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. Bill, Streamwood, IL

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

    August 30, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. D. Frick, Palmetto, FL

    I like the Edwards - perhaps I could even vote for them if I believe they have the most to offer our country. However, political rhetoric is still just that, and it seems that today no candidate can just simply say "I'm this, this is what I stand for, and I hope you, the voter will elect me because 'this' is good"; instead they seem to also have to say that here is what is "bad" about the other candidates. I want to stand behind a candidate that can offer things good 'for the country', not one who can only offer criticism about the others. What Mrs. Edwards said about the existing hatred is nothing more than another political scare tactic to attempt to sway the thinking of others.

    August 30, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Karen, Orlando, Fl.

    Elizabeth,
    We didn't want your husband for president four years ago and we still don't want him for president now. I would take Hillary any day over your ex trial lawyer husband.

    August 30, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Bill Singleton, Covina, California

    It is very sad that Elizabeth Edwards is knocking Hillary Clinton down, rather then admiring her for running for president. I wonder what she would do if there was a Clinton/Edwards ticket? It is a long shot but she would have to "Open mouth and insert foot."

    August 30, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. Terrell, West palm beach Florida

    She does bring up some valid points as far as media. My order for the current nominee's are

    Obama
    Edwards
    Clinton
    Kucinsh

    I don't think people give there money based on propaganda media reporting. I think its base on your message to the people. and so far OBAMA has respond to all his question genuinly just like EDwards have.

    August 30, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Ken, Tucson, AZ

    It's the Republicans who say that Sen. Clinton is divisive and unelectable because they don't believe they have a candidate that can win aginst her. Unfortunately, too many Democrats are falling for this line of thinking, which is what the Republicans want.

    August 30, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. David, Gilbert Arizona

    I'm a republican and I laugh every time I read about the democrats warning themselves against nominating Hillary. Don't nominate Hillary, not because she is the best choice, but because the republicans will become energized. Instead you should nominate the tier 3 candidate because he is...what exactly? Boring? A pretty boy?

    Get a clue democrats. No matter who you nominate the republicans are going to become energized. We don't want a tax and spend cut and run president. So go ahead and nominate Edwards. We'll happily woop his behind instead.

    August 30, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Robbin, Texarkana, Arkansas

    I find it hilarious for Elizabeth Edwards to point fingers at Hillary Clinton dressed the way she was. She looked like she just crawled out of bed.

    August 30, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Alex Luthor, Madison, WI

    The more she speaks, the more I like Mrs. Edwards. I don't understand why people don't like her outspokenness. I prefer to hear people talking straight, and being passionate about their beliefs, regardless of whether I agree with those beliefs or not. The best first ladies were always the most outspoken.I am more convinced than ever that John Edwards would be an amazing and effective Attorney General. One that would go down in the history books as one of the greats. He's not afraid of big business and proving himself in the AG job will surely help his future presidential ambitions.

    August 30, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Bryce, Tampa FL

    Frankly, I'm over Elizabeth Edwards and her commentary about Hillary and Obama. She needs to get over herself and the fact that her husband will never win the right to represent the Democratic Party as a candidate for President.

    As for Hillary Clinton - she's been standing up about many of the issues she talks about WAY BEFORE she even threw her hat into the ring ... is she the best candidate? I figure if the people of New York (state and city) put her back in Washington for a second time – she's doing something right.

    I think a Clinton-Obama ticket sounds pretty strong against anyone the Republicans could put on the ballot. I'm just over Republicans in general –and I'm not even a liberal by any stretch of the imagination.

    But, as a Floridian, I'm wondering if I should even vote in the Democratic Primary - why bother – my vote apparently won't matter because of the absurd actions of the DNC. Whether they want to believe it or not – Florida is a crucial state when it comes to electing a president.

    August 30, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Sylvia Roybal, Santa Fe, n m

    Mrs Edwards is getting out of control. Her sharp critique of other candidates is enough to keep me from voting for John Edsards. I am sick of dirty politics.

    August 30, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Daniel SLC UT

    ONCE AGAIN SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE BLOGING HATE. You Republicans are so scared, I love it.

    GO HILLARY!!!

    August 30, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. pl, at the UN, for a while.

    I am not American. I cannot vote. Today I will do a bit of spinning.

    It is obvious by now to all those who read my comments on this blog that I am all for the spouses to accompany the candidates on the trail. I could almost elevate that to the level of duty.

    But today Ms Edwards blew it. Her message–too much support for the frontrunners will stir up the voters and cause them to go out and vote. Spin it: presidential elections in the US attract about 50% of voters. Compare this to Europe's 95% or higher. What is wrong with more voters partecipating in the fundamental processes of democracy? Ms Edwards says: that higher partecipation is be from the other party and our party will be defeated.

    The spun conclusion: Ms Edwards is advising the candidates not to expose critical issues, otherwise too many voters might be fired up and decide to go out and vote.

    August 30, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. dawn -- gaithersburg, MD.

    Democrats should pick the candidate we want to represent our party and do all we can to help them win. Living our lives in fear of Karl Rove's machinations is the surest way to lose. The Republicans didn't worry for a second about picking a draft-dodging candidate from the hardest part of the hard right who couldn't finish a simple, English sentence without saying something ridiculous. They didn't ask us what we thought about that and we shouldn't worry about their hatred. Shame on Mrs. Edwards for suggesting that we kowtow to their irrationality.

    August 30, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. Jennifer, Houston, TX

    Wow, I can't believe some of the comments...

    She should spend more time at home? How backwards.

    Re. the $400 haircuts...he paid the campaign back for those, because it was never his intention to use supporters money for his own haircuts (unlike, say, Mitt Romney & his makeup). But either way, who cares? The candidates would get bashed if they looked bad on T.V., I don't blame them. But, get your facts straight – the campaign was paid back, and haircuts before and after those two were not & have not been charged to the campaign.

    Mrs. Edwards never said that HRC being a woman and BHO being black were the "lone" reasons they were able to raise money.

    And re. living in the nice house while asking everybody else to change their lifestyle? That would be hypocritical, if that were true. It's not.

    He's advocating for a more level playing field, for more opportunites for people who are working class, or poor.

    I realize that the posters here aren't reporters, but the twisting of facts to suit eveyone's agenda is disturbing. I feel like I'm listening to Fox News! I guess the message doesn't really matter, since everybody seems to hear only what they want to hear.

    Oh, and about all the comments saying that Mrs. Edwards is making all the tough comments because nobody will attack a lady with cancer...I'd say the comments on here prove otherwise.

    And I'd bet she's just fine with that.

    August 30, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  16. Tom, Austin, Tx.

    Mrs. Edwards is correct in what she is saying. Those who think that the Republican's are behind the Hillary bashing are incorrect. The Republican's want Hillary for their opposition in '08. Hillary is not electable.

    August 30, 2007 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    True, True, True. I'm glad this ladyhas the guts to say what everyone else thinks, but won't say.

    Hillary will energize ME to vote Republican – and I'm a Democrat.

    The vast majority of people who support Hillary think they are voting for Bill. Aren't they in for a rude awakening?

    August 30, 2007 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. Randy, Piscataway, NJ

    What Mrs. Edwards said is true in that her husband doesn't get the extra attention because he's not obviously unique. However, he has gotten the attention for the unfortunate cancer that plagues his wife. We all use the martyrdom or victim or sympathy and yes even uniqueness to our advantaege.

    August 30, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Suzanne, Fairfax VA

    I would like to hear from John Edwards for a change rather than from his wife. I'm not sure why she feels the need to speak up at every opportunity, but I don't think she is really doing her husband any favors with her attacks on Obama and Clinton.

    August 30, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Mary M

    I can't help but wonder if she's his wife or his mother... Why doesn't she shut up and let him speak?

    August 30, 2007 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  21. JC, Motor City MI

    Mr. Bush has VP Cheney as his attack dog and Mr. Edwards has his wife as his attack dog.

    August 30, 2007 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Larry, Columbus, OH

    I commented before but will add another one, or rather a question. In a country this size, why can't we have better candidates. It seems that anyone nowadays who appears bi-partisan gets demonized by their own party members. I'm a Republican, but I like Lieberman as well as McCain, because I believe they decide based on their conscience, NOT their desire to be President. And is there anyone else out there who thinks that if Colin Powell decided to run, he would be by far the most electable of all candidates?? Please, Mr. Powell...reconsider! The country needs you.

    August 30, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. Laura Katz Atlanta, GA

    I agree that it is sad, but I also believe Mrs. Edwards is correct about Hillary. As the lone Democrat in a southern Republican family, all I have to do to get my family angry is mention the Clinton name. Their eyes become red slits and venom spews from their mouths. And that is when I mention Bill. Hillary is that times ten.

    August 30, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. sonny c. v.p.,la.

    Maybe this election Indepedant & Moderate Repulicans will put aside base human emotions & weigh each candidate with their brain rather than their gut or other body part & America will not repeat the mistakes of the past electons. And maybe the Israelis & Palestinians will make peace & maybe the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series.

    August 30, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. Verna Withrow

    We don't think Hillary could be hated nearly as much as we hate Bush/Cheney, the true "AXIS of EVIL" that cares more about their pocketbook than innocent people's lives. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed every day plus our troops. What could be more despicable than that and the incompetency that has put America in this desparate situation??????

    August 30, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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