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. AT, San Francisco, CA

    Hillary will energise the republcans, and the supporters of other candidates with envy, jealousy and frustration.

    To know her is to love her.

    August 30, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. Sarah, Baltimore, MD

    I just think Elizabeth Edwards ic completely irresponsible for this statement. What an insult to say suggest the lone reason for Obama's & Clinton's high fundraising is b/c one if black & the other is a woman. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, b/c our society has a lot of historical evidence that shows being black and being a woman is an advantage. Give me a break!
    Check out: http://myragmag.com/therag There is a column on the Edwards, that reminds us that Edwards with only 2 years in office was considered for VP!

    I can't believe the Edwards have the audacity to complain when they've had a silver spoon for the past 7 years!

    August 30, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. CJ, Catlettsburg, Ky.

    Elizabeth Edwards is a very strong woman, and I admire her willingness to state what is on her mind. I do believe there is some truth to what she says as the Republican Party simply cannot bear the thought of having a woman lead this country. We should all look beyond party and strive to do what is best for all the American people. That in itself is something the Republican Party will never be able to achieve, as it seems quite apparent they are a party of "haves" and not ashamed to boast about it!

    August 30, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Delancey, Omaha NE

    I believe Mrs Edwards is misstating her husband's flaw, it is not that he is a white male. It is that he is a mediocre white male. No strong views, no decisive plans, nothing of real substance. Hilary and Obama will always outshine John Edwards simply for the fact they have a strong platform and sell it with compelling honesty.

    August 30, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Elizabeth Edwards is running her husband for President! He'd better not talk back, either. I think his campaign may have just jumped the shark.

    August 30, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Pam Wilms, Midlothian, VA

    Who wears the pants in this duo? I don't want a sissy-boy president who's wife has to fight his battles.

    August 30, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Judith, Concord, NC

    Why is it that Elizabeth Edwards' comments are receiving more press than what John Edwards says? I know that what she says is more sensational, but please give more attention to John Edwards' stances on particular issues.

    You can do better CNN.

    August 30, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. Greg, Houston

    She is right. It is evident by some of the comments here that every thing but real issues are the basis for folks decisions on who to vote for. Hair cuts, wealth, illness, plane old hatred are all evident.

    This is the reason we get the caliber of leadership we always get. We focus on everything except what is important.

    August 30, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. James Kosovich, Wheat Ridge, Colorado

    Has anyone heard John speak? All I have been hearing are these "comments" from his wife. Whose running him or her?

    August 30, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. RON FT. MYERS FLORIDA

    IT'S A SHAME THAT MRS. EDWARDS CANNOT FACE THE FACT THAT HER HUSBAND IS NOT AS ATTRACTIVE AS A CANDIDATE AS THOSE SHE BASHES. IN MY OPINION, JOHN EDWARDS IS THE WORST OF THE LOT. HE NEEDS TO TAKE HIS MILLIONS AND INVEST IN HELPING PEOPLE PERSONALLY. HE IS JUST ONE MORE IN A LONG LINE OF PSEUDO COMPASSIONISTS, ONLY HEPLING IF HE IS ELECTED TO THE PRESIDENCY. I DO NOT BELIEVE HE HAS THE FORTITUDE, NOR THE CHARACTER TO CONVINCE A MAJORITY OF PEOPLE THAT HE IS SINCERE AND MRS. EDWARDS ONLY CONVINCES ME MORE THAT THEY ARE CARNIVAL ACT OF SORTS. I HEARD HER "DEBATE" WITH ANN COULTER AND WOULD LOVE TO SEE HER ATTEMPT A DEBATE THAT WAS PLANNED AND FACE TO FACE.

    August 30, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. anon, new york, NY

    John Edwards said he would not do personal attacks other candidates. He asked his wife to do that for him!

    August 30, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Kate, Tampa, Florida

    Elizabeth Edwards needs to spend more time at home and less time trashing other Democratic presidential candidates. Her verbal darts are classless and clearly indicate her desperate attempts to move her husband to a higher level in the polls.

    August 30, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Corinne Hernandez, Glendale, CA

    I agree with Mrs. Edeards comment that the "Hillary Hatred" will energize the Republican "hate base." I am so sick of those hateful Republicans. Bill Clinton was a great president dispite his personal problems. I think what Hillary needs to say is that dispite there problems they worked things out! I think Bill & Hillary have the "true family values" the Republicans claim to have.

    August 30, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. Shirley Paine Parrott Virginia

    Mrs. Edwards is hurting her husband more than she is helping him. I am a native Tar Heel who had just moved to western New York state when Hillary was running for the Senate. Although the rural areas of the state traditionally vote Republican, she still visited many small villages with one stoplight, a combination post office and general store, and rural depressed Southern Tier and upstate counties her opponent didn't think worthy of his time. It is true, the large metropolitan areas supported her overwhelmingly and gave her the votes to win. However, she never forgot the largely rural mid- and western counties of the state that are composed of dairy farms, wineries, recreational lakes, and industries, many of which are facing tough economic times. She visited often, and was well aware of problems in each area. Hillary Clinton cannot be worn down by Elizabeth Edward's mudslinging. She earned her stripes in New York as a senator of everyone, regardless of their economic status. Clinton is definitely capable of unifying a party that Elizabeth Edwards is trying to polarize. Perhaps Mrs. Edwards should do her homework a little more thoroughly before her next speech.

    August 30, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. MARTA-HOUSTON, TX

    I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH MRS. EDWARDS STATEMENTS. BETWEEN CLINTON AND OBAMA, THEY HAVE THE ELECTORAL MACHINARY COMPLETELY SET UP. THE MEDIA HAS FALLEN INTO THEIR GAME.

    AND YOU KNOW WHY? BECAUSE JOHN EDWARDS IS HONEST, HARDWORKING AND DOES NOT HAVE THE "CLINTON" NAME AND YES, THE OBAMA "AFRICAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE" THAT SEEMS TO BE ATTRACTING THE EYES OF THE AMERICANS, AND THAT IN ITSELF IS MISLEADING THE PEOPLE.

    JOHN EDWARDS IS YOUNG, VIBRANT, HONEST, HARDWORKING....LET'S GIVE HIM AN OPPORTUNITY, IF WE REALLY WANT CHANGES.

    OTHERWISE, JUST LIKE WITH BUSH, WE MIGHT HAVE MORE TERRORIST ATTACKS ONCE THEY HAVE BEEN ELECTED. HISTORY HAS SHOWN THIS TO BE A FACT.

    August 30, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    "Hatred" is a tad strong, but as a lifelong Democrat, I won't vote for HRC because she is shrill, inauthentic, divisive, pandering, too inexperienced and unelectable.

    August 30, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. Michael James - Illinois

    Ms. Edwards is absolutely correct about a Clinton candidacy energizing the Republicans. She will be criticized for speaking publically again, but she's not the only one saying this.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0807/5515.html

    I am more of an independent than anything, but I know for sure I will not be voting for any ticket that has Clinton on it and I know there are a lot of people taking this position

    As for who the best alternative to Clinton would be, it certainly isn't John Edwards. Barack Obama is the best candidate.

    If the Democratic party is foolish enough to send Hillary to the general election, I think Barack should seriously consider a run as an independent. He may not choose to do that, but I think he could win based on his appeal to so many different groups, including Republicans, independents and moderates of all stripes.

    August 30, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. Gail Giles, Fort Worth, Texas

    I agree with Mrs. Edwards regarding animosity from voters about Hillary Clinton. Many people either like her or hate her from the time of the election of her husband, Bill Clinton. I feel that the best ticket is Edwards and Obama. That is the strongest ticket to combat Hillary Clinton and also the Republican forefront and wavering voters that do not like Hillary at all and will vote against her rather than for her. Unfortunately, I feel that the Clinton history works against her and it would be best for her to take a back seat from runnign for the presidency, despite her experience in foriegn affairs and health care. As far as folks feeling that both Edwards and Obama have no experience, then let me ask you how much experience George Bush had before becoming president? Look at where we are as a nation moving forward as a result of his ineptitude and lack of leadership, despite what folks have to say about the war on Iraq. He should be building up America's future, not bankrupting us to the tune of trillions of dollars trying to rebuild Iraq. With billions of dollars not being spent on our soldiers in Iraq or on their welfare when they return, as it should be or as we are told it will. They use that line to make citizens feel that if they are against the war then they are being unpatriotic and not supporting the troops. I am all for supporting the troops, but the fact is that the majority of that money is being wasted and going into the pockets of Halliburton and cronies of the administration, while America falters from lack of investment in infrastructure, lack of investment in health care, and lack of care PERIOD! It is a disgrace that Americans are going bankrupt and worrying about their future, worrying that they will be taken care of in the same way as those trying to rebuild their lives from Katrina are doing it, by themselves. If we do not elect into office someone that truly cares about us and spends some time, care, and money on rebuilding this country, we will have more of the same. There are those that are growing rich to rebuild the "global economy" while ours falls apart. It is time to remember that they are in office to work for the people and to make America strong in more ways than just spewing forth words and not showing it by their actions. America is tired of waiting for the trickle down economy to come to them.

    August 30, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. Ineeda Mann, Smyrna, DL

    hillary will make a good president now that she no longer gets menses, and is post menapausal.

    August 30, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  20. expat Mariano, Jalisco, Mexico

    So...is John Edwards a better candidate because he appeals to the Republican party more? Then maybe he should change parties.

    August 30, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. Hoosier Values

    John and Liz should be applauded for their efforts to lead this country forward. No other candidate makes any effort to provide details on making the US great again. They speak the truth, even though it is difficult to hear!

    August 30, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. Amy, TN

    Her nomination will energize ANYONE who doesn't think a female should or could be the president of the United States of America....duh.

    August 30, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Edwards has a valid point and I am not at all happy about it. The frothing, irrational, and undeniable hatred for the Clinton family by Conservatives would once again gridlock the country if Senator Clinton were elected to the presidency. We would once again be shouting at each other about sex in the White House, Whitewater, etc. etc. etc. yadda yadda yadda. The USA, teetering as it is on the brink of so many potential disasters, must be able to focus on real problems. The baggage that Conservatives carry around in their minds regarding anything Clinton cannot be changed. Their passion is irrational.

    Conservatives and Democrats (there are no Liberals in American government at this time) have to be able and willing to work together to prevent our standard of living, our freedoms, and our national security from deteriorating. Four or eight more years of our not-so-gifted leadership screaming applause lines at each other will be disastrous.

    Only a candidate who is not now in the top tier of those being considered will be sufficiently unencumbered to appeal to both sides.

    I hope a miracle candidate appears from nowhere and captures our imaginations. Otherwise, we will likely live through the end of the American era.

    August 30, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Christian, Tampa FL

    While we can't know for sure, I think that Mrs. Edwards is correct in this case. When I talk to people about politics, everyone seems to grumble about Hillary and conservatives really don't like her.

    I hope the Democratic base is smart enough to pick someone who can attract support from both sides.
    I would suggest Obama, but apparently my opinion doesn't really matter anymore because I'm a Floridian.

    August 30, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. Pieter Joubert, Pretoria, South Africa

    As a non-American observer I perceive Edwards as a nice guy, but weak. Maybe his wife should run! Clinton on the other hand is strong, intelligent with a grasp of international politics, and totally electable.

    August 30, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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