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. John Edwards Bets the Farm

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Claude, Mesa AZ

    She's correct on this one. The Democratic party will lose is Billary is nominated. I'm an independent, but will vote Republican to keep Billary's non sense out of the white house.

    August 30, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. ver, New York, NY

    If he wins, guess who'll be running the White House?

    August 30, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Ian Gallagher, Virginia

    If Edwards could not carry his own state of North Carolina for Kerry during the last Presidential election, why is he even running. His wife needs to back off and not give the Republicans ammunition for the general election. Edwards campaign has been reduced to his wife launching bombs as he stands by as a concerned listener. Time to read the polls and drop out to save face.

    August 30, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    I agree with Edwards on this and I really should wish for Hillary to be the candidate on 2008.

    But, It will be the ugliest campaign in the history of campaigns and it will be because of the amount of material that we have to work with and my personal thoughts are she is wrong for the country.

    This will further divide the country and I would be more than willing to have ANY Democrat other than her be the nominee and if they win a fair and media balanced race, so be it.

    I find it humorous from my side of things that many who call Hillary strong even though she stayed with Bill through numerous dalliances (that we know of), are hammering Edwards who is fighting cancer, lost a son, speaking her OWN mind and is not afraid of appearing to be politically incorrect to make a point.

    For the record, I don't care for her hubby one bit, it is just strange what some people consider "being strong" as Liz Edwards certainly would not take a back seat to ANYONE in that regard and certainly not Hillary.

    August 30, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Mark Plotkin, Miami Beach, FL

    I don't think she's angry – I think she's honest. Although I can't yet support any candidate who voted for the Iraqi War, I'm leaning towards Edwards because of his integrity and the fact that he is less of a politican, and has more integrity, than Hilary (watch the polls and compromise your values) Clinton.

    August 30, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. anon

    I want to be emphatic to you, Elizabeth... but it just seems you and your husband is using your misfortune of having recurrent breast cancer to get symphathy. I think your husband's campagne is getting pathetic.

    August 30, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Skel, San Francisco, CA

    Well, here we go again…Doesn’t she ever shut up?

    ”It's hard for John to talk about, but it's the reality,"….Hmmmm- that’s funny, I don’t hear John talking!

    Elizabeth Edwards is delusional. She seems to think when she runs her mouth, that it is actually her husband speaking.

    The “reality” of the situation is that Hillary Clinton worries the GOP because she is a viable candidate. John Edwards does not worry the GOP because he is not a viable candidate.

    Let’s face it; John Edwards and his mouthpiece are unelectable. Period. But it would be nice if Elizabeth would stick a cork in it, and let John speak for himself...for a change... He won’t have much more opportunity.

    August 30, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. Dan, New Bern, NC

    I think that Mrs. Edwards is taking this campaign to a new low. She can't seem to stay out of the gutter with her Clinton comments, especially her latest "hatred" remarks. Maybe she needs to understand that there are many more realities that can also be a factor in who wins the nomination. One of those realities is Mrs. Edwards health. I wish her a long life, however, the reality is that if she cannot beat this bout with cancer, her husband will be left with two small children to raise. Is he then in a position to be running this country, without a mother, wife and first lady?. Mrs. Edwards truly needs to "check her mouth" and her comments. It would be nice to have a campaign where people explain their positons on various matters and not continually take personal swipes at other candidates. I hope Mrs. Edwards will cease her "toilet tactics".

    August 30, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. Eyckie, Toronto, Ontario

    Is Mrs. Edwards running for President? Go home Mrs. Edwards and keep your trap shut, your husband is the candidate, not you! For God's sake, give Hilary a chance. She is strong, decisive and while she makes the odd gaff, I have heard much worse from the men (in and out of the men's room). The ONLY reason Repukelicans will run away from her is because they are sexist and prejudiced. Hilary will take the day and power to her. Hilary is a little bag of dynomite, if everyone can get past the fact that she is female. Women are much stronger and more thoughtful then men when it comes to confrontation. A woman would think long and hard before even considering sending their children and grandchildren to war. Men don't give a flying hoot whose children they send to their deaths. Time for change. Hilary and Obama.

    August 30, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. Frankie, New York, NY

    When John Edwards looks back to account for the many reasons he was never electable in the first place, he'll secretly note Elizabeth as his most polarizing liability.

    ..and to say Hillary will energize the other side and lose the election for the Dems is naive. This woman hasn't made it THIS far without staying aware of everything she's doing, every morning she wakes up...

    Wake up kids! There's a new woman in town, and she's ready to move back onto Pennsylvania Drive. This time, she's driving the U-Haul.

    August 30, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Joyce Evans Valencia, CA

    I am a moderate Democrat in California. All of my Democratic friends support Senator Clinton. I have been registering young democrats at a local college and they are supportive of her as well. Those who dislike Ms. Clinton are Republicans, and in my opinion, they wouldn't vote for Edwards either!

    I do not agree with Ms. Edwards at all!

    Joyce Valencia, CA 91355

    August 30, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. Larry, Waldorf, MD

    Ms Edwards is making her husband unelectable. Her comments reflect her own hatered. If Clinton/Obama/etc are the best we care if the rep like/dislike them? Muzzle her John...Muzzle her soon.

    August 30, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. Ron, Pittsburgh, PA

    Elizabeth is just telling the truth.

    The MSM loves "narrative" They want "stories to tell." This is why Roone Arledge eventually got the job as the head of News at ABC; because he invented the "up close and personal" puff piece concept for the Olympics and it's now the basic template for all news.

    And yes, clearly everyone knows that Hillary is a lightning rod. The ultimate question is whether she can energize the Democrats more than she does the GOP voters.

    The risk for both John Edwards and his wife at this point is that, the more she speaks out, the more wussy he appears to many...

    August 30, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. Scott Moyer

    Mrs. Edwards is exactly right just as she was when she made the observation regarding Hillary being a woman and Barrak being an African-American. While I like the fact that we have diversity in our choices this time around, Edwards truly is the electable candidate and he's got my vote. He should have been on the front of the ticket in 2004, we could have all been spared this huge headache known as the Bush Administration!

    August 30, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. Toni Castillo, Romeoville, IL

    Mrs. Edwards ought to get a life. She's demonstrating that she is worst than Hillary by running her husband's campaign. Is Mrs. Edwards running or her husband?

    Senator Hillary got where she is by not riding her husband's coat tails.

    Senator Hillary has earned the right to be the next president.

    I vote based on experience and what's in for me. Not who is more popular or the most hated person.


    August 30, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |


    August 30, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Thomas A. Mayer, Bismarck, ND

    Edward's wife is a truth teller. The RNC should do whatever it takes to keep Edwards in the race. We need her voice.

    Thomas A. Mayer
    Bismarck, ND 58501

    August 30, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. Rigo, Somerville MA

    I like Liz, but she just needs to zip up sometimes. It doesn't look good that John has his wife doing the dirty work, is he not 'man' enough? Just 'cause Hillary is a woman? That's ridiculous.

    John Edwards isn't necessarily loved by GOP, he couldn't carry his home state!

    I think there is Hillary hatred, but i think she can overcome it if her campaign keeps going the way it is in primaries.

    August 30, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. Marsha, Portland, OR

    Elizabeth Edwards needs to shut up. If nothing else I'm voting for Hillary because she hasn't stooped to attacking the other Democratic Candidates, nor has her spouse. Elizabeth could learn something from Bill here. SHUT UP!

    August 30, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. sonya, atlanta, ga

    it's not only that the Republican's based will be energize. But also all those attack ads featuring Hillary to use the Lincoln bedroom like a Motel 6 for donars, Are there any interns with stained dresses, etc. If people think the swiftboating of John Kerry and Harold Ford was bad, then go ahead and nominate Hillary and see us lose again. Democrats don't love Hillary like they do Bill. Even her huge polls numbers are soft. There are more republican voters than democrats and I don't see a huge number of independents voting for Hillary. And by the way didn't Bill also have an expense haircut in airforce one which had traffic control freaking out because planes couldn't land or take off until Bill's haircut was finished. A vote for Hillary is a vote for the Republicans, plain and simple.

    August 30, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    ya elizabeth... thats why Hillary is the only democrat that defeats all republicans in state like pennsylvania. Her lead in states like california and florida are remarkable– 30 points ahead of all other democrats.

    if she can't win in 2008. no democrat can.

    August 30, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    To Bill W. in Coatesville – are you crazy?

    " 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?"

    Hillary is her own person and her politics are right in the mainstream with progressive thinking Americans. Not that Bill's weren't.

    Enough already with the "she can't win" comments. If we think she will make the best president, we should work like hell to get her elected. The Democrats have to be more energized than the Republicans this time around. Thank you GW and DC !

    If the Democrats haven't been working hard in battleground states to "stack the votes" in their favor, shame on them. Republicans have supressed the vote in those states 2 national elections in a row. It's time to play as rough and tough as they do. Just don't get caught ! The Republicans have managed that so ?

    August 30, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. Jeff, Houston, TX

    Joyce, fortunately the entire country is not like California...thank God...cause we can do that here in Texas. But seriously, the woman is right on. Hillary Clinton is not a 2-for-1 deal. Who wants the horrible 90's back again? Who wants ANOTHER NAFTA agreement that puts American jobs in Mexico. Who wants another half-done bombing of Iraq and leave it up to another generation to deal with the underlying problems?

    Hillary isn't just the worst Democratic option...she's the worst presidential option. The woman is a sound board of sound bites and no meaning. She offers NO plans to fix the downturning economy, NO plans to fix healthcare or social security that are fiscally viable, NO plans on defense, she's done NOTHING as a Senator.

    I'm a swing voter, but generally vote Republican because I like lower taxes; I would happily vote Democrat this coming election if the option is anyone other than a Clinton.

    The Republican Base and Democrat Base doesn't win an election...the swing voters in swing states DO.

    August 30, 2007 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. Alexia O

    I'm so sorry, but in my opinion, Elizabeth's courses of drugs have made her a bit delusional. The things she have said have been polarizing, hateful, hurtful, outrageous, and yes – delusional. No disrespect to a woman fighting for her life in a battle that I wish no one would ever have to wage, but perhaps her precious inner resources should be better spent on waging that battle, since she seems to be needing to focus so much of herself there and JE isn't going to go from third to first with or without her half-baked chemo-cocktail induced commentaries. Sorry Elizabeth, and I wish you well in the fight of your life. Perhaps it's time to conserve some of your resources now.

    August 30, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. Eric C., Republic of Texas

    Wow, I knew a Republican victory over HRC would be a breeze, but I had no idea that John Edwards would be such a puff ball, too.

    Let's be honest, folks... if he's too afraid to stand up to his own opponents in a stinkin' PRIMARY election that he needs his ailing, cancer-afflicted WIFE to do it for him, exactly how effective is this guy going to be against radical Islamists.

    I can see it now... "Don't attack us Mr. Terrorist, or I'll get my wife to say bad things about you in the media."

    This is looking more and more like a Republican victory with each passing day.

    August 30, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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