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Did you hear the first presidential debate?  I listened and it was a shocker.  Somehow in a 90-minute conversation about our national economy, we managed to avoid talking about women and families.  The utter failure to touch on key policies that significantly impact our national economy and that matter so much to the majority of our electorate  points to a fundamental misunderstanding of the value of women and families in our economy, in our culture, and in our nation.


This omission is about way more than what candidate said what word.  This omission is about how our culture and our nation values the work of women and values the future contributions of children and families.  Let's face it times have changed.  We have a modern workforce comprised of 50% women for the first time in history.  Women are projected to create more than half of the nearly ten million expected new small business jobs by 2018,  and in our consumer economy, women are making three-quarters of the purchasing decisions.

If that isn’t an economic power that deserves attention during national debates, I don’t know what is.  So we’re going to talk about that today.  We’re going to talk about where women are in our economy and in our national conversation.  We’re going to talk about the debate -- about who said what, what was true and what wasn’t true. We're going to discuss what role social media plays and how we perceive what candidates say.  And we’re going to talk about what was missing and what should have been said.  As a special treat, we also have a media guru and coach coming on to tell us how the candidates should have been sitting.

**You can hear the whole show now by clicking here to get the podcast:

Special guests include:

Joel Silberman, Founder and President, Media Talent 2.0 Inc

Dr. Kimberly Ellis, Affectionately known as “Dr. Goddess,” a Scholar of American and Africana Studies, an Artist, Activist and Entrepreneur

Dana Singiser, Vice President for Public Policy and Government Relations.

Leslie Kantor, Nationally recognized leader in the fields of public health, sexuality education and non-profit organizational development.

Maria Teresa Kumar, Founding Executive Director of Voto Latino

***LISTEN to the entire “MomsRising with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner” radio show here:



 The First Presidential Debate Revealed

               MomsRising Radio with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner Highlights:

Joel Silberman is the Founder and President of Media Talent 2.0 Inc

On what body language tells us about candidates during a debate (At 5:22 on iTunes

“The most important part of demeanor is to show up with your heart, because heart wins.  And when you talk about debating, there is a difference between debating in the store and debating on television.  On television, it’s optics.  And that’s what’s so interesting.  People who listened to this debate on the radio, had a different context for this debate than those who watched it.  On radio, this seemed much more measured and not so distant between the two candidates.  But on television, there was a big difference and that’s optics.  So for television, you’ve got to hold yourself up at all times.  When you look at your opponent, you look right at them and be present with them and then after you’ve done that, if you look away to take notes, do it.  Don’t just slink away.  Do it -- change your focus, but keep your heart present…”

“On TV we hear 80 percent with our eyes and 20 percent with our ears.  That’s not my figure.  That’s a study that was done at NYU about what people retain.  They retain what they see when they’re watching television, much more so than what they hear.  That’s why this was so dramatic seeming because the optics are what make television what it is.  And the physical is extraordinarily important…”

Dr. Kimberly Ellis is affectionately known as “Dr. Goddess,” she is a Scholar of American and Africana Studies, an Artist, Activist and Entrepreneur

On the way social media influences how politicians present themselves and talk about the issues that they stand for (At 22:02 on iTunes

“Even dealing with television, candidates know that they have to speak in sound bites.  And you know, Twitter is nothing but 140-character sound bites, right? We know that you’re not going to be able to get away with all of the lies and manipulation and obfuscation that you know others have gotten away with in the past.  I mean you will be fact-checked so quickly.  I think even with Mitt Romney, the fact-checking happened so quickly, especially on Twitter, “That’s not true,”  “Oh, you didn’t mention that,” or “Oh once again he’s flip flopping.”   It was amazing to watch.  I think even with regard to President Obama, he had some zingers like saying “Oh you almost took my five seconds to make my point” to Jim Lehrer.  I thought that was brilliant.  One, that he did that and second, there were a few zingers that he was able to get in and people caught them, transcribed them, and next thing you know, those went viral. I do think that candidates have to be hyper aware of not just how they perform in sound bite mode but they need to think of themselves in social media mode and that’s a whole other level.”

On how would you tell someone new to Twitter to dive in (At 22:58 on iTunes

“Well first of all, women are dominating social media  - and they're doing a vigilant, excellent job. Twitter is disproportionately female.  It is also disproportionately Black and Latino.  And you know, for any new user, I would say first and foremost, make sure that your name is brief -- try to keep it at 10 characters or less if you can.  And do not come on with an egg.  You have to put up a picture and you have to just be personable.  I think that what I’ve experienced in my life on Twitter and social media and then going to live events is that when you are your authentic self, you’re experiencing social media, and as you go out in the public, it will be increased exponentially.  I have met so many wonderful people and have had so many wonderful experiences from simply coming online and even with a brand like Dr. Goddess, I’m still my authentic self, even as Dr. Goddess. I can laugh and joke even at my brand but as people experience Dr. Goddess, they know they’re dealing with a scholar, and artist, and activist; somebody who loves to travel and a techie -- who’s created a number of different hats.  I suggest that you’ve got to get in.  You have to get on board or you will be left behind.  And then when you do get on board, simply be yourself.  You can be as private as you want to be.  You do not have to tell all your family details.  I know some women are really concerned about that.”

Dana Singiser is the Vice President for Public Policy and Government Relations.

On how we view birth control in our modern political climate (At 29:21 on iTunes

“Well I think that’s a really good question and it’s particularly a head scratcher in a year where the economy is so at the top of minds. We know that on average, a woman spends about $600 a year on on contraception, which really is a pocketbook issue. That’s money that can be spent on groceries, on education, and on other expenses that a family’s trying to meet in our day to day lives.  So I think the sort of expanded playing field to birth control is particularly a head scratcher for us here… Of course that’s sort of the ultimate economic insult for women is an assumption that we should not be able to control the timing and spacing of our children and control our economic and educational lives as a result of having unplanned pregnancies.

The other really interesting aspect to the fiscal argument that you’re making is the cost to the federal government.  And we know that for every dollar spent for family planning in a Title X program, the federal government saved nearly $4.00 in Medicaid dollars.  So you know, this fiscal conservative, or so-called fiscal conservative in the race, Mitt Romney, seems to have missed that fact I think it’s worth repeating -- for every dollar spent in Title X Family Planning Program, the federal government saves $4.00 in Medicaid.”

Leslie Kantor is a nationally recognized leader in the fields of public health, sexuality education and non-profit organizational development.

On what is the proper age to talk about birth control (At 38:26 on iTunes

“Ideally talking about topics related to sex and sexuality is something that parents are doing with their children from very young ages.  The truth is that there are opportunities to address issues like the differences and similarities between boys and girls and what’s a good friendship and a bad friendship.  All of those issues are things that ideally people start talking about when children are very, very little and then they continue the conversation.  So one that’s important to keep in mind is that old idea of the talk is something that we need to actually get rid of forever because it can’t just be one conversation.  When it comes to a topic like birth control, that is a topic that is going to become more relevant as people become teenagers and get older and may actually be getting involved in sexual relationships, which happens with somewhat older teens.”

“There are more and more studies that show that when parents talk to their teens about issues related to sex, those teens wait longer to have sex.  In other words, they abstain longer until they’re older and they are also more likely to use birth control and condoms when they have sex.  We also have hundreds and hundreds of studies that show the same thing in terms of sex education; that when sex education is good quality, when it talks about again, both delaying and using birth control, the young people who get comprehensive sex education wait longer and are more likely to use safe sex methods.  So in fact, more information is very protective for teenagers.”

Maria Teresa Kumar is the Founding Executive Director of Voto Latino

On why is it important, critical even, for candidates to speak to the Latino community directly: (At 51:48 on iTunes

“Well first of all, Latino issues are American issues so as I mentioned before, Latinos care about the economy, they care about job creation, they care about education; and they care about the welfare of  their homes and obviously immigration. Those are top issues among the American public so it’s not that different.  What’s powerful about the impact of the Latino vote is that they are geographically dispersed in places that they weren’t necessarily in 2008 where their vote definitely mattered but now because of the census, we actually have a different congressional district that can weigh in much stronger than they could before, and all of a sudden you have states such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Indiana; even Ohio, where there’s been an explosion of the Latino community and that’s resulted in the electoral power in those states.  That’s where it’s becoming interesting, why the Latino vote now is definitely a swing vote, because again they weren’t counted necessarily in 2008 but because of re-districting, and the Electoral College, the way it works, there’s been increased weight in these states.”

On the work that you’re doing with Voto Latino to help bring out those votes (At 53:03 on iTunes

“So one of the biggest events was one that we created in partnership with League of Women Voters, and ATIA - Pacific Islanders. We created the very first National Voter Registration Day on September 25, where, just like Earth Day is a day to celebrate the earth, National Voter Registration Day celebrates civic participation and we along with 1,200 other organizations collectively registered a quarter of a million people on that day… The number one thing is that the way that we power our politics is through people-powered politics and empowerment and that is, I would say, one of our greatest achievements.  So far, within our organization, we’ve registered close to 81,000 registered voters in the key battleground states."

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