The Women's Conference 2007 sold out in less than three days, a conference record. The conference gathered nearly 14,000 participants on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007, and featured a panel discussion moderated by Shriver of five presidential candidates' spouses, Jeri Thompson, Michelle Obama, Cindy Hensley McCain, Elizabeth Edwards and Ann Romney. Bill Clinton did not attend because of a scheduling conflict, though Shriver joked that he had been "invited to serve coffee". The conversation touched on the role of the spouses in the campaign, the public's perceptions of the spouses, preparing their families for and protecting them from the campaign. Jon Stewart lampooned the first-ever "wives debate" on the October 30 edition of Comedy Central's The Daily Show.
Also in 2007, New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas Friedman moderated a conversation on leadership and the environment between former Prime Minister Tony Blair and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Due to the October 2007 California wildfires, Governor Schwarzenegger was unable to attend the conference in person and instead participated briefly via live satellite, giving an update on the status of the fires and fire fighters.
In 2006 the Dalai Lama delivered his "first-ever address to a women's conference" on stage with Maria Shriver. He expressed his belief that women can change the world with compassion and kindness, and reportedly led the 14,000 women through a meditation exercise.
In 2005 Barbara Walters and Maria Shriver engaged in an on-stage conversation with Sandra Day O'Connor on the heels of her decision to leave the U.S. Supreme Court.
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