The message went out Saturday from Elizabeth Edwards: The John Edwards campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination will let no attack go unanswered. Not like in 2004, she told volunteers in Indianola, Iowa, when her husband was on the ticket with presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry and the campaign failed to quickly respond to the Swift Boat attacks on Kerry's Vietnam War service--a decision that proved fatal.
"They should have listened to John (Edwards) when he said to fight back," she said. "We didn't get to make decisions in that campaign. I think there were a lot of things we could have done."
And, it seems, supporters see her as the general of the attack-response effort. Our Liz Halloran reports that over the weekend in Iowa, Edwards was stopped and thanked for taking on conservative bomb-thrower Ann Coulter for disparaging personal remarks she has made about Edwards and other Democrats.
Last month, Edwards famously called in to MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews when Coulter was a guest and asked the pundit to stop personal attacks and refrain from using the "language of hate." Coulter has characterized the call as a fundraising ploy. But Edwards said that call-in made her a "hero" in the senior center where her parents live.
"I'm glad to have done it," she told a high school teacher who thanked her, "and I hope it has a long-term effect."
By Paul Bedard