Bill and Melinda Gates and Eli Broad are teaming up on an education initiative targeting the early presidential primary/caucus states in order to push candidates of both parties to take up the cause of education reform. The Gates' and Broad are promising a $60 million campaign in the first four states. Broad said the campaign will "try to get all the candidates to be interested in education, not let them get by with the pablum of 'We need better schools and better teachers.'"
The other "Law and Order" star who has been dipping his toe into presidential politics, Sam Waterson gives a speech at the National Press Club today promoting Unity '08, the group that's trying to get a bipartisan presidential ticket elected. In an interview with First Read, Waterson said he got involved because he thinks it is time for the country to have an "independent executive" with "no strings attached." He believes that no matter who wins the GOP and Dem nominations, there will be room for a Unity '08 candidate because candidates "are affected by the river they are swimming in" -- meaning that no matter the rhetoric a candidate espouses for the middle, the candidate will always owe their base. Asked about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Waterson called him a "probable" Unity '08 candidate, but admitted he hadn't spent time with Bloomberg about the idea. He clearly is smitten with Bloomberg. Asked about his "Law and Order" colleague Fred Thompson, Waterson said, based on his conversations with the Republican actor, he thinks Thompson will run.
And speaking of independent or third-party candidates, "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett is teaming up with MySpace to launch a reality TV show to find an indie presidential candidate. Prize money: $1 million, but the money has to be spent on an actual campaign. No TV network has picked up the show.