In '04, Peter Jennings Told Mrs. Edwards 'How Real...How Refreshing' She Was in Politics
ABC’s come a long way on middle-aged moms in politics. Four years ago, ABC’s lead anchor interviewed a Democratic vice presidential nominee’s wife, Elizabeth Edwards, and let her boldly speak about how men "with good hearts" don’t understand how they seem to disparage women's opinions. On the July 28, 2004 World News Tonight, the Wednesday night of the Democratic convention in Boston, Peter Jennings asked Mrs. Edwards questions Charles Gibson didn’t ask Sarah Palin: "So much is being made all the time about how real you are...And how refreshing it is to have a mother of young children out there in a very public way." Jennings also asked about her husband John: "Many months ago, he told me not only were you the most beautiful girl in your class, but he also said you were smarter than he was. Is that true?" Here's the meat of it:
PETER JENNINGS: So much is being made all the time about how real you are.
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: Whatever that means.
JENNINGS: And how refreshing it is to have a mother of young children out there in a very public way. But you are millionaires. How do you stay in touch with what it means to struggle?
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: Well, we weren't always in the position that we're in. And if you ask my children what a blue light special is at K-Mart they know, you know, because, because you don't, old habits are hard to break. Though we have the luxury of not having to think about, as I know so many families have, as we did for so long, have to think about the consequences of your car breaking down or the consequences of some expense that you didn't anticipate.
TERESA HEINZ-KERRY [clip of her convention speech]: It is time for the world to hear women's voices.
JENNINGS: We asked Mrs. Edwards about Mrs. Kerry, who spoke here last night. Mrs. Kerry had emphasized that she was a woman with opinions.
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: She talked about women and talked about how a woman might be called opinionated, whereas if she were a man, she might be called smart and well-informed. And the women in the audience all stood up and cheered, I had women in my, in the box with me, and we all stood and cheered. There are men I know very well, men of good hearts and they didn't get it, in a sense. It didn't seem to them an applause line. But we understood something, because, I'm sure, intuitively and because we understand from experience, that sometimes if you express yourself as a woman, you know, you might, people might furrow their brow or think what you are saying is inappropriate when exactly the same thing could come out of the mouth of a man and it's great, at least from a woman's perspective.
That perspective seemed to missing during the ABC Palin interview, as when Charles Gibson furrowed his brow at Palin and said "I got lost in a blizzard of words there." It's hard to remember Gibson saying something like that to Barack Obama.