November 12th, 2007
06:35 AM ET
7 years ago

Edwards hits Clinton on fuzzy answers

Edwards attacked Clinton Sunday for lacking clarity on a variety of positions.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, said Sunday that he "can't tell" where Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, stands on a number of issues.

"I mean, she says she's for ending the war, but she'll continue combat missions in Iraq," Edwards said. "She says she's for standing up to Bush on Iran, and she votes with Bush on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard."

"[She] said that she was not for doing anything with the taxes for social security, and then apparently she told somebody in private that she was. I mean I don’t know."

Edwards was asked by reporters to respond to what Clinton said Saturday night at the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson dinner.

"There are some who will say they don't know where I stand," Clinton told the audience when it was her turn in front of the crowd of about 9,000 Iowa Democrats. "Well I think you know better than that. I stand where I have stood for 35 years. I stand with you and with your children and with every American who needs a fighter in their corner for a better life."

Clinton has come under attack from opponents in recent days over her answer to a question at a debate on whether or not she supports giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

At the time Clinton said the plan “makes a lot of sense" but stopped short of endorsing it.

In his speech in Des Moines Sunday, Edwards also unveiled what he's calling the "Plan to Build One America" book, a printed pamphlet that outlines his various policy proposals.

Related video: 'People expect an honest process'

-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iowa • John Edwards
soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. BCNU purple state, usa

    Read Hillary's canned answer in response to people saying they don't know where she stands: "There are some who will say they don't know where I stand," Clinton told the audience when it was her turn in front of the crowd of about 9,000 Iowa Democrats. "Well I think you know better than that. I stand where I have stood for 35 years. I stand with you and with your children and with every American who needs a fighter in their corner for a better life."

    Another scripted answer. She is pathetic.

    I am definitely with you. I don't NEED, a politician "fighting" for me or my children, I need them to leave me the hell alone!

    I don't need Hillary to STAND with me, I have two legs and am able bodied and can stand by myself.
    I don't need her in my corner or my back pocket, telling me what she wants to do with MY money, I'm capable of deciding on my own.

    She stands where she's stood for 35 years, that's nice, it shows ZERO movement!

    This government has run rampant and grown WAY out of control! We don't need promises of more government intervention in our lives. How would any of you react to a neighbor that knocked on your door and said, "You need to pitch in to pay for the guy that cuts my grass, I'm also collecting donations for my mortgage and car payment from folks here in the homeowner's association, your contribution is mandated!"

    Yet, candidates cloak all of this stuff in a tired mantra of "it's for the children or we need to provide for..." and you lap it up.

    I'm all for helping the poor and needy and do so privately with what little money I can afford to that the government doesn't strip away from me, but when they abscond with the cash and spend it on BS, that's where the line has to be drawn. Taxation without representation indeed!

    Ron Paul has a following because he's one candidate saying that government doesn't need to grow, but shrink. Give THE PEOPLE more control over their lives and destiny and watch what happens.

    The next president should go through this huge USC and tell his Congress, get rid of everything in here unless it involves punishment for hurting your fellow man or stealing from another.

    I know it's a simple solution to the 'complex' problems, but do you need 'help' in the conduct of your daily lives? Or, do you need the government continually telling how to solve your problems? Think about it.

    November 12, 2007 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. J. McKinney SW MO

    How do they come up with all the "silly" looking pictures of Edwards?
    Anyway, I am for Hillary. Go get 'em, Hillary!

    November 12, 2007 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  3. Matt, Houston, TX

    And you guys say Edwards is negative? Holy smoke, the politicians have nothing on some of these posts.

    Personally, I have heard John Edwards speak about his policies and like what I hear, I also like Obama's and Bill Richardson's. Hillary is a little vague and little too 'connected' for my tastes but she is infinitely better than any of the Republican candidates.

    John is doing what he has to do in todays politics, unfortunately. To get news coverage, you have to attack your opponent, otherwise talking about real issues is boring and 'doesn't sell papers'. It's sad but the media is as complicit as the candidates in lowering the level of the campaign rhetoric.

    My top three picks for President? Obama, Edwards and Richardson in a tie for 1st (Obama slightly in the lead), Hillary if she gets the nomination. All of these people and even Dodd and Biden are highly intelligent and I think would do a good job.

    Anonymous from Canada, while some Americans are interested in your views of the issues, telling us how to vote is definitely not what we want to hear or welcome. You were doing okay until you asked us not to vote for him. Ignore the xenophobes telling you to shut up, just be a bit more judicious in your words. How would you like us telling you how to vote in your next elections? Keep that in mind.

    November 12, 2007 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. Karren; Louisville, MS

    Edwards is not a loser. The US citizens are...because Bush/Cheney got the presidency in 2004. Some of you rant and rave like lunatics over the fact that he came from nothing to a millionaire by protecting poor/middle class through making big business pay for the error of their ways. We need someone to protect us even more so today from corporate America and the rich hoodlums who support it. Are you stupid? I just bet that most on this board live pretty much from paycheck to paycheck. Yet you support corporate America which has sent your jobs overseas and steals from you by increasing prices and poisons you by importing tainted products. You support "that" against John Edwards.

    It is necessary for Edwards to come out fighting. In the previous presidential election, he and Kerry received adequate donations from their internet associations. Today, that is more difficult because the poor and middle class do not have the resources to share, thanks to Republicans. However, Clinton has the contacts as does Obama through which they have amassed a gigantic pool of campaign donations. Have you noticed that the ones with the biggest pool is usually the top dog??

    Hillary is extremely intelligent, and I considered her as my choice, until I heard her answers. I do not trust a politician who essentially states that it is not appropriate to state her position before she gets the job. I want to know where she stands BEFORE I vote for her; and the same goes for any candidate.

    November 12, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. OO

    When will the American people get tired of choosing between the lesser evil?

    I have given up on the whole voting arena. Those who are in power are greedy self serving and frankly dont give a F! about any of us normal people. Why else do they have these glorified perks? Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

    I'd rather vote for my neighbor whose a truck salesman than to vote on any candidate who is backed by lobbyist and all other money you dont know about.

    Tired of this crap.

    November 12, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. rightasrain

    This is the guy dems supported a few years ago and now trash at every turn.
    Typical democrat values..

    November 12, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. Monica, Georgia

    This really is part of the process. All canidates bash each other, its just a way of showing that you are different and a better choice. He does speak about his issues and how he would handle anything in office. But none of that stuff CNN sees as important enough to post as news.

    November 12, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. Joe, Florida

    I feel sorry for John Edwards, with all his whining, apparently he has nothing else to say to his followers.

    They can criticize Hillary as much as they want, but she leads by a big margin. Politics is not Black & White, there are a lot of Gray areas; Hillary, Barack & John know this but they prefer to criticize Clinton for acknowledging this. If anything, she's the honest one here.

    What's best about this lady is that she's realistic and practical, and that is what we need in a President now more than ever. America became a great country because of how practical and realistic Americans were.

    Hillary 2008

    November 12, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Joe, Florida

    John should be happy Hillary hasn't fired back. I'd like to see what he'd do then.

    November 12, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. Anne, York, PA

    Regarding the polls showing Hillary & Obama with large leads over Edwards, what many of you apparently do not know is that Edwards does better, in some cases, far better, than either Clinton or Obama when matched head to head, state by state, against the Republican field. If one wants to cite polls as reliable predictors, then Edwards is the best Democrat candidate when consideration is given to who would do best against a Republican candidate!

    November 12, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. nevadamuley Las Vegas, Nevada

    Get real.

    There are currently 18 states that do not require driver's license applicants to be legal residents.

    Most of the states are under Republican administrations, like Utah for instance.

    You Hillary bashers are a piece of work, for sure.

    At least this bashing gives you something to keep your mind active, albeit programmed in a sick Stepford type repetition of the same old crap.

    Hate takes so much energy, do you have any left for something PRODUCTIVE, like checking your facts.

    Since I wish you no harm, I apologize if my rhetorical question short circuits your 360 KB programming.

    November 12, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Kate, Aurora CO

    I keep seeing posts condeming Edwards' career choice. Let me ask you, have personally ever experienced injury at the hands of a doctor and/or hospital? Well I did. An emergency room doctors mistake (injected air into my spinal canal while doing a spinal tap) caused me to be in intensive care for 15 days. My husband was left alone to care for my newborn baby and three old. For 10 of those days he was told there was a possibility of my dying. I had seizures, convulsions and was in pain so intense they put me in a medically induced coma. Do you not think the hospital and doctor should be held accountable? Look at today's headlines about how many insurance companies either hold out payments for years or simply deny payments despite the holder paying premiums. I hope none of you ever experience what my family & I went through and I am thankful there are attorneys willing to take on the insurance companies and not simply let them walk away.

    November 12, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. mt, BR, LA

    It all looks too scripted to me. Edwards is clearly not in contention for the nomination. The Democrats will go with Clinton or Obama, and probably put them both on the ticket. That will be a strong combination, and I am sure many key Democrats have been thinking about it for a while.

    But what about Hilary's vulnerabilities? The best way to deal with those issues is to have them come out now, and get everyone tired of hearing about them. Obama can't attack directly, or it would damage the combo ticket. But Edwards is enough of a contender to get attention, so he's the perfect person to attack Clinton now.

    May it's not all scripted, but it looks like it to me. I think it's smart politics, and I think it's likely to work. A Clinton/Obama ticket will get a lot of support. The Republicans can't win if all they get is the angry white male vote, which looks like a real possibility.

    November 12, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. jj,boston,ma

    Regarding the polls showing Hillary & Obama with large leads over Edwards, what many of you apparently do not know is that Edwards does better, in some cases, far better, than either Clinton or Obama when matched head to head, state by state, against the Republican field. If one wants to cite polls as reliable predictors, then Edwards is the best Democrat candidate when consideration is given to who would do best against a Republican candidate!

    Posted By Anne, York, PA : November 12, 2007 12:46 pm

    you must be John supporter. I think he and the wife are misearable to become the next president. I just think he played cool till he realized doesn't work....
    I am Obama supporter!

    November 12, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Ty Web - Bushwick, NE

    He should question Senator Clinton, we all should. We should also question him as well.

    What does Senator Clinton stand for? Someone please tell me what she has accomplished as a Senator? What has Edwards? What has Obama? Did any of them think of any legislation that has made a difference? No. It has all been sound bites.

    November 12, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. AJ, IL

    If this was the first time John Edwards was running for President he would probably be the front runner. But I don't understand why he is running for President. He ran for president in 2004 and ended up the VP candidate for John Kerry. His wife is re-battling cancer and they both have small children. I would think spending time with one's intermediate family, especially with one parent's life-threatening illness around, would be the first and only priority for a multi-millionaire.

    November 12, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  17. Kevin, Cleveland, Ohio

    "If this was the first time John Edwards was running for President he would probably be the front runner. But I don't understand why he is running for President. He ran for president in 2004 and ended up the VP candidate for John Kerry. His wife is re-battling cancer and they both have small children. I would think spending time with one's intermediate family, especially with one parent's life-threatening illness around, would be the first and only priority for a multi-millionaire."

    Posted By AJ, IL : November 12, 2007 2:00 pm

    John Edwards being elected president is the most important goal for that entire family, and has been for years. If you lived every day with someone whom you honestly believed would make the best president out of anyone in the country, wouldn't you push for it? Elizabeth Edwards is slowly dying of her cancer and her big wish is to see her husband elected president. She is fighting every day to help make that happen. The decision was every bit hers as his, if not more so. They've spoken about this to anyone who has inquired, so if you're the only person who didn't notice in the three weeks of continual news coverage around her cancer spreading, don't complain. This is their life and not yours, so keep the "they should do this" commentary to yourself.

    November 12, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Dan, TX

    Edwards and Obama will be the top two finishers in Iowa. The order is in question. Clinton has all her supporters already and there are many people undecided. They will go for either Edwards or Obama, but mostly not for Clinton. Clinton was right in her initial consideration to not enter the Iowa caucus. Her campaign made a bad mistake.

    I think once the rest of the country starts to pay attention (after Jan 3), we will get a chance to see how the candidates really compare to one another.

    Unfortunately, it is still a name recognition poll at the moment. If you want to find out candidate positions, go to their campaign web sites and post questions on the campaign blog sites to get answers to specific questions. Feel free to challenge the candidates with questions on their blog sites!

    November 12, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. CWalker

    Democrats need to stand together.We need to hear what you are going to do John not what Hillary is doing that you don't like.

    November 12, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. d

    Ewards is a loser. Remember 2004?

    Hillary all the way.

    November 12, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  21. flinx, Omaha Ne

    Anybody can say stop the mud slinging, Edwards, Omaba, Clinton lets stop the bashing not only the canidates but each other. The problem is that most of America gets it's intelligent reporting from the babble box rather than through some type of factual reporting. Lets put the media right on the forefront of the rumor mongering in America. If reporters had to report nothing but the poistive on what each canidate brings to the country in the terms of abilties, personal integrity and forward thinking. Then the elections would run much smoother and we might actually get someone in office with at least a decent idea of what would serve the great good of america rather than the what would serve thier personal pocket book best. The problems doesn't sit with the canidates, like everyone else in America they aren't perfect and they haven't made the right decision in life on everything they've made mistakes. Lets get past those and address the real problem sitting directly with the media and how high they think they can get the ratings.

    For those who are bloging and mud slinging each of the canidates, your no better than the Media and what they report. Lets get back to a country where we elect official based on factual information, a country where running for polictiacal office means your going to serve the public interests rather than your personal intrests.

    The first step is up to my fellow Americans, turn off the T.V and try to use what you know and what you think is right for our country rather than listening to what your told is the right thing to do. Instead of just writting to forums like these write your elected offical and voice your concerns on the direction our country is going. Our Elected polictical leaders are just that elected, if you don't voice what your idea's and concerns are how are the elected official going represent each of you and the collective good of our country.

    Flinx: Omahs Ne

    November 12, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. Reid Granke

    John Edwards should become an independent candidate for the presidency. The Democratic machine is a hindrance to him. Besides, this country could use a good third party.

    November 12, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. D Ward Mena, AR

    What a disappointment you have been. I thought you were above the politics of personal attack but you have certainly proved that that is your way of campaigning. I was so impressed with you but now would not vote for either you or obama after seeing you tear your opponent, Hillary Clinton to shreds everytime you open your mouth. IF you can't stand on your on merit then you do not need to be in the race. What a disappointement you have turned out to be.

    November 12, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. Karen, Des Moines, Iowa

    GO, JOHN, GO!!!
    I am really really smart, and I will not only vote for John Edwards next November, I will caucus for him on Jan. 3. Anyone who says he waffles or is vague on issues has not even gone to the trouble to read the very detailed plans on many issues on his website. I have heard him speak in person and he is very clear on what he believes in, and it is inspiring. This is not a national primary, and the national media do not get to pick the nominees no matter how hard they try. There are thousands of pesky Iowans who are going to set them straight on that subject on January 3.

    November 13, 2007 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
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