August 30th, 2007
03:03 PM ET
16 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards: Clinton 'hatred' will energize GOP

Elizabeth Edwards told TIME 'hatred' of Clinton will energize the GOP.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards, the outspoken wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, says her husband is more electable than rival Hillary Clinton because "hatred" of the New York Democrat will energize Republicans.

“I don't know where it comes from. I don't begin to understand it. But you can't pretend it doesn't exist, and it will energize the Republican base," Mrs. Edwards said in an interview with Time Magazine.

"Their nominee won't energize them, Bush won't, but Hillary as the nominee will. It's hard for John to talk about, but it's the reality," she added.

Mrs. Edwards has increasingly assumed a visible role in her husband's campaign and has made several sharp statements, including a strong critique of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's record on women's issues, a biting characterization of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as "holier than thou," and a confrontation with conservative commentator Ann Coulter on MSNBC.

She also came under fire last month for telling an interviewer, "we can't make John black, we can't make him a woman" and argued her husband receives less media attention because he lacks the interesting stories of his chief rivals.

Addressing those controversial comments, Edwards told Time, "The media goes to this very engaging story about a legitimate woman candidate and a legitimate candidate with an African-American heritage, and that drives up their fund-raising numbers. Then the media folks say, 'See, that proves we were right to focus on these two candidates.'"

“It's enough to make you tear your hair out," she added.

The Clinton campaign has yet to respond to CNN's request for comment on Mrs. Edwards' remarks. John Edwards Bets the Farm

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Denise, Phoenix, AZ

    I'm a strong Dem. Don't particularly like Hillary & won't vote for her. Still considering other candidates. Elizabeth Edwards is just plain scary. If her husband can't command enough attention, she'll whine and stomp her feet until she gets it for him. Sorry, John.... You won't get my vote either. No way I want your wife as the First Lady in charge of MY country!!!

    August 31, 2007 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  2. Alex, New Orleans

    I would vote for anyone before I'd vote for Edwards, not only because I think he'd sell his grandmother to be president, but because I couldn't take 4 years of listening to his wife's mouth.

    August 31, 2007 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  3. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    E Edwards is impossible. Is she deaf or blind? How come she doesn't listen what people said and keep running her mouth. She is very stupid and silly. I think she realized there's no hope for Edwards, so she gave up election, try to hurt frontrunner, Hillary. Americans are smarter than Elizabeth, we know who is the best candidate.
    John is done and over.

    August 31, 2007 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  4. John, Georgia

    I am tired of hearing about people who describe themselves as democrats and say that if "Hillary is on the ticket" then they would not vote for her. So if she wins the nomination, all these democrats who will not vote for her, will either vote for the republican candidate, a thrid-party candidate(which is like voting republican, or not vote at all(which is also like voting for the republicans). Now I am not a huge fan of Hillary either, but if it is Hillary verses a Republican(Guiliani, Thompson, or Romney)then I will vote for her. She may not be the best Democratic candidate or the best person, but she is way better than any Republican candidate. So keep in mind, if Hillary wins the Democratic nomination, and all those self-described democrats refuse to vote for her, then you are essentially handing the Presidency over to the Republicans which is a huge mistake as the last 6 years have proven. Hillary may not be better than her rivals in the Democratic party but she is absolutely better than any Republican out there.

    August 31, 2007 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  5. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    Its completely silly to read how many of the people here are knocking Mrs. Edwards for being strong, but are siding with Hillary "because she is a strong woman."

    So it's OK for Hillary to "be strong", but not for Mrs. Edwards?

    People can't see the forest for the trees – and that's why we got Bush twice. Wise up, people.

    If you really want to see how much change Hillary will bring, try searching the net for the photos of the Clintons vacationing together with the Bushes. Yeah, they hang out together, and have all kinds of ties, finiancial and otherwise.

    August 31, 2007 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  6. Pam A Summerside PEI

    JEEEESSSSH The post from the gentleman
    from Terry, El Paso, TX is a bit scary.

    You mean to tell me that in El Paso the Man is still the head of the household! And the women are forced to do housework!

    Well, here's hopin those Texan men aren't running their homes like Bush is running their country!

    August 31, 2007 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  7. Carrol Ann, Newport, Maine

    Republicans, democrats like the Edwards' and any other shark with a stake in this election will only attack those whom they perceive to be a threat.

    I don't see them going after other candidates. They are only going after Hilary & Obama because they know they have strong support throughout the country which they are going to try and tear down because it threatens their own weak(er) positon(s).

    Mr. Edwards, I used to hold you in great esteem. You have succesfully eroded that, and pretty quickly.

    Let's remember, the weak, when threatened attack the strong to survive. As I've said on Hilary's website, we don't have to do a thing. They are self-destructing. And good riddance I say.

    If Mr. Edwards were a true democrat he would work for the good of the party, and this country. And that would include respecting his fellow democratic candidates. I have said before, and I say it again, infighting will only serve to weaken the democratic party, and the republican's perception of it. Well, wouldn't it be great if they could get us all fighting with each other and have us self-destruct.

    Mr.Edwards, I think you've just kissed your future goodbye. Maybe those jokes about lawyers are true after all. What a pity. You have had the rare privilege to prove many stereotypical images false, and in my opinion you've blown them all.

    When are you guys going to get it. Hilary is a master at letting personal attacks against her backfire upon those whom make them. This woman has faced enormous challenges publicly and met each one with grace and courage. She's a strong woman, stronger than any male candidate on either side.

    Hint: those who are really aware of their strength don't need to flaunt it, advertise it or even be concerned with it. They just go about their business, deflecting life's slings and arrows. All of you who are hoping to tear Hilary down are merely serving to expose your weakness and her strength.

    Your cheap tricks and pot shots are riddling your own reputations with holes. But be our guest, we appreciate the help! Thank you. Keep up the good work.

    Oh and by the way, the current administration, and those like Mr. Edwards assume that Joe and Josephine public are all dumb and can't tell a truth from a lie, and can't see through all the corruption and deceit of the past 7 years. Just thought I'd let you in on a big secret. We are actually very smart and quite capable of figuring out this stuff. Sorry! WE CAN SEE RIGHT THROUGH ALL OF YOU.

    Many of us are just quietly and patiently waiting for November.

    August 31, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. Carrol Ann, Newport, Maine

    Terry ~ El Paso: LOL!!! Where have you been all your lifetime???? About time you got with the program. As a woman who raise a child single-handedly with no help or affection from her father, and a single woman who is putting herself through college, (got the BS now getting the Masters), own my home and have a new car, I long ago gave up the feather duster and broom for a good strong pair of work boots...they come in very useful for kicking butt by the way......and just to correct your faulty assumptions, I think I've earned the right to sit here and post anything I want to, just as you do LOL......

    August 31, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. SD Cleveland, OH

    Ms Edwards is 100% correct on this. There's been debate in the Democratic circles around the country on this issue. The political ticker here on CNN even had an article on it for a while. This isn't some Rove scheme. He was telling it like it is. Hillary getting the nom will energize the right wing base.

    If she gets the nomination, her republican opponent doesn't need to do the dirty work. There are plenty of fringe groups and right wing pundits out there to do it for him.

    What makes this even more dangerous (if you lean towards the left) is the fact that every House seat is up for grabs in 2008. Although it's possible for Hillary to win the general election, chances are very strong it could also result in a Republican majority in the House. I don't see that happening with any other Democratic contender.

    August 31, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. Mary, Beaver, PA

    For once in her life, Liz Edwards is right. That still won't get her husband elected. He generated no electricity when he was running for vp and he isn't any more dynamic now that he has his $400 haircut.

    Mountain man, the anti-hillary movement isn't manufactured. It's very real.

    PD of Iowa City, I agree with you. Ron Paul in 2008.

    August 31, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Steve Wittlake Blaine Washington

    Hillary will not win either the nomination or the Presidency. Nobody especially ex military people will vote for a woman as commander in chief of the military. Yes the GOP will come out in droves to defeat hear. Not because she is a woman but because she is a woman who will have absolute control of the military. We have seen what Bush has done with his absolute control of the military. Also, people in the South have not forgotten Whitewater.

    August 31, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. April Vargas, Montara, California

    Barack Obama's ethnicity is not the reason he is such a compelling leader but it certainly does inform his understanding of what great leadership needs to be. People respond to him because of what he believes and how he expresses those beliefs, his values and how he will put those principals into action and his common sense approach to problems that no one else wants to confront (Cuba is an example). Americans are tired of anger being offered as a substitute for conviction and competence. Both Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Edwards are angry women with a perceived score to settle. Whether their fury is directed against the Republicans, the media or the other candidates in this race, they are determined to somehow "get even" with those who have wronged them. We do not need more of the same. Fifteen years of acrimony is enough. Obama is a welcome and much needed change.

    August 31, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  13. Todd Smyth, Alexandria, VA

    Hillary is too divisive and polarizing and I just don't trust her.

    August 31, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. Paul, New Orleans, LA

    Who Cares!!! ITS RON PAUL TIME!!!!

    August 31, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. Carrington Ward, Queens, NY

    "Republicans, particularly the conservatives, don't hate Hillary Clinton … they fear her."

    No, if they feared her (or hated her but feared) her, they'd remain silent.

    She has given no indication that she can generate that kind of fear.

    August 31, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. David, Salinas, CA

    Much as I love the “horse race” aspect of American politics, I think we all pay it too much attention. I’m tired of hearing that Clinton is “unelectable” or that “Obama” is unstoppable or that Giuliani “can’t be nominated” or that McCain in “out of the running”. None of us know that. Not even Karl Rove.

    Sure there are third-tier candidates (Kucinich, Paul, Hunter, etc.) with no real chance of being nominated. But the 2008 campaign is just beginning, and the race is so fluid that we’d need a super-computer to sort through the possibilities. There are just too many match-ups and too many variables to bother with all this speculation, yet. We don’t know who’s going to commit a gaffe or reveal a skeleton or come up with a slogan that catches fire. Let’s let the process play out and see what happens.

    At this point I see twelve candidates who have a real chance of reaching the Oval Office. Six are Republicans (Giuliani, Romney, Thompson, McCain, Huckabee and Gingrich) and six are Democrats (Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Richardson, Biden and Gore). Every one of this dozen has an impressive resume and major political talents. Every one of them has serious political flaws. But if your candidate is on that list, don’t let anybody tell you they can’t be elected, because they just don’t know. I’ve lost too many political bets to believe in my own infallibility. And I’ve won too many to believe in anyone else’s.

    I am an undecided Democrat. I’m sure there are undecided Republicans and undecided independents out there reading the Ticker. And what I’d like to see from those of you who already support candidates, and from the candidates themselves, is honest substantiative arguments as to why they should be President of the United States, (and why their opponents should not). I want to hear good things and bad ones about candidates experience, accomplishments, judgement, personality, and positions on the issues. . I don’t want to hear slurs about candidates’ race, or age, or gender or religion. And I don’t want to hear about who you think is or is not electable. Because you don’t know. And I don’t care.

    August 31, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  17. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    Carrol Ann, Newport, Maine

    BRAVO! Well said. Congrats on your BS and all the best on your Masters. I know you'll achieve much success and leave many behind you in a cloud of Dust! 🙂 You Go Girl!

    September 1, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  18. Mike, NY

    Republican leaders have said the same thing. And we all know it's true.

    September 1, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. David, Salinas, CA

    Any charismatic powerful candidate will energize the base of the opposing party.

    This is a reason to vote FOR Senator Clinton.

    September 1, 2007 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  20. James Carvelle, Meet the Press, 09/02/07

    “The argument that Democrats should not nominate Hillary Clinton because Republicans don’t like her is not a very persuasive argument.”

    September 3, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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