Benny's World

Thursday, April 03, 2008

John Edwards at CTIA Wireless Conference

This morning, John was invited to be one of the keynote speakers at the CTIA Wireless Conference. One wonders why both he and his co-speaker, Fred Thompson were invited, but I see now that they were asked to speak about the impact of wireless technology on their campaigns.

Doug Aamoth of TechCrunch, which is Robert Scoble's company, did a live blog of the event. Doug isn't a big fan of Edwards, but he seems to have captured quite a bit of what was said.

9:41 - John Edwards takes the stage. Makes some funny remarks about traveling after running for president. “If everyone I met that told me they were for me had actually been for me, I wouldn’t be here right now.” Everyone laughs. His hair looks great [a comment I could have done w/o-teh editor].

9:43 - Asks the audience to raise our hands if we can a) tell the difference between Obama and Clinton’s health care plan, b) the difference between Clinton and Obama and McCain’s health care plan, and some other examples. His point is that the media doesn’t cover this stuff — the media covers the “horse race”.

Then Edwards points out the power of the Internet and wireless in these comments:

9:46 - Says YouTube is a good thing. People use it to watch campaign speeches. Wireless is good too because it offers non-stop access to candidates. It also changes how campaigns are funded. He cites that when he ran, people could text the word “hope” to a certain number to join his supporters. It democratizes the process instead of having campaigns funded by a few people with a ton of money.

9:50 - We have a lot of work to do as far as educating the public on political issues. Wireless is good because it can inform people and get them motivated to vote.

9:52 - Everything is connected. The notion that healthcare and foreign policy and the economy are separate issues is wrong. They’re all connected. Population growth and interconnectedness is important too. Things that happen in China affect us, etc. America has got to lead the way on environmentalism. Whatever we do won’t matter, though, unless the rest of the world joins us because everything is connected.

Then last, the global potential of wireless:

9:54 - Impoverished nations need the technological tools to support themselves economically. Talks about Africa but says that it affects other places as well. We have to be the leaders — need to step up to the plate and lead.

The video is also by Doug Aamoth of TechCrunch, and it is from the Q & A segment of the session, which was too short for my taste. I could swear JRE was wearing the same shoes he had on at the Iowa kickoff of the campaign. :-D

From the video, paraphrased:

Who was your professional influence or hero?

JRE: Bobby Kennedy and Terry Sanford

Fred: Howard Baker

How do we get back to reaching across the aisle and have bi-partisianship? JRE-- be yourself, be authentic, agree to disagree, but one doesn't have to give up one's principles to get something done.

I'll add updates as I see them.

UDPATE: Apparently either during this Q & A (or after the session), JRE was asked if he would accept being a VP candidate. According to Reuters, this was his answer:

After his keynote speech at CTIA, the annual U.S. wireless industry showcase, Edwards was asked in a question-and-answer session if he would accept the nomination for vice president.

"No," said Edwards, who also declined to say whether he would endorse Clinton or Obama.
(h/t to a blogger from Mass Ears and Eyes)

To clarify further, a CTIA blogger at the session said that both Thompson and Edwards were asked if they would accept VP. Both said no.

Read Eric Lunquist's account of the event here.

Good ol' JRE. True to himself. Always was. I sure miss him on the trail.

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