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Clinton And Edwards, 'Seriously'

People are buzzing this morning about an exchange between Hillary Clinton and John Edwards following the NAACP presidential forum Thursday in Detroit.

Fox News gets credit for capturing the audio and video of the exchange.

In the video, Edwards approaches Clinton at the end of the forum and says, "We should try to have a more serious and a smaller group." Clinton agrees, telling Edwards that her campaign had tried to address the issue, but that efforts had been "detoured."

As the two make disparaging comments about "not serious" candidates crowding the debates, they are approached by Sen. Barack Obama and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (choose for yourself whether those guys are "serious" candidates or not). Edwards and Clinton then take a break from their conspiratorial pow-wow to warmly greet and thank their fellow contenders for participating in the debate.

Not suprisingly, Kucinich isn't happy. He issued a release, stating, "Candidates, no matter how important or influential they perceive themselves to be, do not have and should not have the power to determine who is allowed to speak to the American public and who is not. Imperial candidates are as repugnant to the American people and to our Democracy as an imperial President."

The release also states Kucinich "will immediately take steps" to address the comments.

This reminds us of other classic open-mic moments, like when then-candidate George W. Bush called a New York Times reporter "a major league a------", or when President Bush greeted then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair by saying, "Yo Blair, how are you doin'?" (a TIME Magazine article chronicles that exchange, and others.)

We'll let you know what the other campaigns have to say, as they comment.

UPDATE 12:41 p.m.: Chris Dodd's spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan weighs in:

"We'll leave it to Senators Edwards and Clinton to explain what they meant, but I'm sure the people of Iowa and New Hampshire would agree that it'd be awfully presumptuous for them to unilaterally proclaim who the voters should consider and who they should not, especially given the unprecedented depth of experience in this field."

-- Ed O'Keefe

By Ed O'Keefe |  July 13, 2007; 11:02 AM ET Hillary Rodham Clinton , John Edwards
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Doesn't this just mean that Clinton and Edwards are both taking their candidacies, and thus the American people, very seriously? Isn't that a good thing?

Posted by: Eric | July 13, 2007 11:14 AM

The absence of comments is typical of the mostly Democratic responders. They have nothing to say when their anointed candidates show their true hubris.

Edwards and Clinton shouldn't have their time wasted having to listen to other candidates speak. The know that they are the only serious candidates.

Hypocrisy, not democracy.

Posted by: Algore | July 13, 2007 2:22 PM

I wonder if this has anything to do with the recent decision to cut Mike Gravel from the HRC/LOGO/MTV debate.

Posted by: SC | July 13, 2007 2:48 PM

I'm a democrat and i think its pretty presumptuous of HRC and JE to act if non first tier candidates are not relevant in our national discourse. Obama in 08!

Posted by: M. Flores | July 13, 2007 3:03 PM

I'm a Democrat and I think this is wrong in every way.

Posted by: Anna | July 13, 2007 3:58 PM

Well then - Obama is looking better all the time. Very disappointed in Mrs. Clinton and Edwards - how very high school of both of them. Do they think they are the 'popular kids"?

Posted by: Deborah C | July 13, 2007 4:45 PM

Another "dirty trick" by the unfair and unbalanced Fox news using a stealth long range mic--not an open mic Blooper but a well planed Republican dirty trick by biased FOX -- look for the new Scotter Libby news show soon to be on FOX right after the other x-criminals and corrupt Republicans already stars on FOX.

Come on people, it a "horse race", but soon the field will definately narrow and the public will pick the front runners.

Rule #1 don't believe anything they say, look at what they have actually accomplished. Talk is cheap [except political talk and campaign ads, they are pricy] but actions speek louder than words.

On the other hand, the cost of picking the wrong ego is to high to bear.

Posted by: Ron B. | July 14, 2007 12:15 AM

Yet another reason why FOX News is not a news organization but a propaganda vehicle for the right. Why do Democrats go on FOX News or participate in a debate sponsored or broadcast by FOX News?

And shame on the NAACP for partnering with such an outlandishly racist organization as FOX News.

Posted by: TeddySanFran | July 14, 2007 5:13 PM


Allow me to be a Democrat who unabashedly condemns the hubris of both Edwards and Clinton. I don't know who the H_ll they think they are! I don't care if only 5 people collectively want to hear from Kuncinich, Dodd, Richardson, Biden or even Gravel. They have a right to be heard! Given that Senator Clinton is running on inherited power, it's not surprising that she can't even pretend that she respects a democracy. As far as Edwards is concerned, he's barely hanging on to the top tier. If not for his wife's well orchestrated spat with Ann Coultour, he wouldn't have outraised Richardson.

Posted by: DTD | July 14, 2007 7:01 PM

I think this conversation should remind us that Hillary Clinton is a serious person who speaks her mind. She and Edwards had a personal exchange about things, which leads me to believe they are going to run together after the primaries.

Don't discredit them for speaking what is true. I was a Deaf and Hard of Hearing interpreter at the Howard University Forum, and I couldn't sign fast enough to my Deaf audience members to get a full thought out of any of them. They were limited to 30 seconds towards the end.

Clinton's talk is not cheap. There should be 2 to 2 debates instead of 8 people with 30 seconds to describe policy that could effect who we chose as our future President.

The time they've been given is not sufficient. It's not a matter of strata or top tier candidates. It's a matter of getting as many people to say as much as possible. I think it is wise to break it into smaller debates. A lot of the candidates CAN afford to have huge rallies - I was at Clinton's Club44 rally. Others can not afford such venues to talk at lenght about their plans for the future. Their only outlet is through these Democratic Party funded forums.

No reason to take what was said as a personal affront to anyone. And, of course, this is not news. This is the media at work again.

We've lost something in America since the 70s and 80s, and I blame media over-reaction for this.

This is not news. This is an effort to discredit two of the most experienced candidates.

Shame on FOX, CNN, and anyone else who "colored" this story in any way.


Posted by: Ryan in VA | July 15, 2007 10:54 PM

I agree with Ryan. This is just what we get with a bored media- nothing much to say about anything real so this makes for good copy-

What Edwards suggested to Clinton is absolutely intelligent- and I'm not an Edwards supporter.

How long do we listen to Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel and put them in the same debates as people who really have a chance to be President. With the primaries six months away it is time to narrow down the field. Maybe have anyone who can get 5% in the polls to be in the debates.

Posted by: peter dc | July 16, 2007 11:05 AM

I concur with Ryan as well. Formats with a large group of candidates and limited time leads to nothing but shallow 30 second sound bites and hand-raising events. One can only continue this so long until a more limited format is needed with only the top few contenders (according to polls and sadly money raised) to get a more indepth discussion.

Whether that time is at hand or some months into the future is debatable, but it's certainly not the shocking story that Fox News tries to spin out of it.

Posted by: Lagging | July 16, 2007 2:09 PM

Totally agree with Ryan and others. Why is it hubris for top level candidates who are working very hard in their campaigns to express a desire for a forum that let's them articulate their seriousness as candidates? Kucinich is the one acting out of ego, throwing himself into the field again just so he can get some stage shine. I want to hear the people who will be the true frontrunners have a critical debate.

Posted by: Becky | July 16, 2007 2:24 PM

Front runners are those with biggest campaign budgets. Where does that money come from? And do they expect favours in return? You bet they do. "Serious" candidate = rich candidate. They are all serious candidates, it's just that some are not willing to compromise to get big bucks for campaign ads. Obama, Hillary and Edwards can be bought. Do not expect much to change. The election is not about issues, presidency is for sale.

Posted by: Jenni | July 18, 2007 12:01 PM

Front runners are those with biggest campaign budgets. Where does that money come from? And do they expect favours in return? You bet they do. "Serious" candidate = rich candidate. They are all serious candidates, it's just that some are not willing to compromise to get big bucks for campaign ads. Obama, Hillary and Edwards can be bought. Do not expect much to change. The election is not about issues, presidency is for sale.

Posted by: Jenni | July 18, 2007 12:01 PM

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