November 2nd, 2007
06:10 PM ET
15 years ago

Edwards assails Clinton for 'double talk'

In a CNN interview, Edwards said Clinton is not "straight and honest."

CHERAW, South Carolina (CNN) - In his first public comments since Tuesday's contentious Democratic debate, John Edwards came out swinging against rival Hillary Clinton on Friday, accusing her of "double talk" and claiming that she cannot be trusted.

"What we saw in the debate on Tuesday night were the politics of double talk," the former senator from North Carolina told the crowd at an outdoor town hall meeting here. "What I heard was Sen. Clinton saying she wanted to be for change, but defended a broken system in Washington."

The Edwards campaign also released a Web video Friday called the "the politics of parsing" that accused the former first lady of avoiding straight answers during the debate.

The debate was the first issue Edwards brought up in his speech.

"Since the debate we've continued to hear spin, smoke and mirrors, the same kind of double talk to get away form the very serious issues that are in front is us in this campaign," he told the crowd.

As he did during the debate in Philadelphia, Edwards took Clinton to task on the issues of Iraq and Iran, claiming that the senator from New York wants to leave combat troops in Iraq for an indeterminate period, and that her support of a resolution declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization gave the White House a green light to pursue military action against Iran.

Edwards said that vote "enabled George Bush to do exactly what he wanted to do."

In an interview with CNN after the speech, Edwards said Clinton was not "straight and honest" during the debate.

"You can't answer a 'yes-or-no' question yes and no," he said. "And I think America is looking for something different than that."

Since the debate, the Clinton campaign has accused her Democratic rivals of "the politics of pile-on." In the interview, Edwards again said that she was engaged in the "politics of double talk," and took issue with Clinton's injection of gender into the presidential race.

On Thursday at her alma mater, the all-female Wellesley College, Clinton said that "this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics."

Edwards dismissed the notion that gender should play a role in the race.

"I think that Senator Clinton ought to be held to the same standard that every other presidential candidate is held to," he said in the interview. "And that standard is to not engage in double talk. To be straight and honest with people."

Edwards used the "double talk" reference at least six different times during his speech, in comments to the news media and in the CNN interview.

The Clinton campaign said Edwards' attacks are "false" and that he is contradicting the upbeat message put forth during his 2004 presidential campaign.

"In 2004, John Edwards said, 'If you are looking for the candidate that will do the best job of attacking the other Democrats, I am not your guy,'" said Clinton spokesman Isaac Baker. "But now that his campaign has stalled, he’s launching false attacks on his fellow Democrats. Voters will certainly be asking whether Mr. Edwards' pledges to be positive in 2004 were anything more than just a political tactic."

Related video: Watch Edwards discuss Sen. Clinton

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • John Edwards • South Carolina
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Cody, you are right. Edwards plays unsportmanship game. He and Obama tried to destroy Hillary, it hurts his party, I hope Democrats kick them out from the Party. Both committed political suicide campaign.

    November 3, 2007 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  2. J. McKinney SW MO

    This little banty rooster is making me so tired.
    Hillary for President!!

    November 3, 2007 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. Anonymous, Williamsburg, VA

    Say it like it is Nina!

    November 3, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Karr, Rosamond Ca

    I personal like Edwards, we get Clinton we are getting same oh same oh she and the other running are apart of the troule in Washington she vote for this Iarq war. Edwards if for the small people and I am one of them 74 trying to live on social security since lossing my husband and his income. God help us if the NEWS medi doesn't start paying more to whats is really going on instand of having for the very first time a woman and a black man. John has some great idea and I believe him to very honest, can't say the same for Clinton.

    November 3, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. roger, conway sc

    The Edwards (John & Elizabeth) are phonies...they are rich spoiled attorneys....

    November 3, 2007 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. Marie VanDyke Royal Oak Michigan

    Mr Edwards Is Clearly Not What We Need He Talks Now About The Military Coming Home Which Shows His Inexperience If We Bring Home All The Troops The War Is Iraq Will Spread.. And All Our Soliders Death Will Be in Vain,,What Is Next Are You Going To Iran And Share A Cup Of Coffee With That President

    November 3, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  7. weweiw xsldk sdls

    The men are all scared of Hilary because they know she's got a brain and they know that she knows how to use it extremely well. And do not kid yourselves, those men do not want to see a woman beat them. Thus, it's going to get ugly and I hope the men make complete asses of themselves.
    I sincerely hope Hilary wins because there are quite a few male derrieres in Washington which need a good swift kick from a strong woan like Hilary Clinton. Go Hilary, go, and clean house and deflate those horrid male egos. We so desperately need a change in Washington and Hilary will be like a breathe of fresh air. I am so tired of the little boy's club mentality.

    November 3, 2007 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
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