October 5th, 2007
12:48 PM ET
14 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards: Kerry shouldn't have conceded

Elizabeth Edwards said her husband John didn't want to concede the 2004 election.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, criticized Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, Thursday over his decision to concede the 2004 election to President Bush so quickly after election night.

Mrs. Edwards, whose husband was the vice presidential nominee in 2004, said in an interview with Air America's Richard Greene she was "very disappointed" then-Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry chose not to contend the election result in the crucial swing state of Ohio - where he lost by approximately 120,000 votes.

"I was very disappointed, not just because we did not count the votes, but because we promised people that if they stood in line and fought for the right to vote, that we would fight with them," Mrs. Edwards said. "And I was very disappointed that the decision was made by the campaign, over John’s objection, not to fight."

Mrs. Edwards added that reported voting irregularities in Ohio caused "a lot to be suspicious about" and said the real winners of the 2004 election would likely never be known.

"I don't think we're going to ever know [who won] and that's a shame," she said. "Certainly there's a lot to be suspicious about."

"We're never going to have the kind of certainty we need to have," Mrs. Edwards continued. "I don't care if I find out the evening in the first Tuesday of November. If I don't find out until Friday who the president is but I am pretty sure it’s the right answer, that's fine with me."

Conceding the election in Boston the day after polls closed, Kerry said, "The outcome should be decided by voters, not a protracted legal process. I would not give up this fight if there was a chance that we would prevail, but it is now clear that even when all the provisional ballots are counted, which they will be, there won't be enough outstanding votes for us to be able to win Ohio."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Elizabeth Edwards • John Edwards • John Kerry
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    She really should think about stepping back and letting her husband do his own talking.

    October 5, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Blayze Kohime, Columbus, OH

    I voted in Ohio, and I can tell you there was suspicion. Some of the machines changed your vote after you made it, I had to file a complaint and they put me on a different machine, but I don't know that they stopped sending people to the defective one or how many had already voted for the wrong person because they didn't pay attention to their screen.

    October 5, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Tammy,Ct.

    For once Mrs. Edwards had something to say. Kerry never should have conceded. The truth about the trickery the Republicans used would have come out. We would have been much better off with the Democrats.

    October 5, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. James, Phoenix AZ

    I guess since you've blasted every other candidate in THIS election you might as well go after all the other democrats in previous campaigns too, Elizabeth??

    I wonder if she realizes... if her husband, by some miracle, received the nomination – the landslide victory for Republicans would have John Edwards conceding his loss only hours after the polls have closed?

    October 5, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Joe, Boulder, CO

    Will this woman just never shut up??

    October 5, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. Dean, St. Petersburg FL

    I'm sure that the American people are getting tired of hearing the losing side of the presidential elections whine every four years.

    Bringing his past failures to light will not help Edwards win the nomination, let alone the general election.

    Once again, a Democrat campaigning on negatives. When will they learn?

    October 5, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Kate, Aurora CO

    It wouldn't have made a difference. Look at the 2000 election. The popular vote went to Gore but Bush's buddies on the Supreme Court pushed him through despite what the majority of Americans wanted. If Kerry had attempted to put up a fight, the exact same outcome would have taken place. Bush was going to win the second election no matter what. I think this election has been chosen as well. The 2000 election taught me that it really doesn't matter what the American people want or vote for it is what the lobbyists and corporations want. I admire Ms. Edwards for her honesty but she really should let these words come from her husband. Afterall he is the one promising change, right?

    October 5, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. David, Dallas Tx

    Conceding the election in Boston the day after polls closed, Kerry said, "The outcome should be decided by voters, not a protracted legal process."
    Obviously, these are the words of a Democrat, not a Republican.

    One party doesn't think it's right to undermine the right of the people to decide who holds office.

    The other party routinely uses whatever tricks are necessary–everything from butterfly ballots to voter scrub lists–to eliminate votes from demographics that don't support them.

    October 5, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. RS, Dallas, TX

    John Edwards trotting out his wife to make attacks for him again.

    Your wife isn't the one running for President Johnny, you are.

    October 5, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. therealist

    Was Edwards expecting Kerry to fight?

    Gore's call to concede in 2000, quickly followed by his, "oh no I don't" call, was classic. Historical!!

    October 5, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. jb, delhi, ca

    Vegas should be putting out a line on what states the GOP are going to suppress the minority vote from in 2008.

    October 5, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. D.S.F., Courtenay, BC

    Another 'Elizabethism'. Who cares what this woman rants about all the time anyways? With numbered days, why is she flooding the news with her banal opinions instead of cherishing every minute with her family in private?

    October 5, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. laurinda,ny

    I have got to agree with Mrs. Edwards. Kerry should have held off and we wouldn't be in this terrible mess we are in now with Bush and the Republican administration.

    October 5, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. JB Boston MA

    OK Kate from Aurora

    I'll bite, who is going to win this year? You think it has been decided. . . for who? I am guessing it's going to be some evil plot by the GOP, but I'm listening.

    PS- Just a reminder in FLA, the Supreme Court decided that you cannot pick and choose which votes to recount. It was determined if you picked and chose which vote to count, you would be valuing those votes more than every other. So, the Supreme Court said, recount all or none. Dems decided not to recount all. Absolutely fair! Anyone who disagrees is a bitter Team loving Dem!

    October 5, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Eric Kaminsky, Kettlersville, OH

    Maybe Elizabeth Edwards forgets that in the popular vote, the Kerry-Edwards ticket was more than 3 MILLION votes behind Pres. Bush. I'd say that's a pretty convincing win, no matter how you slice it. It's only because of the outdated Electoral College system that the race was even close. Being from Ohio, I find it offensive to deride the whole state because her husband lost. If you want a true representation of how the country felt, look at the popular vote.
    The Electoral College skews the election with a few big states - win those and you're in. It doesn't, in my mind, represent the true picture of America.
    Kerry-Edwards lost. Get over it!!

    October 5, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Jeff, Sherwood Ar

    I should write when I am eating luch – I meant to say prove not proof.

    October 5, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Richard G., St. Louis

    The conspiracy stuff is hurting the country. Denying somthing or creating a made-up alternative just because you do not like what really is the case is very said (i.e, delusional)–reality is reality. The parnoid left-wing attitudes are bizarre and undermining everything this country stand for. Grow up.

    October 5, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Jeff, Syracuse

    "The popular vote went to Gore...Bush's buiddies in the Supreme Court gave him the election..."

    Wil the Dem conspiracy crybabies ever quit??? We are sick and tired of you and your BS.

    Face facts...if Gore would have carried his home state, he would have won the election. He didn't and deserved to lose.

    Kerry's loss gave him extra time to practice his windsurfing skills.

    October 5, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. anon, new york, NY

    After trashing all current presidential candidates, mommy Liz now trashes the past candidates. What a loser.

    October 5, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    I have to say that Mrs. Edwards should have complained about this when she had a chance to say this now is just noise for her husband to deal with.

    I am not saying that there was no fraud in Ohio, but it's best to prove fraud and request additional investigations, not whine about it as an "I coulda been a first lady!"

    Telling it like I see it,

    October 5, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Pat, Huntington, NY

    John Kerry took the easy way out by conceding so quickly and not challenging the voting irregularities that were so obvious! First, he bailed because he always had his back job still waiting – Senator. Second, while it is questionable whether a lawsuit would have changed the election results, it still would have exposed the irregularities, punished those responsible for it, and put in place measures to prevent it from happening again by court order. In fact, we'll always have this uncertainty over the voting system as we use corrupt voting machines built by republican companies. That Kerry took the easy way out on this one makes me not happy that I voted for him [really had no choice, look who was running against him!]

    October 5, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. Prabhu, San Diego, CA

    Hi James from Phoenix. You are living in a dream world. Republicans will lose the WH, Senate and House hands down. Be pragmatic and realist. What has Republicans done for this country? Unwinnable war in Iraq, rampant fear and HUGE deficits, your grandchildren will still be paying for. Get a grip man.

    October 5, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. JFK, Phx, AZ

    I agree, the people should have fought for answers when there were clear irregularities! But since no one fought, I guess we got what we deserved? The last two presidential elections have been subject to much question and debate! I think she clearly made an intelligent observation.

    October 5, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Bill Wheeler Lakeland FL

    Who is running for Presdident, Mrs. Edwards or her husband? She is coming across as very Hillary like. I could care less what she thinks about anything(same opinion of Hillary).

    October 5, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Jesse, Burnsville, MN

    Anybody making comments criticizing John for having Elizabeth speak for them are puppets of the media and truly ignorant. John could speak for hours and the media won't report a thing. Elizabeth says one thing and it's instantly a column. And you all fall for it like the sheeple that you are. Does the media have to tell you how to get dressed in the morning too?

    October 5, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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