Former Aide Takes Shots at Edwards

By Politics
Thursday, May 24, 2007

Robert Shrum, the veteran Democratic strategist who worked on John Edwards's 1998 Senate campaign in North Carolina, does not remember his onetime client very fondly.

In his new memoir, "No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner," Shrum recalls asking Edwards at the outset of that campaign, "What is your position, Mr. Edwards, on gay rights?"

"I'm not comfortable around those people," Edwards replied, according to Shrum. He writes that the candidate's wife, Elizabeth, told him: "John, you know that's wrong."

Edwards's pollster, Harrison Hickman, who was in the room during the discussion, says Shrum "is sensationalizing and taking out of context what was an honest discussion about [Edwards's] lack of exposure to these issues and openly gay people. I don't remember anything that expressed any kind of venom or judgment about gay people."

Edwards spokesman Eric Schultz says Shrum "has a very casual relationship with the truth. Bob is obviously more interested in selling books than reporting honestly and accurately about what happened."

While praising Edwards as a man of "many innate political gifts," Shrum says he hoped the senator wouldn't run for the White House in 2004: "I was coming to believe he wasn't ready; he was a Clinton who hadn't read the books."

When Shrum called to say he had decided to join the presidential campaign of another former client, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Edwards was angry. "I can't believe you would do this to me and my family. I will never, ever forget it, even on my deathbed," he quotes Edwards as saying.

-- Howard Kurtz

Edwards Rejects 'War on Terror'

In a foreign policy address yesterday, Edwards rejected the phrase "war on terror" as a "bumper sticker" and promised to restore the United States' standing around the world if he is elected president.

Edwards, in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, called the Bush terrorism doctrine a "sledgehammer" that has created more terrorists than it has eliminated. Edwards did not address the fact that he used the phrase "war on terror" during the 2004 campaign.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2007 The Washington Post Company