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. Joliene, Newark, DE

    I agree that Clinton will get the republican base motivated but so will any other democratic candidate. That is the strength of the republican party is their get out the vote campaigns. I don't think she was attacking the Clinton campaign but she is not helping her husband at all with the current rhetoric.
    Jim of Atlanta and some others comments however were inappropriate. To tag the republican party in such a negative way for no reason other then to share your views is rude and inappropriate, and I am a democrat. And it should go without saying that the haircut, the woman's place rhetoric, and other negative comments have no role and are not necessary nor relevant.

    August 30, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. Scott Moyer, Kalamazoo, MI

    John Edwards didn't carry his home state because he wasn't the front runner on the ticket in 2004 people. The exhausting, overly boring, as interesting as watching paint dry, John Kerry was. The two actually fared pretty well in his home state despite it being a Republican stronghold and having Kerry on the front of the ticket and you're fooling yourself if you think that Hillary and Barrak aren't getting extra attention because of their race and gender.

    August 30, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. Joe C in Chicago, IL

    Oh geez, not again. Can't someone in the Edwards campaign make her shut up? She is NOT helping him out. She is just making him look impotent.

    August 30, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  4. Raymond, El Paso TX

    Personally, I like John Edwards. He has some good ideas and makes good points.

    However, taking a page out of the Republican playbook doesn't bode well with me. Remember that tactic? If Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Democrats take over, it's the end of America. Well, we know what happened in that election.

    It's his campaign and he can do whatever he wants but I can assure ALL the candidates, I'm going with the person I think will get us out of the mess we're in. Please, give us substance and put aside petty issues!

    August 30, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Mary Edwards, Alton, IL

    Elizabeth is right-I will vote for a Republican candidate before voting for Hillary.

    August 30, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    ADVICE FOR JOHN EDWARDS:

    SHAVE YOUR DAMN HEAD – ELIMINATE THE "HAIRCUT ISSUE"!

    August 30, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Game, Nevada

    How in the world do you respect a man whose wife is doing all the talking for him? And what a hypocrite she is – she who attacked Ann Coulter for supposedly being hateful. Yet she has no problem playing the game herself.

    August 30, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. Patty SC

    Mrs Edwards seems to be so politically tone deaf that it's spooky. Here's another example of the catty, almost non-sensical comments for which she has become famous. She is not helping her husband, who seems content to passively fade away in the political limelight as his wife continues to present herself as an inexperienced political wife. THINK before you speak, Elizabeth.

    August 30, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. Jon, Sacramento ~ CA

    QUOTE:

    “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"

    Funny Mrs Edwards doesn't know where it comes from yet just less than a week ago John was swiping Bill & Hill about the US knowing "the Lincoln Bedroom is NOT for sale".

    Are you being HONEST Mrs Edwards?

    August 30, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. Carolan, San Diego, CA

    All I have to say is that John Edwards better learn quickly how to muzzle his foul-mouthed wife. She is the Democrat who seems to be imitating the Republicans in vitriol. Get off it, Elizabeth baby!

    August 30, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. N, New York, New York

    She needs to quit spouting off. Her husband is already at the bottom of the polls.

    August 30, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Manny James, Marietta Ga.

    I started out in this campaign an Edwards supporter. However, I've change my mind because he is to liberal to win the presidential election. Most people in America is somewhere in the middle. Being on the far side of either party is very selfish. When I think of Ameirica I think of sharing with your neighbors. However, that's almost impossible if you're to far out there on either side,right or left. I truly understand that I can't have everything my way. Therefore I am willing to let the other side win sometime.. I think Hillary would make a fine President. I also think Rudy would come back to his Moderate roots if he is elected. I still favor Hillary over Him. I was just putting that out there..

    August 30, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Tom, Flagstaff AZ

    Elizabeth is right. Of the three top-tier Dems, Hillary is the least electable in the general election. Mrs. Edwards is speaking truth, and we Dems better realize that, lest we have President Rudy.

    August 30, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. JM, Missoula, Montana

    Who wants to elect a pansy who is more concerned about his hair than the fact that his cancer-afflicted wife does all the talking for him? And not very well– she comes off as rude, boorish and reactionary. Not to mention that she is a hypocrite for attacking Ann Coulter, then engaging in the same kinds of comments herself.

    August 30, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. Maurice, Washington, DC

    I love Elizabeth Edward but I wish she'd just be quiet and let her husband do the talking. He is the one running for President. Stop emasculating your husband.

    I can't believe she bought into that 'double talk' from Karl Rove. Rove and his people know this for sure: Hillary is the one candidate that will give them a run for their money. She won't let herself be defined by the Republican machine as John Kerry did. I can never comprehend how a decorated War veteran like Kerry lost the election to a draft dodging silver spoon fed dummy like Bush. There is no way you can go through the Republican attack machine for 8 years in the White House like Hillary and not come out with high negatives. But as people get to know Hillary they get to change their minds about those Republican manufactured perceptions. Her negatives have been decreasing since she declared her candidacy.

    Every other candidate has so many huddles to overcome. Rather than let Karl Rove deceive you about Hillary energizing the GOP, I would hope the democrats would energize their base to rally around their nominee. This is the democrats election to win.

    Hillary/Obama or Hillary/Richardson will make a great team.

    August 30, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Steven Brinson Windsor, Ontario Canada

    Elizabeth is correct. At least I hope so. This simply means the parties that rally against Clinton will be exposed. This exposure should uncover even more targets at the grass roots level for the Democratic Party to seek and destroy and take home more than just the White House. In my opinion, it's been the lack of a candidate to energize anyone that has enabled the current administration to maintain it's corruption.

    August 30, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  17. Jerry Snow, Overland Park, KS

    I hear this all the time that Hillary is not electable and more people hate than love her! But, they are not telling why they dislike her. Just because she is strong, smart, and experienced? Or, these republicans want women just to take care of baking, greeting guests, and taking care of irrelevant photo-op volantary jobs just like Nancy, Barabara, and Laura did for their husbands. In short, these right wingers have created a propaganda that Hillary is not electable without any valid reasons. Unfortunately, Elizabeth is falling for the same trap and loosing all sympathy by creating the fights amongst democrats. Even if her husband wins the nomination, does she expect all thees republicans to vote for her husband? Not in thousand years! Because they are the same stupid folks who voted Bush twice knowing fully well his incompetany. They would rather vote a person like Larry Craig, Tom Delay, or Jimmy Haggard than any of the democrats.

    August 30, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Dan

    Hate to say it, but she's actually right for once. Hilary is too polarizing. Obama all the way.

    August 30, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. Bill Won, Austin, TX

    Why doesn't Mr. Edwards use his own money to fund his campaign? He made a significant amount of money and aided in the worsening of our healthcare system. I have no respect for a man that earned millions suing physicians that performed natural births due to a possibly link that a lack of oxygen from natural births might cause cerebral palsy. Why not sue god for creating the process of natural birth? If he could, he probably would. What was the result of his work as a trial lawyer? Increased liability insurance for the physician and increased health insurance rates for the average American. It also resulted in an increase in c-sections over natural birth. What did not change was the rate of occurrence of newborn infants with cerebral palsy even with a decrease in natural births. I am a moderate liberal, and it scares me to see this man in office in any form. I am happy to see him currently out of office as a Senator (good job North Carolina!). You cannot trust John Edwards because he is selfish. He only cares about himself. He was not standing up for "the little guy." He was standing up to fatten his wallet. It makes me wonder if Mr. Edwards is for healthcare reform given the only reason for his success in politics was fueled by questionable healthcare litigation. If believes we need to address excessive and questionable litigation of medical malpractice lawsuits, then he confirms what I already believe that he is a hypocrite and dirty politician. The reason why the media does not care about Edwards is not because he is not a female or African-American; the reason is the majority of Americans (Democrat or Republican) do not care for him. He is a recreant.

    August 30, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. lori

    The Republicans hate the Clintons because they could never measure up to them and it angered them to the point of madness! Remember how Newt Gingrich and the other Gop hot heads got Kennith Starr to go after Bill Clinton-do whatever it would take to destroy him!! The Republicans love power and will stop at nothing to get,keep it, retain it!! The 1990s was the best decade in the history of the U.S! We had peace,prosperity,jobs, safety and security. And non of our kids were killed in a war to stop Osama Bin ladin!! One more thing... Obama Bin -Ladin is still alive out there..waiting..How many of our troops are dead???
    Edwards is really desperate attacking one of his own kind instead of the real enemies!!

    August 30, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Hawks

    I think we all know who wears the pants in the Edwards family. Do we really want to elect a man who kowtows to his wife at every turn and basically is his mouthpiece???

    August 30, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. MK

    Who is Jimmy Haggard? Trying checking your facts before you attack people.

    August 30, 2007 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Jeff Boston, MA

    People, people, people. . . . There are some Hillary haters that hate because she is a woman. And then there are others because she is a raging $%^&^$. No not because she is a strong woman, but because she has come off that way for 25+ years. Anyone behind the scenes that has had to deal with her says the same. Why aren't women appalled she stayed with Bill? The guy has been cheating on her since day one. This just increases the look of weakness. How is that moving womens equality forward? Staying with a man so she has a shot at power? And by the way, when has John Edwards "used" his wife's "illness" (it's cancer by the way)? Democratic in fighting will get you know where. What Mrs. Edwards says is true, you can't argue it. The GOP is salivating at the opportunity to run against Hillary. And when she loses, I am sure people will blame the religious right, when they should be blaming themselves for puting her up!

    August 30, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Blogger

    The photo associated with this article says it all...

    August 30, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. Raymond, El Paso TX

    "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. Posted By David, Gilbert Arizona"

    LOL, I had to respond. It's the Republicans that are tripping all over themselves cutting and running out of Washington or have you not been paying attention. As far as tax and spend, I suppose you prefer we continue giving all our money to Halliburton. In fact it's the Republicans that are bankrupting America with this idiotic war.

    August 30, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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