Elizabeth Edwards: 'Change the Dialogue'

The Wife of the Presidential Contender Defends Her Call to Ann Coulter


June 28, 2007 —

The war of words between Elizabeth Edwards and Ann Coulter wages on.

On "Good Morning America" Thursday, Edwards said she's happy she stood up to the tough-talking conservative who insulted her husband, presidential contender John Edwards.

"I'm not unhappy to have spoken out now," Edwards said on "Good Morning America" Thursday, talking about her Tuesday call into MSNBC's "Hardball" to confront Coulter about what she perceived as personal attacks Coulter made against her husband and his campaign strategy.

The verbal sparring was sparked by Coulter's appearance on "Good Morning America" Monday, when she defended her use of an anti-gay slur in a reference that included the former Democratic senator earlier this year. In the past, Coulter also accused Edwards of exploiting the 1996 death of his son Wade for political gains.

On MSNBC, Elizabeth Edwards asked Coulter to stop making personal attacks, saying "it lowers our political dialogue precisely at the time that we need to raise it." Edwards denied speculation that her call into the MSNBC show was a publicity stunt and said her crusade against negative campaigning has nothing to do with boosting her husband's image.

"The point is for all of us, for our children, to change the dialogue," she said. "It never occurred to me when I made this call that it was going to help John in some poll someplace."

Enemies Proving Useful

Wednesday afternoon, John Edwards said he was proud of his wife for standing up to Coulter.

"I was very proud of Elizabeth. I think she was making it clear that we can't continue to tolerate this kind of name-calling and hate mongering," he said.

When Coulter made the gay reference that included him earlier this year, John Edwards said he didn't want to give Coulter any more attention or help her sell any more books. But then the former senator tried to use the controversy to raise money -- e-mailing out video of Coulter's comments and garnering $300,000 in "Coulter cash" for his campaign.

On MSNBC Tuesday, Coulter said that Edwards should stop using her as an excuse to raise money. But a few hours after she called in to the show, Elizabeth Edwards sent supporters a new plea -- via e-mail and text messaging -- for more "Coulter cash," featuring a recording of their latest confrontation.

Just as Coulter has a book to promote this week, John Edwards has a fundraising deadline. The Coulter-/Edwards clash is starting to prove that when it comes to publicity, enemies can have their uses.