Edwards Says Obama Stealing His Ideas

John Edwards has decided to take aim at Barack Obama, presumably because going after Hillary Clinton hasn’t caused much uptick in his poll numbers. Today, he blasted the number two man in the race for stealing his ideas.

Edwards’s campaign also blasted Obama for parroting the former senator in a foreign policy speech he gave Tuesday in which he said he wanted to work towards ending nuclear proliferation. They said the senator has followed Edwards on a number of issues this campaign year, including healthcare, poverty and now nuclear proliferation.

“If you need any more proof that John Edwards is shaping the race for the Democratic nomination, you don’t need to look any further than Senator Obama, who has followed Edwards’s lead on healthcare, poverty and, today, eliminating nuclear weapons,” Murray said in an e-mail to The Hill. “Next thing you know, he’ll be rooting for the Tar Heels.”

Edwards first addressed the issue of nuclear proliferation in speeches to the Council on Foreign Relations in May, then again during a speech on counterterrorism in September.

Obama noted Edwards’s dismay with the timing and language of the healthcare plans during last month’s Democratic debate in New Hampshire.

“I think John deserves credit for his proposal,” Obama said. “I know that he feels that he put out his plan first. You know, Harry Truman put something out 60 years ago for universal healthcare. I wrote about it in a book that I wrote last year, a plan very similar to John’s. The issue is not going to be who has these particular plans. It has to do with who can inspire and mobilize the American people to get it done and open up the process.”

The problem with Edwards’ lament is that nobody cares. You can’t copyright political ideas, after all. And the fact that he’s been touting these messages for months without success and now Clinton and Obama are gaining traction with them might be infuriating, but it would seem to indicate more about his leadership qualities rather than their lack of originality.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    I wonder… which of them will claim to be able to make the trains run on time?

  2. Eneils Bailey says:

    “I wonder… which of them will claim to be able to make the trains run on time?”

    You have to be Italian to do that. Neither one of these two can do that because trains are for the common people.

    Edwards, as in the past, should do his kind of manly thing and send his wife over to punch Obama out.

  3. anjin-san says:

    Edwards has borrowed quite a bit of material from Bill Clinton and Howard Dean…

  4. Diana Baskin says:

    I can’t believe Edwards is being so petty. Does he think Universal Health Care is a new idea? Who cares who addressed it first? All of the candidates are promising the same things. The issue is who America believes will keep their promises and can carry out their plans.