September 25th, 2007
12:40 PM ET
11 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards questions Clinton's health care record

Elizabeth Edwards stepped up her attack on Clinton's health care record Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards, the outspoken wife of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, stepped up her attacks over rival Hillary Clinton's record on health care Monday, alleging the New York Democrat abandoned her effort in the 1990’s to save "political capital."

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Mrs. Edwards said Clinton's first attempt at health care reform "failed when the Clinton administration….said, 'We're not going to use any more political capital on this, on the fight for universal health care.' And that's an important part that Sen. Clinton leaves out."

"The stick-to-it-iveness, the determination to get it done when there was opposition both from the Republicans and from the entrenched insurance interests, that part wasn't there," Mrs. Edwards added.

Edwards further alleged, as she did in an interview with CNN last week, that Clinton and her husband, then-President Bill Clinton, abandoned the health care fight in order to focus on passing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through Congress.

John Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, is heavily courting labor unions, many of which continue to adamantly oppose NAFTA.

While her husband often refuses to criticize his opponents directly, Mrs. Edwards has assumed an increasingly vocal role in the campaign. In the interview with CNN last week, she suggested Clinton had copied the Edwards health care proposal released months earlier.

"I don't call it Sen. Clinton's health care plan," she said last week. "I call it John Edwards' health care plan as delivered by Hillary Clinton. The truth is that anyone who tries to describe Hillary's health care plan will run through every material part of John's health care plan."

In the interview with CNN, Mrs. Edwards also said of Clinton's earlier attempt at health care, "I am glad she did that health care plan. I was impressed with her when she did it. But did she learn something from it? I can't see what she's learned."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Truth Teller

    Dan J Toledo- Apparently the CNN Ticker name for Ann Coulter.

    September 25, 2007 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  2. CyberCitizen, Bartlesville, Oklahoma

    What Elizabeth Edwards says is true. I was hoping that Hillary Clinton would be the first one out of the gate with a health care plan, but she is the last of the big three. The times have changed, and we need bold leadership rather than incremental, do extensive polling and then slowly put-your-finger-in-the-wind type change. Hillary Clinton needs to link thoughts and words to action faster and more decisively to really lead the nation. In my books, Edwards has advanced to first place, Richardson to second, though five candidates including Hillary Clinton started out even in my books.

    September 25, 2007 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  3. Susan, Dallas, Texas

    The comments all appear to be from the same commenter. Why is that?

    Hit jobs are so transparent.

    September 25, 2007 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  4. Hank Hammond La.

    After reading the comments in this section, it is obvious that the posters are oblivious as to what actually happened in the fight for health care. Hillary's plan was trounced by the fact that she was not able to take on the entrenched washington insiders. She did not have the knowledge or backbone to stave off the attack and got her hat handed to her.

    Elizabeth Edwards got that exactly right. Also if anyone here would actally take the time to read the plans of each they are almost exactly the same, and since John Edwards came out with his a full seven months in advance of her's I would say it is reasonable to say she copied his.

    And Elizabeth shutting up is not an option, she is a strong lady who wants better for her children and the rest of the country. And I anm pretty sure she will say her piece as long as she would like.

    September 25, 2007 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  5. Mary in Belltown, WA

    Clinton talks about how hard she fights, what scars, wounds she has and what endurance. What she doesn't brag about are all the fights she has won. She seldom mentions the purpose of these epic political fights and the people she fights for, and the reason that she wants to be president. John Edwards in every speech explains that he wants to be president to ensure equal opportunity for all, to submit a universal health care package to the congress to be passed by July 20, 2009. He always says who he will oppose, insurance companies and big pharma, and will not take money from their lobbyists, from his opponents.

    September 25, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  6. Marirose Walker, Tilton, NH

    Pardon me for the length of this comment, but I just have to pipe in here.

    After a lot of careful forethought and participation in democratic process, I have decided that I *am* voting for John Edwards. As a resident of NH and after spending time closely listening to several of the Dems, including Hillary and Obama, I find John Edwards to be the most passionate and the most willing to fight the drug manufacturers and insurance companies. He also has a command of multiple complex issues facing our nation.

    Elizabeth is a well-spoken, well-educated, caring, and passionate public servant in the best sense of those words. If you doubt this, check out Do a search for "Elizabeth Edwards+Rage for Justice." John is a gentleman who truly loves his wife and knows she does not need to have his "permission" to speak out for what she believes in. He cannot be everywhere so Elizabeth and many hard-working grassroots supporters are trying to get his message out. He stands for more than rhetoric. In my local area, the Edwards campaign has collected school supplies for disadvantaged children. They have collected food for the local food pantry. They have distributed free white spruce saplings to awaken voters to the very real crisis facing us with regards to global warming.

    What has Hillary done? Set up a perfect staging for the media at every event. Been at a loss for words at house parties and actually had the gall to defend drug and insurance lobbyists.

    What has Barack done? Held book clubs across the State so we all can get to know him better.

    Neither of them is focusing on *the People.*

    Both John and Elizabeth Edwards care about the common folks of America. I am a progressive and if you had asked me 10 yrs ago whom I'd vote for if the choice were the first woman president, an inspiring black man, or yet another "white guy," I never would have guessed that I would've chosen another white guy! But Edwards has impressed me with his integrity, his boldness, his passion, and yes his wife. She will make one hell of a First Lady!

    Educate yourselves, please. Hillary is pulling the wool over our eyes and Barack just isn't going to be able to pull off the fight it's going to take to get universal health care, etc., etc.

    John Edwards remembers his humble beginnings and he will not let us down.

    September 26, 2007 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  7. r. james

    First lady will never occur.......Idiot........ bye bye

    September 26, 2007 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  8. Mike Orlando,FL

    When Democrats should be attacking Republicans on the issues, those like John Edwards and his wife seem to stay focused on Hillary. What's all this hype for name calling and such, it's not going to hurt Hillary. Everything that could be used against Hillary is old news, mostly it all came out in Bill Clinton's second term. Sorry Liz, pack your bags and head back home to North Carolina. I don't know where she gets that Hillary is stealing Johns healthcare plan, what a doofus. She obivously spent too much time out on the farm in the 90's and not enough time reading the paper.

    September 26, 2007 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  9. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Will this shrew ever shut up? Elizabeth Edwards has never done anything productive for this nation nor will she. It's time for her to shut her trap and go home!

    September 26, 2007 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  10. Julie Powers Mt Carmel Tn

    Why does it bother Hillary's supporters so much that Elizabeth Edwards voices her opinion. The people that want her to shut up are just as vicious and ignorant as the republicans. Does anyone know the term "freedom of speech"? I find it amusing that she has really struck a sore spot with these people. For all of you uneducated people, Mrs. Edwards has a law degree and is far from stupid. To bring up her illness and then say " I don't want to attack a sick person" is just ludricous. She is not asking for your sympathy. I think it will be refreshing to have a first lady that has an opinion about a number of things and can do more than just exclaim " I like to read".

    September 26, 2007 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  11. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    You pathetic Clintonista's, you are posting that another woman should "shut up" just because she is questioning Shrillary?

    Whatever happened to free speech that you all so covet, not so "free" if someone is questioning the queen?

    I can't stand her husband, but I respect her right to speak on any subject she wants.

    ALL of you were a twitter whenever Shrill spoke her mind while Bill was running for or became President, "she is so strong and smart".

    "The President of Iran should be heard as we value freedom of speech and differing views in this country".

    This d-bag can speak openly, but Mrs Edwards should "shut up"?

    Bah, little sheep, bah.

    September 26, 2007 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  12. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    The photo of this woman does not portray a woman of health and vitality.
    Give Elizabeth a bit of a slack. But for the Grace of God Go We.

    I don't agree with Elizabeth's front and center in your face public support of her husband. But, each person shows support in a different manner. And I do believe we might all want to walk a mile in her shoes before we condemn.

    I have friends who are on the same journey as Elizabeth as I'm sure many of you do as well. And each and everyone on that journey deserves support and compassion.

    I'm not saying it gives them the freedom to do as they wish but if we were all on what may be our last journey we may see things differently.
    Just my view.

    September 26, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Jennifer, Houston, TX

    No, George Bush, TX, I am not a teacher. I could care less about the grammar and spelling errors that abound on the ticker (undoubtedly, I make them, too). I just find it amusing that one of the hateful people posting an attack on Mrs. Edwards' education would put up a post with grammatical errors. Unless you're the real GWB, I'll assume you can appreciate irony.

    Truly, the vileness, ignorance and lack of intelligence I see on this ticker is disturbing.

    Though, if it is representative of America, I'm starting to understand how GWB was elected, twice.

    Whatever happened to reasoned discourse and respectful debate?

    September 26, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Mary, St Louis, MO

    Elizabeth Edwards is very articulate and she is correct. I remember when NAFTA was pushed and we can thank the Clinton's for that. Now our Republic is under seized by NEW WORLD ORDER leaders. Hillary is no different. She is pro-war as much as Bush. I see no difference. If she gets the nomination she will not be elected president.

    We need a change in Washington. John Edwards among a few others wants to get our country back as a Republic. Keep our constitution in tact.

    Clinton won't win against the Republicans. It will be one warmonger against another.

    September 26, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Michael F. Sarabia, Bay Point, California

    Imitation is a form of flattery.
    Maybe Mrs. Clinton decided to save a lot of work, avoid discussions and simply use Sen. Edwards Health Plan. She already knows her old plan will get nowhere again. She wanted to decide who can get what in all cases. People don't like that sort of thing.

    Yes, I think Mrs. Clinton made a wise choice. Actually, this is not the first, second or third time she has followed Sen. Edwards' lead.
    But, if she was truly smart she would see her obvious limitations.
    She can play "tough" to gain allies and lobby money, or copy ideas that are already accepted but she lacks originality and is not even as smart as Karl Rove and probably will not get a chance to be Secretary of Health and Welfare in President Edwards' Cabinet.

    September 28, 2007 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
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