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. Jean Adamson, Cary, NC

    Anyone remember Martha Mitchell? Good grief Mrs. Edwards!

    August 30, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    As much as I sympathize with Elizabeth's health ordeal, I wish that she would measure her words. She's the wife of the candidate, she's NOT the candidate and it is offensive to hear her trashing Hillary and Obama at every possible turn. Elizabeth should be praising her husband's abilities, not attacking the other Democratic nominees. She already had to call and apologize to Hillary once before, I think that she may soon have to make another call.......

    I noticed that not once has Hillary responded to her attacks, I guess I know which one is the classier woman.

    August 30, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. Sam Hillyer, Liberty, MO

    The Edwardses act like spoiled children who rant and rave because they aren't getting their way...in this case, they're not at the top in polls. Mrs. Edwards is certainly not doing him any favors. She emasculates him, actually. I'm beginning to think he's not very bright, either.

    August 30, 2007 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Jess Simmons, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Be a MAN, John! Stand up and speak for yourself! Aren't YOU the one running for president?

    August 30, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. Jane Doe, Anaheim, CA

    Elizabeth Edwards makes Hillary look TERRIFIC!

    August 30, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. Chip Celina OH

    I'm an independent voter that still leans Republican. I was registered Republican for years but have often voted for Democratic candidates. Generally, my thought has been , who is the best one for the job.

    I have been watching Barack Obama and Bill Richardson closely.

    These are two guys I'd vote for over anyone in the Republican field. I would possibly vote for Edwards (wife's mouth or not..has no bearing on him or his policies).

    I absolutely refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton for numerous reasons (personal dislike is way down the list, but it is there).

    I don't think heaping tons of vitriol at Republicans is gonna help Dems win. Listening closely to the candidates and sending a good honest person to the general election will do it. Don't be blinded by the 'star power' of the 'strong woman'.

    My kid has a t-shirt that says "friends don't let friends idolize celebrities"
    That would be one to keep in mind during the primary season.

    In summary, I think a good candidate like Obama would bring Republicans over. Hillary will actually have the effect of losing a few Democrats, just read some of the above posts.

    August 30, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. spinstopper

    ONCE AGAIN SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE BLOGING HATE. You Republicans are so scared, I love it. –Posted By Daniel SLC UT

    Sorry Daniel, but the corrupt CNN moderators are quickly removing posts against Hillary in favor of the ones for Hillary. It's so disgustingly obvious.

    Never expect more than your willing to give..

    August 30, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. DJ, Los Angeles

    Yes absolutely...the GOP WANTS Clinton to win, as Rove suggested recently.

    She is a good catalyst to rally Republican voters.

    The Democrats need either Edwards or Obama...ideally both to run together.

    Obama and Edwards would be attractive to a lot of red state voters.

    Clinton would fare no better than Kerry did in 2004.

    August 30, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. dawn -- gaithersburg, MD.

    No matter whom Democrats choose as their candidate, Republicans will energize to beat him/her. That's their job. The candidate's job will be, unlike John Kerry in 2004, to meet all attacks with strong counter-attacks rather than weak defense. The candidate who can do that, rather than the one with the lowest negatives in the current polls, will emerge victorious. I'm sure Kerry went into the Presidential campaign season with lower negatives than Clinton. But within weeks, the Republicans had turned a war hero into a flip-flopping war criminal who had defrauded the country by lying to get his Purple Hearts and variously colored Stars. Why? Not because Kerry had low negatives going in, but because Republicans could tell a nasty story about him and, instead of showing in pointed, pithy, hilarious ways all of Bush's flip-flopping and draft-dodging, Kerry's entire response was to reduce the noble Max Cleland to whining: "That's not fair!" What the Republicans will make of a candidate running against hedge fund managers and against financial institutions that engage in subprime lending to poor folks in New Orleans who also: (a) has half his fortune in hedge funds and, (b) until recently, had lucrative investments in concerns that had initiated 34 foreclosure suits against those very folks is: HORSEMEAT. A candidate is electable, not if most people start out loving them, but if they can make their opponents stop hitting them by breaking their hands when they attempt to do so. On present evidence, neither Edwards nor Obama shows this capacity. And John "I won't come myself but I will send my wife" promises to energize the Republicans the most of the three top-tier candidates because he's shown himself to be such easy prey.

    August 30, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. metwo tucson

    Obama recently said that Hillary would energize the Republcain base too. He was correct and so is Mrs Edwards. Only differnce is Obama can speak for himself. To bad the Media only hears what it wants......OBAMA O8!!

    August 30, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. Prabhu, Camarillo, CA

    If Kerry had heeded to Edwards advise during last presidential elections by hitting back at right wing attack machine, Kerry would have brought troops home by now and hatred towards America would have been reduced.

    What we need is a uniter in the Whitehouse and not the utterly partisan Republican crowd running now.

    Go EDWARDS, you are the right man for the job of leading this great country.

    August 30, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  12. Daniel, Lake Mary, Florida

    Why all the negativity. Say what you want but you do not hear Hillary or Bill for that matter making comments about other candidates that can be constrewed as defaming. When do we stop the name calling and get down to business. This country needs someone in the White House that can make changes quickly to our situation with War, Health Care, Border Patrol just to name a few. We don't need someone that will take "100 Days" to find out where to go and when to go there. The Clintons know the White House and how to run it, that is what this country needs right now.

    August 30, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  13. kris, St. Paul, MN

    Elizabeth Edward must know that Republicans are not going to kiss her husband either. I am democrat and i am not going to vote Edward due to his past history. Hillary has been working for people of this country for 30 years; i solute her and want to do anything to elect her. SHUT UP ELIZABETH! YOU BETTER STAY HOME AND TAKE CARE YOURSELF!!!! ENJOY YOUR SHORT LIFE LADY!!!

    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 30, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  14. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    I don't like Edwards,and I certainly don't like Clinton, but in this case. Mrs. Edwards is exactly right. Let Clinton be the Democratic nominee and I assure you the Cons will be out in full force to make sure it doesn't happen.

    August 30, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  15. Bruce, Seattle WA

    Elizabeth Edwards is the typical lagging-in-the-polls Democratic hopeful's wife: she is a matronly, outspoken, attention-grabbing, obnoxious elitist left-winger who masquerades as a woman-of-the-people while just trying to get more power for herself and her husband.

    August 30, 2007 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. Richman

    As a republican I'd rather see Clinton in office more than Edwards. I don't care for her but being a full-time market investor she would be much better for my portfolio than Edwards.

    August 30, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  17. Pat, Phoenix, AZ

    I'm from Upstate NY. Ask anyone in Western New York what Hillary has done for them. Not much, check out the local economy there!. My family was forced to leave when the company I worked for for 20 years shipped out to China. No other jobs that middle class family could live on. When she first was elected Senator she promised us 100,000 new jobs, we lost MANY more. After six years of "temping" we left. Many families such as us either left or now live in poverty. We love New York, just can't live there any more.

    August 30, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  18. Debi, Philadelphia

    Elizabeth, shut up already, will ya? The woman is on my last nerve. Are John's campaign managers giving her the talking points? Can the other presidental wanna-be's say what they want about the Edward's clan and not be tarred and feathered if Cancer comes up. I for one don't want to hear Family Values out of John Edwards mouth. His wife has a life threatening disease but he wants to be president, so he parades her all over the country, exhausting her, that can't be good for her. Go home John, spend all the good days with Elizabeth and the kids. You are young, you can run another day. Perhaps you can do it on your own merit, not your wife's illness or trashing others.

    August 30, 2007 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  19. matthew

    Hard to beleive that Edwards will try to get elected on scare tactics against a member of his own party. This will never fly...

    http://political-buzz.com/

    August 30, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  20. Ij

    I think this is sheer envy period. When and where has it become a rule to nominate someone the opposing party likes?
    Elizabeth should focus her energy on positive politics and make that part of her legacy than form a habit of attacking any candidate that is performing better than her husband. Hilary and Obama has been at the recieving end of her verbal arsenal.
    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.
    Hillary/Obama or Hillary/Richardson will make a great team.
    The Edwardses should begin to support Hilary because her nomination and final win in the general election is inevitable.

    August 30, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  21. John, Portland Oregon

    Go on with your bad self Mrs. E! If we want a real liberal socialist in the White House, vote for Edwards!

    August 30, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  22. Andrew, Jakarta, Indonesia

    Ok, so according to the previous posts anyone who would not vote for Hillary is rabid, right-wing, irrational, homophobic, prejudiced, anti-abortion, sexist and hateful to name but a few qualities. If this is representative of her support, how can this woman ever hope to unite the country?

    August 30, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  23. Terry, El Paso, TX

    There are too many women posting critical comments about Mrs. Edwards on this blog. "She should be quiet and let her husband do the talking." etc. etc.

    Why don't you women be quiet and let your husbands think and speak about politics? Don't you have some housework to do?

    August 30, 2007 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  24. Ralph, San Deigo, CA

    She is absolutely right! We all know that Hillary has such a large unfavorable rating. Couple that with the fact that CNN is so dead set against reporting on anything negative regarding Hillary and we’ll see Republicans and independents alike coming out to vote against her should she get the Democratic nomination. Please keep showing your bias for Clinton CNN. With any luck we can thank your prejudiced news reporting for helping defeat her.

    August 30, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  25. Robert M Austin, Texas

    In 2004, the replicants put up for election (not re-election) one of the most hated persons in the world, GW Bush, and they still won. This proves high negatives can be overcome in a general election. (In this case, he has continued to prove himself to be the worst president ever.) Hillary is awesome and soon most people will know that.

    August 30, 2007 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
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