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Edwards Tosses His Hat Into . . . Podcasting

By Brian Faler
Friday, March 25, 2005; Page A05

John Edwards may be out of office, but that doesn't mean you still can't hear him.

The former vice presidential candidate this week released his first podcast, an online audio recording featuring Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, chatting about the NCAA basketball tournament, her breast cancer treatments, his opposition to President Bush's Social Security plans and (pander alert) his respect for bloggers.

"I also want to say that I know bloggers have really taken a leading role in this effort to fight to protect Social Security," Edwards says, mentioning a few names and sites, such as www.thereisnocrisis.com. The 25-minute recording is available on his Web site, www.oneamericacommittee.com.

Edwards, who is running a poverty center at the University of North Carolina and is believed to be pondering another run for the White House, wasn't known for his tech savvy during his 2004 campaign. But he is now one of the few politicians to venture into the world of podcasting. It is populated, mostly, by otherwise anonymous individuals who have posted recordings of themselves discussing everything from God to wine. Their audio files can be heard online or downloaded onto portable digital audio players. Democrat Donnie Fowler was the first pol to launch a podcast, during his unsuccessful bid earlier this year to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Podcasting is not just for Democrats. The Republican National Committee has released its own podcasts on www.gop.com -- although they will sound familiar to anyone who has watched the party's Web video series "Off the Record." They are the audio portions of those interviews with GOP politicians.

"Additional podcasts will be available soon," the RNC Web site said.

Ins and Outs of R.I.'s Senate Race

Abortion rights advocates were sighing with relief this week, after Rep. James R. Langevin (D-R.I.) announced that he will not challenge Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-R.I.) , a supporter of abortion rights, in the 2006 elections.

Langevin, who was considered his party's preferred candidate -- but who opposes abortion rights -- said he will forgo the race to hold on to his current job. "I have come to the conclusion that rather than starting over in the Senate, I can be most effective for Rhode Island by building seniority in the House," he told the Associated Press.

Some early polling had suggested that Langevin enjoyed a sizable lead over Chafee, a moderate who is considered one of the GOP's most vulnerable incumbents. But the three-term Langevin's potential candidacy had already divided his party and promised a bitter primary fight. Langevin said he will support either Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.) or former state attorney general Sheldon Whitehouse for the seat.

He urged the party's only declared candidate -- Secretary of State Matthew A. Brown -- to drop out of the contest.

"Matt Brown's a nice guy. But I don't think he has the experience to work in the Senate," Langevin said. Brown declined the invitation, while neither Kennedy nor Whitehouse has announced plans. All three Democrats support abortion rights.

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