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January 23, 2008

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Ask the Edwards Campaign A Question

Of all the presidential candidates, none seems more eager to talk to outdoorsmen than Senator John Edwards. The Democrat from North Carolina, who has a mediocre reputation on gun control and is perpetually in third place among Democratic primary voters, has talked to Field & Stream about his Hunting and Fishing Bill of Rights and is the only candidate with a "rural liaison," David “Mudcat” Saunders.

Saunders has been appointed by the Edwards campaign to talk about where Edwards stands on habitat (“John believes that wild and game animals belong to everyone, not just the people who can afford to fence in their land,”), gun ownership (“John's been around long enough to know that if someone comes into the house, you’re better off with a shotgun than a machine gun anyway,”), and promoting hunting and fishing (“When hunters die off now, all the kids go off to the city to live, where they don’t have the opportunities to hunt and fish”).

Field & Stream has been contacting other presidential candidates in order to ask them questions about hunting and fishing, but the Edwards campaign has been the most responsive. If you have a question for Saunders, post it below and he will respond this week.--Brian McClintock



Hey Ox some would ban the ground to "PROTECT US"

Blue Ox

Crap! Double post! Sorry!


How does Mr. Edwards feel about reintroducing wolves to the northeast?

Mike Diehl

I'm satisified with Edwards' answers vis a vis individual firearms ownership rights under the second amendment, personal firearms ownership, and "machine guns."

Since I like Edwards' other positions vis conservation, he's got my vote for the primaries at least, and I can hope he'll be the Democratic Party nominee.

Thanks for your answers Mudcat.


Good luck with that Mike when he takes your handguns away from you. No I dont think that will really happen any time soon but I would have liked a straight forward answer on the subject.

Blue Ox

Crap, he'll be after my chevy next...

John R

I am a North Carolinian and care very deeply how Mr. Edwards represents our state. I respectfully request that Mr. Edwards or a staff member do a little research about the actual difference between machine guns, battle rifles, and assault weapons. The US Department of Defense lists definitions of these weapons.
Some of us, in honor of our country's proud military tradition collect and shoot military styled firearms. Some of us even LEGALLY own fully automatic weapons (yes in most states you can own a fully automatic weapon provided it was registered as such prior to 1986 and you file the necessary paperwork). You will however pay an arm and a leg for one. Those of us who sacrifice and shell out the big bucks for a rifle of this type are obviously not going to be the ones who cause trouble with them.
By the way I am perusing a current
copy of the "NC Hunting Regulations Digest" and nowhere under manner of taking does it say one cannot use an automatic weapon. I do not advocate or condone the use of automatic weapons for hunting and the use of such weapons for hunting would be in my opinion ludicrous and unethical. The point I'm trying to make is that you made a blanket statement in your response that simply wasn't true and obviously the result of failing to research it beforehand. What most of us read between the lines of your previous post is hunting guns are OK, it's all the other guns that are bad. Who determines what a good or bad gun is? I hope you understand the point I'm making here.
I understand Mr. Edwards must be under enormous pressure from the Democratic Party to conform to (or follow) the typical party line. It would be refreshing however to have a candidate who researches issues (such as gun control and firearm ownership) thoroughly for him/her self, make up his/her own mind and not simply follow the dialogue of the Charles Shumers or the Diane Fiensteins. I am by the way a registered Democrat and I have great respect for Mr. Edwards as a person because we share a similar tragedy in our personal lives. Until Sen Edwards, you, or his campaign can assure me that he will protect my second rights (they're not simply priveleges) as arduously as he would protect my first amendment and fourth amendment rights, I will have to remain skeptical of his candidacy.
BTW I did send an amicable e-mail to his website early on in the campaign with questions about his stances on particular issues. I did not receive a response.

John R

By the way I thank you for your courage to come to this blog and answer our questions. I respectfully thank you for your time and I'm sorry I left my thanks off of my post above. I hope this opportunity offers some insight into what we as gun owners and sportsmen hold dear.


Hunters should not be fooled by John Edwards. His liberal views would not be good for the hunter.

North Carolinans know him best and he could not carry his own state for his party.

He might be a good choice for grandmoms and the teeny bopper set who like the looks of a $400 haircut.

John R

Actually it was reported on Foxnews that he has paid >$1,000 for a haircut. The factoid was accompanying the article about Sen. Edwards appearing on the David Liberalman show and Dave messed his hair up.


John R.
The haircut cost $400. However, the barber lives in LA, and was flown to NYC to do a haircut. Total cost inc. room, meals and transport cost $1,200.
Edwards claimed he didn't know the bqarber's name and cost of haircut. He wouldn't use him again. Barber said he had cut Edward's hair many times, were on a first name basis and will not cut his hair again.LOL


My question is geared for Mr. Saunders and his previous statements regarding voters who own guns, and if the attitudes reflected in those statements reflect the views of Mr. Edwards as well.

While working for a Virginia campaign in 2005, Mr. Saunders publicly referred the gun owner voters as "Bubba." While he officially represents the Edwards campaign now, I am curious to know how that attitude reflective of sexism and negative stereotypes has either been incorporated into the campaign or if Edwards has distanced himself from such statements.

When I called to lodge a complaint with the previous campaign that issued such statements from Mr. Saunders, I was told that he was simply colorful, so I would like to know if Edwards takes the same position on such negative rhetoric.

As a gun owning graduate of one of the top women's colleges in the country who has spent years doing outreach to other women on gun safety and the shooting sports, I found this term and the rhetoric of the statements highly offensive. It actually made me reconsider my support for the candidate because of my concern.

Lest anyone think I am simply a reactionary uppity female from New England, I am actually from a very rural Southern upbringing, grew up fishing, and have taken steps recently to get into hunting. I am one of many changing the face of gun ownership and sportsmen/women, and I'd like to know if the Edwards campaign is embracing this progression in gun ownership or if the candidate stands by such stereotypes as the "Bubba" vote.


Thank you very much G.G.O. We need you and other women like you to be vocal. Welcome to the
"Good ole boys club" you are welcome in mine anyway.LOL Hope to hear your opinions more on thesae blogs.

Sherri Mattson

GirlGunOwner -

I too am a female hunter who was raised to hunt, fish and respect the land. My husband, children and family are all taking positive steps to promote youth hunting and land preservation in the midwest.

Your comments regarding the ‘Bubba’ statement has me shaking my head asking “what the hell is happening in the US?” Santa can no longer say “ho,ho, ho” it has too be “ha, ha, ha” - It’s Happy Holidays, not Merry Christmas - grade school children can no longer hug their teachers due to sexual implications nor can high school friends when they are just saying good bye. You can not tell me that you have not read/heard one of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You think you might be a redneck” and said “that is so me” and laughed about it.

Your comment is not helping anyone. I thought this blog was to get answers from John Edwards regarding his stand on guns, hunting and land preservation. As an undecided voter these are issues dear to me. I am not concerned if someone made a comment that all gun owners are “bubbas” ... when I am a “bubette”.

I am happy to read that you are: “one of many changing the face of gun ownership and sportsmen/women”. 25 years ago, I was wearing my fathers hunting boots with three pairs of socks and still getting blisters just because hunting boots for youth/women were not available. My Remington Model 870 had the stock cut down so it would fit right! Today, we are moving forward and retailers are recognizing that women can hunt.

Although, I pray that you, personally, did not have any “push” for Remington to come out with a Pink Camo 22 LR this year. The only pink I have ever seen while out in the woods would have been a spray painted make on a tree that the forest service has identified to be cut in the next clear cutting...a whole other discussion, I am not going to get into.

With that said, I do have a question for Mr. Edwards:

How many guns do you currently own?


I can respect your concerns over society becoming overly PC, Sherri.

However, I hope we can agree that a presidential candidate and those who speak for him should rise above the language of Jeff Foxworthy. Unlike a comedian who has created an entire market around such jokes about rural life, John Edwards is running for president to represent us all. I do consider it quite fair to ask if these attitudes exist within his campaign since that could very likely indicate what types of guns and parts of the gun owning culture are "acceptable" to him and could be sold out without concern in some sort of legislative battle.

Perhaps it's shooting a little too high to expect more from a lawyer and former Senator than I do from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. However, I find that holding such high expectations for myself and others - as appropriate for the situation - has usually resulted in better results.

I'll be honest, I would not consider voting for Jeff Foxworthy. But if John Edwards wants my vote - and I will be voting the Democratic primary, though I am undecided now that Bill Richardson has dropped out - he will have to bring himself up to that level. If sexism and assumptions of little to no education are what he thinks of gun owners, then it's something that may influence my vote.

That said, you'll notice that my concern is related to culture, something that Mr. Saunders himself noted he was more interested in while posting the above comment. ("... I am going to say to those posters who care more about partisan politics than what's going to happen to our sporting culture that you are obviously more interested in taking cheap shots (pun intended) for some petty political purpose than you are about preserving our culture.") I, too, am concerned about preserving the culture. Understanding the elements that he and Edwards would like to preserve are important to me when I go to cast my vote.


I also think the PC thing has gotten way out of hand. Frankly I could give a damn if my opinion "HURTS SOMEONE's FEELINGS!" Im really glad to see some women here. Gives us some different perspectives. I disagree with people here as well as everyone else.Keep our infighting on these blogs. separations show weakness. Thats what the antis want. Lets hope that when it gets down to the #$% cuttin we are all on the same side. Pro hunt Pro gun Pro 2A. Please ladies keep posting, I would love to hear some of your hunting stories. Also how might I get my Girlfriend interested in maybe goin huntin? She already likes to fish.


While I do not wish to speak for Mr. Saunders, I did see an interview he gave CNN during the 2006 election cycle in which he addressed the "Bubba" issue.

He explained how "Bubba" was a grossly oversimplified stereotype used by many in other parts of the country to describe rural southeners. He then went on to describe how this stereotype overlooked the significant cultural and historical contributions that rural southeners have made throughout the history of the nation.

As I said, I do not wish to speak for Mr. Saunders, but I honestly do not think that he used the term in a manner that was intended to offend anyone.


Im of the Bubba Nation and proud of it!LOL

Mudcat is curiously absent. One answer yesterday huh? I think they have written this off as a bad idea.

Must be that the dumb axx "bubbas" they expected to show up were also curiously absent.

To the young lady that was offended by that blatant, foolish, ignorant stereotype - you should have been.

Tommy S.


Then do not speak for him if you are going to rationalize them GETTING AWAY WITH SOMETHING THE REST OF US COULD LOSE OUR F-ING job over!!!!!!

Tommy S.

You must be a democrat.

Sherri Mattson


If Mr. Saunders would have said “…for some petty political purpose than you are about preserving Bubba’s culture,” I would see your point, but he did not. He used “…our culture”. Our culture ... the American culture in general. My personal culture is different than others. I say “you guys” others will say “ya’ll”, I shot a five (5) point buck while others will say I shot a 10 point buck. The one thing all gun owners and/or the hunting community have in ‘Common Culture’ is that we all want to make sure our Second Amendment is not in jeopardy, our streams are free of pollution and our hunting land is properly managed. I am not defending Mr. Saunders, I don’t know this man from Adam. I am just tired of the whole ‘walking on egg shells’ so not to offend someone.

Let’s just agree that we disagree.

The issue at hand: Mr. Edwards on gun control and land preservation.

If my memory is correct, a past Democratic debate, all candidates were asked to raise their hand if they had a gun in their home. Mr. Edwards did not raise his hand.

I like Edwards but it scares the hell out of me since he has not hunted since he was a kid and does not have a gun at his home he will not passionately fight for preserving the culture of gun ownership, hunting and/or fishing.

Signed –
The Babbling Bubette aka:

Mike Diehl

I think you can be less scared then. John Edwards probably doesn't have a lobsterboat either, but that doesn't mean he's likely to sign a bill to ban lobster fishing.


I will continue to disagree on the meaning of his words, at least until Mr. Saunders responds with what I consider vital insight into what he means by things like culture and the stereotypes he actively promotes, and more importantly, how the campaign feels about those sentiments. (In fact, I would ask Gary that if he claims the stereotype is in fact negative, why did he embrace it? He said when speaking of gun owners and sportsmen that "when Bubba sees" the Republican candidate at the time, then Bubba won't like it. He hasn't used it as an example of others trying to discredit us, but rather supported its usage.)

However, Sherri, I would consider that you look at previous Edwards statements to address your concerns. The number of guns he owns is irrelevant. John Kerry owns guns, but in his home state, the cost is so high to be approved for even a round of ammunition that many hunters who don't bring home large salaries have either given up their guns or risk owning them illegally while they use what's left of their ammo. Gun ownership is still legal, but they have effectively made it impossible for anyone outside of the middle class and higher to do legally.

I would suggest that for your answer, you might ask Mr. Saunders for an explanation of the statement that handgun ownership is not a right in this country during an interview with YouTube in the early days of his most recent campaign.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aea8e3OzddM

The introduction to the "shotgun" round is at 4:44, and the statement that handgun ownership is not a right is at 5:08.

The resulting response, if it is in fact addressed, may tell you far more about what he would do to protect your "privilege" of ownership than how many guns he doesn't own.

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