December 31st, 2007
01:06 PM ET
7 years ago

Edwards hits Obama: Too 'nice'

John Edwards campaigns in Iowa Sunday. (Photo Credit: AP)

(CNN) - Democrat John Edwards suggested to an Iowa audience Sunday that presidential rival Barack Obama is too 'nice' to battle Washington's special interests.

Speaking on the stump in Boone, Iowa, Edwards didn't mention the Illinois senator by name. But as he related his familiar campaign mantra of battling interest groups inside the beltway, he implied that Obama just wasn't up to the task.

"I hear people say you can sit at a table with these people, negotiate with them, and they will volunteer their power away," Edwards said. "That is a complete fantasy. You can't ‘nice’ these people to death."

Obama often says he has ability to bring people together while forging compromises, making the idea a major cornerstone of his campaign's 'change' theme.

Special interests " will never give their power away," Edwards said Sunday. "The only way we are going to get their power away, is we are going to take their power away from them, and we have an epic fight in front of us. …"You’d better send somebody into that arena who’s ready for the fight."

Edwards' jab is part of a days-long back-and-forth between the presidential rivals as they battle to be the ‘Clinton-alternative’ in Iowa. Several recent polls show the Democratic race there continues to be deadlocked between the two men and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, Obama hit Edwards on his record over the weekend, suggesting the former North Carolina senator has changed his position on several key issues.

"We are less likely also to win an election with somebody who had one set of positions four years ago and has almost entirely different positions four years later," he said. "We've been through that."

Related video: Edwards appears on CNN's American Morning Monday

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Iowa • John Edwards
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Paul Cohn

    My vote is for Edwards

    Hill – Bill = NIL

    December 31, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Remember

    Vote for Edwads = Votes for Hilary.

    I hope that you can figure this out.

    December 31, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. Stace

    Ok, there's something that just doesn't seem right about the government taking the people's power away.... oh well, maybe it's just me.

    December 31, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. s.positive

    Well if it was about a fight, how come the forks in government could not do it? Oh I get it, the lobbist paid for their election. Sounds to me that you cannot bite the hand that fed you or set you in place which means someone is not being straight here...

    December 31, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. Cheryl Oxnard Ca

    My vote is for Obama. I am tired of the negative personal attacks. It is time for real change. Someone who cares about the middle class. Someone who is willing to pull both parties together to get something done. Obama is just that person.

    December 31, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. CMS

    Ask the obstetricians, whose careers he ruined through litigation, if Edwards is too nice.

    December 31, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Mark, Hartford CT

    Let's just hope Edwards and Obama finish in the top two spots in Iowa. This country needs to wake up and stop the chain of Clinton & Bush pesidencies. It's finally time for change.

    December 31, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. Liam

    So what is Edwards claiming; That he is a mean ultra partisan attack dog. What a crock. Attack dogs don't preen in expensive hair salons. Edwards is all bark and no bite. He is more poodle than pit bull.

    December 31, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. julie slc ut.

    Edwards should consider that our government has been fighting all year, and has produced little results.

    Obama has a record of getting things done, and does the best against the republicans.

    December 31, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Roy

    I hope the candidates start to refocus on their issues and how they are going to serve America rather than fighting with each other.

    December 31, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. Bernard, Scotch Plains, NJ

    Obama all the wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!! Obama '08

    December 31, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Omar Norfolk VA

    Edwards is a has been! He proved himself weak to me when he debated against Cheyney in the last election and sounded like a dry mouth bumbling idiot.

    Obama 08

    December 31, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    This headline is false.

    " Ticker: Edwards: Obama too 'nice' to be prez "

    He never said it. The headline implies he actually said it.

    I just removed Drudge from my feed for the same reason. And now I'm going to remove CNN. Goodbye CNN.

    December 31, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. Jonny

    I know too well that there is no shortage of anger in Washington or around the country; what we are short of is a leader that is respectable to other people's view. The reason why we are in Iraq today is because we were told that you be with us or against us–that is, good and evil. John Edwards was in Senate and I did not hear or see the urgency in him when he voted for the war, support NAFTA and other bills that were against the will of the regular people.

    December 31, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. annette Columbus, Ohio

    Edwards isn't "taking" anything away. The President doesn't govern in a vacuum. Besides, he's already forwarned them about his offensive, does he think they are shaking in their shoes? A bunch of angry shouting won't change a thing.The only way to move this country forward is to bring all the players to the table, provide open and transparent government to the people so we can actually something done. Edwards is being just as divisive as Hillary Clinton.

    OBAMA '08

    December 31, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Jimenez

    I am a Clinton supporter. Reading this made me chuckle. Who cares. What I think we call can agree on is even though Edwards isn't much – he is at least better than Obama. Every friggin candidate running is better than Obama. We are just so grateful that Obama will never be nominated. God it is a scary thought of Obama being in the whitehouse – even scarier Michelle being first lady!!!

    December 31, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. David

    Vote for Nader was a vote for BUSH. A Vote for Edwards is a vote for HILLARY...... Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 31, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. Ba Gua

    The Constitution says "We the people..." not "We the special interests..." Edwards has a valid point here. Consider it and not him. It's time someone, a statesperson type, represents ALL the people and ALL America, not just his/her political base or party which is in a sense a special interest too. But contemporary American culture is so us-vs-them win-lose football mentality that such an all-encompassing view may not even be possible anymore. Sad for America, and by default for the world too since America is so powerful.

    December 31, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. Chris

    GO EDWARDS! Your totaly right all the way!

    December 31, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. lavelle Rochester,ny

    Yeah Yeah yeah read it and weep JE and HRC Men lie, Women lie but numbers dont. Go to the website and see whose leading the charge.

    December 31, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. Greg

    Maybe its time to have a "nice" President. Clearly the other way is not working. Just becasue someone is nice does not mean they are a push over. Part of "nice" is knowing when you have to be tough and "mean". It does not mean being a wimp. No one needs nees that either.

    December 31, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. stan pitts pa

    Jimenez December 31, 2007 1:38 pm ET

    I am a Clinton supporter. Reading this made me chuckle. Who cares. What I think we call can agree on is even though Edwards isn't much – he is at least better than Obama. Every friggin candidate running is better than Obama. We are just so grateful that Obama will never be nominated. God it is a scary thought of Obama being in the whitehouse – even scarier Michelle being first lady!!!

    why is every friggin candidate better than obama because they are white? you sound racist, fyi obama is half white/halfblack, if you wanna get your story right and for the record please visit, to read up on his policies and you will find his policies are the most practical and genuine of all the other candidates, iowans want change and real change in the way washington deals with us, will only come thorugh the type of drastic change obama talks about implimenting!

    December 31, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. xtina chicago IL

    I fail to see what John Edwards and Barack Obama have done that qualifies them for President. Obama has been MIA in Illinois since Jack Ryan screwed up (no pun intended). Can anyone name some accomplishment Obama has in Illinois other than raising taxes and thinking up new "laws" for us to follow? What has he done that shows problem-solving such as Rudy Guilliani reducing crime by over 50 per cent? What has he done other than try to get more "social programs" to make sure voters who don't particularly care to work are compensated for their laziness?

    December 31, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Tom, Bellevue, Washington

    I'll tell ya, I have beef with all of the democratic candidates..But find many more pluses as well. Obama may lack this, but is excellent on three or four other points. Same with Edwards. Same with H. Clinton. Same with even Dodd, Biden, Richardson, etc.

    These small jabs are meaningless and are not swaying any conviction. My favorite now was my favorite candidate months ago, and as we get closer to the primaries, I am excited that the Democrats have so much potential.

    But will it be enough to fix the damage done by Bush? Some people fail to understand our economy needs some serious overhaul due to the legislative and executive branches. The U.S. is in serious debt. It's going to take sacrifices to get us back on track..

    December 31, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Bill Culver, Covington,LA

    Barack may be to nice for Edwards, and Edwards is not nice at all, he is a freakin lawyer, and neither will be elected president in '08

    December 31, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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