The Boston Globe has an op-ed today by Scott Lehigh questioning the consistency of John Edwards’ Iraq War stance. In meetings with Senator John Kerry during their 2004 presidential race Edwards allegedly argued against apologizing for their Iraqi War vote. Close advisers in that election claim Senator Edwards thought an apology for the Iraq War vote “shows weakness in time of war” and would be exactly what the Republicans would want them to do.
If what these aides say is true, it is contrasted with his many apologies since the 2004 election and his criticism of Hillary Clinton for not apologizing.
John Edwards’ public apology began in November of 2005 with an op-ed in the Washington Post beginning with the line “I was wrong.” Edwards continued:
“It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn’t make a mistake — the men and women of our armed forces and their families — have performed heroically and paid a dear price.”
He has also been gently critical of Senator Hillary Clinton for not apologizing for her vote as he had, saying in February that her vote was “between her and her conscience.” This is definitely a far cry from the advice he allegedly gave to Senator Kerry in 2004.
How much this shift will damage his credibility as a straight talking candidate remains to be seen and while the quotes from campaign aides remain unnamed the story might remain in the op-ed pages. His current campaign is eager to move forward even if it is a little evasive. They released this comment; “John Edwards’s campaign is about looking forward and not backward and bringing about the kind of real change that we need in this country.”