On the August 7 edition of Fox News host John Gibson's nationally syndicated radio program, the show's executive producer, known on air as “Angry Rich,” described as “a poor choice of words” his August 3 statement -- documented by Media Matters for America -- that Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards “whored his wife's cancer as a fundraising gimmick.”
Angry Rich did not apologize for the remark and went on to say of Edwards: “That doesn't mean he's not duplicitous, which he is.”
After Gibson asked him to “be specific about what [he] meant,” Angry Rich read from an April 5 New York Post article that stated, “Democrat White House hopeful John Edwards' team has been collecting email addresses from supporters who've sent his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, notes -- and using them for fundraising requests, aides acknowledged yesterday.” Gibson said that Angry Rich's comment was “unfortunate,” but then asserted that Angry Rich was nonetheless “on high ground” because his remark had come in response to the Post report.
During the discussion, Gibson never quoted Angry Rich's original “choice of words” -- that Edwards had “whored his wife's cancer as a fundraising gimmick.” Rather, he said that Angry Rich had “made some offhand comment about Edwards and the way Edwards has, shall we say, employed his wife in the campaign,” and later described the remark as follows: "[Y]ou said that Edwards was using his wife in the campaign in a certain way."
Numerous blogs highlighted Angry Rich's comments about Edwards, including Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, Americablog, The Carpetbagger Report, Taylor Marsh, News Hounds, Pam's House Blend, Mad in the Middle, Oh Well: A Commentary on News and Politics, Don't tell the Donor, and Radioactive Quill.
From the August 7 edition of Fox News Radio's The John Gibson Show:
GIBSON: I'm looking for this today, right now, Angry Rich. Then, Elizabeth Edwards, today, in some obscure publication -- and I can't find what that publication is now -- but what she said was, trying to explain why is it that John Edwards' campaign is lagging behind others. And she said, “Well, it's just gonna happen. We can't make him a woman, and we can't make him black. Either of those two things will get you a lot of press, and that gets you a lot of fundraising.” Wow.
You can't make him a woman, and you can't make him black. Oh, speaking of which, Angry Rich.
ANGRY RICH: Yeah.
GIBSON: There's kind of an unfortunate moment yesterday.
ANGRY RICH: Well, it wasn't yesterday, but yeah.
GIBSON: When was that?
ANGRY RICH: It was last week.
GIBSON: It was last week. You made some offhand comment about Edwards and the way Edwards has, shall we say, employed his wife in the campaign.
ANGRY RICH: That's true, John, I sure did.
GIBSON: Yeah, and taking a little grief about that?
ANGRY RICH: Yeah, a little bit.
GIBSON: OK. Let's be specific about what you meant when you said -- and I'll euphemize.
ANGRY RICH: You can say it.
GIBSON: You said that Edwards was using his wife in the campaign in a certain way.
ANGRY RICH: I said he was using his wife's cancer.
GIBSON: In a certain way, right.
ANGRY RICH: Right.
GIBSON: What did you mean by that?
ANGRY RICH: Can I read it to you?
ANGRY RICH: This is from the New York Post on April 5. “Democrat White House hopeful John Edwards' team has been collecting email addresses from supporters who've sent his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, notes and using them for fundraising requests, aides acknowledged yesterday.”
GIBSON: Ah. So if you were, let's say, [conservative radio host] Laura Ingraham, who wouldn't be a John Edwards supporter but would have a great deal of sympathy and sort of simpatico and sisterhood feelings toward Elizabeth Edwards because they're both cancer victims --
ANGRY RICH: Right.
GIBSON: Laura went through her episode, and Elizabeth Edwards is going through hers. If Laura Ingraham sent Elizabeth Edwards a, you know, “stay strong, get well” note, they would use that as a campaign fundraising mail piece, expecting somebody like Laura Ingraham to cough up some bucks for --
ANGRY RICH: They admitted to turning those emails around and soliciting cash, yes.
GIBSON: So, your remark --
ANGRY RICH: -- was about that.
GIBSON: While unfortunate --
ANGRY RICH: It was a poor choice of words, sure.
GIBSON: -- was about that. And so, in fact, you were on high ground.
ANGRY RICH: Right.
ANGRY RICH: That doesn't mean he's not duplicitous, which he is.
GIBSON: He is, yes.
C. Murphy Hebert is an intern at Media Matters for America.