December 27th, 2007
04:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Edwards speaks to Musharraf, urges investigation


Edwards said Thursday he spoke to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf following Bhutto's death. (Photo Credit: AP)

DECORAH, Iowa (CNN) - John Edwards said Thursday he spoke with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf by phone and urged him to allow a team of independent international investigators into the country to examine the circumstances surrounding the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

"I actually spoke to President Musharraf just a few minutes ago as I was about to come in here," Edwards told an audience at Luther College here. "And he was in Islamabad. And I urged him to continue this democratization process … I also urged him to allow international investigators into Pakistan to determine the facts."

Edwards told reporters after the event that the investigators are needed "for transparency purposes and credibility purposes to determine what happened."

The former senator said he had put in a request with Pakistan's ambassador to the United States earlier this morning to speak with Musharraf, and that Musharraf called him back before the town hall meeting.

"He called me because I told the ambassador I would like to speak to him," Edwards said. "I met him a few years ago, which I think I told you earlier."

Edwards would not reveal whether Musharraf welcomed the idea of an independent investigation into the Bhutto attack.

"I'm going to let him speak for himself. I don’t think it would be responsible to make an announcement on that," he said.

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Iowa • John Edwards
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Nando, Florida

    What CNN Left out of this story is what The President of Pakistain Told Edwards what he could do with his investigation. And it wasn't a 400 Dollar Haircut.

    By the way when did this guy start taking STEROIDS!!!!! This is not the same Player that he was in 2004??????????????????

    This guy is a joke , He probally called collect.

    December 27, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. Voter

    Out of the many diplomats with significant foreign policy credentials and leverage in the United States who'd appreciate an open line to reach Musharraf on this day, look who's elbowing his way in?! John Edwards, the one-term ex-senator whose main concern is the war of classes inside America –

    December 27, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  3. Phil, North Carolina

    Impressive! It is great to see an effective leader like Edwards show resolve in getting to the transparent truth of the assassination and to provide a calming influence on this tense situation.

    I wish other candidates would deal with this tradegy like Edwards is without using it as a politcal tool against each other.

    December 27, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |

    I have a feeling Musharref will listen to Edwards with all the attention he gave to Bhutto. Zip! Nada! Nothing!

    Nice try John, but no cupie doll here for your obvious suction.

    December 27, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. The Saint, Alabama

    Can anyone honestly tell me that John Edwards is not the best choice for president?

    December 27, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  6. Brett Albers

    I like that Edwards took forward action to speak directly to Musharraf about the issue. While I'm an Obama supporter, this shows that Edwards definitely has the proactive attitude necessary to deal with an international crisis such as this.

    December 27, 2007 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  7. Independent in IA

    "I'm going to let him speak for himself. I don’t think it would be responsible to make an announcement on that," he said.

    Meaning, Musharraf told him to keep his nose out of Pakistan's affairs.

    Go home, Edwards. Take care of your wife, and leave politics to somebody with at least a little integrity.

    December 27, 2007 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  8. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    I agree with Edwards 100% here. They need to get to the bottom of this.

    December 27, 2007 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  9. Ann

    That is just what Musharraf needed, a grandstanding greenhorn from the U.S. trying to let everyone know how important he is that he can call the man on the hour and chat it up with him. My God! A few more idiots in the mix and we'll have WWIII.

    December 27, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  10. AJ, IL

    Wow! Seems like most of the presidential candidates has Musharraf's phone number. Joe Biden was the first to call up Musharraf back in October. McCain just recently said he spoke to Musharraf and now Edwards claims he called up Musharraf about Bhutto's assassination. I wonder are these guys really talking o Musharraf or to a voice recording!

    December 27, 2007 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  11. max burns

    Once again, Mr Edwards shows common sense approach to urge what
    is best for Pakistan and the world. The suck you hear is republican b.s.

    December 28, 2007 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  12. Jacob, Des Moines Iowa

    back in August, he gave a speech advocatind the U.S. actively engaging in pakistan to hunt terrorist that are in the mountains there who escaped from Afgahinstan. He even said he would do it without the support of Musharruf

    he also said that Iraq distracted us from hunting those responsible for 9/11 and other terrorist

    but what was one woman's reaction...that he was irresponsible and naive

    McCain 08

    December 28, 2007 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  13. sal lincoln nebraska

    Musharraf is diffrent from Saddam how? Oh we dont report what goes on their thats the diffrence...Call him on the phone hes really going to listen...Just like he listened when he Put Bhutto under house arrest twice and then murdered her....I would recommend more phone calls...How many phone calls did Saddam get after he killed a political rival from someone running for president asking him to shape up...Both of these people have 1 thing in common, they where put into power by our govnt

    December 28, 2007 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  14. Dan (Columbia, MD)

    You're not the President, Breck Girl, and will never be.

    Go back to chasing ambulances.

    December 28, 2007 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  15. FallsChurchVA

    John Edwards is a calming voice of reason in the midst of turmoil.

    December 28, 2007 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  16. Steven in Charleston, SC

    I think this qualifies as a "measured" response, which is a key part of the diplomatic process.

    Do I think simply making a phone call is going to resolve the solution? Of course not. Is it a positive place to begin? Absolutely. It is also a welcome change from the "quick, let's bomb someone!" cowboy-diplomacy solutions our current administration keeps coming out with.

    What we desperately need going forward is a leader who can both protect our interests AND appreciates the limits of our role in the world. We may be the 800 lb. gorilla, but we are also just one nation of many. Just as we have the right to follow our own path, so too do other nations.

    I feel very good about Edwards. I think he has the skills to take a diplomatic approach to problem resolution (his career has given him that - most legal cases are settled out of court, which requires negotiating skills), but I also feel confident that he would have the strength to engage a military solution if it came to that (also look to his career - he is a fighter).

    And to all who insist on counting him out - don't be too hasty. While our news media likes to make this a two-horse race, it's not quite that simple. Edwards has a good chance of winning Iowa. If Clinton then wins New Hampshire, all eyes will be on South Carolina. If Obama wins there (which is entirely possible) then we don't have a clear victor, and people start having the "electability" conversation. And on that one, according to most national polls, Edwards wins hands down. This is certainly not a prediction, just a reminder: prior to the Iowa caucuses in 2004, most people believed Howard Dean was going to be the nominee. Things have a way of changing, and surely our media is ready for the next big story - and an Edwards ascension would certainly qualify.

    December 28, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  17. Jarhead

    Living in North Carolina, we are accustomed to behavior like this from John Boy–just another example of his own concept of his importance and influence.

    December 28, 2007 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. John Karsten, Virginia Beach, VA

    I have to agree with SAL here. How can we as a country say one dictator is better than another one. I guess Musharraf is different because he said he would help with the hunt for Osama.
    To me it is simple.......a dictator is a dictator.....reguardless of what he says...

    I wish someone would explain this to the criminal currently in the white house

    December 28, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  19. Len, Fallbrook, CA

    "urged him to allow a team of independent international investigators into the country"

    Basically if you are a liberal you spend your entire life launching investigations without getting much done anywhere else. Our current Congress is a prime example of this.

    Mr Edwards, they will need a lawyer over there and I believe your schedule will be clear and open very shortly.

    December 28, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Richard (Portsmouth NH)

    Oh please, if *your* candidate had spoken to Musharaf, you'd be falling over yourself praising how presidential s/he was, and that it's a sign of leadership. What, may I ask, was wrong with Edwards asking for an open investigation into Bhutto's death?

    December 28, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    I read last night that the FBI and DHS is 'monitoring' this situation in Pakistan.
    Personally, I think that Musharraf (and his go-fers) are not letting the international investigators into this investigation, because he has something to HIDE and is afraid our investigators will get to the bottom of this.
    First he issues a State of Emergency, then he lifts it a few weeks ago, then this lady is assassinated.
    Thats after he assures the U.S. that he is in this fight against terrorism with the rest of the countries fighting terrorism.
    Wouldn't surprise me one bit if Ben Laden is somewhere in Pakistan and hiding out living the good life.
    Its already been determined that some terrorists are hiding out in the borders of Pakistan.
    Maybe they are hiding in the borders, to protect whats within?

    December 28, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |