November 13th, 2007
04:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton criticizes Edwards for 'unconstitutional' ad

Edwards is out with a new ad Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign called a new television ad released Tuesday by former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards "unconstitutional gimmickry."

In the commercial airing in Iowa, Edwards promised to end congressional health care benefits if they fail to pass a universal health care plan within six months of his administration.

"There’s no excuse for politicians in Washington having health care when you don’t have health care," Edwards said in the ad.

But Clinton's campaign pointed out on its Web site that this proposal is unconstitutional. The Clinton campaign said it would violate the 27th amendment, which states that any law to change the compensation of members of Congress has to be approved by the House.

Edwards' Communications Director Chris Kofinis said the Clinton campaign’s response shows that she wouldn't fight to pass universal health care.

"Today, Senator Clinton made it crystal clear where she stands: she defends health care for politicians while millions of Americans and their families go without care," Kofinis said. "Voters have a clear choice between John Edwards, who will fight to finally pass universal health care, and Senator Clinton, who seems intent on defending the Washington establishment."

- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • John Edwards
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Biggdawg

    Hillary, no one cares about this clown. He's duplicitous scumbag. The country's not following for his bs.

    November 13, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  2. John B, Needham, MA

    Hmm..but is a health care benefit really "compensation?" Suspect Edwards' proposal is constitutional after all. I'm sure he could make a case for it...

    November 13, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  3. Megan Clearwater, Fl

    Sen. Edwards constant attacks on Hillary Clinton are making him look as the female chauvinist he is, now ladies we can not have such an egotistical useless male running our country. A male who treats a woman in that manner is a male we do not need. Besides his cheap shots are making him look like the very desparate candidate he is...

    November 13, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  4. sk, NY, NY

    Edward is an idiot.

    November 13, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  5. Mark Columbus, Ohio

    Oh no! can't be negative on Edwards. Won't you complaining last week that you were being attacked and you had to have your hubby protect you???

    November 13, 2007 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  6. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Even as yet another excuse for trying to inflict socialised medicine on the country, this one is pretty lame.

    November 13, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  7. Mark, Beloit, WI

    Either Hillary Clinton, or CNN, needs to reread the constitution. The 27th Amendment says that changes to the compensation of members of Congress don't take effect until after the next election. But Article I itself makes it clear that ANY law, including ones to change the compensation of members of Congress, have to be passed by both houses of Congress. So of course John Edwards would not have the power to unilaterally end healthcare for members of Congress. That's just common sense. But the 27th Amendment is largely irrelevant (except that if he somehow succeeded in getting members of Congress to vote to end their own healthcare, it couldn't take effect until January 3, 2011, at the earliest). I don't know if CNN or the Hillary camp got it wrong, but somebody sure did.

    November 13, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  8. Coach Haughton NH

    I beleive hillary clinton proposed "putting into law" a prevention of george bush going to war with Iran.

    Talk about unconstitutional. Do the words COMMANDER IN CHEIF ring a bell?

    and she is correct about john's add.

    November 13, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  9. Matt, Texas

    If you want to know how the government runs health care, just look at the VA hospitals. Clinton and Edwards want socialized everything. If you don't like taxes, then don't ask for more government programs. I pay federal taxes for two reasons, 1.) Strong military – I want the best in the world and our troops should make at least twice as much as they currently make. 2.) Education – I want the best schools in the world, they should be the beacon of every child, with full resources and professional teachers. Our schools should look like college campuses. I fully support raising teacher pay by 30%. All other federal programs should be scrapped, or you get the idea. The fat in our government needs to be trimmed.

    November 13, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  10. Jason, Minneapolis

    John Edwards you're so silly. Pack up and go home.

    November 13, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  11. fair,washington,dc

    Is it unconstitutional or not. Does it violate the amendment? Where is the answer denying that what they are saying is untrue. I don't know about that response Edwards campaign....hmmmm...I think they were trying to show you are making promises you can't keep....legally

    November 13, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  12. Violet, LA, CA

    No, Edwards, it's quite clear that Clinton is not saying she won't fight for health care, but rather that you can't possibly keep your promise because it's illegal under the constitution. It's pretty important for the President to understand the constitution he/she swears to protect, so she's pointing out a very big flaw here. Another big flaw is that you're promising things you can't deliver on.

    November 13, 2007 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  13. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    "But Clinton's campaign pointed out on its Web site that this proposal is unconstitutional. The Clinton campaign said it would violate the 27th amendment, which states that any law to change the compensation of members of Congress has to be approved by the House."

    And we all know that's not going to happen. I would think that the smart thing for the Clintonistas to do would have been to agree.

    November 13, 2007 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  14. Traci Robbins Jacksonville Fl

    Hilary being Hilary. I am a Republican but Edwards is correct. Congress gets all theses perks(when was the last time a working person voted a raise for themselves) We tax payers should decided if a raise is warnted based on the performance.

    November 13, 2007 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  15. Cathy M in Tn

    Clinton defending Washington? uhm
    Yea, that sounds right.
    She knows who butters her bread.
    I, for one, have had enough of the Washington crowd and she's part of it or should I say will be part of it if we continue to ignore what she is really doing.

    November 13, 2007 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  16. Dan, TX

    Clinton is a bureaucratic idiot. Doesn't she understand what spirit means?

    Edward's spirit is right. Clinton is a bureaucratic, red-tape loving, pencil pusher. How about some leadership instead.

    I'm voting for Obama, but Edwards is right on here, and Clinton shows herself for what she is. She is the best bureaucrat but not the best leader for America.

    Barack has the leadership experience that is needed to lead a nation.

    November 14, 2007 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  17. sf, ga

    I think John Edwards has surrounded himself with too many crazy people.

    Well atleast Hillary has made one thing crystal clear about where she stands. Wow Edwards, finally Hillary made something clear for you (sarcasm).

    November 14, 2007 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  18. Christian, Tampa FL

    While Edwards may be wrong on the issue because of the 27th amendment (not to mention checks and balances), Clinton's retort leaves her open for more criticism because it boils down to sentiment vs. sentiment, and Edwards's sentiment wins.

    November 14, 2007 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  19. wanderink, albion, ca

    This really makes Edwards seem like a crackpot. Clinton's pointing out the ridiculousness of his unconstitutional ploy does not mean turning one's back on the uninsured and defending the Washington elite. Does anyone really buy this overblown rhetoric?

    I'm no diehard Clinton fan, as many of her positions are troubling to me or still too unclear. But I do appreciate level-headedness, rather than Edwards' brand of firey slop.

    November 14, 2007 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  20. Carol, Trenton, NJ

    I would imagine that john Edwards is planning to use the same presidential power that President Bush did concerning the war in Iraq. Last time I checked, you needed congressional approval to go to war. Apparently not in George's civics books so why can't John Edwards use the same tactic to accomplish something postive? You go John.

    November 14, 2007 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  21. Kate, Aurora CO

    I wish it were this possible. He is right. It is atrocious these fat cats in Washington give themselves raises but haven't raised the minimum wage in over 8 years. Then they give themselves an amazing insurance plan with hardly any out of pocket costs while millions of Americans are uninsured and not getting the proper healthcare. Who is working for who here?

    November 14, 2007 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  22. Emily, Washington DC

    No. It just shows that Clinton is pointing out logistical impediments that make that sort of promise impossible. It sounds wonderful to say, but its just another false promise by another politican. Edwards can't follow through on that so he shouldn't be saying it.

    November 14, 2007 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  23. Kevin, Cleveland, Ohio

    "But Clinton's campaign pointed out on its Web site that this proposal is unconstitutional. The Clinton campaign said it would violate the 27th amendment, which states that any law to change the compensation of members of Congress has to be approved by the House."

    Thus, a provision of the Constitution is flawed because it gives the House control over its own pay, with no check on that authority. I'd like to hear someone–even a candidate for House–espouse a solution to this problem.

    Many members of Congress honestly struggle financially, because their pay is a decent salary for an attorney but nothing spectacular, and they have to pay for their own travel to-and-from DC, as well as pay mortgages at home and rent in the overpriced Capitol Hill area. But that doesn't mean that they ought to be able to unilaterally raise their pay whenever they deem fit. The people or the courts ought to have some say somehow.

    November 14, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  24. Brent, Phila, PA

    Then he should axe that part of the 27th amendment. Congressmen/women have it way too easy. I think I might try to get into congress. That way I can give myself raises, have over half the year off, and not get in trouble for doing nothing for the other half.
    Is there any other profession where the employees get to approve their own benefits and wages? It's ridiculous.

    November 14, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. Mark, Beloit, WI

    I made a comment yesterday saying that either this article or the Clinton campaign, I cannot tell which, is in error about the 27th Amendment. The 27th Amendment says that changes to the compensation of members of Congress don't take effect until after the next election. As for changes having to be approved by the House, of course. They have to be approved by the House and the Senate. Any law does. That's Article I of the Constitution itself.

    November 14, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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