August 30th, 2007
03:03 PM ET
15 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.

TIME.com: John Edwards Bets the Farm

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Pat, Huntington Station, NY

    It's sad to say, but it's true...she's right. But it's not necessarily true that Edwards will win the White House. The Rethuglicants will portray him as another Jimmy Carter. Face it, we dems lost the election once former VA governor Mark Warner announced he was not going to run. If he were running, the Dems might as well start planning the inaugural ball today.

    August 30, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. W. Artis, Goldsboro, NC

    Since she has so much to say, where was she when her husband got $400 haircuts and used campaign funds to pay for it. I don't seem to remember reading where she SPOKE loud and clearly against that.

    August 30, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. Janet, Wisconsin

    Mrs. Edwards is still third place in the polls. She's gotta step up her game!

    August 30, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Tim, El Cerrito, CA

    You know I used to John Edwards then not so much but still liked Elizabeth. Now I'm beginning to feel the same way about her. JE couldn't even carry his home state in the last election so why should I feel confident that he could win any better then Hillary?

    August 30, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. Bob LaFavor, Woodinville, WA

    Liberal attitudes go where the liberal media takes it. There is little to no individual, introspective leadership in the Democractic Party. Leading, individual thinkers abound in the Republican Party and that is what has caused the media to herd together. The liberal press is emboldened by the perceived 'togetherness' that their illegitimate press garners among their fellow 'herd' mates. It is 'all good' for the Republicans because no matter who the Democratic candidate is, the U.S. population at large will always respond the the 'individual thinker'. The candidate that has the 'guts' to say what he truly believes and believes what he says and is willing to back it up. There is no such person in the Democratic party. Giuliani-Huckabee will be virtually impossible to beat.

    August 30, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. PD, Iowa City IA

    Clinton's strategy during the primary proves Elizabeth Edwards' point. She is running against George Bush with the belief that the rejection of that Republican icon is the best way to fire up the Democratic base. What then would be the best way to fire up the Republican base? Yep, the prospect of another Clinton in the White House.

    I would like to see my country stop punishing itself with this kind of partisan garbage. Paul or Obama for me, please.

    August 30, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. P.H., Lakeland, FL

    As a Florida Democrat, I'm dealing with the "Hatred" the Democratic Party's showing Florida Democrats.

    August 30, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Mat, Stillwater Oklahoma

    Liz....ARE YOU STILL TALKING? Go home and leave the politics to John.

    August 30, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Toni, Hampton, VA

    Well, well, once again we hear from Mrs. Edwards. John Edwards would only get elected by sympathy votes. Would he really be getting this much free air time if they had not gone public with this? What a crock! Let's see, he decides, again, to run for President (he failed miserably last time); she announces she has breast cancer; all of a sudden they are on every network and news magazine show. It's all about her cancer...not about what he can do as President (NOTHING!). God help this country if he wins.

    BTW, I'm not impressed with Hillary Clinton either (too much Bill influence), but if the only choices were Hillary Clinton or John Edwards. I'd pick a strong women over a weak man who uses his wife's illness to try to get votes.

    August 30, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Pedro A. Romanach

    I totally agree with Elizabeth Edwards. I think John Edwards would very possibly be the strongest candidate the Democrats could put up. Bill Richardson would also be a very strong candidate.

    August 30, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. Larry, Columbus, OH

    I'm a Republican, and while my biggest wish is that SOMEONE better than the candidates on both sides were available, I can tell you I'd vote for Hillary way sooner than I'd vote for Edwards. Expensive haircuts, asking others to change their lifestyles when his 28,000 sq. ft. mansion is okay because "he's worked hard for it"? C'mon...if ANYONE is not electable on the Dem side, it's Edwards.

    August 30, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. Jason Roberts, Houston Texas

    Although I am an Obama supporter, I absolutely agree with Elizabeth Edwards. Nominating Hillary Clinton will energize the Republican base. However, it is not a mistery to me as to why. Regardless of his personal challenges, Bill Clinton was a great president and the Replublicans will forever hate him for it.

    August 30, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. Amy, TN

    I didn't see it. The title of this article on CNN's front page is: "Beware of Clinton Hatred". Who is she telling to beware? Where in this article did she say this? Your reporting is slacking as usual CNNers.

    August 30, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. mountain man Longmont, CO

    because the repubs don't like her we should just bow down and give them what they want. I don't think so. The anti-hillary movement was manufactured and wont stand up to a modern campaign. Case in point GWB had higher negatives at this time in 03.

    August 30, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. Jeannie Palm Bay FL

    I think Mrs Edwards meeds to get a life. Her reactions and statements regarding Hilary Clinton are because she knows that H Clinton is a better choice than her husband any day. She's scared, very scared.....

    August 30, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Jim, Atlanta

    I also have to agree.

    I think Hillary would make a good President but she's never going to get the chance because the Rabid Right will get every homophobic, anti-abortion fanatic to the polls with tales of how Bill Clinton will have orgies in the Oval Office and Bible burnings on the south lawn.

    Her negatives are just too high. She's the one Democrat that could lose this unloseable election.

    August 30, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. travis

    Can you imagine this woman as 1st lady? She is more angry than Mike Gravel!

    August 30, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. travis

    Can you imagine this woman as 1st lady? She is more angry than Mike Gravel!

    August 30, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Mike from Indiana

    W. Artis: A candidate's haircuts and suits and transportation and all that is covered under campaign funds. So where's the problem?

    August 30, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Mark Morris

    I'm getting pretty sick of hearing Elizabeth Edwards cry foul because Edwards is not black or a woman. She's trying to turn a sign of real progress around by implying that the only reason people like Clinton or Obama is their minority status! What would people say if they cried foul that it looks bad to attack a cancer victim, so Elizabeth is free to do John's dirty work?

    August 30, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    With Mommy Edwards keeps on talking, Johnny's polls going downhill from a distant 3rd to 4th soon.

    There goes the chance of Johnny to be the running mate of Hillary, and also his last chance in federal politics.

    Johnny mentioned days ago he would not do personal attacks to other candidates, he meant he would ask Mommy Edwards to do it for him.

    August 30, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Scott, Fort Lauderdale, FL

    This lady really needs to shut her mouth, she is six degrees past annoying. Will the real Presidential candidate in the Edwards family please stand up?

    And Edwards has no shot to win the primary, and a worse shot to win the general election.

    August 30, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. Claudine, Covina, CA.

    Maybe Mrs. Edwards should be at home, concentrating on her battle with CANCER, rather than out on the campaign trail damning her husband's chances.

    August 30, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Maria Trezza Stone Ridge VA

    I happen to admire Mrs. Edwards & have been seriously considering voting for John Edwards, but.....this latest statement she made that "hatred will energize the GOP" is outrageous. She had just fed the opposition with more fodder. I suggest she stay out of her husband's campaign & keep her comments to herself. Hillary has my vote.

    August 30, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. Donna Mansfield, Everett, Washington

    I hope that Mrs. Edwards will focus on Katrina and poverty and One America...this week particularly is where John Edwards could shine with what he would do with Katrina victims and the greedy people exploiting the situation. Although what she says may have some truth, it makes John, in my humble opinion, look like he's the "underdog" – he needs to be fighting fighting fighting – not lambasting other candidates. Let that be for the Republican candidate when that time comes. Use Katrina – today – and the plight of those folks – you have a REAL opportunity here!!!!!!

    August 30, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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