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

    John Kerry chose not to contest the vote because he saw how the first recount hurt the country. It didn't change anything and it delayed the workings of govt. He was far too classy a man to drag the country through that all over again. Of course there was corruption (including a report that there were signs outside polling places saying "If you are a convicted felon, it is illegal for you to vote"–obviously not true, but meant to keep voters away) but you can only do so much to fight it. He loved his country too much to put it through the ringer.

    October 5, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Who exactly is running for the nomination here? Is there something the Edwards would like to tell us?

    October 5, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. Kate, Aurora CO

    Jeff in Syracuse: You may be sick of what you perceive to be democrat conspiracies but the majority of the country is even more sick of the mistakes and corruption in the Republican Party of which has directly caused thousands of deaths. If you can say that Bush has done a better job with this country than Kerry or anyother democrat could have, you are seriously deluded. This administration has either ignored the constitution or defied laws they were sworn to uphold. This president uses his "faith" as a front to cover his lies and betrayals and plays on peoples fears. Funny how both before and during the 2004 election we had a terror level risk warning (orange, red, blue..)which of course was always high. Once he was sworn in that alert system magically disappeared. It is people like you I feel most sorry for. You believed all the lies and terror rhetoric and reelected this moron to office. It is a fact that we have both a President and Vice President making a personal profit from this war. It is a fact they both heavily invested in defense firms prior to the war and remain invested. What is the initiative to stop when your bank account grows by the millions each week? I personally believe ALL politicians are liars and thieves but this administration takes the cake er should I say oil??

    October 5, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. John Briscoe


    October 5, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Yes, Mrs. Edwards, the same way Richard Nixon should have contested 1960 for that dubious vote count as well. Sour grapes is very unbecoming.

    October 5, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Frank Virginia Beach VA

    Elizabeth, I'm sure your kids need your attention not politics. Shut up and quit embarrassing your husband.

    October 5, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. portnoy d'bussey, middletown, OH

    Exit polling in both Florida and Ohio in the 2004 election was skewed by greater than 5%. Then norm for deviation is only 1.5% in the other 48 states. There were no paper trail ballots in Ohio (as there are none on any electronic voting machines). The reason why Kerry did not contest it is because he could not prove the obvious. That the voting machines in Ohio and Florida were programmed essentially to move 2.5% of the votes for democrats and move them to the republican tally. I think this would be a simple enough and undetectable programming trick. As the law does not allow monitors to inspect the programming code of these "electronic polling" devices.

    thanking your very very much

    October 5, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. James, Phoenix AZ

    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.


    Ok – let's both be pragmatic. You cite how our country is facing HUGE deficits that our grandchildren will be paying for.

    So what's the solution? Elect Hillary who wants to Universal Healthcare, Baby Bonds, Amnesty for Illegal Aliens and SPRINT down the path to socialism?

    I agree President Bush has failed in holding true to conservative principles of fiscal responsibility. The majority of this deficit can be attributed to the War in Iraq/Afghanistan. Bringing an end to this conflict will provide us the opportunity to lower deficits without passing the cost onto our kids.

    But creating new spending programs to absorb the War costs will only continue us staying and deepening the deficit.

    The choice is ours – socialism or a return to traditional fiscal conservatism.

    October 5, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. Kristen, Frederick, MD

    This woman's comments are just hurting her husband's very small chance at a nomination.

    October 5, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    How Democrats Steal Elections –

    Top 10 Methods of Liberal Vote Fraud

    Over-Voting. In Democrat strongholds like St. Louis, Philadelphia and Detroit, some precincts had 100% of their registered voters voting, with 99% of the ballots going to Gore. Clearly, multiple voting resulted in extra tallies for Gore in the 2000 election. (New York Post, 12/09/00).

    Dead Voters. This classic Democratic method of vote fraud goes all the way back to 1960 in Chicago and Dallas. The 2000 election was no exception. In Miami-Dade County, for example, some of the 144 ineligible votes (those which officials actually admitted to) were cast by dead people, including a Haitian-American who's been deceased since 1977 (Miami-Herald, 12/24/00).

    Mystery Voters. These "voters" cast votes anyway but are not even registered to vote. In heavily Democratic Broward County, for example, more than 400 ballots were cast by non-registered voters. (Miami-Herald 1/09/01)

    Military ballots. Many of these votes were disqualified for the most mundane and trivial reasons. At least 1,527 valid military ballots were discarded in Florida by Democratic vote counters (Drudge Report, 11/19/00).

    Your hero, Gore wanted to "suppress" the military vote, as a Veteran, I find that contemptible.

    Criminals. Felons are a natural Democratic voter and they're protected on voter rolls across the country. In Florida at least 445 ex-convicts – including rapists and murderers - voted illegally on November 7th. Nearly all of them were registered Democrats. (Miami-Herald 12/01/00)

    Illegal aliens. These voters have long been a core liberal constituency, especially in California. In Orange County in 1996, Rep. Bob Dornan had his congressional seat stolen from him when thousands of illegal aliens voted for Loretta Sanchez (Christian Science Monitor, 9/2/97).

    Vote-buying. Purchasing votes has long been a traditional scheme by Democrats, and not just with money. In the 2000 election in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Democratic workers initiate a "smokes-for-votes" campaign in which they paid dozens of homeless men with cigarettes if they cast ballots for Al Gore (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 11/14/00).

    Phantom Voters. These voters don't really exist, but their ballots do. In the 1996 Lousiana Senate race, GOP candidate Woody Jenkins had the election stolen from him when he discovered that 7,454 actual votes were cast but had no paper trail to authenticate them (Behind the Headlines, F.R. Duplantier, 4/27/97).

    Dimpled chads. Those infamous punch-cards were a ballot bonanza for Al Gore. Democratic poll workers in Palm Beach, Dade and Broward counties tampered and manipulated thousands of ineligible ballots and counted them for Gore, even though no clear vote could be discerned. (NewsMax.com 11/27, 12/22, 11/18, 11/19/00).

    Absentee ballots. Normally it's assumed that Republicans benefit from absentee ballots. But in the case of Miami's 1997 mayoral election, hundreds of absentee ballots were made for sale or sent out to non-Miami residents. Fraud was so extensive in the race that the final results were overturned in court (FL Dept. of Law Enforcement Report, 1/5/98).

    Whining and crying everytime you lose, but when Voter ID reform is mentioned (even when they will provide them for FREE and take care of EVERYTHING at your HOUSE), screams of racism abound.

    Lets not forget the so "progressive" thinkers, that were CAUGHT and CONVICTED slashing the tires of buses that were to be used by ELDERLY and DISABLED Republican voters in the last two elections.

    Hey, anyone got any menthol cigs, we need to reinforce the base.

    Vote for me and I will provide you ALL health insurance, cradle to grave tuition, Baby bonds, whatever your Nanny can do for you.

    October 5, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. Bev, Kalamazoo MI

    Dear Anonymous, You said and I quote "Of course there was corruption (including a report that there were signs outside polling places saying "If you are a convicted felon, it is illegal for you to vote"–obviously not true, but meant to keep voters away." Well that's not a true statement. Arizona and Maryland permanently disenfranchise felons after the conviction of a second offense and Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia and Wyoming permanently prohibit voting rights for felons. Each state can set their own laws on felons voting. Hey Google is a wonderful thing maybe you should use it!

    October 5, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. Brett, Pembroke, MA

    John Kerry had no time from November 2nd to the counting of electoral votes in mid-December to prove that the election was stolen, which I personally believe what happened. He had no clear popular vote victory to support a protest of the Ohio ballots, and it is clear to me that–no matter what–Kerry would have lost. Al Gore at least had a chance in the 2000 debacle; Kerry had none. I wish it wasn't so, but we all must eventually face reality and admit that Kerry had no chance of winning, and that his decision to concede that night was the only right decision he could make.

    October 5, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. Pat, Huntington, Ny

    The real issue in this election should be the voting machines used to cast ballots. IT HAS been conclusively proven, in Florida for instance, that the voting machines supplied to that state, built by republican backing company, can easily be hacked and manipulated to produce votes for a particular candidate. IT IS STUFF like this that a lawsuit filed by Kerry could've brought to light. Now, we are doomed forever with these stupid machines. In fact, in NY where I live, we're still using pull lever machines dating back to Eisenhower...and guess what, they work! No chads, no push holes, no electronic gadgets to messt things up. If it's not broke, don't fix it. But, we are being fined by the federal gov't for not changing fast enough to an electronic system. Funny. It's the republican controlle executive branch that seems threatened by NY's tried and true pull lever devices. After being one of the blueist states in the nation, it will be really interesting to see how fast NY all of a sudden turns red after we're forced by the republican controlled executive branch to switch! cI can literally see Cheney with electric switches in teh white house basement changing votes as they happen.

    October 5, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Ramsey, Minnesota

    WHo's running for office Edwards or his wife? If there was ever a man without a spine it has got to be John Edwards, he lets his wife do ALL of the dirty work for him, and then he co-signs on it. I wish someone tells her to just shut up and get out of the way!

    October 5, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. Buggie, San Diego, CA

    Well Mrs. Edwards, what are you going to do about it? The choice was John Kerry’s to make, right or wrong. But as usual, you and your husband have nothing positive and forward-looking to offer and this is the problem with his rapidly failing campaign. Saying everyone is wrong doesn’t make you and your husband right and showing the world that you are a shrew has done more damage than good for all concerned.

    October 5, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. Ryan Indianapolis

    Give me a break with the far lefts "election stolen"bullcrap,,,YOu lost get over it if anything Democrats steal votes, should we remind anyone about Nix-Kennedy???You left wing losers have no grasp of reality..... period, why cant this woman just fade away and her wife John do the same

    October 5, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Barry, Miami, FL

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

    Are you kidding? Two words – "Swift Boating". Yeah, Republicans have sure shown us the high moral ground, haven't they?

    October 5, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. Pam Holt Los Angeles, CA

    Thank you Elizabeth!

    I don't care much for your husband, but I like you. Kerry should have never conceded, and it almost makes you wonder if he and Bush/Cheney belong to the same secret society.

    We let Bush/Cheney steal two elections with no repercussions, and now we are paying for that with an administration that believes they are above the law, because that's what we've shown them.

    They are criminals, war and otherwise, and need to be impeached NOW since invading Iran (with what money and with what troops?) is something they plan on accomplishing before they leave office. This will lead to the fall of this once-great country of ours.

    Bush enacted Presidential Directive 51 so that in the event of some "disaster" (no doubt created by them), the election will be canceled and they will stay in power longer than they're legally supposed to. But when did something being illegal ever stop this administration? NEVER!

    Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate that has the courage to impeach. It is the only way to save ourselves, and I'm dead serious.

    October 5, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Josh, Watertown NY

    Does he have any backbone?
    i mean honestly, his wife has been on the campaign trail attacking candidates while he has taken the backseat it seems.

    I was planning on voting for John Edwars but i dont want a President that cant speak his mind, and one that hides behind his wife!

    October 5, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. Shawna, Hollywood FL

    Wow. There are some backwards thinkers on this ticker. So what should Mrs. Edwards do? Walk 10 paces behind her husband and keep her mouth shut? Nod in agreement with everything said but never express an opinion? Believe it or now wives do have thoughts and some wives are more outspoken than their husbands. This does not make them a "shrew" or anyother nasty word. It takes a strong man to marry an intelligent woman who is a free thinker and not afraid to speak her mind. Wake up. Its 2007 and women are permitted to express their opinions.

    October 5, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Lance in Monrovia CA

    Read Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast. Its the book the Florida college student was holding when he was tasered for asking Kerry why he didn't fight in Ohio when it has been documented that he won there.

    Provisional ballots were not counted, the Sec. of State threw them out. They also tossed out thousands of absentee ballots if the names sounded to ethnic (dem).

    Palast estimates that Kerry would have won easily if the RNC didnt cheat in Ohio and New Mexico. Palast even has copies of some of Karl Rove's missing emails, which are "caging lists" used in Florida. Thousands of black voters in Democratic districts get sent a first class letter from the RNC asking to have their address varified. Anyone that doesn't respond, and any letters that come back returned, they simply challenge the votes. Your name gets pulled from the voter lists and you get handed a provisional when you show up. Then they never count your provisional.

    Palast says the best solution is to vote early. Go to the early voting polls usually set up a week to two weeks in advance. If there's any irregularity, don't take a provisional, just call the voting commision or the local democratic party and figure out the problem ahead of time. If enough people do that, it will expose the problems.

    Kerry was a whimp for backing out. Almost no one has reported it, but the three REPUBLICAN heads of the Ohio Voting Commision all have been convicted of election fraud. ALL THREE OF THEM!!!

    They stole the election. Only through diligence and overwhelming numbers can we get our country back from these greedy cheaters. Picture it like going to war and throwing yourself at machine guns, some will fall, but enough votes will get through to swamp them.

    That's why I'm supporting Barack Obama. He has the best chance of actually motivating voters. Hillary is to polarizing and there will be apathy and they can do it again.

    If it's Obama, he worked in Chicago, knows all the tricks that dirty politicians played against him there already, and he knows how to fight them. He's spoken about this. He will also motivate voters like nobody else in history.

    Obama 08

    October 5, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. joseph, austin, tx

    why is it that when a liberal looses at something every other liberal will almost riot. we saw how you handled loosing the pres. election, but when the dems won the house no protests. liberals also say they are the thinkers, but any time you dont get your way you cry. i havent met one person, and i live in a liberal city, who said they voted for kerry or gore. so kerry should have conceded because he lost, and he looked real stupid while he was crying about how unfair everything is. liberals= abunch of braindead crybabies.

    October 5, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. brenda mon cty nj

    I agree with Elizabeth Edwards. I strongly suspected at the time that Edwards was the one who got Kerry to hold for the duration that he did. I also remember thinking that he did not support the decision to concede. I know I didn't. The problem was even if the votes were counted and Kerry was ahead, would the courts really stand behind that? The courts stood behind party lines in the previous election and the Democrats took a beating for daring to try and get the votes counted. Public perception among what I normally consider to be reasonably intelligent adults re: what occurred during the Gore/Bush election fiasco is often completely off base with the actual facts. At the same time though preserving the sanctity of our country was on the line and I feel we had no choice and needed to fight no matter the reprecussions . But they didn't and now look at the state of affairs in our country.

    October 5, 2007 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. Dan (Baltimore, MD)

    Typical dem...It didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, so it must not have happened. Can the media outlets get together and stop printing her words? It's always nonsense and her husband has been marginalized (as he should have) so it's not even important nonsense, like Clinton gives us.

    October 5, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    I understand her thinking and agreed with her at the time. I thought that he conceded far too quickly. But I also know that it would not have made a difference. The Rove and Bush political machine including the supreme court would have stolen the election as they did in the previous presidential election.

    October 5, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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