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Listener Says John Edwards Should Cheat Smarter


And now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get a chance to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy, is here with me as usual. Hi, Lee.

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, political and media circles here in Washington, D.C. are abuzz about the saga of former North Carolina Senator and presidential hopeful John Edwards. Last week, after previous adamant denials, Edwards admitted he did father a child by his mistress, Rielle Hunter. And this week we're hearing reports that John and Elizabeth Edwards have legally separated.

MARTIN: And Lee, we can always count on our very own TELL ME MORE producer, Alicia Montgomery(ph), to rattle our blog readers. Alicia wrote a post last week taking issue with marital infidelity by public figures.

She said it suggests a great deal about their integrity as leaders, but not everybody agreed. We caught up with blogger Matthew, who posted this response.

MATTHEW: If Americans would grow up, then John Edwards would not have had to scuttle around trying to cover his tracks so desperately. It would also have helped if he had better taste in women and better sense with sex. Wear a condom, man, and for good measure, find a lover who doesn't want to get pregnant. If Americans realize that one's sex life has no connection to one's presidential or leadership abilities, then none of l'affair Edwards would matter to anyone besides those directly involved.

MARTIN: Well, thank you, Matthew. Tell us what you really think. Lee, any updates?

HILL: Yes, a few updates, Michel. In December, we spoke with the president of Jackson State University, Ronald Mason, who along with the heads of two other historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State University, opposed Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's proposal to merge the schools.

But now Mason seems to have had a change in his perspective about a merger. We've obtained a copy of a PowerPoint presentation made by Mason that does, in fact, call for the three schools to be merged into one, and this week he told a Mississippi newspaper that such an idea, quote, "really would be a model for the next generation of HBCUs."

Now, we asked Mr. Mason to explain the apparent shift, and he issued a statement that reads in part, quote: "I simply offered one suggestion on how to survive and get stronger." Now, the full statement will be available on our Web site, and we've invited Mr. Mason back on our program, Michel, to explain the change in his thinking.

MARTIN: Good idea.

HILL: And finally, about this time last year, we reported on a tragic story out of Oakland, California. Twenty-two-year-old Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man, was shot and killed by then-transit police officer Johannes Mehserle, who is white.

Now, the shooting was captured on videotape, and the incident sparked outrage and rioting in the city. Mehserle has since resigned and is waiting to be tried on the murder charges, but Wednesday, Michel, city transit officials announced a $1.5 million settlement for Grant's five-year-old daughter, Tatiana.

MARTIN: Thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: And remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. You can also long on to our Web site. Just go to npr.org, click on programs, then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Michel Martin is the weekend host of All Things Considered, where she draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she has also hosted "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.
Lee Hill
Writer and blogger Lee Hill is a multimedia journalist and founding producer of Tell Me More hosted by Michel Martin – the first NPR program to begin as an open online project and evolve into an award-winning daily, national news and talk show with its own blog. He can be heard weekly – both on-air and online – reporting on happenings in the blogosphere as the show's "digital media guy" in the Tell Me More's Friday "BackTalk" segment.