In an exclusive on-camera interview with BlogHer, Sen. Obama (D-IL) answers questions about the economy, Iraq, health care and the environment -- including a health-care screening process for every veteran and support for their spouses and families, health insurance coverage for birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies, and working with China and other countries on climate change, a "major problem." (For specific questions and video of answers see the bottom of this post.)
Sen. Obama is the first presidential candidate to accept our invitation to come on-camera to directly address BlogHer's audience, which now reaches nine million women each month via BlogHer.com and a publishing syndicate of 1,800 blogs. The interview was conducted in Roseburg, Oregon, by Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest, with input from Contributing Editor Kim Pearson. BlogHer also has extended an open invitation to Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and John McCain (R-AZ) to discuss their presidential candidacies with this community.
By answering these questions, I think Sen. Obama has made an important statement about the value he personally places on voters, our questions and opinions, the communities we reach on our blogs and, ultimately, our votes. That's a powerful message. Especially since BlogHer is a non-partisan organization the women in our network span the political spectrum. This isn't a presidential candidate preaching to the converted -- it's a presidential candidate reaching out to an important cross-section of American influencers, given the audiences these women reach on their blogs. As I say above, this is an opportunity to speak directly to the voter that BlogHer also has offered to Candidates Clinton and McCain. We very much hope they will take us up on that offer.
Here are Sen. Obama's answers to specific questions:
Thanks everyone! We just posted the senator's answers to individual questions for folks who want to discuss specific issues:
Economy: Sen. Obama answers "How will you create federal public policy that helps families break the cycle of poverty?"
Environment: Sen. Obama answers the question, "We are reaching the point of no return on climate change. What will your legacy be on the environment?"
Health care: Sen. Obama answers "How will you allocate scarce resources to help solve the country's health-care crisis?" and "What is your position on requiring all major private, Medicaid, or federal health insurance plans cover birth control?"
Iraq: Sen. Obama answers three questions about the war in Iraq: 1. Will you work to end the Iraq war before the 2008 election? If so, how? 2. How do you propose to keep paying for the costs of war? 3. What are you physically going to do to help the Veteran's Administration and soldiers in need?
So - what do you think of Sen. Obama's decision to do the interview? Do you think the other candidates should participate? Come on over to this BlogHer discussion and tell us what you think -- and what you like to see from BlogHer's convention coverage.
I'm closing comments below so that we can keep that conversation all in one place - thanks.