April 21st, 2008
05:37 PM ET
15 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards responds to McCain over 'cheap shot'

(CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, is tangling with John McCain’s campaign again – this time in a war of words with the candidate himself.

In an interview on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, the presumptive Republican nominee told George Stephanopoulos that Elizabeth Edwards had taken a “cheap shot” at him by saying that he had enjoyed government healthcare for his entire life – and that all Americans should be able to choose from the same insurance options available to members of Congress and military personnel.

“It’s a cheap shot but I did have a period of time where I didn’t have very good healthcare, I had it from another government,” said McCain, referring to the years he spent as a prisoner of war. “Look, I know what it’s like not to have healthcare.”

And when laying out his policy disputes with Democrats over the issue, he added, “in all due respect to Elizabeth Edwards.”

Edwards – now a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress –responded Monday in a post on the Wonk Room blog.

“Sen. McCain noted that he was not receiving government health care for the six years he was in captivity. That is true,” she wrote. “But it has nothing to do with my point — which is that the problem with Sen. McCain’s health care plan is not how it affects us –- but how it affects the tens of millions of Americans with preexisting conditions who, unlike Sen. McCain and myself, do not have the resources to pay for quality health care.”

Both McCain and Edwards have suffered from cancer.

“That is not a cheap shot, it is a potentially life and death question for tens of million of Americans. And it is a question Sen. McCain must address.”

Several weeks ago, Edwards and McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin gave warring interviews over several days on the same topic

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soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Dave

    McCain uses his time as a POW as a crutch to bail him out anytime his big mouth or his hot temper gets him into trouble. There have been many POW's. I'm certain McCain has gotten much more mileage from his ex-POW status than the majority of POW's and has capitalized on it at every turn. At some point in time, he has to rely on his accomplishments and his abilities and his plan to hep solve America's problems for the future and not just constantly bring up
    the past. He is living in the past. He wants the Presidency for is family legacy, not to helpthe American public.

    April 21, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  2. Tawanda Bell

    Hello everyone. I think this country is starting to wake up or the sleeping giant is starting to awaken. What people dont understand is that when it is your time then it is your time. No matter what. There is a time for everything in case you did not know that! It is Obama's time and whoever is his VP. America is about to change... the time is now. Hallucinating Hillary thought this was going to be easy ha ha. She and whoever else should have never said that we can because....Oh Yes we can! and ha ha ha We did. You cant stop the forces of the universe when if is your destiny.

    April 21, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. alice2

    Thank you Elizabeth! No cheap shot taken. MCCain did of coarse have government paid health care but doesn't believe in giving the rest of us Americans the same. Double standards, the rich, influential power people (like he is & others) He was a POW & hero, and a CLOSIAL HIPPOCRIT, also bad tempered, too old to be Pres. & should be an arm-chair spectator, NOT a participant.

    April 21, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. Dexx

    I think that the problem with McCain is that he's a hot-head, Granted he was a war hero but the chip on his shoulder is too big to give him the highest seat in the country, We already had a cowboy minded dictator type in office, lets not have another with a even worst temper in office, War has been the way that we built our status power with as a country since our shift from neutrality , yes, but its also caused a depression and by us using our military to train small countries like Iran, our way of the blade has been a cause and effect merry go round for years, So why not change, maybe that's why Hillary and McCain don't want Obama to be in the electorial picture the Old Dog's way of government and tricks made the old dogs fat, dum, and happy, they no longer run to fetch the problems of the people and return with solutions.... Clean money's change isn't too good of a feeling when you've became used to filling your pocket's for years with dirty money.
    Maybe it's time to put the old dog's to sleep, and start a new span of polictic's.... Let's see what tricks the world screaming for change has taught a young pup, And too Hillary my mother been married to my Father way more years then you've been Married to President Clinton and He worked in a criminal justice field and granted she may know some things from being around him, experince is not transfered in a ring,
    I think we've missed the greatest female candidate for the presidency with Mrs. Dole.
    As for Hillary and McCain they're both two old crooks, Obama may be too but he's hasn't crawled through as many dirty places as these two.

    April 21, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. No McSame

    She has more guts than her husband. John will sit on the side as he has been doing. The man can't pick sides hoping for one of them to pick him for VP. What a joke he is.

    April 21, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. david goldmen for OBAMA






    April 21, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  7. Nathan

    What's really funny is hearing McCain refer again and again to his time as a POW. It reminds me of Giuliani going back to 911 again and again, apparently feeling is was his strong point.

    I can see it now... "Mr. McCain, how will you deal with the recession?" McCain: "Well, things were in a recession in that POW camp too. I know what it's like to survive.

    "Mr. McCain, how do you feel about abortion?" McCain: "Well, lots of those Vietnamese girls near the POW camp had unwanted babies too, but they didn't abort them."

    etc. etc.

    April 21, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. Tahnee in CA

    I was wondering if people understand that if we have universal health care that it would also RAISE taxes? I'm sorry, but I work to hard to have the health coverage that I have and I don't think it is fair to give "handouts" to those that don't. The US gives out to many "handouts" as it is. Go McCain!

    April 21, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. Tom Z

    Free government-paid health care? How about free government-paid housing, too? Free government-paid cars/trucks? Plasma TV? Ipods? Let's have the government do it all...

    April 21, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  10. donna4hillary

    i agree that john edwards was a great man and i would have loved , IF possible, for him to run with hillary on a ticket. fact is he will endorse obama. why do i say this? because on the steven colbert show he wore a pin on his lapel. it was an "O". now unless that represents something else, i have to believe it was his "sly" way of telling the viewers who he has to endorse. im saddened to know this. he will endorce obama because the people of nc will not let him hear the end of it if he doesnt. man how he will shrink under pressure. i have no respect for anyone that doesnt stand up to their own convictions and says the hell with what everyone else thinks. when we start making decisions that we dont agree with then we are just puppets arent we?

    April 21, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  11. McBomb


    April 21, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  12. McBomb

    mcbush leave our country alone....

    April 21, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. Amy Jacobson

    No health insurance is free. You end up paying for it anyway.

    Patients from countries with free health care are flooding our hospitals and paying tens of thousands of dollars to be operated on right away, not a few months after they are dead.

    Tom, a large percentage of Americans who do not work for congress still have great healthcare.

    April 21, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  14. Mark Anthony

    I'm tired of McCain, Mr. all I know is war, so you didn't have health care while you were a prisoner of war. Question did you expect to? Plus that was what 200, 300 years ago when he was captured.

    Sorry you were captured, you should have been faster.

    April 21, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  15. AZM

    Want to see what free government health care would be like... go see the VA.

    Want to see what free government housing is like... go to any major city and check it out.

    Want to see how well this work when they are controlled by the government... look at social security.

    LMAO.... You've got to be kidding!

    April 21, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  16. Jason

    McCain is for importing prescription drugs from Canada and letting negotiation happen with Medicaid to bring down the price of drugs.

    McCain is a moderate who is being smeared.

    April 21, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  17. Michael

    You Go Elizabeth!!! McCain is completely out of touch with real Americans!

    April 21, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  18. Jason

    McCain doesn't use his military background for political gain.

    If he did he would talk about how his son just came back from a 7 month tour in Iraq.

    McCain never talks about that while Jim Webb campaigned on that wearing his sons boot.

    Senator Johnson ran two ads on it.

    McCain showed great honor not using his son's service for political gain so for people to say he uses it for political gain is inaccurate.

    April 21, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. Ted

    I'll be darned, John was a POW? Amazing. Not that we haven't heard it every time he speaks. You're a war hero, John. Now try to come up with a plan that actually does something for this trainwreck economy that you and your republican buddy in the White House created. No, John, not more tax cuts for the wealthy and not more wars. And for gosh sakes, old timer, quit nodding off while we are talking to you.

    April 21, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  20. PMN

    Please do a search for
    vietnam veterans against john mccain

    April 21, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. Get Real

    I say turn this government over to the women...Hillary/Elizabeth "08! Neither one of them are wimps!

    Regarding raising taxes to pay for healthcare....how much money comes out of your paycheck now to pay for your healthcare (if you even get it). My employer only pays 50%. If we have a plan with lots of people on it, it will lower the amount. Also, I was raised as a military brat...had to see military docs on military bases. At that time, we waited long periods to see a doctor but we got good care. Today, I wait in my doc's office sometimes up to 2 hours and then have to wait for authorizations. My family who lives in Europe do not complain about their healthcare. Everyone says that they (Europeans) pay so much in taxes, but guess what, by the time you add what I pay in taxes and what I pay in healthcare, the combined percentage is higher than my European family. Repubs just like to scare you with the cost!!!

    April 21, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. rd

    For all of you saying that McCain is exploiting his military record as a POW, during which he endured years of torture rather than denounce his own country and be let free, please remember this: his son vounteered for service in Iraq. How often do you hear McCain exploit this? Moreover, his son did not get a posh duty as a son of a senator like Al Gore got in Vietnam. He is serving as a Marine.

    April 21, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  23. john

    A vote for McCain is a vote for Bush

    April 21, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  24. suzy

    GO ELIZABETH!!!!!!!



    April 21, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  25. John Smith

    When I hear people say, "we need Hillary to turn this economy around," my stomach grinds! Do these people think that "all the conditions" that were present during the Clinton years (including getting Gore back as VP, and a Repulican House/Senate) will be back if Hillary were to be president? This is so sad!! Bill has helped ship all the jobs of the 90's overseas; no Clinton will ever bring back those jobs. The Clintons had this planned all along; now they are making the benefits from those past deals that they made ($109 million came from where?). The Clintons will only make more deals, if anyone ever gets them back to that White House. How stupid can some people be amazes me everyday!!

    April 21, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
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