November 18th, 2007
01:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards asks voters to look past 'glass ceiling'

Elizabeth Edwards

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN)- ­ Just two days after the CNN debates in Las Vegas, Elizabeth Edwards encouraged voters to examine their choices in the presidential field and pick a candidate for reasons other than breaking the proverbial "glass ceiling."

"There are a lot of reasons, I think, to support a number of candidates in this race," Elizabeth told the crowd of New Hampshire democrats. "I think we have a lot of ceilings, glass ceilings, to break and I'm confidant that we will in the years to come."

While Elizabeth did not mention the New York Senator by name, her words spoke to her husband's campaign efforts to woo women voters, a key voting block, away from frontrunner, Hillary Clinton.

The New York senator has campaigned aggressively to win support among women voters and has called her presidential bid an opportunity to break the ultimate glass ceiling.

"America is ready for change ­ and I believe women will lead that change," Clinton says on her website. "It¹s up to us to do our part to take back the White House and change this country, and that¹s exactly what we¹re going to do. I say this nation can shatter the highest glass ceiling ­ because that¹s what Americans have been doing for over 200 years."

The Edwards camp has strengthened its women voter outreach in the Granite state. Last weekend, Edwards' daughter, Cate, campaigned with former President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Kate Michelman, to launch New Hampshire Women for Edwards. In an exclusive interview with CNN, Michelman noted that the women's vote was still up for grabs.

"Women are not a monolithic vote," Michelman told CNN at a Feminist health clinic in Greenland. "Nor are all women going to vote just because we have a woman. We've worked very hard as a women's movement for many decades to get to the point where women are looked at wholly, not just as females, not through the lens of our gender."

Speaking on behalf of her husband Saturday, Elizabeth highlighted what the campaign has described as key "populist" themes: fighting against the influence of money in politics and serving as an advocate for the disenfranchised.

"Once we take the money of the powerful, how good an advocate are we for those people who depend on us to be their champion," Elizabeth questioned.

Said Elizabeth, "Right now we also have a really important ceiling to break and that is the influence in our lives of money," in regards to the influence of lobbyist money in politics. "Right now the ceiling on top of us is not glass, it's made of money. And we need to break it."

Click here to see CNN's new political portal:

–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla

soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Jim, Columbus, OH

    A quick look at the two candidates backgrounds will tell you who is who. Edwards is a self-made candidate, whereas Hillary Clinton is riding on her husband's name recognition and dubious presidency. Hillary Clinton is not "leagues ahead" of anybody in terms of qualification. She is a straw candidate who is propped up by monied interests and is for certain beholden to them. It's time for the voters to wake up and examine the candidates' records and what they are proposing to see for themselves who represents voters' interests. There is a media bias against Edwards because he represents average voters and not big corporations like Hillary Clinton. I hope the voters will show who is holding the cards in the upcoming elections.

    November 18, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. treeman

    Physical attributes do not change politics. Whats inside the person is what is what changes politics. We already know what is inside Hillary. The same old stuff we've seen for decades. Been there, done that, Hillary.

    November 18, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Alena, NY, NY

    Isn't it hypocritical that Elizabeth Edwards leaves her exhorbitant multi-million dollar mansion in an exclusive area of NC to go and talk about advocating for the poor? And she wants to talk about the money ceiling? This sort of talk is patronizing and condescending to Americans at best. Hopefully Americans will vote for candidates who walk their talk.

    November 18, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. Jack, Fort Myers, FL

    Idealism and unreality–while an admirable quality in individuals is not what we need at this time in history for our next President. This individual will need to immediately step in as Commander-In-Chief of a nation embroiled in a crazy, costly, unpopular war. He/she will inherit an economy perched on the brink of serious fiscal instability. This person will be tasked tackling important and neglected domestic issues that are gradually rising to crisis in some areas. The next President will not have the pleasure of drawing lines in the sand, but must toughly negotiate and create aggressive domestic and foreign policy strategies–literally on the run. The only candidate who seems to understand these "real-world" and intensely important responsibilities is Hillary Clinton. I'm sorry Ma'am, but John has not done one thing to convince this American he has the agenda, national and global support, or the ability to instill optimism and confidence, and unified purpose back into the White House.

    November 18, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. Mary,Wisconsin,USA

    If I'm going to vote for a woman, I'd vote for someone that has all the makings for a truly great President. I want someone who is going to be a credit to our gender. After I saw the debate last night, I was dissappointed by some of her views on things.

    November 18, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Jack, Fort Myers, Fl

    Ooops. Wrong thread on that last post.

    November 18, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. Jesse, Burnsville, MN


    You don't get it. There is nothing wrong with being rich. I am a Democrat and would love to be rich someday as well. It's what you do once you become rich that defines the type of person you are. If you are rich and still advocate for the poor, that is actually very admirable, not hypocritical like you say.

    November 18, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. RuthieM

    Although I don't like the Edwards sequel to the white house either, Clinton cracks me up running on this 'woman' thing and then says she's not playing the gender card but is playing the winning card. This whole 'glass ceiling' thing is all you hear Clinton squeal. I don't know why someone has not called her on this. Again, she;s having it both ways - saying she's not using the gender card yet saying us women need to break the glass ceiling and also doing everything to appeal to the women vote. I don't think Hillary's running for president for the people I think she's running for Hillary, for the 'power' and that's it.

    November 18, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. Jim Bremer

    Quote :

    Okay, here is another phoney liberal talking about the RICH, and how the world would best benefit from economic equality. I don't think neither she nor her husband would like living small.

    People EARN money from hard work, and Lenin's approach proved futile, didn't it?

    Posted By KEITH JAMES LOUTTIT : November 18, 2007 10:38 am


    Hey ! Ambulance chasing is hard work 🙂 Ask Edwards....

    November 18, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. randy,newyorkcity NY

    I am deserpointed at CNN to host the worst presidential debate in american history only just to support clinton planting audience well I have stopped watching cnn.msnbc is the best news matter what clinton network news does obama08 4sure.

    November 18, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Ross Perot, Big ranch Texas

    Corporate control of Washington is having a devastating effect on our country now and especially in the future. This country cannot afford another corporate individual like George Bush, so what ever you do dont vote for Clinton!

    November 18, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Juanita, Clarksville TN

    Hillary is too devisive and does not stand for any of the values I believe in. If she is nominated, I will vote Republican this year.

    Not Clinton.

    November 18, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. Glenda Tennessee

    Many things that have come from Mrs. Edwards mouth of late, have not helped her husband,in my opinion. To be honest, she's turned me completely off. There are two clear choices on the horizon for us to vote upon. Your choices will either be Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton or Senator Obama. My family lived well under the eight years of the Clinton administration. Under the Bush administration, companies were downsized and our life chanaged forever. Senator Obama has ideas but he's not ready yet. I'm voting for the candidate who held her ground and said, I voted for the war because of the intelligence I was given and I believed our President was telling the truth about weapons of mass destruction. Others jumped on the band wagon to say, if I had known the truth, my vote would have been different. At least Hillary has the guts to stand behind her decison, and in her place I would have done the same thing. That's leadership, that's a person who stands behind their vote, to do less shows the play of politics and Senator Obama is learning to play that game well for a man who wants to be different than everyone else.

    November 18, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    It is absurd and insulting every time anybody suggests that the only reason Sen. Clinton's female supporters are voting for her is because she is a woman. Some women think she is a strong, competent leader who can run the country well (as do many men). And then, on top of that, in addition to it, we think it's about time, America, whose population is half female, had a female president. (As do many men.)

    On the money angle: Sen. Edwards doesn't take money from lobbyists, but he takes plenty of money from people holding high positions in corporations (including corporations that peddle health insurance.) In fact, one of his LARGEST sources of campaign donations tied to corporations is the very hedge fund in which Sen. Edwards has invested half of his fortune. Where he gets the nerve to imply that Sen. Clinton is corrupt, I do not know. When he complains about Sen. Clinton's campaign donations, he's really whining about her success, i.e., it's complete sour grapes.

    November 18, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. Lynn Ensley McCaysville Ga.

    We will need the two best minds in the world to pull us out of this mess we're in at present, and we don't need someone slinging welfare dollars out the window either. Hillary and co. will bring us through. Two for the price of one. I remember well, Two tanks of diesel and a 12 pack for 30 bucks. We just had to work a lot. Wake up America, throw the losers off the bus and put Hillary in the white house.

    November 18, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. Jeffrox, LA

    If John was able to deliver his homestate of NC to Kerry-Edwards '04, we wouldn't be talking here right now, would we? And folks, this time around will be no difference! I'm disappointed some people were "deserpointed". LOL. Clinton haters just don't pass up a chance to vent venom no matter what the forum is. One even has the nerve to ask voters to wise up and not vote for her simply because she's a woman. Yet, he has a slogan that says, "anybody but Clinton". See, smart asses like this win no converts. I'll vote for HILLARY CLINTON just to spite the Clinton haters. So there, bite me.

    November 18, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Jeffrox, LA

    "It is absurd and insulting every time anybody suggests that the only reason Sen. Clinton's female supporters are voting for her is because she is a woman. Some women think she is a strong, competent leader who can run the country well (as do many men). And then, on top of that, in addition to it, we think it's about time, America, whose population is half female, had a female president. (As do many men.)"

    Dawn, some men, too. Smart women never scared me. I think they're great. And so is my mom and my sisters, by the way. I can attest to the hard work, generosity, smart decision-making and kind-hearted approach to this freaky world that I see from them each day. I'm not voting for Hillary because she's a woman. I'm voting for her as a statement and a vote of confidence to all these women in my life.

    November 18, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. Dan from Boston, MA

    THIS woman definitely needs some rest and soul searching. Instead she is spending her remaining energy on superficial thing as presidential election. I do hope she recovers fully. But with all due respect, even if Johnny wins the white house, she may not be the one as first lady.

    Take a break, Liz. Take care of yourself, take care of the kids. Let Johnny fight for his fight.

    November 18, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. James, Boston, MA

    "It is absurd and insulting every time anybody suggests that the only reason Sen. Clinton's female supporters are voting for her is because she is a woman."

    True. It is completely unfair. For my part I apologize.

    "And then, on top of that, in addition to it, we think it's about time, America, whose population is half female, had a female president. (As do many men.)"

    Wow. I guess you do have other reasons. Like your hero, you too can't stay with a single story. I guess it isn't your only reason, but this reason only makes sense if there were other women running and you could actually pick a woman candidate that is worth putting our future in. Thank you for clearing up this whole mess about why women (and men) are voting for her.

    November 18, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. Martin, Clarksville, Tn


    "And then, on top of that, in addition to it, we think it's about time, America, whose population is half female, had a female president. (As do many men.)"

    Wake up. Yes, Hillary is a female; that is not a reason to vote for her. In games we take turns; in running a country we choose the best candidate. Hillary is not what this country needs.

    ANYbody but Hillary in 2008

    November 18, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. Elizabeth W., Howell, MI

    I keep thinking that Al Gore saying that the reason that he wasn’t running for President is because he has fallen out of love with politics might make him the most elect-able Democratic Presidential candidate. However, what John Edwards said in Thursday night’s debate is all I hoped for in a campaign by Al Gore. When Senator Edwards said, if I recall correctly, we don’t need a small group of corporate Democrats running things anymore than we need a big bunch of corporate Republican's running things.

    He said, "The most important issue is she (Senator Clinton) says she will bring change to Washington, while she continues to defend a system that does not work, that is broken, that is rigged and is corrupted against the interest of most Americans and corrupted for a very small, very powerful, very well-financed group,"

    While Hillary Clinton, then acknowledging Edward’s criticism as though the criticism belonged to her alone came back in the debate almost looking as though she was defending the whole party itself. She then replied to Mr. Edwards’s criticism: "I don't mind taking hits on my record, on issues," she said. "But when somebody starts throwing mud, at least we can hope that it's both accurate and not right out of the Republican playbook." However, make no war mistake about it, Mr. Edwards is doing a great job for the Democratic Party, win or lose. John Edward’s campaign is putting the pressure on Mrs. Clinton not to play politics similar to Republican Party politics at all if she doesn’t want her Democratic politics to be compared with the kind of politics of George Bush.

    I just hope this little spat does not ruin the chances of a Hillary Clinton win making John Edwards U.S. Attorney General to take on certain big businesses, which is another thing that I could only hope for...

    November 18, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. laurinda,ny

    What I'd like to know is who does she think she is to tell voters to do anything. Just because her fish mouth husband is trying to be the president. I am tired of all these simple people that are running, I'd feel alot better off having a king and queen. It works for England!

    November 18, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. Jose

    Interesting how CNN stated the headline.

    First of all why not say "Edwards's wife instead of candidate's wife. If it was Hillary or someone else, you wouldn't have left her name out.

    Second, the headline suggests that this is about sex. That is inaccurate. It is about gender.

    Wondering if Wolf Blitzer wrote this one or maybe some college intern.

    November 18, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. S. Alexander

    Face it MEN you are threatened by a strong WOMAN who is a frontrunner because she stands out among all the Republicans AND Democrats candidates.

    November 18, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. pl. at the UN for a while.

    It is disgraceful that Ms Edwards has sold out from raising gender issues to her husband's slim chance to the White House.
    An outspoken woman for women's issues is now saying "gender issues dont' matter–really"!!

    November 18, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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