November 3rd, 2007
05:10 PM ET
11 years ago

Edwards campaign: Clinton using gender as 'a shield'

The Edwards campaign said Clinton should not be held to a different standard because of her gender.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - One day after former Sen. John Edwards said that Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton should not be held to a different standard because of her gender, the Edwards campaign unleashed a stinging statement that said Clinton is "disingenuously playing the victim card" by bringing up her gender in recent campaign stops and fundraising emails.

Kate Michelman, the former President of NARAL Pro-Choice America and a senior adviser to the Edwards campaign, posted a brief essay about Clinton on Saturday at the liberal group blog

"At one minute the strong woman ready to lead, the next, she's the woman under attack, disingenuously playing the victim card as a means of trying to avoid giving honest, direct answers to legitimate questions," Michelman wrote of Clinton.

On Thursday at Clinton's alma mater, the all-female Wellesley College, the Democratic frontrunner said that "this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics." Those comments came after the Clinton campaign accused her rivals of "piling on" during last week's Democratic debate.

Michelman, who endorsed Edwards in January, said that women "know better than to use our gender as a shield when the questions get too hot."

After a campaign event in South Carolina on Friday, Edwards was asked by CNN about Clinton injecting her gender into the presidential dialogue.

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

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • John Edwards • South Carolina
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Axel, RKDA, California

    John, the only whiner in this race is you!!! You're soooo far behind in the polls that most people are going to see your constant attacks on Hillary for what they are: an act of desperation.

    Posted By Bea, Hoboken, NJ : November 3, 2007 2:58 pm
    You forgot Barack Owhiner... But you certainly do have a point about acts of desperation. The more these guys whine about Hillary Clinton the more I am inclined to vote for her. Even though I don't necessarily consider her to be the person I feel is the most qualified to be President.

    As always it will end up being a two party race, and in a case like that you don't vote for the person you want to be President, you vote against the one you don't want to the power of being President. The good ol' "Lesser of Two Evils" game. And in this campaign, as much as I hate to admit it, Hillary Clinton is becoming the only logical choice.

    November 3, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. Lorenz, Queens, NY


    November 3, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. J. Denver, CO

    i am getting really sick of hearing Edwards bash Clinton....and I don't even like her.

    November 3, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. kevin, chicago il

    Seriously people, 8 years of Hillary? It's fine to support a candidate enthusiastically, but when you are willing to write-off your chance to change your mind in 4 years, that's bordering on blind fanaticism.

    November 3, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Joe, Chicago, IL

    Given Edwards own history of playing the race and gender cards, Michelman's argument has no credibility.

    When Elizabeth Edwards blamed the media for their campaigns poor press, she said; ""We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman".

    Further, on his recent "Bubba" tour with Mudcat and Cooter, Edwards said:

    "If you're running in a tough congressional district somewhere in America, anywhere in America, and I'm in one right now, okay...You gotta ask yourself would you rather have Senator Obama at the top of the ticket to help, Senator Clinton at the top of the ticket to help, or John Edwards at the top of the ticket to help. ... .. You got to have someone who is strong in all those places and who is not a drag on candidates who are trying to win in those places. ... .. The easiest way to do it, honestly, is to picture in your head each of us running in a tough place - we're in one right now - and which one's going to be more helpful and which one's not, because I think that does matter."

    Finally, while we're being honest, let's not forget the cancer card that Edward played in his "Heros" ad.

    If it's OK for Edwards to play these race, gender, and cancer cards, then it's OK for everyone else!

    November 3, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. Boyswhine

    and like your not playing, your a bad republican,and its like Obama playing the race card,his 80% missed vote my lord talk about misrepresentation for the people of "Chicago",maybe Hillary ought to be Senator there too,since she was born raised there.I see it in both of you run on your merits ya haven't done anything to create merits,we know everything about "Hillary"I still stand by her,guess what,her name has been around along time so i trust her more from the goldwater days.She is a Politican, your not,you couldnt get elected the last time you lost your home state so there is a reason for that,something's in hiding.She is right the boys club/z. earned it" take it Hillary"the first woman President.

    November 3, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. DJ

    Johnny, you're just jealous. How many women presidents have we had? Hmmm, maybe she has a point. I'll vote for you Johnny if you promise to make all bad things go away.

    November 3, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  8. P S , Tampa FL

    John Edward has the most poisonous mouth. His word on Hillary remind me of the curse from an evil witch

    November 3, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. NS, New York

    Of course they piled on her, and they will keep doing it until they drop out. That's what trailers do to front-runners in all primaries. It has nothing to do with gender- it has everything to do with her standing in the polls. If Obama was first she'd be ganging up on him with Edwards and all the rest. Her bringing " the all-boys club" into was trying to play the gender card since she knows an all-girls club would be acting the same way in the situation.

    November 3, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. Dan, Saint Louis, MO

    Will Edwards sabotage Hillary and drop out after Iowa, effectively giving his share of the anti-Hillary votes to Obama?

    November 3, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. corbett, Seattle WA

    If Edwards really thinks that he is losing to Clinton because she is a girl then he does not have the judgement neccesary to be president.

    November 3, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  12. John Adkisson, Sacramento, california

    Gender discrimination is real. That is why it should not be trivialized by Clinton as she has done. She is ahead in the polls, and, ironically, is relying on the legacy of her husband as she poses as a victim of "the boys". What about the worst "bad boy" in history - Bill Clinton. Men are okay as long as they support her?

    I think it is true that any woman has an extra hurdle running for president due to gender (just as Obama has a hurdle among some based on his race). But as an ardent civil rights advocate, I CANNOT forgive her constant defamation of men as "boys" piling on. This disqualifies her as a uniter.

    November 3, 2007 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  13. josh, fairlawn, oh

    Hillary Clinton has NEVER used her gender as a "shield." I'd like him to point out where she has done so; he's getting desperate, and going for the jugular.

    I liked this guy initially, but no more.

    November 3, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  14. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Hillary Supporters – here is an actual quote from Hillarys teacher...Saul Alinsky....(for real) – "to get power any way you can, including lying, cheating and stealing. The ultimate rule is that the ends justify the means" – sound at all familiar?? (btw...Saul was a grassroots Marxist....and the subject of Hillarys college thesis paper)

    November 3, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. Audrey, Medford, MA

    I find what Edwards is doing despicable. The idea that any Democrat would go on the warpath in a paltry attempt to boost a candidacy that was never destined to go anywhere makes no sense to me. This is a man who, as the Vice Presidential candidate in 2004, could not deliver one Southern state–not even his own. Who is he to cast stones? And the idea that Kate Michelman, whom I have always admired, would come out swinging against someone who has fought for women and children for her entire life, makes me ill. Let's stop doing this. Let's all put our best foot forward with ideas and not give the Republican attack machine yet more fodder.

    November 3, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  16. A. Thomas, ny, ny

    John Edwards always considers himself a victim. What a shame!

    A couple of months ago, his wife noted that obama was appealing to the black votes, and she complained that edwards could not be black.

    Now, Edwards complained that he cannot be a woman.

    Playing a race or woman card? That is silly. When was the last time that an american president was a woman or black man? They have been all white men, like edwards himself.

    In other words, edwards should blame no one but himself for not getting the votes. The tact is that there is something wrong with edwards as a person, his policies, his speeches, his $400 haircut....

    November 3, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  17. Carrol Ann, Newport, Maine

    Edwards and Obama are the one's playing the gender card here. Beating up on Hillary because she's a woman. I don't see them beating up on any one else. Like each other for example? They are abusive women bashers. I agree Hillary should not be held to a different standard. So guess what guys, that means you have to treat her equal. Right now you are treating her less, simply because she's a woman and you think you can get away with it. Well, guess what, you are taking on half of the American vote who just happen to be women. We can play the gender card if you want us to LOL...

    November 3, 2007 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  18. Simone - Oakland, CA

    John, this attack against Hillary should not surprise anyone. When your wife announced she had breast cancer I thought you'd drop out and care for your family and her health. Makes me wonder what the hell you're thinking. You want to be President for what it'll bring you – not what you can achieve for the American people. You are so desperate to win you'll do and say anything. You don't even listen during the debate – open your ears for a change.

    November 3, 2007 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  19. Mrs. America

    He is certainly digging to the bottom of the barrel. If Hillary falters too much and Obama starts becoming a threat, Edwards will probably say he's using a race shield, even though he's not. Not yet anyway.

    November 4, 2007 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  20. gawd

    yeah whats the problem she can use anything for her campaign,just like your trying to be a resident of Iowa.hahahahahah..looser

    November 4, 2007 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  21. Cappen Champaign IL

    HNN, Hitler News Network. You tell 'em, CNN. Posting what you want, so to control the News.

    November 4, 2007 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  22. Stefan Gaithersburg, MD

    Does this guy ever actually say anything constructive? I'm a Republican but I'm almost ready to vote for Hillary if it guarantees this guy will just shut up. Hey John, go back to chasing ambulances and foreclosing on homes in New Orleans and leave the campaigning to those that have something important to say.

    November 4, 2007 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  23. Bluegraz Greenville SC

    Edwards is funny. I guess we really don't need the comedian from SC. Edwards is funny enough for 12 commedians.

    November 4, 2007 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  24. Reliek Tehran Iran

    Well, good point Edwards. Then why aren't you being Straight and Honest instead of Dumb and Stupid ?

    November 4, 2007 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  25. Parilan New York NY

    At least Hillary uses her brain, try it John, you may actually have one. What are you planning to do for the USA as President. Whine about Ahmaoudinegad hiding behind the sand dune card ? Get with the program, and campaign by telling us how you plan to benefit the USA as President.

    November 4, 2007 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
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