April 21st, 2008
05:37 PM ET
6 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards responds to McCain over 'cheap shot'

(CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, is tangling with John McCain’s campaign again – this time in a war of words with the candidate himself.

In an interview on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, the presumptive Republican nominee told George Stephanopoulos that Elizabeth Edwards had taken a “cheap shot” at him by saying that he had enjoyed government healthcare for his entire life – and that all Americans should be able to choose from the same insurance options available to members of Congress and military personnel.

“It’s a cheap shot but I did have a period of time where I didn’t have very good healthcare, I had it from another government,” said McCain, referring to the years he spent as a prisoner of war. “Look, I know what it’s like not to have healthcare.”

And when laying out his policy disputes with Democrats over the issue, he added, “in all due respect to Elizabeth Edwards.”

Edwards – now a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress –responded Monday in a post on the Wonk Room blog.

“Sen. McCain noted that he was not receiving government health care for the six years he was in captivity. That is true,” she wrote. “But it has nothing to do with my point — which is that the problem with Sen. McCain’s health care plan is not how it affects us –- but how it affects the tens of millions of Americans with preexisting conditions who, unlike Sen. McCain and myself, do not have the resources to pay for quality health care.”

Both McCain and Edwards have suffered from cancer.

“That is not a cheap shot, it is a potentially life and death question for tens of million of Americans. And it is a question Sen. McCain must address.”

Several weeks ago, Edwards and McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin gave warring interviews over several days on the same topic


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soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. middle-aged american

    Reading the responses by the readers over the past few days, I see an OVERWHELMING support for Obama. I, too, support Obama and have dug into my wallet 3 times to prove it. It seems what America is saying is "we're not gonna take it anymore!" We deserve a new option, and that option has made itself available through Obama.

    We don't expect perfection or miracles, we expect to have a say in how our government works. We expect accountability. We expect our Senators, Representatives, and even our President to be looking out for AMERICA FIRST, everyone else second.

    Americans are notorious for their generosity the world over, but with the country in its current state of disgrace, we can barely feed & house ourselves. We will lose our reputation as a generous donor because of the corruption of government over the past 20 years.

    So now we shout CHANGE. Now we demand change.

    April 21, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. mama for obama

    the democrats instead of helping their party , they ar concentrated on McCain ???
    please, Edwards, decide adn do something before it is too late again for the democrats.
    silence is death.

    April 21, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. Jessie

    Go Elizabeth! And I want to thank you again for speaking out and endorsing Hillary's Universal Health Plan.

    April 21, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. The solution is simple

    As a young American, trade social security for a government health care plan... it's that simple.

    Our government is too big as it is and if we allow free health care on top of what we are taxed (around 50%... highest in the world i might add), we will end up worse...

    I say scrap social security and give people free health care....

    April 21, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. Veterans for Obama

    A little spunk from Mrs. edwards....she would have made agreat 1st lady.

    April 21, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. TheLeftNut

    McCain ain't go no money, all his shots are cheap!

    Just as Cindy. DOH!

    April 21, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. Emmanuel

    Let the truth be told about HILLARY and OBAMA. Hillary supporters believe me when I say Obama may not need you guys. Polls suggest 28% of Hillary supporters will be BITTER enough to vote for OLD MAC. Fine with us because Obama has already made up the deficiency by the number of new voters he has and his share of Independents.

    So Hillabots take your empty threats elsewhere, you guys are exactly the CANCER we always knew existed in the democratic party. You are no true DEMOCRATS, thank God for that.

    Obama 2008.

    April 21, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. TheLeftNut

    McCain ain't go no money, all his shots are cheap!

    Just ask Cindy. DOH!

    April 21, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. MM

    Why does McCain always cry "cheap shot" when someone disagrees with him?

    April 21, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. tom, los angeles, ca

    Wow. Does McCain know he's running for President of the United States and not "patriot of the century"? We know where he spent 6 years, after his fifth plane was shot down and how his nickname was "songbird" and in his defense how brave he was in not getting out until others were, but I don't think that's the point here.

    Elizabeth Edwards was talking about everyday Americans (percentage of which will be POW's is what 0.000001%?) and how as a member of congress, he was able to get great health insurance not available to us all.

    Scary this man might be our next POTUS!

    April 21, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. Don Fitzgerald

    Come on, Senator McCain, don't fudge the statements. You have enjoyed taxpayers' sponsored health care every day of your life! Why can't everyone else in America, also, enjoy it !! i know, you say you are not an elitist, now you can prove it. Make it part of the Republican platform. Now, that is putting your money where your mouth is!!!!
    SUPPORT OUR TROOPS, BRING THEM HOME, ALIVE. NOW.

    April 21, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. MG

    I saw this interview and shame on George Stephonepolis for letting McCain get by with this glib comment which was used to divert and not answer the question because he did not have an answer to the question!

    April 21, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. Tim

    So typical of how the media kisses the ground McCain's feet touch. The headline is Elizabeth Edwards responds. The article tells us about McCain's response to an earlier statement by Edwards. If you want to hear Edward's response, you need to click on another link, despite the article's headline. How about a pretense of fairness in election coverage? It is going to be a long 6 months if the media keeps treating McCain like a god rather than a presidential candidate.

    April 21, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. TheLeftNut

    McCain said "It’s a cheap shot but I did have a period of time where I didn’t have very good healthcare, I had it from another government,” said McCain, referring to the years he spent as a prisoner of war. “Look, I know what it’s like not to have healthcare.”

    You really wan't this guy to be president? That's so effing demeaning to you're average American who is trapped in their job because they can't afford to lose their employer's health coverage.

    Jesus, save our souls and our brains.

    April 21, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  15. JpJ

    Well ... the military healthcare is not very good. Have you ever been to a military hospital?

    April 21, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. christi

    Basically American health care has come at the cost of the Iraq war.

    McCain wants to cut taxes to win votes – and then turn around and dump gazillions of dollars into a foreign country.

    April 21, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. Kevin

    I'm sure McCain's healthplan will treat those tens of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions just as fairly as he was treated while he was held captive for 6 years.....

    April 21, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  18. TOM WITTMANN

    Mrs. EDWARDS

    The fact that Healtcare is a all-important issue doesnt justify an
    immature personal shot on McCain.

    As it is immature the attitude by your husband, who with an endorsement to OBAMA could force Hillary finally to withdraw from
    this campaign and not make impossible a later DEM victory in November, only because OBAMA has not make him an offer he
    likes.

    TOM

    April 21, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. NickNas

    Looks like the WRONG Edwards ran for office. Looks like SHE has more guts than her husband.

    As he still sits on the fence to see what is in his best interest.

    April 21, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  20. AZM

    One of the problems related to the high cost of health care in this country is the cost of malpractice insurance... and I'm sure Mrs. Edwards is well aware of this... considering her husband earned his millions by sueing doctors!

    I love the idea of universal health care... I just don't see how it can be funded.

    April 21, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  21. April in Texas

    I still wonder where McCains health records are........

    Obama 08

    April 21, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  22. Frank, San Diego

    Cheap shot, hell. Mrs. Edwards was right on target.

    This loser has been feeding at the public trough his entire life. And his only defense is to lamely remind us, for about the millionth time, that he got himself shot down in Viet Nam.

    BTW you old loser, if you think the rest of us wouldn't like to have health coverage like yours because its just more big government, why don't you try finding and paying for your own for a change.

    I DARE YA!

    April 21, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. NickSanDiego

    THERE HE GOES AGAIN!!!

    Proppong himself up with the ole" I am an ex POW."

    This guy has gotten more mileage out of that than ANY of the THOUSANDS of POWs who returned.

    What else you have going for you JOHNNY??????

    April 21, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. Julie, Atlanta, GA

    Good on you for stepping UP and speaking OUT for people JUST LIKE ME.

    You are soooooo correct that Senator McCain's statement, while completely true, has absolutely nothing to do with the point you were making ON OUR BEHALF. It is most certainly a life and death question for millions of Americans JUST LIKE ME.

    For what it's worth, my husband and I have a junk policy that costs $300 per month, excludes ANY and ALL pre-existing conditions, and carries a $5000 deductible. I consider canceling it EVERY SINGLE MONTH because it seems so incredibly useless and we cannot afford to keep throwing good money after bad.

    Our insurance is this: DON'T GET SICK.

    You GO, Elizabeth Edwards!!! Keep speaking truth to power and know that America loves you...and I DO TOO.

    Julie Simon
    Decatur, GA

    April 21, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  25. kim portland, oregon

    "...I did have a period of time where I didn’t have very good healthcare, I had it from another government,” said McCain, referring to the years he spent as a prisoner of war. “Look, I know what it’s like not to have healthcare.”

    mccain, how dare you say this when you are voting AGAINST support of all kinds for our returning troops. you can SAY you support the troops all day long, we look at your ACTIONS and you, my friend, DO NOT SUPPORT THE TROOPS!

    elizabeth was RIGHT, you HAVE had excellent government healthcare from birth, so you have some nerve comparing 5 years of your life to the millions of americans who haven ever had decent health care.

    and we're all getting a little tired of hearing about your time as a POW 40 years ago. this is a different time and a different war.

    April 21, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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