian Hartig, New York, NY

    Actually, Edwards is not only the most principled of the "top three Dems", he is by far the most electable. It is about time that Democrats put someone on the ballot who has a chance of defeating any candidate that Republicans will field; Edwards does that time and again in every poll. I'd personally be satisifed to see ANY Democrat as President in '08, but the best chance for that happening is supporting Mr. Edwards.

    September 2, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. Christian, Tampa FL

    Oh for Pete's sake! There are 49 other states! I'm so sick and tired of Iowa this and Iowa that and New Hampshire this and New Hampshire that!

    Enough with the big four. We should rotate the early primary states every election cycle so that everyone can participate in some way. Us Floridians don't even get to vote or meet candidates or anything anymore.

    September 2, 2007 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  7. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    But Hillary needs to be attacked. She is a farce of a candidate who claims she stands for change, but whose record on the real issues – both as First Lady and as a New York Senator, very clearly state otherwise. And she is taking huge money from special interests that she will also be indebted to.

    I am rooting for Edwards. Or anybody else but Clinton. 20 years of Clinton/Bush is more than enough for me.

    September 3, 2007 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  8. JC, Motor City, MI

    I guess all the Michigan autoworkers who lost their jobs oversees don't really matter to Mr. Edwards.

    Jennifer Lozpez once sang "Used to have a little, now I have a lot"

    Jenny Granholm has her own version "(Michigan) used to mean a lot, now we mean a little"

    September 3, 2007 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  9. Anonymous

    edwards is a phony. period.

    September 3, 2007 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  10. Lyons Steve

    I really like John Edwards, but I hate stupid statements like this one.

    Iowans don't run the country, John. Get off the shrill weirdness, play to your own strengths such as Iowa, concede Hillary hers and the rest of the candidates theirs.

    Get real.

    September 3, 2007 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  11. Lyons Steve

    He is busy with $400 hair cuts, 36,000 sq feet mansion, and One America. It is the highest example of hypocrisy…

    EVERY candidate spends money to excess, EVERY one. The problem with this country is, no public financing of campaigns, and no limitations on campaign timeframes.

    Picking on Edwards for expensive haircuts are idiotic when every candidate gets made up like a movie star.

    Talk about hypocrites; look in the mirror.

    September 3, 2007 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  12. Andrew, Jakarta, Inodonesia

    Anyone from Tipton who actually attended this meeting please confirm that a candidate for the position of leader of the free world actually said these things, and if he did, whether or not you felt patronised.

    September 3, 2007 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  13. AHM, Iowa City, IA

    John Edwards is the best Democrat to take on the Republicans in '08, and the best one to take on the entrenched lobbies (pharma, insurance) that are trying to run this country into the ground to line their pockets.

    I do not begrudge him their home, and his personal services – he's earned every bit of it.

    How come the Mainstream Press doesn't check on how much other candidates pay for personal services? How large their homes are? John Edwards is NOT the most wealthy of the current crop of candidates – how come he's the only one being attacked?

    I think it's because he's the one who can change the status quo, and is the one who cares about preserving the quality of life for Americans.

    It's great to see him getting more attention, more press – he's the one who can win in 2008!

    September 3, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. Joliene, Newark, DE

    Edwards should hire a new press secretary ....they are not doing him any good right now.

    September 3, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. Sue Ann Edwards, Aberdeen, WA

    Most candidates aim their talking at the 5th to 6th grade level.

    Most candidates aim their talking at things the public wants to hear.

    I'm waiting for a Statesmen, who has the Courage to say what needs saying.

    John Q. Public is gullible.

    September 3, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |