With the presidential election still more than a year away, candidates continue stomping for votes among key demographics like women.
But according to Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of presidential candidate John Edwards, her husband may be a better women's advocate than the only female in the running -- Hillary Clinton.
In an interview with the Web site Salon.com, Elizabeth Edwards said she was not convinced Clinton would be as good an advocate for women as her husband.
"All Democratic campaigns know how important the female vote is, and that is why you're seeing campaigns trying to talk specifically to the women voters," said Ellen Moran, executive director of Emily's List, a political network for Democratic women who support abortion rights.
John Edwards defended his wife's critique.
''Her point was on these big substantive issues that directly affect women's lives. I've been aggressive and leading on them," he said.
But that idea apparently hasn't transferred into actual support from female voters. According to a recent ABC News-Washington Post poll of female voters, the Democratic senator from New York drew support from 51 percent of the women surveyed, a stark contrast to the 24 percent who said they supported Barack Obama. Edwards was a distant third with 11 percent of the females saying they backed him.
Elizabeth Edwards also told Salon she sympathized with Clinton, woman to woman, about a need to appear tough.
A striking gender role reversal on the campaign trail has taken place. Clinton is seen by many as the tough one politically and stylistically, while Obama and John Edwards are openly emoting, often about the trials of spending time away from family.
Some political observers argue voters are ready to move beyond gender cliches.
"We as a culture don't need to buy into the stereotype [that] men are tough, women are emotional. In a way she's giving in to the cultural stereotype if she does that," said Arianna Huffington, editor in chief of HuffingtonPost.com.
This isn't the first time Elizabeth Edwards has taken a swipe at Clinton. Last year, in a statement she thought was off the record, she said she thought she had more joy than Clinton. Elizabeth Edwards later apologized.