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. Jim in FL

    Like Elizabeth hasn't always lived high on the hog via her ambulance chasing husband ? What a joke.

    April 21, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  2. Lourdes

    Tom Z - I've heard this rehashed Republican argument before, but it is overly simplistic and glosses over the true ethical dilemma we face as a country when thousands of Americans in my state of Florida alone die each year as a result of their lack of healthcare. And too many children who grow up without affordable housing also miss out on decent education, and then we see the high rates of dropping out and turning to crime (don't you have a problem with the billion dollar prison industry in our country, where our tax payers pay countless no-bid government contracts to keep people locked up?). Not a single progressive I've ever met would argue that the government should buy us cars, tvs or Ipods. We must be intelligent and moral enough to tell the difference between giving someone an ipod and giving them the medical attention they need to live.

    April 21, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  3. An American in Canada

    John S. McCain is just like Obama when he can't answer a question properly, he avoids it and brings up his war time spent in prison.

    If that is all we will hear during the general election he will definitely lose big time...

    You can't become president just because you were a prison of war.

    We need a strong president, someone who is ready on day one, someone who knows the game plan already set up in Washington and know how to change it slowly but surely.....

    There is only one candidate that is strong enough to be president and that is HILLARY R. CLINTON...

    April 21, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  4. mel

    For the first time in my adult life(see Michelle Obama's statement for my age) I'm truly frightened by the cult mentality of both the media(with few exceptions) and the Obama supporters. There is a pathology fermenting in the Obama camp,which is neither healthy nor democratic in its construction.

    African- American delegates and super delegates have been bullied to support Obama, people like Tavis Smiley have been intimidated and have received death threats for daring to challenge Obama,anonymous Clinton and McCain supporters posting on blogs have been verbally attacked by Obama's people,Obama himself has used obscene gestures to diminish his opponent while taking refuge in the vogue style of hip-hop musicological linguistics.

    Moreover,the virulent attacks on Stephanopoulos and Gibson from so called liberal journalists and bloggers, and all these worrisome trends that are carried under the pseudo-auspice of change and hope, are chillingly reminiscent of days that humanity has vowed to forget and not repeat.
    God help us all.

    April 21, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  5. Go McCain

    For all you complaining about his "lifetime of free healthcare"–please go sign up at your nearest military recruiter's office. You too can get free healthcare. I'm tired of hearing everyone complain–I have healthcare through my work. However, I took advantage of my free public education to better myself so that I could get a higher paying job with benefits. You people, who probably played around in high school or got pregnant at 16, are now faced with low paying jobs as a consequence and are demanding that society takes care of you. Give me a break–this is NOT a socialist society. You want healthcare, take your stimulus rebate and go looking for insurance, but don't come looking for my taxes to support you.

    April 21, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. Go McCain

    Oh please–Mrs. Edwards has never worried about healthcare in her life. Imagine how much money she gave to the medical field just to get pregnant at the age of 50. Tell me Mrs. Edwards, how much money was spent on IVF that could have been spent to help the poor?

    April 21, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  7. Hillary vs The Clown

    I'm voting for HIllary yet at the same time I find people's disrespect of John McCain's pow time unbelievable. It doesn't matter if he served 40 years ago. He served our country so that all of us sitting here on this board can have freedom. The person who said that he crashed 5 planes (maybe he was shot down those times, who knows) is another person who has no respect for someone who has served for him and his free way of life.
    What kind of person are you anyway?
    People make remarks about McCain's POW time as not being as bad as what? Someone who got wounded, someone who got what worse? What is worse then being stuffed into a container in Vietnam for 6 years being tortured?
    I don't think it is in his best interest to bring it up so much, yet if he does one should put it down to a seriously traumatic event that is hardwired into his being, rather than he is a worthless old coot, like the way a lot of you act as being so called concerned people for the veterans of america.
    Any Vet who served their country and was wounded, captured, or killed, deserves our respect about that issue even if you don't agree with what that person says.
    I like McCain much better than Obama, let me tell you. He has a thousand times more character.
    So the essence of my dialogue is; have some respect for things you never experienced and probably never will.
    Hillary for Prez/Obama if I can pull the lever, if she loses nomination.

    April 21, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  8. Jane

    Personally, I would like nothing better than a Hillary Clinton/Elizabeth Edwards ticket!

    April 21, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  9. Bill, Covington

    I would expect a "cheap shot "from a from a cheap woman. They don't know any better.

    April 21, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  10. Goody - Oregon 4 Hillary

    Have you ever read so many nasty, mean-spirited, uninformed comments in your life???

    Shock your brain, learn the facts before posting!

    April 21, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. kelly WI

    you want health ins go out and buy it like 99.9 percent of the rest of us do. If you think it would be free you are delusional.
    John made his millions suing Ins. companies. Now where do you think that money than came from? Higher Ins. premiums you dolts.
    Gov't raise tax on everyone and everything it all come backs on the consumer. Us.
    If you want to ignore our enemies and pretend they aren't there, then I don't want to hear any whinning from dims when we are hit again.
    Mc Cain 08

    April 21, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  12. kelly WI

    McCain didn't sign that bill because it was lacking and he wanted another better one.

    April 21, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  13. Anita

    If Mcain had the health insurance I do, then maybe he would NOT have enjoyed the same outcome he does today.

    Six Months to find out my appendix was inflamed and near rupture.

    April 21, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  14. michael minorgan

    good for you Mrs Edwards..we love you. McCain you're going to have a lot to answer for come november! You do have good health care now and millions dont and cant afford it and NEVER will under your plan...hope you sleep well tonight

    April 21, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  15. michael minorgan

    mccain doesnt really care about the average person hre is only out to support the wealthy and well connected dont let him fool you....AGAIN!

    April 21, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  16. Bridgette

    I commend Mrs. Edwards on her comments and also don't believe that John McCain will be able to use that everytime he is responding to something. It was sad what happened to him which is why I really don't understand why he won't sign that new GI bill for the soldiers.

    April 21, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  17. Peter in Oregon

    My wife and I will be sending Barack Obama another $25.00 check later this month with the little spending money we have.

    Us and many other American's have been voting both at the polls and with our wallets, and he hasn't let us down. He has been running a very responsible campaign, and our money has been well spent and is in good hands.

    Obama '08

    April 21, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  18. alan

    all she did was live off of her husbands money he ripped off of the common people

    April 21, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  19. Susan MO

    I GUESS WE ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR HEALTHCARE. BUT PEOPLE WHO ARE WORTH 100 MILLION ARE

    MCCAIN SHAME ON YOU

    April 21, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  20. Pete

    here is a simple question....why should I pay for your heath care?

    April 21, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  21. Brian

    A lot of folks spout ff before they know what they are talking about. First I would like to say that Senator McCain did enjoy having "free" health care for the majority of his life, but how many people that want said free healthcare would be willing to undergo what he did to get it? The option is out there. Join the military and get the bst health care in the world! The health care in the military is a joke! How many of you know that the standards for becoming a military doctor are sub par compared to becoming a regular doctor? Let the first person that wants free health care sign the dotted line joining the military. As a former veteran, I had "free" health care that has now garnered me a disability for the rest of my life. Do the lot of you want that? If you want subsidized or free health care.....Get a job. Stop sucking off the teet of the American taxpayer. For all of those rather wealthy taxayers that believe it should be a universal option, you fund it. I pay for my healthcare and appreciate that I can. That is all I can afford. I cannot afford to pay for someone elses.

    April 21, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  22. Man in a Quandry

    We already have universal healthcare. It's called Medicaid! Get a Job and stop being Vampires!

    April 21, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  23. Denis from Toronto

    Trust me when I say that Americans need, deserve and are entitled to a Universal Healthcare system (Medicare).

    Canadians have had the privilege of having a very responsive, professional and effective Medicare system that has had positive effect on the average life expectancy of her citizens. It certainly was a comfort during the SARS outbreak.

    The UK , France and all of the other Western industrialized countries of Europe, as well as, other major countries have similar Universal Health care systems.

    I have listened to all of the candidates from both parties and Hillary Clinton's plan (except for John Edwards who had the best plan) is the only one that comes close to plans that have been proven in other countries. Unfortunately, Hillary's plan does not go far enough, but it is far superior to Obama's plan by a country mile.

    Do yourselves a favor and view the Michael Moore's movie SICKO and you will get a better idea of what American is missing. It is all true and don't let folks scare you into thinking that it is socialism because it is not.

    It is like a social security type system except for your health care and the only way it can work effectively is if everyone is registered into it. Obama's plan will never work effectively because it is voluntary for adults but not children.

    April 21, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  24. Fiscal responsibility

    A lot of folks spout offbefore they know what they are talking about. First I would like to say that Senator McCain did enjoy having "free" health care for the majority of his life, but how many people that want said free healthcare would be willing to undergo what he did to get it? The option is out there. Join the military and get the bst health care in the world! The health care in the military is a joke! How many of you know that the standards for becoming a military doctor are sub par compared to becoming a regular doctor? Let the first person that wants free health care sign the dotted line joining the military. As a former veteran, I had "free" health care that has now garnered me a disability for the rest of my life. Do the lot of you want that? If you want subsidized or free health care.....Get a job. Stop sucking off the teet of the American taxpayer. For all of those rather wealthy taxayers that believe it should be a universal option, you fund it. I pay for my healthcare and appreciate that I can. That is all I can afford. I cannot afford to pay for someone elses.
    We already have universal healthcare. It's called Medicaid! Get a Job and stop being Vampires!
    All of this is ludicrous! If the Government would control sending, i.e. cut ALL social programs, get out of the war, put all of those resources to research in alternative fuels, then A) we wouldn't be in the desert, and B) there would be no such thing as a National Debt. Now that I have said that, where are all of the Liberals out there saying that oh we have a responsibility to our poor. I wasn't raised with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I scraped and I got by and made something of myself. Let the families take care of the "social burden"!

    April 21, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  25. Walt, Belton,TX

    An elitist like Elizabeth Edwards should have learned far back in the primaries, that one should keep one's mouth shut when they don't know what they are talking about or comparing. Being willing to die for one's country can't compare with the dangers of ambulance chasing.

    April 21, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
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