Elizabeth Edwards: "Obama was charming"

The former candidate's wife attacks John McCain's healthcare plan, praises Hillary Clinton's and shoots down reports of an argument with Barack Obama.

Published April 2, 2008 9:00PM (EDT)

Elizabeth Edwards made the rounds of NBC shows this morning to talk about healthcare, and particularly about John McCain's inadequate reform plan, which she argued would not require insurers to offer coverage to McCain himself because of his own preexisting cancer condition. When MSNBC's Joe Scarborough asked Edwards about McCain's claim that his is the only plan to keep costs low, she replied: "His plan [keeps costs low] by cutting benefits to people; we'll end up having bare-bones policies with lots of deductibles and lots of exclusions, including ... preexisting conditions." (The video is here.)

Thanks to Phoenix Woman writing in Salon letters, I learned that Edwards also shot down a report in New York magazine that she and her husband haven't endorsed Barack Obama at least partly because a private meeting among the three of them went badly when Obama and Elizabeth Edwards argued about healthcare policy.

While Edwards told Scarborough that Clinton's plan is the only one "that provides a mandate. It means every American has to be covered," she denied that the meeting with Obama was unpleasant. "I did not find him condescending; he was charming, as was Sen. Clinton, and I have absolutely no idea where this report comes from." Later, when "Today" show host Meredith Vieira asked whether she'd had a "fight" with Obama, Edwards answered, "No, I was a little surprised to read that." On both shows she said no Edwards endorsement was forthcoming -- although she told Scarborough's co-host Mika Brzezinski that it's possible she and her husband could endorse different candidates.

Since I reported the New York magazine anecdote, I thought it was important to share Edwards' denial. Here's hoping other Democratic surrogates follow Edwards' lead and direct their formidable political firepower at McCain instead of at the two remaining Democrats fighting for the nomination.

By Joan Walsh

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections Healthcare Reform Hillary Rodham Clinton John Mccain