August 8th, 2007
09:51 AM ET
13 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. elena yeagley Michigan

    Elizabeth Edwards....hmmm. I would think in her position that "Mum's the word" would be her best position...she does not make things better for husband and candidate John....she is strident, and he is she really wanting or wishing she was running for office.....hmmmm...anyway, "Go home, Elizabeth, and tend to your health case John becomes President and needs a wife in the White House!!

    August 8, 2007 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  2. Mary, Beaver, PA

    If I were John Edwards, I would ask my wife to shut up.

    August 8, 2007 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  3. Ann Miles, Baltimore, MD

    Elizabeth Edwards needs to sit back and let her husband John Edwards run his campaign. By making the statement saying her husband is not Black nor a woman is being very narrow minded. What about when Rev. Jesse Jackson or Rev. Al Sharpton ran for president. Elizabeth, maybe your husband is not doing as well in this campaign because you are doing the talking for him. Maybe you should run for president instead of your husband.

    August 8, 2007 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  4. Laura, Silver Spring, MD

    But he does have Elizabeth who seems to get more media attention than John. The question is... is that a good thing?

    August 8, 2007 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  5. Rather Not Vote, New York State

    Unfortunately John or the other candidates are not strong contenders for the Presidency.

    August 8, 2007 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  6. DMW, Roeland Park, KS

    Being Black or a Woman has nothing to do with John Edwards not getting the attention his wife feels he deserves.
    It is funny how white men (and their wives) complain about being white and feeling as if they are somehow being discounted. I have to laugh because in our society we all know white men are still is at the top of the food chain.

    With John Edwards, it is more of a been there, done that kind of thing. John Edwards seems to be a nice person. His time has passed, however.

    August 8, 2007 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  7. Gail, Chapel Hill, NC

    Give it up John.

    August 8, 2007 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  8. Steve, Algonquin, IL

    Elizabeth should have added...we can't make John a supporter of tort reform either.

    August 8, 2007 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  9. John, Columbus Ohio

    Wait! Let me understand this. Edwards can't raise money because he's a white male. Plueeze! Someone has some serious amnesia.

    August 8, 2007 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  10. K Woods Willingboro, New Jersey

    I understand that Mrs Edwards has been through a great deal of stress during the campaign but has she forgotten that every president ever elected to office has looked much like her husband rather than the two candidates that she claims are eating up all of the press–Has she considered that they are just more compelling candidates?

    August 8, 2007 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  11. Anonymous

    Is it just me or did she word what she was trying to say so awkwardly?

    August 8, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  12. Simone, Oak Bluffs, MA

    Any number of political candidates have received support through the years from blacks and women without being such. Instead of making excuses, the Edwards campaign should be asking why John Edwards is unable to elevate his message over the others... why his voice is so muffled. I think it comes down to personality. It's hard to believe he was such a successful trial lawyer when I find him so unconvincing even when his message may be right on point.

    August 8, 2007 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  13. Chris

    Rock on Edwards. You know you're going to be president. Don't be coy about it. I just can't imagine what is going to happen to the other two candiates to propel you upward. I'm all about you reaching the top. I just think it's amazing what planning it takes to make these political shows work. Very Interesting!

    August 8, 2007 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  14. Robert Browning, Atlanta, GA

    Elizabeth Edwards is ABSOLUTELY correct! The media, in its typical sensational fashion, has chosen the politically correctness over substance. If Osama (Obama) wasn't black or Hillary wasn't a woman, they would barely receive coverage. After all, Osama (Obama) would be dismissed as a political novice with only 1 1/2 years in the Senate and having no business running for president at this time.

    August 8, 2007 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  15. Providence, RI

    She is desperate for her husband to be President so she can be the first lady. Elizabeth is becoming more and more crying wolf...

    August 8, 2007 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  16. Jay, Cincinnati, Ohio

    Elizabeth Edwards comment is ignorant and insinuates that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are getting attention because of their "potential firsts" rather than their qualifications. I submit they are getting more attention and greater funding because they are better candidates then her husband and that is where her focus should be.

    August 8, 2007 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  17. ZFW, Indepedence, MO

    I am black and take offense to this. Perhaps Edwards just doesn't connect with the everday voter – I still can not believe he pays that much for a hair cut.

    August 8, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  18. monica, rochester NY

    I don't know what country the Edwards live in, but she's diminishing Obama's accomplishments significantly with her comment that "his blackness gets him a certain amount of fundraising dollars". Mrs. Edwards, let me inform you that Obama is getting the dollars "despite" his race not because of it. His message is resonating with millions of people and that's why he's getting the dollars. It's interesting to see the white male candidate in the role of underdog. They don't take it very well. To me that's because they have a underlying sense of entitlement and aren't used to sharing power.

    August 8, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  19. lisa

    “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.

    Well if thats the case lizabeth – then stop doing all of the talking and let us hear from him...

    August 8, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. gv

    Poor woman,
    try hard, very hard indeed
    to help her man

    August 8, 2007 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  21. BaffledByWhiteSadness, El Dirty, NJ

    Elizabeth Edwards is an idiot. Since when do upper class white men get the short end of the stick in this country? He's getting less attention and campaign money because he is BORING lol.

    August 8, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  22. Pedro, Wyckoff, NJ

    I think she's gonna sink him lower and lower with remarks like this. I'm not black or a woman and I feel insulted!

    August 8, 2007 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  23. Shelbyville, Illinois

    To vote for Hillary or Obama, to me, would be a streak of insanity and I am sane, so, looks like you get my vote John, wishing you the best and I hope, politically, you are as clean cut as you and your wife appear to be,think of those in need, not those who already have as I seem to have seen in the past few years with former presidents.

    August 8, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  24. Sian Rose Harrisburg PA

    Does Mr. Edwards realize that his wife may be more of a liability than an asset. Quite frankly she seems to want the presidency more than he does.

    August 8, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  25. Tony, Atlanta Georgia

    This is sad, does she think that her husband is not getting press (besides his haircuts) because he is not black or a female....wrong. Maybe he simply is not that interesting, maybe people are not into his rhetoric, maybe people say him stumble and fumble in the youtube debates, maybe people in this country need change and don't feel that he is the one to bring it about. Maybe people just are not into her husband, she should think of these things before grasping and straws that only cause more division.

    August 8, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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