August 8th, 2007
09:51 AM ET
14 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards: 'Can't make John black' or a 'woman'

Elizabeth Edwards said her husband is utilizing the Internet to gain publicity.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, is gaining attention for recent comments on why her husband may receive less attention from the media – and campaign cash - than the two leading Democratic candidates.

"We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman," said Edwards, referring to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton during an interview with Ziff Davis Media about the Internet's role in the 2008 presidential election. "Those things get you a certain amount of fundraising dollars."

The interview was published Monday.

Considered a top tier presidential candidate, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards lags significantly behind Clinton and Obama in fundraising and in national polls.

During the interview, Elizabeth Edwards attributed the Internet as a way to bypass the "sieve of mainstream media" and reach voters despite receiving less publicity than her husband's chief rivals.

"The idea that you have people standing between you and the voter is diminished, and the capacity to speak directly empowers candidates to trust their own voices," she said.

"Now it's nice to get on the news, but not the be all and end all," Edwards added.

Eric Schultz, a spokesman for Edwards' campaign, told CNN Tuesday that Elizabeth Edwards was "noting what countless reporters and pundits have said for months, that Senators Clinton and Obama get a lot of media attention, and deservedly so, because of the potential ‘firsts’ of their candidacies.”

"But the reality is, with so many candidates in this race, we just have to work a little harder to get our message out and inform the people about John Edwards’ bold vision for America," he added.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. Kathy Callan, Palo Cedro, CA

    Oh, brother...CNN is at it again...Sound bites and sensationalism...Instead of covering Senator Edwards' bold, substantive plans for working families, they have tabloidesque news...

    What Mrs. Edwards is saying is true–the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are attracting some money simply because of the historic nature of having an African American and a woman running for president.

    That being said, let's cover the issues, CNN. John Edwards is the best person for the job because he has the integrity, character, and courage to offer bold, detailed plans to help working families–universal health care, taxing the rich so they pay their fair share, a strong living wage, workers' rights, halting global warming, re-vitalizing rural economies, and creating equal opportunity for all.

    This doesn't sit well with corporate America or the mainstream media (which is corporate America). That's why you will continue to see stories focusing on sound bites instead of substance. Corporate America is scared to death of having a trial attorney who fought corporate abuse in the White House. That's why we need John Edwards as president. Go, John!

    August 9, 2007 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  2. Mrs. America

    When Mrs. Edwards first started speaking out, what she said was considered kind of cute. I doubt anyone has taken her too seriously. Now she's not cute anymore, just boring and more ridiculous as she tries to outdo herself. Edwards would be better off if his wife would talk like an intelligent potential first lady than a schoolgirl making nonsensical analogies. I cringe to say this, but I think she's not nailed to the wall with her behavior because of her illness.

    August 9, 2007 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  3. P.D. Chambliss, Baltimore, Maryland

    Mrs. Edwards should apologize immediately for such an ignorant, polarizing statement.

    Mrs. Edwards conveniently forgets she has battled breast cancer. Did Senator Edwards receive more attention on the healthcare issue because of her? Absolutely not! Senator Edwards has consistently been mentioned as a top 3 Democrat in this campaign because he's focusing on the issues – Senators Clinton and Obama are just a bit better at addressing the issues. They're NOT getting a free pass or attracting more attention and donations because of race and gender.

    Again, Mrs. Edwards should apologize. A failure to do so will definitely tank Senator Edwards' campaign.

    August 9, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. OPA

    To Rodney,
    If you are refering to me, when I saw first what i mean is the firts to have a real chance. We both know that Jesse Jackson unfortunately didnt have a real chance at presidency. But youre right, this situation isn't a true first

    August 9, 2007 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. sally north liberty iowa

    If Edwards wants to win here are some ideas. Quit getting $400. hair cuts.
    lower the pay congress gets,
    ie: Give a paycut to the elected officials who represent each state, down to the average income of that state.
    By doing that give the lower and middle class families the extra money to help them with the health care and rising cost of living.
    Maybe that is the direction that the up coming president should go instead of basing it on gender or color of ones skin.

    Also put GOD first in all events.
    God bless America.

    August 9, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. Gurman, San Ramon, CA

    Lowry Helseth's absurd attacks on attorneys are typical Republican Talking Points. And like just about everything the Republicans support (Iraq War, Big Oil, hostility to minorities and immigrants, etc.) the GOP's anti-lawyer Jihad is WRONG!

    Abraham Lincoln, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were ALL ATTORNEYS.

    These four giants of humanity ended slavery, dismantled Soviet Communism, liberated India from British colonialism and peacefully abolished white racist Apartheid.

    Their training as lawyers enabled them to work within a system of laws and rules and mobilize huge numbers of people and moral force to their crusades. Hey Lowry, were Lincoln, Mandela, Gorbachev and Gandhi wrong?

    Lawyers also bring economic justice by helping people who are hurt or killed to get their days in court. When a trial lawyer beats Ford Motor Company for covering up the Ford Explorer/Firestone tread separation crisis, we ALL win because a dangerous product is removed from the marketplace.

    If America's civil legal system is so bad, why does EVERY country in the world want to export to us? Because it is that very same legal system that protects corporate intellectual and contract rights.

    Message to Lowry Helseth:
    Close your mouth and open your mind.

    August 9, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. Linda, Houston, TX

    Absolute outrageous. What a sarcastic comment about race and gender. I am ashamed of Ms. Edwards, and John Edwards would do well to keep her from spouting off. If you all want real change for America and not just 'politics as usual'... VOTE for DENNIS KUCINICH!! And his wife would make an excellent first lady as well!!

    August 9, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  8. Joe Otogor, Switzerland.

    First and foremost race or skin colour shouldn't be an issue at all.Consider yourself very narrow minded if this is an issue to you.To the point, Obama is black, but above all he is an American, learned and cultured, and eloquent.He is presently Black America's best shot at the presidency.So strengten him, not wear him out with this issue of blackness or whiteness.Blood is red,wether flowing in a black or a white.Think my people.

    August 11, 2007 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  9. Esteleen, Las Vegas Nevada

    Instead of criticizing Elizabeth consider what she said. Do any of you really believe that what she said isn’t true? Could it be possible that Clinton and Obama are in fact getting money from women and black citizens? How can that not be true? Why wouldn’t any reasonable person expect that? Are you really that surprised?

    Denying reality has not worked for our country. Look at the entire Bush administration and what has happened to our country (and other countries) under his reign.

    Is it Obama’s reality that when he hails a cab, he may not get a ride? Is it Clinton’s reality that she is told she can’t be President as she is a woman? Is it a reality that Edwards has to find a different money pool? What is wrong with stating the facts? Have we really gone that far backwards that we can‘t accept reality any longer?

    When anyone is faced with a decision…….Please remember that having one option is having no choice at all. Having two options is a dilemma and having a third option is a real choice. America has endured the country’s worst president in history. If we eliminate any candidate based on unrealistic truths then we get what we deserve. Just another Dubya!

    August 14, 2007 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  10. Aftab, Brooklyn NY

    Maybe she forgot about the disadvantages. For example, how a significant proportion of Americans said they would not even consider voting for an African American or how much reverse racism Obama has faced from black people in this country.

    August 14, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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