Elizabeth Edwards to Hillary: Gee, I sure am sorry

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of White House hopeful John Edwards, apologized to Sen. Hillary Clinton after saying her choices in life have made her happier than the senator, a Clinton aide said Friday.

Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson said Elizabeth Edwards called the New York Democrat on Friday night just after she finished a debate in Rochester, N.Y., against Republican challenger John Spencer.

“Elizabeth Edwards called her and apologized,” Wolfson said. “They had a good conversation.”

Wolfson said the two spoke only for a couple of minutes.

“The senator thanked her for the call and wished her well on her book tour,” Wolfson said.

The apology followed remarks by Elizabeth Edwards on Thursday at a luncheon sponsored by Ladies’ Home Journal.

“She and I are from the same generation,” she said of the senator and former first lady. “We both went to law school and married other lawyers, but after that we made other choices. I think my choices have made me happier. I think I’m more joyful than she is.”

Clinton and Edwards, the former North Carolina senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004, are potential rivals for their party’s presidential nomination in 2008.

Edwards said she didn’t know the New York senator very well but said Clinton would be “a formidable opponent” for her husband.

Before the apology, she released a statement Friday evening disputing reports about the event.

“Unfortunately, large portions of the material released by (Ladies’ Home Journal) as quoted statements by me were erroneous and nearly all the statements, either because of significant omissions, or editing, or error, give a misimpression about what I said,” Edwards said. “This is particularly true with respect to my comments about Sen. Clinton, who holds a serious and demanding public office while I am largely home, joyfully I must admit, with two lovely children.”

Edwards also said she has “great respect” for the senator.

Asked for specific examples of errors, a spokeswoman for Edwards’ One America Committee said the magazine’s transcript combined answers to two questions into one quote. Also, her comments about being joyous referred to previous experiences and were not meant to be a contemporary comparison, said the spokeswoman, Kim Rubey.

Later, Rubey said Edwards called Clinton “to explain that her words had been taken out of context and to express her regret for the misunderstanding.”

Ladies’ Home Journal, which provided a transcript, said the quotes were accurate.

Edwards, who is promoting her memoir, “Saving Graces,” recalled how as first lady Clinton deftly answered questions on Capitol Hill during testimony on President Clinton’s health care proposal.

“As a woman, you couldn’t help cheering from the sidelines,” Edwards said. “That will be a factor for John. She will be a formidable opponent.”


Associated Press writer Marc Humbert in Rochester, N.Y., contributed to this report.

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