George Stephanopoulos' Interview with Sen. John Edwards

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, everyone. We are here on the debate stage at Saint Anselm College the morning after not one but two presidential debates, and with two days to go before the nation's first primary, let's start with a look at where things stand here according to the latest poll by our New Hampshire affiliate WMUR.

On the Republican side, John McCain is in the lead, 33 percent, followed by Mitt Romney at 27 percent, Rudy Giuliani at 14 percent, Mike Huckabee at 11 percent and Ron Paul at 9 percent.

For the Democrats it's now a tie. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both at 33 percent. John Edwards is at 20 percent and Bill Richardson way back at 4 percent..

Which brings us to our first guest today, former Sen. John Edwards. Welcome back to "This Week."

EDWARDS: Good morning, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you made a choice last night. It sure seemed to me at least that you decided that Hillary Clinton is your primary opponent. After she went at Barack Obama, you stepped in, in his defense. Let's take a look.

EDWARDS (from debate): Every time he speaks out for change, every time I fight for change, the forces of status quo are going to attack every single time. I mean I didn't hear these kind of attacks from Senator Clinton when she was ahead. Now that she's not, we hear them.

CLINTON (from debate):Wait a minute now. Wait a minute. I'm going to respond to this. I want to make change, but I've already made change. I will continue to make change. I'm not just running on a promise of change. I'm running on 35 years of change.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You really pushed her button there. And you didn't have a chance to respond at that moment. The conversation moved on. What would you have said?

EDWARDS: I would say the real question is, what is day one in the White House going to look like? Day one in my White House, there will be no corporate lobbyists, nobody who lobbied for foreign governments. I as president will not be taking money from lobbyists or special interest PACs. On all of those fronts, Senator Clinton is in a very different place. I mean, I think it would be surprising to a lot of people - she's a good candidate, but it would be surprising to a lot of people that among all the candidates, Democrats and Republicans, she's actually taken more money from lobbyists, the pharmaceutical industry, the defense industry than any candidate, Democrat or Republican.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, you've made such an issue on lobbyists and we've talked about this in the past but I have to press this a little bit.


STEPHANOPOULOS: You're very careful. You say no corporate lobbyists in the White House, no lobbyists for foreign governments in the White House. Some of your biggest contributors are trial lawyers, and the Association of Trial Lawyers for America is the sixth largest lobbying group in the country. $6 million spent on lobbying. Six of your top fundraisers are on the executive committee of that organization, 18 of your top fund-raisers are on their board of governors. Will they be barred from the White House, as well?




STEPHANOPOULOS: No - even though they've given you money? So any lobbyists of any kind?

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