July 18th, 2007
10:23 AM ET
10 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards offers sharp critique of Hillary

Elizabeth and John Edwards made a stop in New Orleans Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards sought to punch holes in the notion that New York Sen. Hillary Clinton is the women’s candidate in the 2008 race for the White House. For Edwards, that title falls to her husband, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who is competing against Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“She’s just not as vocal a women’s advocate as I want to see,” Elizabeth Edwards said in a wide ranging interview with the online magazine, Salon. “John is.”

Edwards particularly offered a sharp assessment of Clinton’s approach to providing healthcare to everyone.

“On the issues that are important to women, she has not ... well, healthcare, that's enormously important to women, all the polls say, and what she says now is, we're going to have a national conversation about healthcare,” Edwards said in the Salon interview. “And then she describes some cost-saving things, which John also supports, but she acts like that's going to make healthcare affordable to everyone. And she knows it won't. She's not really talking about poverty, when the face of poverty is a woman's face, often a single mother.”

A Clinton spokesman declined to comment on Edwards’ remarks, while a spokesman for the Edwards presidential campaign would not speak directly about the Clinton comments other than to say Elizabeth Edwards was only talking up her husband's ability to offer solutions.

"What she did say is that she believes her husband is the best candidate for president,” the spokesman tells CNN. “And she thinks that her husband would be the best advocate on healthcare, on education, on women's issues and the fight to end poverty."

Elizabeth Edwards also spoke about her recent confrontation with conservative commentator Ann Coulter, the split with her husband on the issue of gay marriage and how she is handling her cancer treatments while campaigning on behalf of her husband.

Edwards announced earlier in the year that her bout with breast cancer had returned in a stronger form, but continues to take a highly visible role on the campaign trail this year.

TIME.com: Can Poverty Define John Edwards?

- CNN's Alexander Mooney contributed to this report

soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Glenn,B'ham,Al

    Hillary Wallace no longer pretends that a national health care system is possible.Wish we could find a someone to vote on that belived in it!

    July 17, 2007 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Stephen

    Which Edwards is running for President??? the same can go for which Clinton is running for President?

    July 17, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Mike Smith, New Orleans

    Too many people associate national healthcare with welfare or medicare. Its not going to happen. The real help will come when we confront the pharmaceutical companies over obscene profits and deceptive practices.

    July 17, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    I like how John gets his wife to do the fighting against women. She faces off against Clinton and Coulter alike.

    Meanwhile she is still battling cancer.
    Gotta love her spirit...taking on both those tyrants.

    July 17, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Ed Stein, LA, CA

    Mrs. Edwards should stay out of politics. After all she is not running for office nor is she an expert on the issues she refers to in her opinion.

    July 17, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  6. Pamela

    Elizabeth Edwards should do a little more thinking than speaking. Neither of the Clinton's have gone after her husband and they both were very kind to her when they learned of her illness.

    Her statements say more about her (and not in a good way)than they do Hillary. Bill Clinton always goes out of his way to say good things about all the candidates. She should remember her husband is very vunerable on a lot of issues that someone could take him on about.

    Time for her to find a seat in a corner and sit down While she's there she should watch Obama's wife. She campaigns for him, speaks up for him but never makes attacks on other candidates (it's called class). Elizabeth Edwards should try and do likewise.

    July 17, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  7. Vanessa Roacho, El Paso, Texas

    Mrs.Edwards is only boasting about her husband because that is her husband. If John Edwards wasn't her husband, and was just some random person, she would probably have a different perspective of Hillary Clinton. Also, Edwards continues to speak of how her husband is a great candidate for the presidential seat, her husband can help fight poverty, etc. But she doesn't explain how her husbands plans will make the difference. How will Edwards fight poverty? Present his plans. At least Mrs. Clinton is providing somewhat of a brainstorm solution.

    July 17, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  8. Iconoclast, Houston, TX

    Hilary and Obama will eventually team up, she as presidential candidate, he as potential vp. Edwards will be offered a prime cabinet spot.


    July 17, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. South Carolina

    You GO girl !!!

    Tell them like it is !

    July 17, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  10. Ike

    Which Edwards is running for president? You couldn't go wrong with either one. She will be a positive influence in administration.

    July 17, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    HRC is a mediocre lawyer from a half-arsed Southern state who tolerates Bubba's fooling around in the Oval Office because he's the only hope she has to satisfy _her_ urges– for power she is not worthy of wielding on behalf of women or men. He rnomination would be a death wish for the Dems, and her campaign funds can't buy her the street cred she needs, or my vote under any circumstances.

    July 17, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  12. Joseph/ Va.

    Johnny edwards needs mommy elizabeth edwards to step back. All is does is attack people for her weak husband. this really makes him look bad her big mouth over shadow johnny he has no backbone

    July 17, 2007 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  13. Karyl, Asheville, NC

    Elizabeth Edwards has opened a subject that heretofore has be tightly sealed and off-limits. The subject is the conditions that women are subjected to across the board in job pay, advancement, health care, food stamps, section 8 housing, social security retirement payments that do not give credit to time spent rearing children rather than returning to the work force. Mothers are not protected but instead they are penalized in every aspect of daily life.

    I feel sad that some women believe that Hillary Clinton is a woman's advocate. She is not. She is bought and paid for by big corporations. In my opinion her ruler is the almighty dollar in her pocket and power.

    Clinton and her husband cozy up to the Bush family, with the Cheney family, with the Rumsfield family even though they know that President Bush and VP Cheney authorized the torture and humiliation of the prisoners in Abu Grab. How can they associate with the instigators of murder, torture and shame provoking behavior? Because, I feel that they do not care what is done in the name of the United States under this Republican administration.

    I feel that Hillary Clinton is morally vacant about the well-being of helpless humans period. She has no compassion for the weak, ill, disadvantaged, poor, and least of all women. She has had years to lift her voice in defense of women. She has said nothing.

    July 17, 2007 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  14. Ken Cory, San Francisco, CA.

    Kudos to Elizabeth Edwards for being so candid and staying true to herself. I'm so glad she stood up to Ann C. and called out her poisonous rhetoric for what it is.

    July 17, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  15. L.B. Marts, McKinney, TX

    It amazes me that any of these candidates even think they can relate to the improverished of this country. They don't have a clue.....none of them. I'm also tired of hearing from all the "women in power" that as a female in this country my life apparently sucks. My life is fine and when I want more out of life I go for it. Also, the next time I hear HRC bad-mouth the Bush Administration and say that she voted for the Iraq War based on bad info from the Bush Admin...then I think she needs to remember that it was her Husband's Admin that passed on information to the Bush Admin about Iraq, Al Quaid, terrorism, Osama, etc.....she probably thought she new it all.....now she is caught with her hand in the cookie jar and wants to point at someone else for the blame. That is not the type of person I want for my next president....nor is it someone I'm proud to call a fellow-female.

    July 17, 2007 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. Micki Santa Clarita, CA

    Anyone who can shed the light on what Hillary Clinton is really about is welcome! Heaven forbid that she is actually seen by the Democratic party as a viable candidate!! This country needs a change and I'm not sure who that person would be right now but I definitely know it's not Mrs. Clinton.

    July 17, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  17. jack jett, Dallas

    One of the great things about having a life threating disease, is that you say what you want, you get to the point and you don't beat around a Bush.

    Life is too short to have any Bush in your lifel...or any form of bigotry.

    Elizabeth Rocks

    Jack Jett

    July 17, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  18. Tierra DelFuego, Boise, ID

    That's a "sharp assessment"? A "sharp critique"? Nice adjectives, CNN....nothing like a little hype-building, hunh?

    July 17, 2007 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  19. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Elizabeth raves against her sickness and husband's incapacity. She has no right to attack other candidate, why only Hillary? Because Hillary is the frontrunner consistantly and jealous of Hillary's grand performance. The Clintons were very nice to them when she found breast cancer. Elizabeth forgot her position and rode the high horse. Elizabeth said she is happier than Hillary(John apologized to Hillary), how stupid and low BMW she is. Elizabeth, keep going on, your husband's poll will goes down and Hillary's is going up, it is a kind of free campaign for Hillary. WH is the cake in the picture for you so wake up.

    July 17, 2007 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  20. Greg , ashburn VA

    WOULD EDWARDS take VP spot?

    July 17, 2007 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  21. Steve, Brentwood CA

    The far-left should stop trying to get their nose in every aspect of society, for some reason it's okay to approve of gay marriage , but if you disagree, you are homophobic....I call those of us who do not agree with gay marriage as saviors of the moral decay that is eating away at our GREAT country. I applaud those try to stop this decay.

    Marriage between a man and a woman ONLY should be in the constitution.
    We need to STOP political correctness & save ourselves.

    July 17, 2007 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  22. Martina, Germany

    I admire Hillary Clinton and believe to be outspoken is not the way to go. Marketing has decided most of the elections in the USA and it is good to have someone more laid back and think before speaking out loud.

    She is able to raise funds, hands on and loves her family.

    July 17, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  23. H, NY, NY

    Way to go Mrs Edwards!

    I wonder if Hillary will talk to Obama about "removing your husband" from the next debate after your pointed, right on critique.

    Hillary is not an advocate for anyone. She tells "you" how its going to be.

    July 17, 2007 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
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