John Edwards Claims He 'Calmed' Pakistan; NBC's Gregory Unfazed

On this morning’s Today show, NBC’s David Gregory challenged Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards about his vote for the Iraq war, his relative lack of experience, and his divisive us-vs-them rhetoric. But Gregory had absolutely no reaction when Edwards grandly claimed that his phone call to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in the hours after the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto “was a calming influence” that helped stabilize an “international crisis” and was proof he is “ready for the Presidency.”

“We just had this, this international crisis in Pakistan that is still ongoing. And my response to that was to speak directly to President Musharraf, to urge him to do a series of things that would move the country toward democracy, that would allow international inspectors into the country and to proceed with the elections in an open, fair, verifiable and secure way. And I believe was a calming influence in a very volatile situation.”

Does Edwards really think that in the turmoil following Bhutto’s killing his phone call was of any consequence whatsoever? Or is this just another display of Edwards’ knack for grotesque overstatement, as when in 2004 he claimed that “when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.”

After hearing Edwards' grandiose claim, Gregory quickly moved on. But if a Republican candidate like, say, Mike Huckabee had made a similarly overblown claim, don't you think it would have been thrown up as proof of their unsuitability for high office?

Here’s more of the exchange that took place about 7:42am ET on Thursday’s Today, as caught by MRC’s Geoff Dickens:

DAVID GREGORY: As you know, Senator Edwards, this race is really turning on the question of judgment and experience, so let me ask you about that. You were a one-term senator, you have apologized for your support of the Iraq war, for the Patriot Act, for a controversial bankruptcy measure. Given that, given the question of judgment and experience, why wouldn't it be fair for voters to think, as President Clinton suggested about one of your opponents, that it would be a roll of the dice to put you in the White House?

JOHN EDWARDS: No, no I think far from it. I think what you see from me is, number one, I'm being honest with people which I think is enormously important in a president of the United States. To tell the truth, people are looking for somebody who will tell the truth. And when you look at how we respond to crisis, for example, we just had this, this international crisis in Pakistan that is still ongoing. And my response to that was to speak directly to President Musharraf, to urge him to do a series of things that would move the country toward democracy, that would allow international inspectors into the country and to proceed with the elections in an open, fair, verifiable and secure way. And I believe was a calming influence in a very volatile situation. So I think if you watch what I've actually done and what my behavior is that I'm ready for the presidency.

GREGORY: Since that time but you still haven't apologized for the judgments in...

JOHN EDWARDS: I was, well I was wrong. I've said directly I was wrong about the vote on the war and I've taken complete responsibility for that.

GREGORY: Mrs. Edwards, let me ask you about Senator Clinton....
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes is the Senior Editor for Newsbusters