After progressive (Pam Spaulding) and conservative (Andrew Sullivan, Chris Crain) bloggers fumed over the announcement that HRC and co-sponsor Logo selected HRC director Joe Solmonese and rock star Melissa Etheridge to serve as the sole panelists, HRC secured Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News to moderate and Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for the panel.
HRC/LOGO Pick Journalists for Forum
HRC is expected to announce the update sometime today.
Melissa Etheridge is no political slouch, however. After she came out during the Clinton Inauguration in 1992, she received a solid political education from National Gay and Lesbian Task Force board member and entertainment lawyer Alan Hergott and his partner Curt Shepard - now a PH.d who heads Government Relations for the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center. Etheridge was also couched by NGLTF executive director Urvashi Vaid, then HRC executive director Elizabeth Birch (remember the Equality Rocks concert with Tipper Gore on drums?) and more recently, former Vice President Al Gore. Etheridge also has a long history of involvement with environmental issues through rocker Don Henley and she was a vociferous opponent of the anti-gay marriage initiative, Prop. 22, in L.A. She also has had expereince with gay family and adoption issues, and of course, healthcare through her recent heroic bout with breast cancer.
The Democratic presidential candidates will appear at the Production Group Studios at 1330 North Vine Street for two hours in a serial format. The candidates were allowed to pick the order of their appearance based on when they confirmed their attendance.
The order is: Sen. Barack Obama; former Sen. John Edwards; Sen. Christopher Dodd; Congressmember Dennis Kucinich; Sen. Mike Gravel, Gov. Bill Richardson; Sen. Hillary Clinton. Sen. Joe Biden apparently has a scheduling conflict.