I'm live-blogging the event as it goes along. Forgive the short-hand as I try to get all the content down.
Tracy Russo (Edwards' online outreach person) says it was at Elizabeth Edwards' insistence that she meet with us today. She's talking on the intercom just as Mrs. Edwards is about to enter the room.
Introductions all around.
Re: the controversial Rebecca Eisenberg Silicon Valley Moms post, Elizabeth is speaking to the immediacy of blogs. She happened to online at home checking her favorites and came across the post. That's why she saw the post and could respond so quickly. (By the way, she offers Rebecca a hug, feels sorry that Rebecca was so attacked, but says "Rebecca should stand and fight...I would!")
Mary Tsao asks how do you see yourself in the role as first lady? Elizabeth says it's impossible to imagine. She has no idea. She would do the same things she is doing now. She would like to advocate more for military families (based on her background growing up in a military family.) She would also like to work with breast cancer and work towards fair voting standards. She encourages people to take their ironing boards to register women to vote who many not register. She will not be sitting in cabinet meetings.
Tekla Nee asks a healthcare question.
What do you think our healthcare system should look like in 15 years? Elizabeth says "the should is hard." The for-profit health care providers have been more innovative than some government providers. There is an advantage to having a for-profit participants in the answer. Her expectation is that we will have a lot less healthcare needs in 15 years with respect to preventative medicine and cures. Hopefully we are in a better position in 15 years. Our need for elderly care may become so incredibly i
A greater proliferation of public healthcare facilities. She'd like to see them in elementary schools because "that is where people live." Healthcare facilities in projects stigmatize the users. Take away the stigma by putting those facilities everywhere people live. "Really aggessive public health system."
With universal healthcare, there will be a shrinking of participants in the "blue cross-blue shields."
On nursing shortages: We need to commit ourselves to nurses and nursing educators. We need experienced nurse educators.
She would like to see regions CDCs not just one CDC. Doctors about to enter information into their regional CDCs.
Joanne: What would an Edwards admin do re: dependent care. How would that program look if JE was elected president? Elizabeth says every employer would give 7 days paid sick leave a year to be used to any purposes. EE took off 7 days after the birth of her second child
How will our lives change if JE is president? Elizabeth says JE talks often about his biography and the ladder that people used to walk up to get to the american dream. The rungs are broken. There is not as much mobility between the various parts of our society than there used to be. Disparities are getting wider. Reinstill the idea that we can move --by our own efforts-- can move. Universal healthcare is part of that. Take the worry of healthcare away. Schools are trying to meet the needs of our students, we need to learn from the successful schools. We keep failing teachers and students. Transition to smaller schools. KE's "College for Everyone" program gives hope to people that never thought they had a chance at upward mobility.
We need to restablish America's moral authority in the world. Cites Lebanon views of Hezbollah. Commit to eradicate world poverty. Participate in educating Muslim children so they don't have to turn to madrassas. Promote microlending. JE would travel the world giving a new face to America. Start re-engaging the world. Changing the world view can probably be done more quickly that solving educational problems. We have the capacity to engage Muslims to change their perceptions and make the world a safer place for our children.
The way JE has run the campaign... he started 2000 One Corps community action groups across the country... when this campaign ends, JE will leave behind 2000 community action groups across the country. He believes that individuals can change things, not necessarily groups (like faith-based action groups which she says are "fine.") If JE was offering "more of the same" she wouldn't have been on board. It had to be different. It had to have the power to change things.
Jessica Ashley asks how will the JE administration address the shortage scientists and engineers, esp diverse candidates? Elizabeth says: Regarding teachers (science and math) serving disadvantaged schools or regions, they can participate in a program to receive up to $15k more a year in additional income.
Cate was part of a math mentoring program. She was paired with a role-model. JE believes in those programs, and believes that the mentoring programs should be longer. Establish schools of science and math. India and China produce 10x the engineers that the US is producing. We need to compete at a top level and have an H1B visa makes sense.
Alix Mayer asks about "wealthy people who don't feel wealthy"? What's in it for the wealthy when they are taxed to support JE's programs? Move the tax rate back up on the 200K+ earner population. JE pays for tuition and books for all freshman at the state rate. Not income dependent. Merit scholarships wont have to pay for freshman so it frees up more money to other needy students. Univ healthcare frees up money otherwise spent on healthcare which will have a ripple effect to help schools etc.
How to keep SS solvent? No middle class tax increase, but at $200K the tax increase kicks in again.
Jill Asher asks: What message can we (the bloggers) get out about the JE campaign? Elizabeth responds: Don't just write a check and think your job is done. (Speaking about the status quo) We are on a really bad path.
Look at the way the candidate runs his/her campaign. Ask: is this a leader? Is this that different?
We have an opportunity for real change. It's going to be really easy to get more of the same. He's not the flashier candidate, but what he is, and has been is a leader on every one of these issues. JE put all his policies out at the very beginning of the campaign rather than waiting for September/October. From the beginning of the campaign it's been about the policies and the vision, not the person.
We are looking for the leader who is going to change things. Anecdote: Someone is walking down the street, he picks up a piece of trash and puts it into the next trashcan. Doesn't that tell you something about the person? Don't you like the person who picks up trash as puts it in the trash can.
Look at the healthcare plan (that Hillary copied.)
It's not about the guy, it's about the vision. If that's the vision you want, you have to go out and do something. You cannot sit on your hands and expect the change to happen.