January 1st, 2008
04:31 PM ET
15 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards 'disappointed' with Michelle Obama

Elizabeth Edwards isn't happy with Michelle Obama.

Elizabeth Edwards isn't happy with Michelle Obama.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The sharpened rhetoric between Democrats John Edwards and Barack Obama isn't just limited to the candidates themselves - the two hopefuls' wives are also getting in on the action.

Elizabeth Edwards isn't happy with what Michelle Obama is saying on the campaign trail about the effects of John Edwards' decision to accept federal matching funds for his presidential campaign.

"I'm surprised and disappointed in Michelle," Mrs. Edwards said at a campaign event Monday night.

Mrs. Edwards comments were spurred by a voter recounting a conversation Mrs. Obama had with his 17 year-old daughter, claiming the Illinois senator's wife told his daughter not to support Edwards because the spending caps he is subjected to for accepting federal campaign money will seriously hinder his chances in a general election.

For his part, John Edwards discounted the argument that his limited campaign funds are hurting his presidential bid.

"It scares them to death, because what they know is, what this candidate and this campaign stands for is working," he said. "Can I ask you a question? If they have more money, and money's what matters, then why are they worrying about me?"

- CNN's Kevin Bohn and Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa • John Edwards
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Craig, Carlsbad CA

    With both Clinton and Obama becoming Edwards obsessed it looks like their internal polls are showing him ahead

    January 1, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. susan

    This is news???? We looking to you as a source of reasonable information in the face of selecting a new leader of the free world. This is what you decide is worthy of precious time and effort? C'mon CNN ... the political machine landed us in this 8 year disaster ... is this really the caliber of information you think will revive our country???

    January 1, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. Kim

    Elizabeth I wasn't happy with you when you said that John can't help it that he isn't Black or a woman. So please don't go after Barack's wife Michelle with disappointments b/c I have been disappointed in you throughout this campaign.

    January 1, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Lisa

    Q: "If they have more money, and money's what matters, then why are they worrying about me?"

    A: Because by taking public funds, Edwards may have plenty of money now, but will run out well before he can dip into funds for the general election. This will hurt the Democratic Party if their nominee has to remain silent while being attacked by the Republican nominee.

    I wish Edwards would give voters credit for being smart enough to understand and absorb the facts. Instead, he relies on trickery and emotional appeals.

    January 1, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. IOWA

    I like John Edwards but Obama is my firdt choice. John didn't help Kerry in 04. Also Cheney punked him at the Veep debate and he is just week. Plus he wasn't going to win re-election in NC. Edwards claims to fight, but was has he fought for big insurance co.

    January 1, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. James, Houston,TX.

    Elizabeth Edwards is disappointed with Michelle Obama because "Blacks" have come this Far! "Voicing Opinons" without being ARRESTED! And, Run for President? Whew; the South will Rise Again!
    Elizabeth might be asked, Whats eating within YOU these days?

    January 1, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. Mike, Conway, AR

    I don't get why she would be "disappointed". What Michelle said was true. And John's answer was wonderful. So why did Elizabeth have to ruin it with that negative attack on Michelle? I love her and respect what she's gone through, but I think she could be a real liability for John.

    January 1, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Dan (Baltimore, MD)

    The whole country is worried about you, Senator Edwards. Your blatant socialist policies and the idea that property rights ought to be abolished in this country is a clear and present danger. No matter how slim your chances of succeeding, any chance at all is plain frightening.

    January 1, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. Nando,Florida

    Well its true, and she better be glad that Michelle didn't bring up the support he is getting from 527's which he claims he is so opposed to.

    January 1, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. Mia, Stafford, VA

    Here is a clear indication that he WON'T tell the truth. The bottom line is, it takes money – BIG MONEY to play and win in the general election, and the FACT is he will be limited by choosing to go with public financing. If he won't admit something small like that, what does that tell you?

    The other thing that bugs me about him as I watch CSPAN and the stump speeches he brags about NEVER taking money from lobbyist and special interest, but has taken over $2 million from 527's according to an article I saw in some paper yesterday. The last time I looked a 527 is a special interest group, and while I agree he can't control them, I find it interesting that his former campaign manager, who was his campaign manager as late as last April is heading the main 527 spending the most money.

    I think John Edwards is full of crap, I don't trust him.

    January 1, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. Molly--IL

    How many more days of this?

    January 1, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Josh

    Elizabeth Edwards always comes out with some unsubstantiated claim or rambles on attacking others–I guess she can't take the heat!

    January 1, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Chima


    January 1, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. ROB, Baltimore MD

    This is a Joke..and Edwards talking about the 2 Americas..well when this elections over we know what America he's going back to..the rich and the priv...give it a rest....he took matching money..least Romeny used his own...Obama 08

    January 1, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. donna L.

    So folks - CNN is the only major news outlet on the web that is not reporting on a major story in Iowa. Hmm... Last night the Des Moines Register delivered their poll - widely considered to be the most accurate:

    Here are the numbers:

    Barack Obama 32%
    Hillary Clinton 25%
    John Edwards 24%

    "The findings mark the largest lead of any of the Democratic candidates in the Register's poll all year, underscoring what has been a hard-fought battle among the three well-organized Iowa frontrunners."

    "Obama's rise is the result in part of a dramatic influx of first-time caucusgoers, including a sizable bloc of political independents. Both groups prefer the Illinois senator...."

    Michelle Obama said and earned Elizabeth's scorn for is that its the TRUTH. Edwards will not be able to compete because he legally tied his hands by accepting federal matching funds. He didn't do it for noble reasons - he did so because his campaign was strapped for cash because not enough folks were not interested in donating to his campaign. Now his campaign is being run on millions of your tax dollars and he won't even get anywhere. As a result, Elizabeth Edwards is obviously starting to lose it. Here she makes some pretty bizarre remarks about Senator Obama that have racial undertones:


    Elizabeth Edwards drew a direct comparison between her husband and Obama.

    "There was a New York Times article fairly early in the race," she said. "It had a picture of Obama with an Afro — that a lot of people had then, it was nice looking, not odd looking — at Harvard Law School, being asked to voice an opinion at a meeting of people with respect to tenure for African-American professors. He spoke, and spoke eloquently, and when he left, both sides felt he agreed with them."

    This was not a good sign, Elizabeth said. This was an example of when a "desire for conciliation becomes more important than getting a particular result."

    She also said that being too conciliatory "is not what we need right now" and that "John believes we have to fight."

    January 1, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. J Williamson Buffalo, NY

    The lastest poll has John Edwards leading Hilliary and Obama! The media focus has been largely on the latter two and I hope the Edwards campaign gets more of the spot-light during the last days of the Iowa contest. Thanks Iowans! Edwards is the most electable – he can win states in the south and west that I don't believe the others can. It's all about Nov. 2008 and who will be the strongest Dem – the Repubs will pull out all the dirty swift-boat garbage (they're so good at it, I have to at least give them that much) and Edwards will not back down or try to "ignore it" with the hopes it will go away. Thanks to the Edwardses for all their hard work – it's about to pay off.

    January 1, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. CAREN

    Some guy stands up & says he 17 year old told him something & Elizabeth Edwards responds, so where & how is this news? It certainly isn't a headline kind of story.

    Next thing, it was just fine when she was calling Hillary Clinton out but Michelle Obama is off limits? Are you members of some cult called Obamaites? Michelle Obama is not above being called out, if she's going to stick her two cents in then she take the lumps like everyone else does. What is this breastfeeding need people have with the Obama's?

    January 1, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. donna L.

    CAREN - CNN is pushing sympathy stories for John Edwards now because his continued presence in the race draws votes from Obama and ends up helping Hillary. They are afraid of Obama prevailing in Iowa because it puts to rest her inevitability. Cnn has been shilling for Clinton since this race started - "reporting" all sorts of ridiculous smears - hey "just saying what others are saying" Yeah. Its been disgusting.

    January 1, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. S.K.M. Boston Mass

    I'm an Obama supporter, and let me say this; Michelle is fair game. She is. There's no doubt in my mind. Hillary has Bill, who's sometimes good and sometimes controversial. John has Elizabeth, who's probably the most popular spouse in this race. Obama has Michelle, who's pretty popular herself and like Elizabeth is active.

    Michelle was pointing out a true fact. Edwards is cash strapped. Elizabeth responded because, let's face it, it's a damaging fact. People are making too much of this.

    Obama '08

    January 1, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  20. Jeff from Jersey

    What a great campaign tactic.Instead of a dogfight,let's have a public cat fight instead.Maybe the WWF could put it on pay-per-view with the winner getting the whole prize purse for their husband or wife's campaign and the loser dropping out of the elections.Maybe we could do it like that for both parties in every election.Have a couple elimination rounds leaving only one candidate in each party to meet in the BS BOW with the winner taking office.
    It would not only save tons of money,it might drastically reduce the influence of special interest groups,religeous,corporate and all those othe lobbies that have dictated policy and completely corrupted our government.
    It would also spare us more than two years of campaigning with the endless empty promises,vicious attacks and those cadidates that run for office just to get their name in the news every day and feed their egos.
    It might even be fun!

    January 1, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  21. Pedro, Las Vegas, NV

    I love how CNN completely prescinds (and rather conveniently at that) from the fact that in the latest Des Moines Register Poll–which includes both Republican converts and Independents–Barack Obama has a seven-point lead over Clinton and an eight-point lead over Edwards. Which, in essence, tramples in its tracks whatever infinitesimal hint of a story there was in regards to John Edwards ever surging in Iowa. It is interesting to note also that this poll accurately predicted the Democratic nomination last cycle, in 1992, and several times even before that. But no, CNN is far too preoccupied giving Chelsea Clinton blaringly false compliments (calling her "tall and attractive" while she satisfies neither characteristic), bloviating as to Ralph Nader's trifling, throw-away endorsement of John Edwards, and prattling aimlessly on about Elizabeth Edwards's minor and withal insignificant disagreement with Michelle Obama on what is really a non-issue in this race... One need only look at their news for the past week or so to discern a manifest precedent–that they are tireless in their allusion to an Edwards surge, which effectively distracts from the fact that Obama is the real leader of the pack. And of course they are pining for one, seeing as, if Edwards wins, Obama becomes unviable and the choice comes down to either Clinton or Edwards–a white trial lawyer or a woman married to Bill Clinton–making history versus more of the same... And when it comes down to that kind of a choice, we all know whom it is the American people would through their weight behind–the slimy, profligate Clintons. C'mon, America. Can't we see through the thinly-veiled legerdemain and outright mendacity of the Clinton News Network? If we can't, then I suppose we deserve the cackling shrew... Who is, incidentally, already talking about a second term.

    How self-important and pretentious is this family? Pretty soon, we'll all be voting Chelsea in for Senator... Ask yourselves–what would Hillary be were it not for Bill? Nothing. She'd be a plutocrat in word and in deed. The only difference between that and the status quo is that today, she's a democrat in word but a plutocrat in deed.

    January 1, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  22. Trisha


    January 1, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. Joe Ossai, Bedford, NH

    Elizabeth you are a good person, but who wears the pants in your family. ( hint: the lady)

    January 1, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. WM in North Carolina

    If John Edwards wants "fight" so much he should stay home and help her fight her cancer. It scares me death that he may become the nominee and puts his ambition before his own family. I have had cancer hit my family two times and both times required the full attention of all family members. How can you consider having a President with family problems like that and little children to raise and really believe that his full attention will be on America's issues? He should just bow out. I have zero respect for him. He couldn't even get re-elected as a senator and that says alot.

    January 1, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. MAH

    the CNN is just becoming Clinton News Network. I am surprised to see how CNN is trying to promote Hillary by highlightinh the feud between Barack and Edwards. Also, Elizabeth responsding from heresays proves her incompetency as a potential first lady in white house...

    Go for OBAMA....

    January 1, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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