Connecting With Elizabeth Edwards

BlogHer Original Post

The Silicon Valley Moms Blog and sister sites (via conference call) Chicago Moms Blog and DC Metro Moms Blog had a unique opportunity to meet with Elizabeth Edwards in San Jose yesterday. As I've been contributing to the blog now for over a year, this was my second chance to meet with this remarkable woman, with whom many of us feel a connection. Except this time was different - she's no longer on a book tour; she's the wife of a presidential candidate. And while the discussion shifted to more specific policy issues than personal, it was still intimate and inviting.

As you can see from my liveblogging, we covered topics from tax brackets to math education to healthcare translators. And Elizabeth Edwards still loves us. (After one of my fellow contributors challenged her parenting choices a few weeks ago, there was some heated exchange that got picked-up by "Good Morning America" and taught our blogger and many others a lesson in taking care of what they post. Eventually Elizabeth and Rebecca made up, but it was an interesting few days for the blog.) And we still love her. Even if some of us won't be voting for her husband.

In my casee, as much as I really like Elizabeth and John Edwards, Hillary Clinton's experience and her deep grasp of the issues is holding me strongly in her support. When it comes to national security, our place in the world, healthcare and the economy, I believe Hillary Clinton is our best choice. I like John Edward's proposals and I especially like the fact he's willing to talk about the environment and poverty more than most of the other candidates, but at the end of the day, with terrorists striking, hurricanes flooding and children dying all over the world, I'll sleep better at night knowing Hillary and Bill Clinton are in the White House than John and Elizabeth Edwards. That said, I would still sleep very well knowing John and Elizabeth Edwards were in the White House, and if John Edwards wins the nomination, I will work extremely hard to make sure he wins the election next November.

So what is it about Elizabeth Edwards that makes us all like her so much? As we noticed when we met with her last year during her book tour, she has this down-to-earth quality that shows both her intelligence and her kindness, without any superficial attitude or put-on interest. She genuinely likes to meet new people, she has a wonderfully light way about her, and she sat down with us like we were all old friends. She's also a little bit of a geek, hanging out on the blogs late at night in hotel rooms while traversing the campaign trail, which I find endearing. And she has dealt with major life challenges with the death of her son and her breast cancer, both of which have only added more depth to her persona and more commitment to the causes meaningful to her. I find her both incredibly inspiring and acutely insightful.

Where do we go now? Well, she's promised to meet with the DC Metro Moms Blog and the Chicago Moms Blog as well, so hopefully that will transpire. The SVMoms still seek to meet with other candidates and their spouses, regardless of party, and I hope to help facilitate that. Although I realize it is a long shot because Elizabeth Edwards is unique in her connection to mommybloggers, I think the other candidates could benefit greatly from the discussion with the women in our network - all of whom are highly educated, qualified people in their own right, not just moms, and all of whom represent a key group of women voters.

Some of us from the SVMoms Blog spoke today with various members of the press about our meeting, and one of the points brought up was that this event really has no precedent. The reporter in one case couldn't recall another time where a group of bloggers was given such intimate access to a candidate or candidate's wife. I think this holds great promise for blogs to provide another vehicle for kitchen table and New Hampshire-style living room meet-and-greet democracy. If we can take these small conversations taking place in person and somehow transmit that feeling through the web, we might all feel a little closer to the national political process after all. Thank you Elizabeth.

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Also posted at sairy.com.

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