Benny's World

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Edwards Evening News Round-Up Revisited

Good evening, and welcome to a semi-retro version of the EENR: the Edwards Evening News Round-up.

My friends, family, and acquaintances have all thought John and Elizabeth disappeared into the sunset since they are not on the MSM nightly news or in national newspapers. Not so! John and Elizabeth have been traveling and speaking at venues this past week about the issues Democrats care about. Included are video clips from TV and radio appearances (courtesy of NCDem and other outlets).

Top stories:
1. John Edwards Interview in Rolling Stone
2. John Edwards Speaks at USW Conference
3. John Edwards Talks to Campus Progress and NPR in DC
4. Elizabeth Edwards Jumpstarts Healthcare for America Now
5. John Edwards Travels the Northeast for Half in Ten
6. Elizabeth Edwards Discusses about living with cancer on NPR
7. Is John Edwards on the Short List for VP?

Quick Interview of John Edwards in Rolling Stone magazine

In the June 26th edition of Rolling Stone, there is an appended interview piece to an article about John McCain. Without reading the hardcopy, or having a subscription, this interview is not freely available on the Net. Here are some excerpts:

You entered the 2008 race back in 2006 earlier than anybody in history. Why didn't that give you the edge? I was running against two historical candidacies, and it was extremely hard to be heard in that environment.

Were you pissed that the boldest parts of your agenda--providing UHC and capping carbon emissions--were co-opted by Clinton and Obama? I didn't like it when it happened. (laughs) But it put the Democrats in the place we need to be. If we don't have a visionary president at this moment in history, the risks are extraordinary.

After all your years on the campaign trail, is there one thing you would change about the way America picks a president? Is there any way to fix the mess we've made? That's democracy. I don't think there is a clean, efficient way to have democracy.

John Edwards Speaks at USW Conference

Week before last, Edwards was one of the keynote speakers at the United Steelworkers' conference in Las Vegas. EENR core supporters may recall that the USW initially endorsed Edwards last September on Labor Day. He thanked the USW for helping him during the campaign for all of their efforts. He spoke of "the wall around Washington", the special interests and what was at stake in the election this fall. I liked it when he talked about "unloading tractor-trailers" for a summer and encouraged to go back and study. Edwards was on fire and his speech stirred the union members to go to work for Barack Obama this fall. "Eight is enough."

The other keynote was Barack Obama, whom Edwards introduced via satellite as Obama was in Colorado Springs. USW endorsed Obama after Edwards endorsed Obama.

John Edwards at Campus Progress

On Tuesday, John Edwards talked at the Campus Progress 2008 Conference. Campus Progress, which is sponsored by the Center for American Progress (and where Elizabeth is a senior fellow) is comprised of college and graduate students across the country who are progressive activists (or wish to be). Edwards' keynote emphasized combating poverty and cutting it in half in the next decade, but he also answered a few questions, particularly about Senator Obama's political moves towards the center. He reminded the audience that the young people have created movements before and pushed the social/political agenda in the past and they can do it again.

The video is here.

Later that day, Edwards appeared on Talk of the Nation. He was asked about Half in Ten and whether or not he would consider being Obama's running mate. John's response was that he wasn't seeking the office, but he would "seriously consider anything Obama asked him to do" to serve his country. This comment set off speculation by most of the progressive blogosphere.

Healthcare for America Now Kickoff

A consortium of progressive groups, think tanks, trade unions and activists are set to launch a $40 million health care campaign to prepare the ground for the next president to sign expanded care early in 2009.

But the group, with Elizabeth Edwards as its leader, offered expanded insight into the details of its campaign during a meeting on Monday. In addition to spending $40 million — $1.5 million of which will be put behind an initial ad buy (cable, print, and online). Additionally, HCAN is going to take advantage of’s massive data files to reach out to like-minded supporters and officials promised to work in Blue Dog districts.

Their first ad is this one, entitled "The Magic 8 Ball":

With Elizabeth Edwards leading the charge, downtickets will need to win in pushing the party, their colleagues, and the White House occupant to move towards more affordable coverage for all Americans. Health care, in addition to rising energy costs, is the number one domestic priority issue. McCain won't be able to ignore it with a bigger Blue majority in the Senate and House.

Travels to the Northeast

On Wednesday, JRE was in NYC to be interviewed on the Brian Lehrer Show. In one of the more substantial interviews since Edwards left the campaign, Edwards and Lehrer discussed the many facets of poverty and approaches in cutting the poverty rate in half in the next ten years (Half in Ten), such as child care for single parents, increasing the earned income tax credits, putting housing vouchers in different places and not clumping all of the poor together, rural vs urban poverty differences, family breakdown, property taxes, drop-out high school rates, global poverty related to food shortages etc.

Quite a few callers were those who supported Edwards in the past and/or still voted for him in the NY primary on Feb 5th.

JRE visited the Yorkville Pantry at noon. Joel Berg, NYCCAH Executive Director, and who joined Edwards to talk with a group to discuss emergency food initiatives at the Pantry gave Edwards kudos:

These initiatives would profoundly impact the 1.3 million New Yorkers living in food insecure households. "Poverty in the U.S. and New York are unacceptable, and Senator Edwards is absolutely correct in calling for it to be cut it in half in a decade. In a society with as much wealth as modern America, hunger should be doubly unacceptable. The Senator's visit not only highlights the growing domestic hunger problem, but enables us to begin a national discussion of the basic steps necessary to make sure that all Americans have access to the food they need to lead productive and healthy lives.”

The next day, Edwards visited Hartford to talk about Half in Ten at a Boys/Girls Club. Hartford has a high unemployment rate which is why it was on his poverty campaign stop. From the CT News Junkie blog:

Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez said “it’s great to have somebody with a national reputation talk about the critical issue of poverty.” He said most of Edwards 12-point plan involves things Hartford already is working on.

Hartford resident Urania Petit, who participated in the roundtable discussion as a member of the Working Families Party, said she’s “excited about the prospect we can do something in just 10 years.”

Edwards also said it was "wrong" of the governor to veto the minimium wage raise bill. He said in places that have increased the minimum wage the economy has actually improved.

Additionally, Edwards remarked that
things such as raising the minimum wage and organizing workers into unions doesn’t cost government any money.
Fortunately, the Legislature overrode the veto.

On Friday, JRE was on Good Morning America to talk about Half in Ten, but was asked more about Obama's positions and whether they had shifted. More about this later in the diary. Edwards also stopped in Newark to meet privately working families at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. At a press conference later, he said he was in favor of raising the minimum wage in NJ. According to the Star-Leger:

He joined the New Jersey Policy Perspective and the national Raise the Wage Campaign in urging New Jersey to raise its $7.15-per-hour minimum wage [to $8.50]. The rate ranks behind 13 other states and Washington, D.C., but matches New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Edwards on Talk of the Nation with Ted Koppel

EENR's "Lady" via WUNC affiliate and Leroy Sievers, who has a blog entitled "My Cancer" were guests on Talk of the Nation, with special guest host Ted Koppel. This was a reunion discussion of sorts, since Leroy and Elizabeth (along with Lance Armstrong, but not at present this time) were on Ted Koppel's "Living with Cancer" show in May 2007 on the Discovery Channel. Elizabeth told the listeners that she would be having a scan soon, and for her, the scan would present an opportunity to know good news or bad news, and move forward, or perhaps move backward. She also said that it was important that all people get universal health coverage, which includes pre-existing conditions. It was the only allusion to the HCAN initiative. Overall, the discussion was meaningful for those of us who aren't afflicted with cancer, but also for those who are. Good solid advice on how to talk with someone with cancer, especially in being transparent as much as possible. One bit of humor by Elizabeth: one woman wrote her, that her (the woman who wrote her)

chemotherapy made her look like Dick Cheney.

That drew a laugh from the live audience and from this blogger.

Is John Edwards on the VP Short List for Obama?

Paul Rosenberg at Open Left has reported many times that SUSA polls, and other analysis done by Chris Bowers, indicate that John Edwards would be an excellent running mate for a winning ticket with Obama.

On Talk of the Nation, Edwards seemed to have left himself open to the idea.

On Brian Lehrer's show, Edwards made it clear that he would have voted against the FISA bill, whereas Obama was expected to vote for it. Lehrer questioned Edwards as to whether or not he was seeking a position on Obama's cabinet or ticket if they vote for different things. JRE's view? "I think what I think."

On Good Morning America, Edwards did a very able job in defending Obama's change in position about getting the US troops out of Iraq and ending the war.

One will note that when JRE was asked if he had been requested to submit more information for the VP vetting process by the VP search committee, he evaded the question. Maybe he has...and maybe not.

cross-posted from EENR blog this evening

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