Summary: John and Elizabeth Edwards' First Podcast by Jude Nagurney Camwell As seen on American Street
John and Elizabeth Edwards' first podcast has the feel of a 1940's-era fireside chat, a la 2005.
Former North Carolina senator and VP candidate John Edwards, along with his wife Elizabeth, who recently went through surgery for breast cancer, sat at their kitchen table with podcasting equipment set out on their son Jack's blanket. Their young children Jack and Emma Claire were "held at bay" temporarily while the Edwards sang their praises of Dairy Queen Blizzards and the UNC Tarheels (and a Nevada Wolfpack sweatshirt Elizabeth has packed away 'just in case').The NCAA basketball tournament was playing on a television in the background, admitted John Edwards, although its sound could not be heard over the podcast. He began by saying that the podcasting medium itself has had a personal impact on citizens, who are now able to have their voices more widely heard.
Elizabeth reassured listeners that her surgery (10 days ago) went well and that she will soon undergo radiation treatment as planned. She said that thousands of concerned people have reached out with e-mails and snail mail and that she appreciates every one. Due to limited use of her right hand, she's been slow to respond, but hopes to be able to respond to many of the get-well wishes. She is optimistic about the future. Both she and John are working on issues of Poverty, Work, and Opportunity all around the country. If citizens have any suggestions, they are urged to write to John Edwards via the One America website. Both Elizabeth and John hope the country will focus on the issue of poverty in weeks and months to come. John had been involved with homelessness-related issues in Raleigh (Urban Ministries) long before he ran for any political office. He is enthused about his new position at UNC Chapel Hill at the law school’s new Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.
Elizabeth stated that Education has been an issue she has long championed. She has worked with after-school programs which she says were near and dear to her heart because the programs have provided every child with the opportunity to start "on the same launch pad". She plans to continue her work on Education issues.
John Edwards stressed that this is a cause - it's a movement. This is not about politics. This is not a campaign. He wants you to get involved by sending your questions and concerns (see website).
He answered a number of questions from the public. The first dealt with our electoral system and our vote.How can we ensure that every vote is counted? John noted the problems we saw in Florida during Election 2000 and Ohio in Election 2004.
He said that we Americans are responsible for electing the leader of the free world and that there is no one more important election in this world. Any reason to DOUBT the vote here in America is an outrageous thing to have to worry about. He cited the problems with vote challengers, black box voting procedures, non-auditable voting machines - and he said there was no excuse for such a lack of electoral integrity. The President needs to make a commitment to fair, reliable elections - especially in the poorest voting districts. Partisan politicians shouldn’t be in charge of the voting process. We deserve non-partisans overseeing the best, most relaible electoral system we could possibly have.
"We need these blogging leaders to continue to speak out. We depend on them to continue this fight."
The next segment dealt with the President's plan to reform Social Security. John said he believed that one of the great moral issues of our time, with which we must deal, is the fact that we're leaving trillions of dollars of debt to our children, all because of President Bush's tax cuts for rich people. The President's Social Security ideas will drive the country deeper into debt with a plan that will not strengthen the program, in the long run. John suggested a rollback of the Bush tax cuts and using a substantial portion of that money to shore up Social Security. He stated that we simply don’t need tax cuts for the richest people in the country. He commended Kos(Daily Kos), Josh Marshall (TalkingPointsMemo.com), and ThereIsNoCrisis.com for the great work they've been doing in thoroughly covering the Social Security issue.
"We need these blogging leaders to continue to speak out," said John Edwards, "We depend on them to continue this fight."
Elizabeth spoke a bit more about blogs and bloggers. With blogs, she said, discussions that take place today, by bloggers on the internet, used to take place in a vacuum. It's not true any longer. Journalists of mainstream media are using bloggers to provoke new questions and uncover public misstatements. Politicians are held to the integrity of their statements because of concerned, informed, and attentive bloggers.
Both John and Elizabeth said they believe that a non-partisan solution of problems is recommended to save programs like Social Security and Medicare. Taking benefits away from seniors on Medicare and Social Security is dangerous. Elizabeth's father is a military veteran who served during two wars - Viet Nam and Korea. The medical care promised to him is not there. Medicare cutbacks are absolutely terrifying to senior citizens. Many strip themselves of their lifelong savings and assets to go into Medicaid because Medicare has failed them. Prideful people who feel that they’ve done the right thing all their lives, our Senior citizens expect the benefits they were promised, if they contributed. They see Social Security and Medicare as something they've worked hard for - and earned. The Edwards wish to work to stengthen these programs on behalf of our aging citizens.
There was a question from a young man named Tony, age 15— He wished to know how to keep young people involved and interested in political issues after a presidential election has passed.
John Edwards said that, over next four years, we (Democrats) need to be out visiting every part of country. Not just before elections. Starting now. Republicans are good at reaching out. He says that Democrats are capable of beating them by reaching out to people now. Young folks can get involved in the process by fighting poverty, which is what John’s campaign is all about. The Edwards' daughter Cate has gotten involved with a brand new organization called "Generation Engaged", which is a group where young people can connect and understand the importance of politics everyday - not just around election time.
The next question dealt with FEC restrictions on bloggers: John Edwards said that blogs have played an enormous role in grass roots democracy and freedom. Blogs are a great medium and avenue for people to express themselves and their opinions. He does not wish to do harm to the GOOD that’s occurring now through blogging. If campaigns are paying bloggers (as is being carefully examined in the South Dakota 2004 election), there may be a realistic conflict of interest. Yet, we cannot stop the vibrant exchanges that occur throughout the blogoshpere. A vast amount of people are participating and shouldn’t have to worry about violationg FEC law. Blogs are a perfect example of grass roots democracy at its best.
Elizabeth added that she thinks it's silly for the FEC to come in and attempt to cut the flow of free speech through threats of fines. She likened it to the FEC regulating a conversation on a STREET corner! She says we cannot allow democracy to be stifled. Bloggers are generally the people who are most informed and who set a direction for public conversation. She said we don’t need to analyze blogs in terms of them being like the press. She praised the White House for giving a recent press pass to a blogger – she's glad to see blogs getting the respect they deserve. Yet, she said, we don’t need to compare blogs to journalism. Blogs should be considered to be a form of free expression of opinion, protected by the 1st amendment and should not be regulated by FEC.
On ANWR: John Edwards said he was against the latest bill passed by the Senate. He added that the Senate vote was a great disappointment to him. It did little to reduce our dependence upon oil. Alternative resources need to be researched and developed.
The first John (and Elizabeth) Edwards Podcast is ready for you to hear. Go to this address and download the MP3.
The "Today Show" will profile Senator Edwards and his work on poverty on Wednesday, March 23, 2005. Check your local listings and tune in!
Wednesday, March 23, 2005 By David Ingram JOURNAL RALEIGH BUREAU John Edwards leads panel of experts on poverty at UNC-CH Discussion on wealth accumulation bolstered by former senator, vice-presidential candidate in new role
On Wednesday, March 23, the One America Committee Web site will post John Edwards' first podcast. We hear that he will have a very special guest.
This week, March 23rd, John Edwards will participate in an exciting new medium: podcasting. He will answer your questions and update you on his family and projects.
What is podcasting? It starts with an MP3 file that will play on your computer or portable music player - but it acts like a subscription. This means you are alerted when there is a new podcast available - and you are always kept up-to-date!
How do I get started? Download free software for your Mac or PC at iPodder.org. Then check back here at One America: next week we will provide a link to download John Edwards' podcast!
Today, at the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I am going to join a group of prominent experts from across the country who have dedicated their careers to fighting poverty. We are going to talk about one of the most important things we can do to help lift people out of poverty and into the middle class - helping people save so that they can start getting ahead instead of just getting by.
While poverty is all around us, the first step in eradicating it is to shine a bright light on it. Here's what we know: 36 million Americans live in poverty today, which is 13 million more than 30 years ago. About one in four working families is earning so little they struggle to make ends meet. And nearly 30 percent of families have less than $10,000 in assets - which means that the value of their savings, their home, and their car altogether is less than $10,000.
What we can do as a country is help families build a foundation and a safety net so that if they have a medical emergency, lose a job, or go through a traumatic event like a divorce it doesn't push them off the cliff and into bankruptcy.
So today we are going to talk about how we can help families save and put money in the bank. We will explore ideas like establishing savings accounts for children at birth, like baby bonds, to help them prepare for the future. We'll also look at different types of savings accounts for adults with matching funds to encourage people to save. And we will take a close look at ways to help more families become homeowners while also making sure that predatory lenders don't take away homes families already own.
These are some of the many ideas that we will discuss. We will report back on our blog but please let me know what you think we can do to help people save. Please visit the One America Committee Blog where we have started a new thread entitled: Poverty, Work, and Opportunity and give us your thoughts and ideas about this important issue. Some of our best ideas will come from you! Your input is invaluable, and I look forward to hearing from you.