Closing Plenary - Elizabeth Edwards

She came to Blogher because she does believe that the blogosphere is the new town square. You don't get to see too many people on the street corner expressing their interest.

She started online with her kids by doing various things like bidding on sports cards with her son. After Ward died, she joined mailing lists that functioned like blogs. Grief ones were like that.

Blogs are an enormous opportunity to meet and discuss issues with people we might never had met. We form natural connections without much thought to gender, race, etc.

Elizabeth just noted that "It's like an addiction. You all don't know about that, right?" Good one.

We just segwayed into discussion about trolls by citing her recent confrontation with Ann Coulter.

She's never had a personal blog/online diary. She admires us for our dedication & focus. She did participate under screen names, but now feels she owes it to everyone to be honest about who she is when online. She does write everything she puts on the Edwards site.

Why is she saying things that aren't coming out of John's mouth? She replies that abortion will be covered under the Edwards health care plan. She also does note that they do differ on marriage equality, but notes that John would never impose his personal views on others.

What does she mean when she says that John is better on women's issues than HRC? She notes that she does townhalls all around the country. She gets the same questions over and over. HRC and her have differences on issues. Those issues include lesbian issues, DOMA (both Edwards want to repeal all of it), health care, true universal health care, and others. HRC needs to be more aggressive on these issues.


Child care: The problem is that we don't have enough slots and we end up without the competition to get enough child care. We need to have care & education from birth to death. She thinks it is helpful to have children in structured environments even just a few hours a week. John's policy will include birth to death education incl head start, etc. Need to invest in early childhood educators. Make it an attractive career path. Loan forgiveness by agreeing to teach for a period of time.

Involvement of young people in the election: Very important. John's been going around the country talking to people, young and old, about poverty. YP feel powerless and we need to find ways to empower them.

Is Iraq a women's issue? Yes. Women are serving in Iraq. Mothers are losing children, fear for their children who are serving in Iraq. If mothers were in charge, there wouldn't be wars. We need to take it personally when someone else's child is serving.

Jennifer Pozner is now asking a question about media, surprise, eh? Media consolidation: John is very clear that he doesn't want Rupurt Murdoch as the media source of the USA. The FCC of this admin is further compounding the problem. He does want to reverse what has happened. This is very bad for democracy. Another reason why net neutrality is so important. She will make sure it is on the website.

What are her top blogs? She reads so many. When she reads them she picks a random blog on her blogroll and continues moving from blog to blog without going back to her blogroll until the next day. She uses Google Alerts.

Elder care: John wants to work on chronic and long-term care. She's dealing with this issue with her father and mother need professional care because they have the finances. We need to increase the number of people who work in elder care just like child care & early education. People need to help navigating the system.

Damn...I really thought I'd get to ask my question, but looks like the mic is moving away from my area of the hall. I hate it when I'm that close, got pointed at, and then get a shrug.

We need to talk about issues from our personal view to get the politics out of politics and start talking policy.

They will be running a 50 state strategy. She thinks that John would square up against Rudy quite well in states like Texas.

Last question is from a woman who stated that she finds it dismissive that the entire conversation is around liberal politics. Also asks how many people review her posts before she can publish. Elizabeth has full editorial control over her blog as well as the comments she leaves on other blogs.

Time has run out.

Elizabeth appears to be very genuine and honest. Each question that seemed to really push her, she answered perfectly and eloquently.

So what would I have asked her?

First I would have thanked her for being such a great role model for women, mothers, and especially working mothers who have to balance work, caring for children/parents, our health, and everything else. My question would had been about how the Edwards administration would work to make work/life balance a reality. That new parents can take paid time off, that sick workers can go to the doctor without fear of losing their job, etc.

Off to the Children's Museum! Where Elizabeth will join us, so maybe I can ask her my question or get a photo with her.