Bloggers, Listeners Have Their Say on New Hampshire

Listeners and bloggers react to an active week in politics, marked by the New Hampshire primaries. Also, hear feedback to the program's stories on the 200th anniversary of the abolishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now, it's time for BackTalk, where we lift the curtain on conversations on the TELL ME MORE blog and get a chance to hear from you.

Lee Hill, our Web producer, joins me here in the studio as usual.

Hey, Lee. Big week for politics.

LEE HILL: Big week it has been, Michel. And if you've been plugged into any news outlet over the past 10 days or so, you know that the world of politics as been bursting with action. And for those of you who don't know, let me let in you on something: Michel Martin loves the election season.

MARTIN: Guilty. Guilty. I even had a chance to co-host NPR's Special Election Coverage of the New Hampshire primaries with Robert Siegel, the host of - co-host of ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. And, boy, that was fun.

And I want to thank you, Lee, for blogging that coverage, live, on the TELL ME MORE blog.

HILL: No problem. It was my pleasure. I certainly enjoyed it. But I have to tell you, Michel, that this election has a lot of folks talking about the role of race and gender in America, and of course, I mean, who's going to take the White House in November.

MARTIN: You know, not to brag, but after the New Hampshire primaries, we had on some terrific guests: Karl Rove, the former deputy White House chief of staff for President George W. Bush. Also, the feminist writer and author Gloria Steinem. And I have to tell you that it was Steinem who has many folks says, as you would say, Lee, buzzing.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HILL: That's my word. Yeah.

You talked to Steinem about her recent op-ed in the New York Times. Now, the piece debated the question: Which is the more powerful force in American life? Is it race or is it gender? Now, this is all considering that two of the people running for president - New York Senator Hillary Clinton, is a woman, and Illinois Senator Barack Obama is black. Now, following our discussion with Steinem on this subject, we received this viewpoint from Kerry(ph). She's one of our listeners.

Kerry (Caller): The problem with discussing Hillary and Barack as barometers for the way gender and race play out in politics is that women and African-Americans have been so underrepresented as candidates that when two such figures are suddenly leading the field that they're held up as icons of their entire demographic. Many want to endorse a woman, but not necessarily Hillary. And many want to vote for an African-American, but not necessarily Barack. The only way to get a more broad vision of how race and gender will play out is for many more women and many more so-called minorities to get into politics and into the race.

MARTIN: Thanks, Kerry.

Now, shifting gears, we've had a number of conversations on the program about the - commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. One of our conversations discussed New Jersey's decision to issue a formal apology for its role in slavery. That prompted several of you to write to us with your thoughts.

This was what Edward(ph) had to say.

EDWARD (Caller): None of the people who carried out those acts of slavery are currently living, and therefore I see no reason for every person in that state - you know there are black people that live in that state, there is Hispanic, why should all of them have to apologize for slavery if they had nothing to do with carrying it out. I think that's ridiculous.

HILL: Okay, Edward.

But Jody(ph), one of our bloggers, wrote simply, and I quote, "I agree with New Jersey's bill to apologize for slavery," end quote. And she says - she, of course, has a right to disagree with you, and opinions are always varying on the TELL ME MORE blog. So thank you, Jody, and thank you, Edward.

MARTIN: Lastly, we have a bit of sad news. We want to extend our condolences to Cheli English-Figaro. Of course, she's one of our Mocha Moms, one of our regulars. She lost her 16-year-old niece, Erica(ph), in a bus crash in Utah earlier this week. Seven others were killed in this accident.

Cheli, we, here at TELL ME MORE, want to extend our sympathies to you and your family.

All right. Well, thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: If you want to listen to our program or if you have an opinion about any of our segments, please, feel free to go to our Web site, npr.org/tellmemore, and blog it out.

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