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

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Edmonton

    Here we go again, "Americans are notorious for their generosity the world over". No, in fact to those that know about it, it's known that America is one of the cheapest. You are like 20th even when you include private donations. But the worst thing is you are in the top two (Japan the other) offering your aid with strings attached, like you have to buy a certain thing from the USA. This does nothing to help develop a local economy and can hurt more than it helps. It really bothers me how many Americans have things completely wrong. Wake up and drop this "this is America" attitude as if that means it's the best.

    April 21, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  2. Sharon Minnesota

    Middle age........This is about health care not about your add for Obama.

    CNN for pete's sake screen these comments fairly!

    April 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. MBFLA

    Does being a POW mean you were a great soldier? Not necessarily. In McCain's case it means he was a showboat of a pilot. Read up on his history. How many planes did he crash? Something like 5 and one of them resulted in him ending up as a POW. Does not necessarily mean he was a great man who sacrificed for his country. It might mean he was just a bad pilot.

    April 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  4. Mohammad, LA CA

    Methinks it aint Obama getting the preferential treatment, its Mccain. When is the media going to make sure HIS record is properly vetted?

    April 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  5. Brian Seattle

    Emmanuel, you are an idiot! Responding to your post only!

    April 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. peter in PA

    People who votes for McCain hear this….A vote for McCain is a vote for Cindy McCain. He is too old to handle the day to day activities of the president. Cindy will have hands on everything and will literally control McCain's agenda. She will make Nancy Regan look like choir girl. Do you want to vote for Cindy? Think!

    April 21, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. Nick

    Uhhh... yeah be did have government provided healthcare – because he was AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT. All employees of the government get government provided healthcare.

    And the idea that we can ever provide enough healthcare for everyone is pure baloney – look at Europe and Canada. All they do there is ration healthcare, keeping chronically sick people left out in the cold. Their systems are no better than ours – but at least competition in our system creates incentive to do a better job.

    April 21, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  8. Eileen

    The Clintons are so silly!

    April 21, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. A WA member of the electorate

    How much did that occupation cost again? I would rather be a liberal for healthcare rather than a war mongering fools. Grandpa McCain won't even sign up for Senator Webb's bill to give our vets better benefits. What makes you think for one second that McCain will help anyone else?

    We are the only economical developed country without universal healthcare.

    Liberals are already awake, it’s the right wing that needs to open there eyes to what is going on.

    April 21, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. Sharon Minnesota

    middle-aged american and ratgurl must have mated and come up with the same add campaign.

    Time is on our side even if CNN isn't.

    Go Hillary

    April 21, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  11. Paul, CA

    Mrs. Edwards is a coward and a shill. If this is the kind of person democrats are proud of, God help us all.

    5 years in a concentration camp without any healthcare, or decent food, managing torture, starvation and abuse we can only imagine.. I thank God for men of real character like John McCain.

    Contrast John McCain with her poor excuse of a husband who made MILLIONS sueing companies for no other reason than to make himself rich.

    She should be ashamed of herself.

    April 21, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  12. Len in Washington

    There are some folks out there that just don't get it. First I want to thank Mrs Edwards for her considerations. I, too have a pre-existing condition that absolutely bars me from getting any health insurance NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY I HAVE OR DON'T HAVE. There are lots of people out here in this same situation. I want insurance and can afford it but the insurance companies won't take me. Think for a minute about those who can't afford it. I'm spending about $1200/month for meds. What do they do? Just die?
    "Are there no Poor Houses?" "Are there no Work Farms?"
    Where does it stop and who stops it?

    April 21, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. Independent-woman-voter-for-Obama

    Good, Elizabeth, you keep speaking up!

    April 21, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  14. Western Voter

    I guess McCain can use any old opportunity to remind us he was a POW. We all know that and appreciate his service but he still doesn't have a plan to provide health insurance to all Americans and that should be a deal breaker.

    April 21, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  15. sophia

    what an idiot.

    go elizabeth!

    April 21, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  16. EB New York

    One question?


    April 21, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  17. Roy

    Best wishes to Mrs. Edwards and her courageous fight against cancer. To those against some form of health care reform, have you wondered why your benefits are decreasing while the costs every year are increasing? It's because the hospital that I work at (along with many others) are obligated to treat those at risk regardless of ability to pay. All of those that are worrying about their taxes being raised, it's too late. You are already paying in your insurance premium, at the drug store, at your doctor's office, etc, etc. Your money is still gone and you haven't even realized it! Right now, the only group that is winning is the insurance companies. As a physician, it is frightening to me and it should be frightening to those that think they are "covered" to know how much the insurance companies are practicing medicine. They dictate what tests can be done, how much will be paid, at what point they will cutoff access from surgery, etc. etc. Often, these people have little medical training and in most, certainly much less than your physician. Even if they are RNs, they have not seen the patient and still are not doctors. Unless you are independently wealthy and self insuring, you aren't covered!

    Not saying that we should do socialized medicine as in Europe or Canada but we must do something because it is already becoming less affordable for corporations to provide healthcare to both present employees and retirees. This is what is killing the US auto industry as we speak. This is why our jobs are being offshored. This is taking a larger bite out of our paychecks as it stands now.

    April 21, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  18. Dan

    I'm pretty sure we're paying for those things, tom-z. we're buying them for the soldiers wasting their youth fighting a nonsense war in iraq.

    and for tahnee.... the u.s. does give too many handouts. just not to those who need them.

    April 21, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  19. Bubba

    go bake some cookies...

    April 21, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  20. Kaci

    Oh gosh, Mr. McCain, please stop beating the PWO drum. You still had the healthcare, you just couldn't use it. Your response makes no sense, and it is not a cheap shot. Long after you and Mrs. McCain are spending her millions in retirement, most of America will still be without healthcare. Quit being a baby and deal with the issues. Talk about your solution. So far, you haven't offered any. I certainly would love to have the healthcare you and the members of congress enjoy. McCain's unwillingness to respond to the issue as a person who wants to be MY president shows he's out of touch and only really cares about War.

    April 21, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  21. JJ

    Chris Commented:
    April 21st, 2008 6:49 pm ET

    He's probably the most out of touch with Americans than all of the candidates

    – Wife with $100+ million
    – Doesn't have to worry about Social Security b/c his job provides it free "and" since his generation is funded
    – Has basically had free healthcare his entire life
    – 70 yrs old – he's not really thinking about where we need to be in 20-30-40 yrs like our youth are
    – Does he have any kids? if not, this is another out-of-touch topic that many Americans have to deal with (care, insurance, college funding)
    Talk about being out of touch. Several of your points are just plain made up.
    His wife may have big bucks. He has always kept his finances separate, and made FAR less than either Clinton or Obama last year. And he's continued working all of these years, not sponging off his wife.
    His job does not provide SS free, he has paid into the system and taxes just the same as anyone else who has held an honest job in this country.
    He hasn't had free healthcare his entire life, he has earned his healthcare through his service to the government and military.
    He actually has 4 children with Cindy, and 2 of them are serving in Iraq! This also negates your point about not caring about where we are in 20-30 years. I'm sure he cares for the sake of his kids & grandkids.
    Maybe you should read something before you just spout off about that which you obviously know nothing about.

    April 21, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  22. tigerakabj

    Thank you Mrs. Edwards for keeping John McOldCodger busy getting hot-headed. All he does is POW this, POW that. I can't wait til Obama gets into a debate with McSame.

    April 21, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  23. doon

    I don't support McCain but some of you bloggers are down right nasty and it's really not about all of that. i HAVE A SON, and I don't know if I could exist, how I could have stood having a son as a POW in a filthy, nasty vietnam camp for five years. And I will Never FORGET how our POW's were treated by those people. What I'd rather see from Mrs. Edwards and her husband is to open up their mouths and show us who they are supporting for crying out loud. What is Edwards waiting for, the next millenium? Or a request from Billary to be her VP? The nation is speaking, in large part for Barack Obama as am I. He HAS a plan for health care, a better one that Billary. Speak up and make your choice known! Billary is that desperate that she may approach you. Listen to the nation, how much $ he's raised by people like me donating over the internet. We WANT CHANGE, join us now. We need you!

    April 21, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  24. S

    He just wanted to let everyone know he was a POW again. He is so disconnected from the people I don't know what to say.

    April 21, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  25. 35 Southbound

    To all those nasty people, dems or reps, I would like to say that I would feel honored to pay for the health insurance of others. I was on the 35W Bridge Collapse. I had a traumatic brain injury, fractured neck, broken clavical, seperated shoulder, punctured spleen, shattered left foot. I have insurance, there were many on the bridge that day that didn't, that is one moment in existence, think of all the other moments where health insurance is needed and not available. Again to all those nasty people, I would gladly pay for others to have health benefits.

    April 21, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
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