January 18th, 2008
12:39 PM ET
13 years ago

Edwards hits Obama on independent ads

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/18/art.edwards0118.ap.jpg caption="Edwards is criticizing Obama for ads run on his behalf."]
(CNN) - John Edwards
said Friday that Barack Obama needs to “speak up, if he really means what he says” about ending divisive politics and denounce a Nevada ad funded by an independent group that supports the Illinois senator’s presidential bid.

The spot, running on Spanish-language radio in the state, criticizes Hillary Clinton for a lawsuit filed by some of her Nevada supporters that had sought new restrictions workplace caucus sites this Saturday. The buy is funded by the Unite Here Campaign Committee on behalf of the Culinary Workers Union, which has endorsed Obama.

"Everyone pledged that this kind of divisive politics that divides the Democratic Party, and could divide America, would come to an end. Sen. Obama made that pledge, I was sitting five feet from him when he made it," Edwards told the crowd at a Nevada campaign event.

“And now it turns out that in the last 24 hours there's a radio ad, a malicious radio ad, attacking Sen. Clinton. That is exactly the kind of divisive politics. It's being run right here, in Las Vegas. I denounce it. This kind of ad, I don't care who's doing it - in this case it's Sen. Obama's supporters - but this sort of thing needs to stop.

“And from what I've seen, Sen. Obama has not said a single word about this. Nothing. When two days ago, three days ago, he said on a stage in front of America and said, 'This kind of politics has no place in America,’” said Edwards.

“He should speak up, if he really means what he says, and this is not just talk, he should speak up and denounce this type of divisive politics.”

John Edwards was criticized by Obama in Iowa for not calling an independent group that supported the former North Carolina senator to demand they pull ads they were running in support of his candidacy.

The Obama campaign has not yet responded to Friday’s remarks from Edwards.

On Thursday, the Clinton and Edwards campaigns both took aim at Obama over the ad, which refers to the recent lawsuit over casino caucus sites by supporters of the New York senator’s presidential bid, saying it shows that “Hillary Clinton does not respect our people. …Hillary Clinton is shameless. Hillary Clinton should not allow her friends to attack our people’s right to vote this Saturday.”

The spot also praises Obama, saying that “Sen. Obama is defending our right to vote. … He respects our votes, our community, and our people.”

The Clinton campaign has expressed frustration with the fact that the spots are continuing to run, even though a judge ruled against the suit.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John Edwards • Nevada
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Tina, Morehead City, NC

    Agree 100 percent!!! And as far as the guy who says this is the only way he can get media attention..by attacking..well, you know wut???


    Does that ring bell to the ole neocons??

    GO JOHNNY GO!!!!!!

    January 18, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. Leslie Somerville, Seattle, Washington

    I was voting for Hillary up till now-but I really like what Edwards has to say. I am getting so freaking sick of this face slapping between Obama and Clinton. It is getting way to old for me-this latest advertisement of Obama ripping Hillary Clinton a new one, right after he was on stage a few days ago playing nice with Edwards and Clinton. Obama is a sneaky, self-rightous, inexperienced politician who in my opinion is acting like a child–GROW UP.
    EDWARDS 2008.

    January 18, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. Jack K.

    I'm sure the ads from Obama were not the keynote of this rally John Edwards was speaking at. Curious–what excerpts are chosen. I'm sure he derided Hillary for her PAC donations–and unclear agenda of the other two candidates on resolving healthcare, and economic issues. Somehow...this would hit the newspapers.


    So what. This is politics as usual. Every campaign has groups and individuals who may support them–but not be under their control. Just look at the mess going on in S.C. with the GOP candidates.

    It's getting ugly.

    January 18, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. utopia

    John Edwards has the right to call candidates out for double speak as they would have the right to call him on it.

    "This is why Edwards doesn't get nor deserve more media attention. What has he been saying of any substance"

    Obviously this statement reflects the views of an individual who has not followed the campaigns from the start. It was last spring/summer when Edwards and the media criticised Obama for his health care plan that was a rip off of the plan put forth by Edwards. One big interesting difference between Edwards and the rest. When he was in the Senate he didn't cast "present" votes on contriversal topics. Edwards cast his vote and accepted responsibility for bad decisions. Too bad so many other Presidential wanna be's hide or manipulate/change votes for political advantage. The fact that the MSM is ignoring Edwards is just a continuation of their selectiveness and failure at true journalism. Had the media played their part in the 2000 election pushing the draft issue, drug use, financial irresponsibility in manging 5 companies that went broke only to be bailed out by the Saudi's Bush would never have been elected.

    January 18, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. Ann

    Johnny didn't stop the 527 special interest groups from lying on his behalf against Obama in NH...

    Hey Johnny are you still sorry about your votes for
    The Iraq War
    Bankruptcy Bill
    Yucca Mountain.
    U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000
    The Patriot Act

    Some of your supporters can't remember when you were Mr. DLC conservative in 2004.. I do. Now which John Edwards will we get Mr. Conservative or Mr. Progressive.. One thing is for sure we always know that Edwards is sorry…

    January 18, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Mia, Stafford, VA

    Give me a break! Edwards is such a hypocrite, he has apologized for almost all of his Senate votes and now he wants to say what Barack should do. Barack called him on the ads in Iowa because Edwards campaign manager and dear friend was the head of the 527 running the ad and EDWARDS SAID THERE WAS NOTHING HE COULD DO! Because the law doesn't allow him to influence the 527.

    People get the whole story before commenting.

    January 18, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. K.L.

    Edward's need to tell the american people what he will do. And stop trying to attack Obama.

    OBAMA 08

    January 18, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Stopwatchinghardball, Rochester, NY

    It's funny that the Obama fans just can't admit their candidate is a politician like every other candidate and will do what it takes to win. It's a shameful ad, but that's politics. Obama like Bush, claims he's going to unite the country, but it seems to me, he's dividing the democrats. If you can't unite you're own party, then you can't unite the country. Come on Obama, step up and do what's right. I know if this was Clinton or Edwards running this ad, Obama supporters would losing their minds

    This ad has been running for two days and yet still Obama hasn't said a word.

    Ahh, the politics of having it both ways.

    January 18, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. A Latino in Arizona

    I am absolutley astounded at the media's lack of attention on this race issue. Only last week, all of the media, including CNN, were gasping and commenting on the injenction of race into the Democratic presidential race. And, now, when it comes to Latinos, the lights are out at CNN. Where is Anderson Cooper? Where is Wolf Blitzer? Where is the broad coverage on this issue? Where is the condemnation of Sen. Obama? Is this the "change" that we can all believe in? Is this the message of hope that he grandstands upon at his events? With silence from Sen. Obama and CNN on this issue, what does this say about the respect for Latinos? In all the roundtable discussions and political analysis from the experts on CNN, have you noticed not one Latino voice in the mix. What does this say?

    January 18, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. Mia, Stafford, VA

    Correction, Edwards previous campaign mgr.

    January 18, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. AJ, IL

    John Edwards rarely talks about issues of substance. John Edwards has a populist message of "TWO AMERICAS, THE RICH AND THE POOR". But what Edwards supporters don't fully appreciate is that John Edwards is rich. In fact John Edwards is the second richest candidate in the presidential race for both Democrats and Republicans. He has stated net worth of $55 million. All this talk of being the son of a poor mill worker when he has been a multi-millionare for years and lives in a 28,000 ft mansion is troubling for me. Edwards has a wife who has an incurable form of cancer and chooses to waste time and money running for president again instead of spending quality time with his wife and kids.

    Edwards' one-term senator record is riddled with major problems. A lot of the major issues in this campaign that have come up Edwards voted yes to (i.e. Bankruptcy Reform Bill, Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Dump, War in Iraq, No Child Left Behind and Trade Agreement with China to name a few). He has since said he is very sorry for voting for those bill. Okay i'm a forgiving guy, but not for continuous bad judgement!

    This whole stink about the independent ad issue is just a smoke screen. When Obama criticized Edwards for a 527 group running ads in Iowa, Obama had justification. The guy who led that 527 group was John Edwards's 2004 presidential campaign manager. The union running ads in Nevada is not a 527 group and Obama just recently received that union's endorsement.

    If Edwards truly wants media attention, he should just drop of the race!

    OBAMA in '08!

    January 18, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. Kathy Sammons

    Ask Alice Palmer of Chicago how he treats his female competitors. She learned about Obama's hooey-speak the hard way. I hope Edwards keeps pointing out this hypocricy, and I hope someone soon points out that the candidate of "change" has basically recycled advisors from the Clinton presidency to advise him on matters international and otherwise. I love Edwards but think he has no chance at all of getting anything done. If we are going to get Clinton advisors, I'd rather stick with the original Clinton to try to work with them. With what's going on in the economy, it's too dangerous a time to vote for Mr All Vision No Action.

    January 18, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. Mati

    Oh yeah, when Edwards says anything about Clinton you make him Obama's running mate and praise him. Now because he takes on Obama, Edwards needs to be blamed. Some of you.. are you stupid or paid to make these remarks? What can any rational human being be so 'in love' with this Obama comedian who transformed the Democratic race into a joke? If he is on his own, he is a jerk. If he is an extension of Republicans, those people have class because they succeeded to divert the attention from real issues in the Democratic camp.

    January 18, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. njh

    Senator Obama is proving to be quite a hypocrite. I'm glad to see John Edwards call him on it.

    January 18, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Ty-Smyrna, GA

    Edwards can't get elected by attacking others when they do"wrong" as this is not a test of which candidate least wrongs the other. The best time to bring this up is during the debates when Obama can answer it outright. I am for Obama and Edwards needs to stop the whining!

    January 18, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. army193

    "The Clinton campaign has expressed frustration with the fact that the spots are continuing to run, even though a judge ruled against the suit. "

    It was the Clintons want to disinfranchise the Union Voters......Does the Voters have the right to know this since it was so close to the Nevada Caucus–Dam right the Union must inform the Nevada people....Your not going to get it both ways with some cost for your action.

    January 18, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. pam Eugene OR

    Barack please take notice. This add needs to end now. Please make it happen. I support you but I don't like this! Hillary will implode all on her own.

    January 18, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Ron, TX

    Edwards and Clinton get a taste of their own medicine, and they -just now- decided that it doesn't taste good? I don't think so.

    At least the ad is truthful. The Clintons were obviously behind the lawsuit. The same plaintiffs in the suit were Clinton supporters who had NO problem with the sites when they were on the site selection committee back in March.

    Clinton IS shameless. Her mailers against Obama are BLATANTLY false (suggesting Obama is pro-life?! suggesting Obama is in favor of Yucca Mountain?!).

    January 18, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. Anon 1

    Wow. Go Edwards. This is what Edwards had to do long time. Obama is playing a Saint upfront and hypocrit behind closed doors. John Edwards need to attack Obama hypocrisy especially when it comes to Yucca Mountian and his endorsers. I think this strategy can help Edwards because Obama is taking away his votes but it maybe too late. Edwards is more pro union than Obama who voted against so many Union positions.

    January 18, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  20. Rebecca

    I abs. agree with Emily! I was not too fond of Edwards before this, but he took a stand when he didnt have to and I think that took a lot of courage...Its about time Obama practice what he preached...I hope thats not how he would run this country..say one, very idealistic thing, and never act on it!
    This is why I support Hillary, experience, a record of hard work and ACTION!

    January 18, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  21. Maddog, Charlotte NC

    Hey Edwards, does this sound familiar to what your 527s did in Iowa?

    January 18, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  22. Quiet Down 3rd Place

    So if another orginization attacks your opponent, you're supposed to appologize and condone it?
    -(she deserves it anyways for trying to take away voters' rights by that lawsuit)

    I didn't see the Clinton campaign condone or even appologize when the leader of the Black Entertainment TV attacked Obama on teenage drug use.
    -(which to me is a harsher personal attack)

    January 18, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. jack ny, ny

    suddenly obama lost his wings and halo around his head is fading. He is just everyday politician.

    January 18, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Kim Emmitt

    John Edwards is come see, come saw.

    He needs to pick a side and stick with it.

    He 's trying to grasp at anything at this point to pull out a win.

    Think of it: If John Edwards can relegate obama to a third place finish in iowa, it would make his John Edwards candidacy more viable. Ergo the attacks on Obama.

    GO OBAMA!!!

    January 18, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. B, Atlanta

    Obama's double standard exposed. Now Obama supporters start bashing edwards because he is saying the same thing that clinton is saying all along.

    January 18, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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