Thursday, January 31, 2008

Republican California Debate Summarized

I'll add to this summary tomorrow. It will be included in this post.


QUESTION 1: AMERICANS BETTER OFF?


"That said, let's begin. The first question is actually a question that will go to all of you, but I'll start with Governor Romney.

Ronald Reagan himself asked this question during a debate. During a 1980 debate, he suggested Americans determine who to vote for by asking themselves, are you better off than you were four years ago?

So tonight, in terms of the economy, are Americans better off than they were eight years ago?"


a. MITT ROMNEY: dismisses the relevance of this question since President George W. Bush is not running for a third term (he can't). Suggests instead, that Americans focus their attention on whether residents in Massachusetts, the state, he ran are better off but when pressed, says Washington is in need of change.

b. JOHN MCCAIN: offers a mixed assessment that takes into consideration the low unemployment numbers and the vulnerability many working Americans, who have money in the stock market have.

c. MIKE HUCKABEE: says we aren't doing too well and will undergo more financial strain if things do not change in Washington

d. RON PAUL: says we aren't better off and blames our foreign policy, monetary policy and fiscal policy.


QUESTION 2: ROMNEY ON MCCAIN'S CONSERVATISM CHALLENGED


"Governor Romney, you've spent the last several days warning voters that John McCain as president would follow, quote, "liberal Democratic -- a liberal Democratic" course. But by most measures, doesn't he have a pretty mainstream conservative record?"


MITT ROMNEY: concedes that, yes, McCain has a conservative voting record on many issues but then points to the senator's unorthodox positions on Alaska oil drilling, campaign finance reform, illegal immigration, and a cap-and-trade greenhouse gas program. notes McCain won the endorsement of The New York Times, a liberal newspaper conservative Republicans love to hate.

b. JOHN MCAIN: says he offers a consistently conservative voting record while reaching across the aisle to get things done. notes he was endorsed by two Massachusetts newspapers, including The Boston Herald which is a conservative (though not "very") newspaper. (The Manchester Union Leader, which also endorsed him, is a "very conservative" newspaper though he didn't bring that up). He challenged Mitt Romney's conservative credentials by pointing to the governor's health insurance mandate and fee raises totaling $730 million. Says the state lost jobs under his term. McCain wins the newspaper endorsement fight.

c. MITT ROMNEY: blamed his predecessor, Governor Jane Swift, for the job losses and claims he brought jobs back to his state and claims that his state raised fees by only $240 million and that was to offset a budget shortfall of $3 billion. Didn't want to raise taxes. Fees had narrow impact.


QUESTION 3: HUCKABEE ON HUCKABEE'S CONSERVATISM CHALLENGED



"Governor Huckabee, Rush Limbaugh says if you or Senator McCain were nominated, would be the nominee, you would, quote, "destroy the Republican party." Your reaction?"



MIKE HUCKABEE: Loves Rush Limbaugh and considers him a great voice for conservatism who happens to be wrong with respect to the governor's conservatism. Says he created the first ever broad based tax cuts and consistently supported amendments banning abortion and gay marriage. Believes he streamlining government.


QUESTION 4: RECONCILING ROMNEY'S GUBERNATORIAL LEADERSHIP TO CONSERVATISM


"First question from the readers, Governor Romney, is from Jonathan Rubin (sp) in Fairfax, Virginia. As governor of Massachusetts, as Senator McCain just pointed out, you raised hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue through so-called fees and loophole closings, and you passed a health care bill forcing individuals to buy insurance under threat of a fine.

How do you reconcile that policy with your claim to be the authentic conservative? "


MITT ROMNEY: Fees can be justified when they are used to cover services rendered. Says the fees in Massachusetts weren't raised for several years and were due for a raise. Mandating health insurance was done for a conservative reason - for denying free health care to free loaders.


QUESTION 5: CALIFORNIA'S GREEN HOUSE GAS EMISSION STANDARDS


"This is for Senator McCain. Senator McCain, Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed that California be allowed to implement much tougher environmental regulations on emissions requirements than are -- that apply to the rest of the country. This is an initiative that conservatives generally oppose, and the Bush administration rejected California's request. Do you side with the governor or with the Bush administration?"

JOHN MCCAIN: Says he's a federalist who believes the governor not only has the right to to implement tougher environmental regulations but is right in doing so. Says global warming is a problem. Vows not to sign a treaty that does not include China and India. Says nuclear energy is one alternative resource to gas. Distances self from Bush administration which, in his view, hasn't offered enough financing in research & development, caps-and-trade, and tax incentives. Comment: thinks McCain is right on this point.


MITT ROMNEY: Says California should be allowed to implement tougher environmental regulations and believes moving the United States towards energy independence makes sense in the abstract but believes imposing burdensome regulations will only encourage businesses to move overseas. Response to follow-up suggests he does not agree with the governor's approach. Comment: Good point from Romney.


MIKE HUCKABEE: says California should be allowed to do what it wants. Views federalism as the perfect laboratory. Confident other states will follow if California is right.


RON PAUL: Says California should be allowed to impose caps if it wants, but then contradicts himself (so I think) when he says we have forgotten the "property rights" issues related to green house gas regulation.


QUESTION 6: HUCKABEE'S CONSERVATISM CHALLENGED USING HIGHWAY EXPANSION PROPOSAL


"yes. Let's turn for a minute to the troubled economy we're trying to deal with. Governor Huckabee, President Bush and some of your opponents on the stage here believe that giving income tax rebates is the best way to stimulate the economy. You've disagreed and suggested that spending federal highway money to widen I-95 from Bangor to Miami would do more to help the nation's economy. Now, how is that idea different from the big-government projects that we usually associate with Democrats?"

a. MIKE HUCKABEE: sidesteps the question (how he can reconcile big government spending projects with conservative claim) by suggesting it will create government jobs while rebuilding his infrastructure. Adds a joke for good measure (about which highways get the added lanes).

b. MITT ROMNEY: investment in the nation's infrastructure will be good for the economy, for business and those looking for work but the stimulus won't go in effect immediately. Designs have to be prepared, eminent domain taken care of and approvals met. Give this one to Romney for bringing us down to earth.

c. RON PAUL: questions where Huckabee will get the money to expand the highways, says we are wasting money overseas, pushes for tax cuts and spending cuts.


QUESTION 7: LOWER INTEREST RATES FOR THOSE WITH BAD CREDIT

"We're staying on the economy here. As you well know, foreclosures last year were up 75 percent. A lot of people are losing homes. A lot of people who have adjustable-rate mortgages are about to have them adjust up.

(Name and location inaudible) -- wants to know if you have a plan to help people with bad credit get lower interest rates, so they can keep those homes and avoid foreclosure."


COMMENT: why the concern for those who have "bad credit?" Should they ever have been in the housing market? What about helping those with "good credit?" What kind of sick, twisted sense of fairness to these journalists have?


JOHN MCCAIN: thinks this is a tough situation and credits the administration for the "efforts made so far." thinks some on Wall Street need to be punished for lending money to those who could not afford to pay the money back, make the tax cuts permanent and discard the alternative minimum tax.

COMMENT: McCain didn't answer the question neither in the affirmative or in the negative. He should have told the moderators that those with poor credit rating deserve no relief.


QUESTION 8: MCCAIN'S TAX CUT FLIP-FLOP



"Senator McCain, you're talking about making the tax cuts permanent, and as Governor Romney pointed out before, you opposed the Bush tax cuts the first time around. Now more recently you've been saying that the reason why you opposed the tax cuts at first was because they weren't offset by spending cuts. But back when you actually voted against the tax cuts in Congress, you said you opposed them because they favored the wealthy too much.

So which is it? And if they were too skewed to the wealthy at first, are they still too skewed to the wealthy?"



JOHN MCCAIN: says lower and middle-income Americans deserve some hope, then touts his credentials as a Reagan "foot soldier." Says he had a package of tax cuts which were tied to reduced government spending, which he blamed for Republican losses during the midterm Congressional election.


MITT ROMNEY: said he appreciates McCain's support for the Reagan Revolution than goes on the attack by suggesting that Ronald Reagan would have supported the Bush tax cuts. Says spending cannot be addressed adequately without tackling the entitlement programs but does not offer a means he would cut spending.



QUESTION 9: IMMIGRATION - CHANGING THE LAW TO DENY CITIZENSHIP TO THOSE WHO ARE BORN OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS


"Obviously we're here in California, where one- third of the population is Hispanic. Latino immigration has been a huge issue in this campaign from the beginning.

Governor Huckabee -- (name and location inaudible) -- wants to know, in order to curb illegal immigration, do you support making changes in the law that would give citizenship only to children who are born to parents who are legally in this country at the time the child is born?"


MIKE HUCKABEE: says the Supreme Court already ruled on this issue (without informing us which way it went, for those interested - pro-illegal) then moves on to his support for building a fence within 18 months

COMMENT: Well, obviously I support three-tiered, very high fence construction that starts at the Pacific Ocean and heads west to the Gulf of Mexico but the governor is dodging the issue. He can, given the Supreme Court's new make up, challenge the Court's prior ruling by passing a restrictive law.


QUESTION 10: IMMIGRATION - DEPORTING ILLEGALS WITHIN 90 DAYS


"Governor Romney, I interviewed you in New Hampshire a couple of weeks ago. We talked a little bit about illegal immigration. You've taken a very hard stance against illegal immigration.

You said at the time that you felt that there's -- for a lot of illegal immigrants who are there, under your plan, we could deport many of them within 90 days. How could that happen?

How could we do it that quickly?"


ROMNEY: "I think you may be confusing me with somebody else, but perhaps not. Let me tell you what my plan is.

(Inaudible) -- at the time -- I'll even just give you the quote if you'd like.

You said that many of those could be deported immediately, but that would allow slower deportation process for those with families in deeper roots. When we asked how quickly, you said -- you thought was -- with as quickly as 90 days."


MITT ROMNEY: "Yeah, my plan is this, which is, for those that have come here illegally and are here illegally today, no amnesty. Now how do people return home? Under the ideal setting, at least in my view, you say to those that have just come in recently, we're going to send you back home immediately; we're not going to let you stay here, you just go back home. For those that have been here, let's say, five years and have kids in school, you allow kids to complete the school year, you allow people to make their arrangements and allow them to return back home. Those that have been here a long time with kids that have responsibilities here and so forth you let stay enough time to organize their affairs and go home."


Comment: Is it me or did I not in fact here that the governor is changing his position on illegal immigration again. He's beginning to sound like John McCain and the authors of the mis-described "comprehensive immigration" bill. The bill that was voted on made such differentiations between those who just got here and those who were here for a long time. By the way, the question was left unanswered.


QUESTION 11: IMMIGRATION - VOTING FOR YOUR OWN BILL AFTER CHANGE IN PRIORITY

"Senator McCain, let me just take the issue to you, because you obviously have been very involved in it. During this campaign, you, like your rivals, have been putting the first priority, heaviest emphasis, on border security. But your original immigration proposal back in 2006 was much broader and included a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are already here.

What I'm wondering is, and you seem to be downplaying that part, at this point, if your original proposal came to a vote in the Senate floor, would you vote for it?"


COMMENT: Great question for someone who changed his emphasis while avoiding flip-flopping questions.

JOHN MCAIN: Dismisses the question as irrelevant since he believes his bill wouldn't get voted on. Most Americans, he asserts, wants the borders controlled first and did not believe that newly enacted laws regulating immigration would be enforced. Noted that he comes from a border state and knows that walls need to be built and tamper-proof ID cards have to be issued.

COMMENT: I do not share his view given the Democratic Party's control of the House and Senate but even if it didn't, this non-answer can be treated as a dodge since the question was designed to assess McCain's border security reliability.


QUESTION 12: SUPREME COURT JUSTICES - WAS REAGAN RIGHT IN PICKING SONDRA DAY O'CONNOR?

QUESTION: "We're going to be -- actually, we're going to be taking a short break. But before we do, one other question.

Governor -- this one goes to Governor Huckabee. On July 6th, 1981, which was actually Nancy Reagan's birthday, Ronald Reagan wrote in his diary about Justice Sandra Day O'Connor -- and the Reagan Library has graciously allowed us to actually have the original Reagan diary right here on the desk; I'm a little too nervous to actually even touch it -- but that is the -- Ronald Reagan's original diary.

And in it he wrote, by his hand -- he said, "Called Judge O'Connor in Arizona and told her she was my nominee for Supreme Court.

Already the flak is starting, and from my own supporters. Right-to- life people say there's no -- right-to-life people say she's pro- abortion; she declares abortion is personally repugnant to her. I think she'll make a good justice." That's Ronald Reagan's words from his own book.

Governor Huckabee, was she the right choice?"


MIKE HUCKABEE: won't say if Ronald Reagan made the right choice by nominating O'Connor, then pivots to his anti-abortion "pro-life" position, that is, that all life has to be treated equally.


RON PAUL: No, Reagan did not pick someone who was a strict constitutionalist.

JOHN MCCAIN: offers some good words for the former justice and wouldn't second-guess the late president but said he'd nominate justices like John Roberts Jr. and Samuel Alito to t he Supreme Court.

MITT ROMNEY: says he would "much rather have had" a justice like John Roberts Jr., Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, or Clarence Thompson


QUESTION 13: THE REPUBLICAN COALITION AND GEORGE W. BUSH


QUESTION: "And welcome back to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, our continuing debate. We have about a little bit more than 30 minutes left to go, a lot of questions to get to, so let's get started. This first one to Governor Romney.

Peggy Noonan, President Bush's former -- excuse me, President Reagan's former speechwriter, recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal, and I quote, "George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues."

Is the Republican Party better off than it was eight years ago?"



MITT ROMNEY: says the party is not better off but wouldn't blame the president for everything that is wrong in Washington. Noted that the president offered a reform to social security and was sidetracked from his reform agenda by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Does say Washington as a whole spends too much. Says he'd cap inflation at 1%.


QUESTION 14: IRAQ AND TIME TABLE SUPPOSEDLY PROPOSED BY MITT ROMNEY

"Yeah, I'd like to start with Governor Romney.

Obviously Iraq is still a major issue in this campaign, and over the last few days there's been a real back and forth going on here. Senator McCain has said over and over again that you supported a timetable for phased withdrawal from Iraq.

Is that true?"



MITT ROMNEY: vehemently denied "accusations" that he did support a US troop withdrawal from Iraq and notes that political pundits consider that "accusation" to be a lie. Says he would veto withdrawal time table resolutions. Casts doubt on Senator John McCain's motive by noting that he never raised this issue before. (face - obvious defiance, self-assured, perhaps aggrieved)


JOHN MCCAIN: said the governor at one point did support a time table for a troop withdrawal (obvious smirk suggests he genuinely believes he's in the right here). Prepared to make any sacrifice needed to win the war in Iraq. Notes that the governor declined to offer an opinion on the troop surge when it counted - when Senator Harry Reid said the war was lost and the talk was about "time tables."

CROSS TALK BETWEEN JOHN MCCAIN AND MITT ROMNEY OVER WHAT WAS SAID

COMMENT: Mitt Romney gets the better of this exchange in part because the senator quoted only a part of what Mitt Romney said and because Mitt Romney forcefully made his point. On the substance, though, both are right. Mitt Romney supported a privately agreed-upon surge, but not a publicly-broadcast one so McCain's accusation is false. Romney's support for the surge is, however shaky because, as McCain noted, Romney did not speak out for it that April. Moreover, supporting a private timetable undercuts the governor's support for the war in Iraq. Whether it is devised and agreed upon in private or disclosed to the public, a time table for a withdrawal is an acknowledgment that the war is either un-winnable or too costly to be won. The "white flag" goes up either way.

MITT ROMNEY: says he didn't take a position on many issues because he was too busy governing Massachusetts. Announced his support for the surge just prior to the president's announcement. Says these "accusations" are a part of the "Washington-style" politics the American public wants to get away from.


JOHN MCCAIN: says Romney started the attack ads. Notes that he was the one who called for Rumsfeld's head.

(perhaps he is correct but this sounds very petty and it is no excuse for distortion)


QUESTION 15: IRAQ - TROOPS IN IRAQ FOR 100 YEARS

"Congressman Paul, this comes from Jay Majundar (sp) from Roswell, Georgia, and he wants to know if you agree with Senator McCain's statement that the United States might need to have U.S. troops in Iraq for as long as even a hundred years."


RON PAUL: No and we should never have been in there from day one. We don't have the money to sustain this campaign. This debate between McCain and Romney is meaningless and should be replaced by one pitted between interventionists and non-interventionists. Al Qaeda was not in Iraq until we invaded the country.


MIKE HUCKABEE: hopes it doesn't take that long but need to leave with victory and honor without leaving the country a mess. Leaving now means, he believes, giving Al Qaeda free reign to use Iraq's territory as a training camp.


MCCAIN: We have troops in South Korea. We have troops in Bosnia. We have troops in Kuwait. We'll have troops in Iraq for a long time. National security interests compel us to keep them in Iraq. Says he was the one to put his political career on the line by supporting the unpopular surge, then takes credit for pushing for Rumsfeld's resignation and the adoption of General Petreaus' military strategy.


QUESTION 16: PUTIN'S SOUL

"President Bush once said he looked into the eyes of Russian President Vladimir Putin and found him to be, quote, "very straightforward and trustworthy," and that he, quote, "got a sense of his soul." Senator McCain says he looks into Putin's eyes, and he sees three letters: KGB.

When you look at President Putin, what do you see?"



MIKE HUCKABEE: says he cannot really look into people's souls but he does look into their actions. Reagan was right - peace through strength. Need to beef up the military.


MITT ROMNEY: Putin is an a autoritarian that is seeking to rebuild Russia into the powerhouse that it once was. Oppressive government. Need to help our allies while confronting Russia, China, and Al Qaeda problems.


QUESTION 17: LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS OF MCCAIN

"I want to start with Senator McCain. There's been a lot of discussion lately about the importance of leadership and management experience. What makes you more qualified than Mitt Romney, a successful CEO and businessman, to manage our economy?"


JOHN MCCAIN: led "the largest squadron in the United States Navy" out of patriotism and not profit (a dig on Romney),served in uniform, knowledge and background to fight the war against Islamic terrorism. Played a role in denying troop withdrawal


MITT ROMNEY: people look to governors, not senators, to lead this nation because they (he) have the experience of running an organization. Says he successfully started and then turned around a business. Olympics reform mentioned. Need someone who knows the private sector to strengthen the economy.

FOLLOW UP QUESTION:

"Let's turn that around. Even today, Rudy Giuliani endorsed John McCain and said that there would be no better commander in chief. What makes you more qualified than John McCain to run the military as commander in chief?"

MITT ROMNEY: regrets not having served in the military but notes that Abraham Lincoln was not in the military.


QUESTION 18: MITT ROMNEY'S LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS


JOHN MCCAIN: thinks Mitt Romney knows how to manage companies and lay people off (another dig that just sounds spiteful). Can't have any "on the job training" which is why he has the support of many retired military forces.


RON PAUL: president is commander in chief of the military but not commander in chief of the economy. need lower taxes and less regulation.


MIKE HUCKABEE: Governors are prepared to run the country and is expecting Romney's endorsement. microcosm of the federal government with every agency found at the federal level found at the state level. Says unfunded mandates have to go. Supports the 10th Amendment and states rights.

COMMENT: not quite that believable since some states have stronger governors and some have weak governors. Some states are larger than others. Some have more diversified economies than others. Some are more populated and more diverse than others.

The Debate

The transcripts for last night's debate can be found here. I think Governor Mitt Romney won the debate. He's obviously a polished speaker who can hold his own in any debate. Governor Mike Huckabee did well too. Senator John McCain didn't look too good in the debate, particularly when he was challenged on Mitt Romney's Iraq War troop withdrawal stance. The senator from Arizona didn't have a good retort to the governor's make the better leaders assertion made by Romney and Huckabee and he had some difficulty handling the immigration questions.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The State of the Union

Tonight President George W. Bush delivered his last State of the Union address. One year from now this nation will watch a new man or woman take the oath of offices and many American citizens, this blogger included, are looking forward to that day when he steps down from office.

Mr. Bush, however gave the American public no indication that he will reach across the aisle. He challenged the Democratic-led Congress to draft their own plan to save the the entitlement programs since his proposal was rejected, urged it to make the tax cuts he proposed and implemented in his first term permanent, called for increased funding of religious charities, threatened to veto pork barrel project-laden bills, slash "bloated" government programs and warned Democrats he will blame them for undermining our nation's national security if they fail to pass his law making his wire tap law permanent by Friday.

This was a partisan speech which the eventual Republican nominee can rally behind if and when the Democratic-led Congress fails to enact his legislation. Democrats sat stone-faced when he called on Congress to enact a FISA law that grants the telecommunication companies that cooperated with him immunity and when he called on Congress to make ht tax cuts permanent while Republicans stood up and cheered. The reverse happened when the president called for a "humane" approach for addressing the millions of illegal immigrants residing in the United States.

As in past State of the Union addresses, the Political Heretic welcomes some of the president's initiatives and discards others. He welcomes the president's belated threat to veto pork-barrel laden bill but is disappointed because this threat was not exercised when his own party was in power. Mr. Bush's promise to cut government programs requires more elaboration in the days ahead.

The president's call for high school Pell grants sounds like a school voucher program. Support for this project depends upon its reach. If it is limited to those who are trapped in the poorer failing school districts the Democrats should embrace the program but tax money should not be allocated to those who are not trapped in those public school systems.

Democrats should reject the president's call to make the tax cuts permanent. We are spending billions of dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so cutting a potential revenue source at this time seems fiscally imprudent. No cuts which the president will propose can offset the spending on those two wars. It should also reject his push to expand charitable care funding. Religious organizations can always look to their attendees for funding measures or appeal to the good will of its richer compatriots.

Mr. Bush once again understated the problems we are facing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The tactical successes accomplished by our men and women in uniform and shifts in tribal alliances have not been met by a political surge in reconciliation. The de-Baathification law that was passed last month is a start but Iraq's leading factions have yet to agree on an equitable distribution of Iraq's oil, or Kirkuk's political status.

The president said nothing of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's failure to capture the Al Qaeda terrorists largely responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon seven years ago.

These issues, plus entitlement reform, will apparently be left for the president's successor. Our state of the union remains in doubt.

Florida and the Democratic Debate

Last week, the Political Heretic said the Democrats would open themselves up to renewed criticism if they voted to restore the delegations they took away from the two states for moving their primary dates up without the party's authorization. Accusations of rigging the election to suit the party's preferred candidate may follow any such change in the rules.

Senator Hillary Clinton said she will urge her delegates to welcome the delegations from Florida and Michigan. Her announcement comes now, after she won the uncontested primary in Michigan and just before the primary she is expected to win tomorrow. Democratic voters in Michigan could not vote for any of her rivals save Representative Dennis Kucinich since the other candidates asked to have their names withdrawn from the ballot once the party disenfranchised that state's voters. She didn't voice her concerns before she lost South Carolina or Iowa. Like her Nevada surrogates who filed a lawsuit in Nevada once Nevada's culinary union endorsed Mr. Obama, Clinton chose to speak out when her campaign for the White House hit a road bump.

Her rivals, knowing Florida's voters will elect zero delegates to the Democratic Convention, bypassed the state to focus their spending on the states that do count. They would have campaigned in both otherwise delegate-rich states if the voters of these states were not disenfranchised and the outcome might have differed in both states.

The damage was done. The Democrats should have done what the Republicans wisely did by cutting that state's delegation in half. Now they will pay the price.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Obama!

Senator Barack Obama routed Senator Hillary Clinton and former Senator John Edwards, capturing 55% of the vote in a three-way race. Eight in ten African Americans men and women Democrats voted for Obama as did 2 in ten white voters. The race-baiting might have contributed to the decline in white votes but it was not the poor showing some within the media establishment thought it would be.

I. Obama's Speech: Masterful

The winner delivered the forceful and stern rebuke to Mr. and Mrs. Clinton that they deserved in his speech tonight without seeming to do so. "This election is about the past versus the future," Senator Barack Obama said. "It's about whether we settle for the same divisions and distractions and drama that passes for politics today or whether we reach for a politics of common sense and innovation, a politics of shared sacrifice and shared prosperity."

His admonishment cloaked in his message of unity, hope and change. Mrs. Clinton polarizes the electorate. Obama appeals to their better angels. Mrs. Clinton acts as if her party must deny the opposing party credit for coming up with transformational ideas. Obama portrays himself as the man willing to give credit where it is do while distancing himself from Reagan's positions.

Obama used his Ronald Reagan comments, which earned him some unwarranted criticism from Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, to buffer his main point of Washington - that the system is so polarized that colleagues on both sides of the political divide can't find anything nice to say about someone on the other side.


II. Clinton's Concession or Lackthereof: Classless

The junior senator from ILlinois doesn't offer independents and Republicans different policy prescriptions for his views squarely align with those presented by the other Democratic candidates. He does, however,present himself in a far more dignified and less polarizing manner. The tone of his campaign is far more conducive for those of us who would like the Democrats and Republicans to engage in a civilized debate.

Mr. and Mrs. Clinton opted to dismiss Obama's win and hoped to give upcoming February 5 primary voters tv broadcast-wide stump speeches. The journalists, particularly those working at MSNBC, deserve credit for cutting them off. Senator Clinton devoted less than five seconds congratulating Senator Obama in her speech.

Mr. and Mrs. Clinton should abandon their cynical strategy which does nothing to heal the wounds that still divide this country.


III. John Edwards


Former Senator John Edwards sought to capitalize from their classless act by extending his and the Clinton family's congratulations to Senator Barack Obama but it's hard to see where he goes from here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Weekend Preview


I. THE SUNDAY INTERVIEW SHOWS




1. "FOX News Sunday" on FOX (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):


Topics This Week - the economic stimulus package compromise and the Republican race
for Florida.


(a) Secretary Henry Paulson on the economic
stimulus package agreement made between the House and the President.

(b) former Governor Mike Huckabee
(R-Arkansas0 lost the momentum he gained in the Iowa caucuses with losses in
Nevada, Michigan, and South Carolina but he hopes to regain it with a victory in
Florida. Question is whether Florida is the "make or break" state for him.

(c) FOX News Sunday Panelists Brit Hume of
FOX News, Mara Liasson of National Public
Radio, Bill Kristol of style="font-style:italic;">The Weekly Standard, and style="font-weight:bold;">Juan Williams of National Public Radio on the
upcoming Republican primary fight for Florida. The question is who will win and
who will have the most to lose.

This show, which is hosted by Chris Wallace,
is repeated at 2:00 PM ET and 6:00 PM ET on FOX News Sunday.


2. "This Week" on ABC (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET on the Philadelphia affiliate and 10:30
AM ET on the New York affiliate):

Topics This Week - Senator Barack Obama's campaign for the Whtie House, the upcoming Republican primary in Florida.

(a) Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois)
offers his assessment of the South Carolina primary results and the race
for the Super Tuesday primaries that follow. Questions concerning former
President Bill Clinton's role in his wife's campaign will come up.

(b) Roundtable - Donna Brazile,
George Will, style="font-weight:bold;">Jacob Weisberg, and style="font-weight:bold;">Cokie Roberts
debate this week's politics with the obvious focus on the Republican debate,
the upcoming Republican primary in Florida, and the Democratic Party's
South Carolina primary results.

This show is hosted by George Stephanopoulos.


3. "Meet The Press" on NBC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):

Topics This Week - Senator John McCain's bid for the White House and some analysis on the Democratic primary race in South Carolina.



(a) Exclusive - Senator John McCain talks
about his campaign for the White House two days before Republicans head vote
in the Florida primary.

(b) insight and analysis on the race for the White House and the South Carolina
primary race with Maureen Dowd of
The New York Times, political
analyst Chuck Todd of NBC News,
and Byron York of
The National Review.

4. "Face The Nation" on CBS: (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):

CBS no longer offers its viewers a preview of this show, which airs on
Sunday mornings. It is hosted by
Bob Schieffer
.


5. "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer on CNN" (Sunday at 11:00 AM ET):

Topics This Week - the economic stimulus package, U.S troops stationed in Iraq, and the two former Republican governors on their race for the White House.

a. General David Petreaus, the commander
of the Multinational Forces stationed in Iraq, on how long troops will
remain in Iraq.

b. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
on the state of the economy and the stimulus package agreement made between
the House and the White House.

c. former Governor Mike Huckabee
(R-Arkansas) on his race for the White House.

d. former Governor Mitt Romney (R-
Massachusetts) on his race for the White House.

This two hour program is hosted by Wolf Blitzer from 11:00 AM ET to 1:00 PM ET.

II. THE WEEKEND TALK SHOWS


1. "Beltway Boys" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 2:00 PM ET):

Topics This Week - the dwindling Republican field, Rudy Giuliani's campaign in Florida, and the economic stimulus package.

(a) Make or Break: preview of the
Republican field and how it could thin out the Republican field.

(b) Do or Die: Former New York City
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's last chance (so we are told) at staying in this
race.

(c) the economic stimulus package: what it
means for us.

(d) ups and downs for the weak.

Co-panelists are Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke.


2. "FOX News Watch" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 2:00 PM ET):

pre-empted for live special coverage of the race down in href="http://www.foxnews.com/foxnewswatch/index.html">South Carolina.


3. "The Chris Matthews Show" on NBC (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):

Topics This Week: The Clinton Machine's Effect on the Obama Campaign and the GOP face off between Mitt Romney and John McCain.


(a) The Democratic Race: Did the Clinton machine end
Barack Obama's bid for The
White House.

(b) The Republican Race: will the two Republican finalists be
John McCain and Mitt Romney?

Panelists will include Katty Kay of the BBC, John Heilermann of New York Magazine, Clarence Page of The Chicago Tribune, Elizabeth Bumiller of The New York Times and host Chris Matthews.


4. "Reliable Sources" on CNN (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):


CNN does not offer its potential viewers with a preview of this show which airs Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM ET. It is hosted by Howard Kurtz.

Democratic Voting Preference II: Barack Obama

Frequent visitors to this blog would know that the Political Heretic advised Iowans who were participating in the Democratic caucus to support Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) because he offered the sound judgment and national security/foreign policy credentials that would allow him to repair the damage the current administration inflicted upon this nation by mishandling the war in Iraq.

Iowa’s participants, however disagreed and caucused for Barack Obama (D-Illinois), the one-term junior senator from Illinois campaigning on a message of change. Mr. Biden’s abysmally poor one-digit showing at the caucus led him as well as his colleague, Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) , and former Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), to drop out that night. Governor Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico) dropped out after coming in a distant third in New Hampshire and Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Illinois) dropped out earlier this week.


I. IDEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES MINIMAL


Democrats participating in the remaining Democratic primaries and caucuses have three candidates to choose from. John Edwards, a one-term former senator from North Carolina, is running the classical populist campaign geared to winning struggling working Americans in rural and urban communities across America. Senator Hillary Clinton, a two term senator from New York and wife of George W. Bush’s predecessor, is running as the “tested and ready” candidate who can take on the Republicans and will need no “on the job training” when she takes the oath of office while letting her surrogates smear her closest competitor. Senator Barack Obama, the senator who claimed Illinois’ seat after trouncing Republican firebrand Alan Keyes, is running as the candidate of change.


The War in Iraq/The Standoff with Iran


The three remaining candidates differ very little on the issues facing America. They all call for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq while promising to negotiate with Iraq’s neighbors. Obama and Clinton would keep residual forces in Iraq to protect the American embassy and civilian workers from Al Qaeda attacks while Edwards would base that residual and crisis management force in Kuwait.

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards castigated Bush for his failure to work with our allies in the region. They would negotiate with the Iranians and its neighbors over the country’s nuclear enrichment program though Clinton hedged her bets by suggesting she opposes a “rush to war.”

Free Trade

They have all distanced themselves from the free trade agreements enacted and implemented by President George W. Bush and his predecessor, former President William Jefferson Clinton. Mrs. Clinton voted for free trade agreements with Oman, Singapore and Chile while opposing CAFTA and failing to vote on the U.S. – Peru Trade agreement passed last year.

Mr. Obama voted for the free trade agreement with Oman and against CAFTA. He defended his vote for an agreement for Peru (even though he did not actually vote one way or the other) in the last debate. Mr. Edwards voted against free trade agreements with Singapore and Chile but voted to normalize trade relations with China.

Immigration

Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton voted for the mis-described "comprehensive immigration reform bill" co-sponsored by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) which would offer the 12 - 20 million illegal immigrants now residing in the United States with a "path to citizenship." Former Senator John Edwards said he would have voted for it. Senator Edwards and Obama said they would allow states to grant illegal immigrants drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. Senator Clinton had five positions on the issue.

Other Hot Button Social Issues

They all support abortion rights and vow to nominate justices that would uphold Roe v. Wade. They would all, if they had not been given the chance to do so, vote for the Employment Nondiscrimination Act which would ban sexual orientation-based discrimination in the work place, and gay-inclusive hate crime bills and repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." They support civil unions and oppose constitutional amendments banning states from recognizing gay marriages.


Health Care

There are some differences in their positions on health care but these differences alone would not justify a vote for one and not the others. They all offer tax subsidies or tax credits for low income Americans who cannot afford health insurance, mandate coverage for children, boost SCHIP and Medicaid funding, open access to the programs offered to civil servants, put forth a more affordable government-run and require businesses to contribute towards if they do not offer plans of their own.

Edwards says he will help states either individually or collectively set up regional health care markets that would function as health insurance purchasing pools offering a choice of competing private and public health care plans. He’d offer lower-to-middle-income (undefined) workers a health care market tax credit (amount not disclosed) to help them buy insurance. This intriguing plan deserves more consideration for it and (public scrutiny from the media) as the race for the White House moves forward.

Obama would offer a new government-run plan for those who cannot purchase insurance from their employers, and create a public watchdog group (his “National Health Insurance Exchange”) which will issue the mandates establishing baseline coverage minimums, evaluate competing plans, regulate premium increases, and publicly compare and contrast the competing plans the uninsured would purchase. The already insured would be allowed to keep their plan.

Clinton, like the other candidates, would offer Americans a choice to select from a government run plan, their employer’s health insurance package, or one of several plans offered to civil servants today. She would subsidize lower income Americans’ purchases by offering “income-related” (progressive – more generous for lower income brackets) tax credits and business tax credits for those that agree to offer coverage to their workers.

The most visible difference, however, concerns mandated coverage for adults.
Obama’s plan only mandates coverage for health insurance while Edwards and Clinton mandate coverage for adults and children. Obama says his opponents’ emphasis on mandates is pointless since, in his view, most people would opt for it if they could afford it. The senator from Illinois views his plan as a stop-gap measure and not as a dramatic overhaul of the health care business.

He would give subsidies to those who are looking for but cannot afford health insurance. Edwards says everyone has to be covered so no one can enter the hospital and get free medical care at another person’s expense. In the last debate, Edwards likened Obama’s argument to the one employed by those who seek to “privatize social security” by dedicating a portion of an employee’s payroll taxes to private savings accounts.

This argument would make more sense if the forced payment for entitlement programs was being debated before a federal court but it is not.

Public bodies can make distinctions between entitlement programs, so Edwards’ concern can be addressed by penalizing would-be upper income free riders by having them pay for the full cost of their treatment at a health facility. In all likelihood, most people in the lower to middle income brackets would weigh the risks and opt for the purchased health insurance coverage so John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton are feuding over a distinction without a difference.

In either case, any plan which these aspiring presidents eventually presents to Congress will be amended to satisfy the needs and concerns of the uncommitted to its passage and in either case the eventual nominee will have to account for how their programs are paid for.

As I said in the last endorsement, voting for a Democrat based upon the particulars of any plan would be an exercise in futility.

Barack's Better Judgment Trumps Clinton's "Experience"

Expressing a preference for one candidate then, comes down to a matter of style and leadership qualities each candidate offers the voters they seek to govern a candidate with sufficient experience, good judgment, and character that could heal this country's divide and repair the damage this president had wrought overseas. These traits lead the Political Heretic to favor Barack Obama.

What the senator from Illinois lacks in experience he makes up in judgment. He opposed the Iraq War from the start and voted against the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment which all but gave the Bush administration the "Gulf of Tonkin" excuse he'd need to go to war with Iran. Edwards voted for the Iraq War resolution while he was in the senate and urged his former senate colleagues to vote against the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment. Clinton voted for both, the war resolution and the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment.

Clinton is a member of many important committees that concern domestic and foreign policy issues and if she immersed herself in the details that would be a definite plus but then again she didn't read the NIE report on Iraq before she voted to give the president the authorization to go to war.

The senator from New York says Bush abused the authority to invade Iraq she, along with others including Joe Biden. Then she inexplicably votes for a measure that at minimum bolsters the argument from some to bomb Iran and at worst authorizes the president to do that. Biden, to his credit, did not. Clinton says she does not support the president's "rush to war" with Iran. That is, a "rush" to war as opposed to a slow, deliberate, and carefully thought out war.


Clinton Tarred by Washingtont


It could be said in her defense that Clinton is trying to balance the concerns of the general electorate, a group that wants someone hawkish enough to stand up to America's enemies with the interests of the left-leaning Democratic voter who generally opposes elective warfare.

This Mrs. Clinton is fighting along the terms of warfare drafted after we lost the Vietnam War. One group thinks we lost because we quit and not because we overextended ourselves; the other group thinks we have lost our way by intervening in problems that are not our own to begin with.

This Mrs. Clinton will stand up to the Republicans any time they enact legislation which the various Democratic interest groups will oppose no matter how rational that reform may or may not be.

This Mrs. Clinton forfeits the use of whatever experience she has to those who say nothing can be done to heal this country's wounds. This is the same Mrs. Clinton who comes out forcefully for five different positions on giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. This is the Mrs. Clinton that refuses to say what she specifically will propose to reform the entitlement programs. And The Mrs. Clinton that cannot say whether she as a parent would have a daughter or son in kindergarten or second grade read about gay families.

This Mrs. Clinton has run an uninspiring, dirty and cynical campaign aimed at tarnishing the good name of her opponents. This Mrs. Clinton lets her surrogates remind speak of Obama's past experimentation with drugs or remind the voters of his middle name "Hussein."

This Mrs. Clinton, in sum, will say and do anything and everything she has to do and say in order to get elected so that she can, then let Washington set the terms of the debate.

Obama Offers Hope by Transcending the Divide

Senator Barack Obama offers voters a far more inspiring and hopeful message. Obama doesn't try to straddle the divide between those who supported the war in Iraq and those who did not; he seeks to transcend it through sound judgment. Mr. Obama doesn't attack the war supporters' motives or repudiate the occasional need for preemptive warfare. Mr. Bush, the senator from Illinois said, got us in trouble because he fought the wrong war. He says we may (though he wouldn't rush us into it) have to use force against the terrorists in the ungovernable parts of Pakistan if that country's president doesn't take action.

In the debates, Obama said he'd lift the cap on taxable income to save social security while Clinton tried to justify her non-answer as a negotiating tactic. He, unlike Clinton, said illegal immigrants should get drivers licenses. The Political Heretic disagrees with him on this point but credits him for answering the question posed to him. Clinton did not.

Mr. Obama speaks of problems that "predate President Bush" while Clinton rails against the Republicans and John Edwards the corporations. The senator from Illinois visits conservative and liberal churches.

Mrs. Clinton's combative personality may win her the primary but it further polarizes this country of ours as well. Obama's reflective, professorial demeanor in the debates could unite it.

Democratic Voting Preference II: Barack Obama

Frequent visitors to this blog would know that the Political Heretic advised Iowans who were participating in the Democratic caucus to support Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) because he offered the sound judgment and national security/foreign policy credentials that would allow him to repair the damage the current administration inflicted upon this nation by mishandling the war in Iraq.

Iowa’s participants, however disagreed and caucused for Barack Obama (D-Illinois), the one-term junior senator from Illinois campaigning on a message of change. Mr. Biden’s abysmally poor one-digit showing at the caucus led him as well as his colleague, Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) , and former Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), to drop out that night. Governor Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico) dropped out after coming in a distant third in New Hampshire and Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Illinois) dropped out earlier this week.


I. IDEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES MINIMAL


Democrats participating in the remaining Democratic primaries and caucuses have three candidates to choose from. John Edwards, a one-term former senator from North Carolina, is running the classical populist campaign geared to winning struggling working Americans in rural and urban communities across America. Senator Hillary Clinton, a two term senator from New York and wife of George W. Bush’s predecessor, is running as the “tested and ready” candidate who can take on the Republicans and will need no “on the job training” when she takes the oath of office while letting her surrogates smear her closest competitor. Senator Barack Obama, the senator who claimed Illinois’ seat after trouncing Republican firebrand Alan Keyes, is running as the candidate of change.


The War in Iraq/The Standoff with Iran


The three remaining candidates differ very little on the issues facing America. They all call for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq while promising to negotiate with Iraq’s neighbors. Obama and Clinton would keep residual forces in Iraq to protect the American embassy and civilian workers from Al Qaeda attacks while Edwards would base that residual and crisis management force in Kuwait.

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards castigated Bush for his failure to work with our allies in the region. They would negotiate with the Iranians and its neighbors over the country’s nuclear enrichment program though Clinton hedged her bets by suggesting she opposes a “rush to war.”

Free Trade

They have all distanced themselves from the free trade agreements enacted and implemented by President George W. Bush and his predecessor, former President William Jefferson Clinton. Mrs. Clinton voted for free trade agreements with Oman, Singapore and Chile while opposing CAFTA and failing to vote on the U.S. – Peru Trade agreement passed last year.

Mr. Obama voted for the free trade agreement with Oman and against CAFTA. He defended his vote for an agreement for Peru (even though he did not actually vote one way or the other) in the last debate. Mr. Edwards voted against free trade agreements with Singapore and Chile but voted to normalize trade relations with China.

Immigration

Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton voted for the mis-described "comprehensive immigration reform bill" co-sponsored by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) which would offer the 12 - 20 million illegal immigrants now residing in the United States with a "path to citizenship." Former Senator John Edwards said he would have voted for it. Senator Edwards and Obama said they would allow states to grant illegal immigrants drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. Senator Clinton had five positions on the issue.

Other Hot Button Social Issues

They all support abortion rights and vow to nominate justices that would uphold Roe v. Wade. They would all, if they had not been given the chance to do so, vote for the Employment Nondiscrimination Act which would ban sexual orientation-based discrimination in the work place, and gay-inclusive hate crime bills and repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." They support civil unions and oppose constitutional amendments banning states from recognizing gay marriages.


Health Care

There are some differences in their positions on health care but these differences alone would not justify a vote for one and not the others. They all offer tax subsidies or tax credits for low income Americans who cannot afford health insurance, mandate coverage for children, boost SCHIP and Medicaid funding, open access to the programs offered to civil servants, put forth a more affordable government-run and require businesses to contribute towards if they do not offer plans of their own.

Edwards says he will help states either individually or collectively set up regional health care markets that would function as health insurance purchasing pools offering a choice of competing private and public health care plans. He’d offer lower-to-middle-income (undefined) workers a health care market tax credit (amount not disclosed) to help them buy insurance. This intriguing plan deserves more consideration for it and (public scrutiny from the media) as the race for the White House moves forward.

Obama would offer a new government-run plan for those who cannot purchase insurance from their employers, and create a public watchdog group (his “National Health Insurance Exchange”) which will issue the mandates establishing baseline coverage minimums, evaluate competing plans, regulate premium increases, and publicly compare and contrast the competing plans the uninsured would purchase. The already insured would be allowed to keep their plan.

Clinton, like the other candidates, would offer Americans a choice to select from a government run plan, their employer’s health insurance package, or one of several plans offered to civil servants today. She would subsidize lower income Americans’ purchases by offering “income-related” (progressive – more generous for lower income brackets) tax credits and business tax credits for those that agree to offer coverage to their workers.

The most visible difference, however, concerns mandated coverage for adults.
Obama’s plan only mandates coverage for health insurance while Edwards and Clinton mandate coverage for adults and children. Obama says his opponents’ emphasis on mandates is pointless since, in his view, most people would opt for it if they could afford it. The senator from Illinois views his plan as a stop-gap measure and not as a dramatic overhaul of the health care business.

He would give subsidies to those who are looking for but cannot afford health insurance. Edwards says everyone has to be covered so no one can enter the hospital and get free medical care at another person’s expense. In the last debate, Edwards likened Obama’s argument to the one employed by those who seek to “privatize social security” by dedicating a portion of an employee’s payroll taxes to private savings accounts.

This argument would make more sense if the forced payment for entitlement programs was being debated before a federal court but it is not.

Public bodies can make distinctions between entitlement programs, so Edwards’ concern can be addressed by penalizing would-be upper income free riders by having them pay for the full cost of their treatment at a health facility. In all likelihood, most people in the lower to middle income brackets would weigh the risks and opt for the purchased health insurance coverage so John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton are feuding over a distinction without a difference.

In either case, any plan which these aspiring presidents eventually presents to Congress will be amended to satisfy the needs and concerns of the uncommitted to its passage.

As I said in the last endorsement, voting for a Democrat based upon the particulars of any plan would be an exercise in futility.

Barack's Better Judgment Trumps Clinton's "Experience"

Expressing a preference for one candidate then, comes down to a matter of style and leadership qualities each candidate offers the voters they seek to govern a candidate with sufficient experience, good judgment, and character that could heal this country's divide and repair the damage this president had wrought overseas. These traits lead the Political Heretic to favor Barack Obama.

What the senator from Illinois lacks in experience he makes up in judgment. He opposed the Iraq War from the start and voted against the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment which all but gave the Bush administration the "Gulf of Tonkin" excuse he'd need to go to war with Iran. Edwards voted for the Iraq War resolution while he was in the senate and urged his former senate colleagues to vote against the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment. Clinton voted for both, the war resolution and the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment.

Clinton is a member of many important committees that concern domestic and foreign policy issues and if she immersed herself in the details that would be a definite plus but then again she didn't read the NIE report on Iraq before she voted to give the president the authorization to go to war.

The senator from New York says Bush abused the authority to invade Iraq she, along with others including Joe Biden. Then she inexplicably votes for a measure that at minimum bolsters the argument from some to bomb Iran and at worst authorizes the president to do that. Biden, to his credit, did not. Clinton says she does not support the president's "rush to war" with Iran. That is, a "rush" to war as opposed to a slow, deliberate, and carefully thought out war.


Clinton Tarred by Washingtont


It could be said in her defense that Clinton is trying to balance the concerns of the general electorate, a group that wants someone hawkish enough to stand up to America's enemies with the interests of the left-leaning Democratic voter who generally opposes elective warfare.

This Mrs. Clinton is fighting along the terms of warfare drafted after we lost the Vietnam War. One group thinks we lost because we quit and not because we overextended ourselves; the other group thinks we have lost our way by intervening in problems that are not our own to begin with.

This Mrs. Clinton will stand up to the Republicans any time they enact legislation which the various Democratic interest groups will oppose no matter how rational that reform may or may not be.

This Mrs. Clinton forfeits the use of whatever experience she has to those who say nothing can be done to heal this country's wounds. This is the same Mrs. Clinton who comes out forcefully for five different positions on giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. This is the Mrs. Clinton that refuses to say what she specifically will propose to reform the entitlement programs. And The Mrs. Clinton that cannot say whether she as a parent would have a daughter or son in kindergarten or second grade read about gay families.

This Mrs. Clinton has run an uninspiring, dirty and cynical campaign aimed at tarnishing the good name of her opponents. This Mrs. Clinton lets her surrogates remind speak of Obama's past experimentation with drugs or remind the voters of his middle name "Hussein."

This Mrs. Clinton, in sum, will say and do anything and everything she has to do and say in order to get elected so that she can, then let Washington set the terms of the debate.

Obama Offers Hope by Transcending the Divide

Senator Barack Obama offers voters a far more inspiring and hopeful message. Obama doesn't try to straddle the divide between those who supported the war in Iraq and those who did not; he seeks to transcend it through sound judgment. Mr. Obama doesn't attack the war supporters' motives or repudiate the occasional need for preemptive warfare. Mr. Bush, the senator from Illinois said, got us in trouble because he fought the wrong war. He says we may (though he wouldn't rush us into it) have to use force against the terrorists in the ungovernable parts of Pakistan if that country's president doesn't take action.

In the debates, Obama said he'd lift the cap on taxable income to save social security while Clinton tried to justify her non-answer as a negotiating tactic. He, unlike Clinton, said illegal immigrants should get drivers licenses. The Political Heretic disagrees with him on this point but credits him for answering the question posed to him. Clinton did not.

Mr. Obama speaks of problems that "predate President Bush" while Clinton rails against the Republicans and John Edwards the corporations. The senator from Illinois visits conservative and liberal churches.

Mrs. Clinton's combative personality will polarize this country. Obama's reflective, professorial demeanor in the debates could unite it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Democratic Debate in Myrtle Beach Part III

Here's Part III.

Summary:

Q: "I want to begin the second part of this debate with a question for Senator Obama, and I want to refer to Congressman Charlie Rangel, one of the most powerful members, one of the most powerful members of the House of Representatives, and specifically on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a day so important to all of us here in the United States.

He's a supporter of Hillary Clinton and he said yesterday, and I'm quoting now, that he likes you, Senator Obama. He's very proud of your accomplishments. But he went on to say that "Black voters should not do what makes us feel good, but what's good for our great nation.

And I wonder if you want to respond to that notion that it may make a lot of African-Americans feel good to vote for you, but it might not necessarily be the best thing for the United States."


Obama: says Representative Charlie Rangel (D-New York) is right. Voters should look beyond the candidates' status as a woman, African-American or white man to consider the nation's best interests. Thinks he is the best man for the job in bringing the nation together.

(comment: Obama said what needed to be said and clearly noted that what could be
said of African-Americans looking to Obama could be said of women who look to
Clinton. The inclusion of John Edwards' white constituency was humorous.)

Q: "It's kind of related to Senator Edwards. I've spoken with a lot of African American voters in South Carolina this week, and a lot of them say that electing a black president, that this would change the way whites see African Americans and the way African Americans see themselves.

Do you think that this is a valid consideration for voters in determining who's president?"


Edwards:

a. the disqualifier: African Americans have every right to vote as they see fit and
to prioritize those issues or characteristics they see fit.
b. says he has been the "most aggressive" in fighting for civil rights and the end
of poverty Martin Luther King Jr stood for.
(Comment: why do I doubt that? How do we
measure that? if by years voting for Democratic measures in the Senate, Clinton
has him beat. Obama could point to a 14-year record voting Democratic if we
include his time in the state senate.)
c. says he has a "comprehensive set of ideas" to end poverty but does not elaborate

Clinton:

a. "respects John's commitment" (this is not meant as a compliment) which is why
she immediately went to work for Marian Wright Edelman at the Children's Defense
Fund after law school. (she eventually would work for a law firm that did not
specialize in fighting the war on poverty).
b. good jobs with good benefits needed to eradicate poverty

Obama:

a. compliments Edwards
b. then says he put his own anti-poverty plan out which includes early childhood
education, and heath care for children
c. claims he started his career after college working in low income neighborhoods
d. thinks people of all races want to move beyond that which divides them to
bring about real change
e. offers a good dig at the Republicans for their failure to participate in
diverse forums (McCain offered to participate in the Hispanic forum while
Huckabee participated in an African American sponsored debate and no Republican
participated in the gay forum).

Edwards counters by suggesting he worked for Urban Ministries which, he says, takes
care of the poorer of the poor.

(this contest over who was the earliest anti-poverty activist is getting tiresome.
Their time would better be utilized touting their anti-poverty measures and having
a debate about the most effective means to bring people out of poverty).

Q: "Right. The Nobel Prize-winning African-American author, Toni Morrison, famously observed about Bill Clinton, "This is our first black president, blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime."

Do you think Bill Clinton was our first black president?"


Comment: I don't know why this question was asked. Journalists should utilize the
limited time they have to press the candidates about their issue positions and plans.
I don't think we heard one question about entitlement reform. We heard several questions on health care, the economy, HIV and one question concerning the war in Iraq.

Obama:

a. acknowledges that, yes, Clinton had an affinity with the African-American
community.
b. inspired by the changes within people
c. successive generations can determine how we treat each other
d. some humor - would have to see Clinton's dancing moves before he can be consid-
ered a "brother"

Clinton:

a. humor of her own - "that can be arranged"
b. no better way to celebrate King's legacy than to look at those up on stage - an
African American woman, a voice from the South, and a woman. (again, Clinton
thinking top-down change; revolution or change comes from those at the top)
c. full quote:
"You have got a son of the South. You've got an African-American. You have a
a woman. What better way to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King than to look at this
stage right here tonight?"
d. Frederick Douglas one of her heroes
e. uses time to justify issue-driven challenges to the other candidates (yes they
are permissible)

Obama:

a. says we cannot ignore unresolved racial divisions
b. says his civil rights division will, for example, will look into racially
disparate criminal sentences to make sure the law is applied evenly
c. says a white woman president would want to resolve these issues too for
this is not about one group's special interest but rather how we all move
together

Clinton:

a. speaks of equal pay for equal work (gender income disparity)
b. condemns the Republicans for not talking about these issues (the criminal
justice system or of potential assistance to minority-majority colleges)

Edwards

a. says there are issues which Democrats are not willing to talk about
b. the right and the need, in his view, to provide the poor aid to move out
if they don't like their neighborhood (I guess he's referring to slums)
the rich can get out; the poor can not afford to do so. (does this mean
Edwards would give school vouchers a second look?)

Q: "To Senator Clinton. In New Hampshire, you said you found your own voice, but increasingly there are people who believe that it's your husband's voice that has become too loud.

Congressman Clyburn earlier said today, "I think he can afford to tone it down." Is there a risk that he is overshadowing your message and your voice?"


Here we go again, another question we could have done without.

1. Senator Hillary Clinton:
a. he's advocating on her behalf and is considered an asset on her team
b. issue really is who would be the best president from day one
c. other question - who has the best chance of beating the Republicans
d. "my voice is their voice" - she speaks for the people
e. politics is serious business; not a game

2. Senator Barack Obama:
a. spouses obviously do fight for their candidate but Clinton, as an ex-
president, gets more press attention
b. says he is troubled that his record is being distorted
c. claims he can redraw the political map (and consequently has the best
chance of winning in the general election), wants to expand the scope of the
electorate

3. for Senator John Edwards
a. calls the GOP election for John McCain (too early to say that)
b. need someone tough and strong enough to face him
c. need to be competitive in the south and in rural areas (which is where
he says he is strong)
d. uses an old poll to suggest he is the Democrat who can beat McCain

4. Obama Responds to Edwards
a. In Nevada Obama said he won the rural vote
b. said he won his senate seat by going into southern Illinois
c. says party needs to reach out to evangelicals who, he points out, disagrees
with them on abortion and gay rights; teachings of Jesus call for all to
reach out to the least of these

5. Clinton Responds to Edwards
a. with John McCain as the nominee the Democrats would need someone who can
debate him on national security
b. the classic campaign - she's run it and survived

6. Edwards Goes After Clinton
a. suggests she is the antithesis of John McCain's clean government campaign
b. proud he never took money from Washington
c. asks Clinton if she would pledge to have no corporate lobbyists working in
the White House

7. Clinton Responds
a. says she is not sure. (say what?) also says she could do without them
b. returns fire - claims Edwards is making an artificial distinction when he
takes money from those who are married to lobbyists or those who employ them
(this actually is a very good comeback, one which Edwards would have no
answer for)
c. Clinton says Edwards has taken money from trial lawyers

8. Edwards defend his trial lawyer money - says they expect him to stand up for
the right to democracy (didn't know that was under threat), the right to a jury
trial (here we might have a problem with Guantanamo Bay), and the right of the
"little people to be heard at trial" (they have that right)

9. Clinton then goes after Obama, says he has lobbyists working for his campaign in
South Carolina

10. Obama says no one has their hands fully clean but distinguishes (well he never
really elaborates) between taking PAC and federal lobbyist money and ancillary
involvement then moves on to the way to beat McCain

a. thinks the best candidate to challenge McCain on national security is one
who largely differs from him on the important issues. raises his opposition
Iraq, which was voiced at the time.

b. one who says he will talk with enemy and friend alike

11. Edwards joins the fray

a. says we need to improve the nation's moral standing by doing what is needed
to be done to combat HIV/AIDS, foster economic development and combating
global poverty.
b. need to move away from belligerent approach

Q: "We are completely out of time, but we have time for one final question that I'd like to ask all three of you to respond and, if possible, within one minute or less, and it's an important question on this important day.

And, Senator Edwards, let me start with you. If Dr. Martin Luther King were alive today, unfortunately, he's not, but if he were alive today, why do you think he would or why should he endorse you?"


a. Edwards:
1. fighting to end poverty and for equality
2. need a president who would fight for those who feel "disengaged"

b. Obama
1. Martin Luther King wouldn't have endorsed anyone; would have the voters
hold the three of them accountable of what gets done in Washington
(Obama's movement-oriented perspective shines through here)
2. says change happens bottom up (this is a good retort to Clinton's "we needed
LBJ argument), from the black women who refused to sit at the back of the bus,
the women who decided to fight for the right to work, and the union workers who
won the right to organize. (you need both, LBJ and the movement to move him)

c. Clinton
1. change comes from the efforts of the American people
2. MLK campaigned for political leaders and then held them accountable



Overall: I give this debate to Edwards. He interjected himself into the debate when it looked like the questioners were going to ignore him. He stayed above the fray while Obama and Clinton traded charges.

Obama can and sometimes does speak authoritatively but his halting presentation might
be construed the wrong way. I think he speaks like an academic and that impresses me but it can be misconstrued as his failure to articulate his message. He was the first to deliver a low blow (remember Walmart). Clinton hit him with everything she got.
The senator from Illinois failed to stay above the fray. By engaging with Clinton he
loses that appeal of being a uniter.

Clinton once again shows she will say and do anything she has to in order to win. Her attacks on Obama's remarks about Reagan and his links to a "slum lord" (these claimed links don't exist) were appalling and reflect poorly on her sense of character. One wonders why this person who has a fairly good command of the issues would resort to such demeaning and uninspiring tactics.

The journalists could have done a better job by asking more policy-oriented questions and less setting a trend questions.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Democratic Debate in Myrtle Beach: Part II

Well, Fact Check says the following about last night's debate.

In sum:
they both lied.

While in the Illinois legislature, Obama voted "present" for a myriad of reasons, some more defensible than others. The report suggests he voted "present" for strategic reasons, on other occasions because he objected to certain particular aspects of the legislation being voted on, and in others to dodge politically sensitive issues.

The claim that Obama was representing Antoin Rezko, a Chicago developer who was sued for letting his developments fall into disrepair, is patently false according to the report. He was representing "community groups" which were negotiating with the developer over housing projects.

for more, check here.

Below, a summary with some brief comments from (Part II). Tomorrow I'll post for Part III and either Thursday or Friday my new endorsement for the Democratic Primary since my favored candidate dropped out. As far as the Republicans, see here.

Q: "I would like to raise the issue of health care.

It was last June, Senator Clinton. It was the PBS forum at Howard University where you said if HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death among white women ages 25 to 34, there would be a national outcry. Obviously, you're calling attention to the need, specific need for African-American women and their health concerns.

Why is it that African-American women would be better off in your health care program?"


Clinton:

1. because all would be included within it (a "duh" answer to a "softball question")
2. built on the plan members of Congress, staff and federal employees use
3. not government run so it would withstand Republican attacks
4. proposes health care tax credits to make health insurance purchasing affordable

Q: "We all know what universal health care is, as Senator Clinton just said, sort of the idea that everybody deserves health care. And I have not been able to sort of zero in on your position on this one question: Does your plan cover the estimated 12 million or so illegal immigrants in the country?"

a. Obama: reaction from crowd was mute here

1. answer: no
2. resources are limited and should go to the "millions" of U.S. citizens still
uninsured
3. believes children, however, should be covered
4. means of getting it done - an open process. public negotiations will bring public
scrutiny on the drug companies and insurance industry
5. acknowledges the concern his rivals have

b. Edwards

1. thinks none of the three candidates' plans (including his) provides it to illegal
immigrants
2. has, in his plan, strengthened the "safety net" of the public health system
(here he is vague.Is the former senator suggesting he would provide hospitals
with added revenue?)
3. illegal immigrants, he says, would eventually get covered should they have a
chance to become American citizens (left unknown is whether they would have to
wait until such time as they are approved or if all legal non-citizens get that
coverage)
4. two candidates (he and Clinton) offer universal health care plans; Obama does not
to be universal a plan requires mandated coverage for everybody
5. claims Obama gets more money from drug companies than anybody
6. claims Clinton gets more money from insurance companies than anybody

c. Obama's Response to Edwards' Charges

1. with respect to lobbyist money: he distinguishes between money donated from
individuals working for a company (what he takes) from taking money from
a company or a lobbyist (this to me seems like a major loop hole to take money
from lobbyists)
2. with respect to the health care plane: Obama refers back to the argument he made
in prior occasions - that the question is not whether American families want
health insurance (and consequently has to be mandated from the Democratic point
of view); it is a question of whether families can afford to purchase it. Says
he sets up a government program and provides subsidies for those who can't afford
it. Says no one who wants health insurance will be denied it.

d. Edwards' Response A Good One: Social Security

Comment: For the first time in this debate we move beyond the name-calling and
denials to an actual debate on the issues and we can give Edwards the credit for
challenging Obama's assumption here. The former senator from North Carolina said
the same argument which Obama employed could be used to justify social security
privatization (which of course the Democratic base opposes). Put another way, he
is asking Obama why someone cannot opt out of social security if they cannot opt
out of health insurance.

Not a bad question. Did Obama have an answer? No but he may not have to. Edwards'
argument is stronger if a new Supreme Court challenge is filed by someone who
seeks to opt out of social security benefits in return for savings on social
security taxes. Obama and Edwards, however, can look at this from the point of a
pragmatic administrators or lawmakers and that is exactly how Obama responded.

e. Clinton's Response: Canned but Well Delivered As Usual

1. Universal Coverage Must be covered - a core principle for the Democratic Party
2. Three Ways to Go About it: single-payer system, employer mandates, individual
responsibility
3. gives Edwards credit for offering universal health care program (she no longer
views him as a threat so any boost would be minimal)
4. says Obama has evolved on this issue (from once supporting a single-payer
program to his new position) (Hasn't she evolved on some issues? the Iraq War?)

f. Obama's Response

1. once again repeats his argument about the uninsured wanting but not being able
to purchase health care insurance.
2. denies that his position has evolved (FactCheck.org would say differently) by
suggesting that he would have supported a single-payer system from the start
but never said it was feasible to move to that system.

Q: "Senator Clinton, on the Iraq question, we're here in South Carolina. It's a big military state with a lot of military families. Last week, U.S. military commanders on the ground in Iraq said that Baghdad is now 75 percent secured. There's also important signs of political progress, including de-Baathification, which was basically long awaited. That, of course, was a big benchmark.

Last week, you said the next president will, quote, "have a war to end in Iraq." In light of the new military and political progress on the ground there in Iraq, are you looking to end this war or win it?"


a. Clinton:

1. looking to bring the troops home because, in her view, there is no military
solution. (I agree)
2. military "surge" led to some "tactical" success in some Iraqi provinces but
the goal was to provide the Iraqi government with the breathing room to reach
a negotiated settlement with the three major ethno-sectarian factions. (right)
3. troop withdrawal must be done carefully since it will be dangerous - 100,000
civilians that need protecting (right but would like some specifics)

b. Edwards:

1. surge is not working for reason Clinton stated (he does not credit the others)
right
2. says he is committed to having all US troops moved out; says there won't be any
permanent bases in Iraq

c. Obama

1. says he "wants to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in" -
(that's a gaffe that will be used in a Republican commercial if Clinton
doesn't air one first)
2. thinks the troops would be out by 2009 if the president follows through on his
pledge for a draw down to pre-surge troop levels
3. money spent in Iraq could go to lay broadband lines in South Carolina and put
more kids in school. (long term commitment to Iraq is is not financially
sustainable. (I agree)
4. Getting bogged down in Iraq hurts ability to respond to growing Al Qaeda
threat

d. Clinton's Response

1. President may be negotiating with Iraqis to establish permanent US bases in
their country
2. opposes permanent bases and long term troop deployments
3. says Bush can't do this without Congressional approval and is sponsoring
legislation that tells Bush he can't do this without Congressional support
(constitutionally I think she is right)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Democratic Debate in Myrtle Beach: part I

The transcripts for Part I obviously can be found here.

QUESTION FROM JOE JOHNS ON THE ECONOMY



1. "How much money would your stimulus plan put in the pockets of the average South Carolinian?"

a. CLINTON:
1. 90 day moratorium on mortgage foreclosure
2. five year interest rate freeze
3. $650 rebate for those who "qualify." Claims that "millions" will qualify.
4. Bush not taking the crisis seriously enough

(Comment: not bad but she only partially answered the question. We don't know
how many South Carolinians would qualify nor do we know what standards she
would use to allow us to figure it out by ourselves)

b. OBAMA:
1. MLK was marching for jobs as well as a march for justice. balanced economy made
worst under Bush administration with tax cut "skewed" in favor of the wealthy
and money squandered on a war that never should have been authorized. (dig at
those who voted for the war - Clinton and Edwards) Insufficient investment at
schools
2. Tax rebates - goes after Clinton by suggesting they were not included in her
original plan and suggests he came up with it first, for "hard working
Americans right away." Should go to those making $75,000 a year or less.
3. When asked to agree or disagree with Clinton's $650 he offered a lower figure -
$500 for a "typical" family. Obama's wording suggests more would qualify for
this rebate.
4. supplement to social security checks of an undisclosed amount

(Comment: being the first to go on the attack in the debate doesn't earn
brownie points. Yes, I know there is a difference between policy disputes
and personal attacks and this is an example of the former but it still doesn't
look good for one who wants to stay above the fray).
c. EDWARDS:
1. affirmed questioner's assertion that his plan includes no rebate
2. picks up on MLK's "Campaign for the Poor" to lead back to his main point -
the growing divide between rich and poor.
3. claims to have a plan that deals with the long range question but does not go
in-depth to describe it
4. says we need to deal with the mortgage crisis but does not say how he'd deal
with it.
5. criticizes Obama and Clinton for supporting the Peru free trade deal and claims
South Carolina has been "devastated" by trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA. (a
little overblown?)
6. in follow up he does not argue against a rebate but moves on to a laundry list
of proposals - a home rescue fund as an answer to the mortgage crisis, change
unemployment insurance laws

(Comment: At this point in time bringing up the trade deals helps but he needs
to devote more of his time offering us the specifics of his plan and less on
his stump speech)

d. OBAMA'S RESPONSE:
1. Edwards' plan deals with the long term issue. Jobs are important (included in
his - Obama's energy plan).
2. Trade deals - Edward right about the harms they have inflicted
3. Responds to the Peru trade deal: Differentiated from others with respect
to environmental and labor standards that were attached and reminds viewers
that Edwards voted for to give China "most favored" trade status.
(Comment: not a bad comeback to Edwards. Just wish he didn't stutter as much)

e. CLINTON'S RESPONSE
1. Responds to Obama's assertion about the tax rebates by suggesting she wanted
to try a stimulus package first so the party does not get itself embroiled in
a fight over making the tax cuts permanent. crisis is so steep to change in
plan.
2. president should convene working group on financial markets
3. president's plan too little too late since it doesn't go to those hit the
hardest
4. green dollar program in Oakland, California set up as the
(Comment: not a bad answer though I doubt Clinton lacked the foresight to see that
Republicans would use the economic slowdown as a reason to make the tax cuts
permanent.)

f. EDWARDS' REPSONSE TO OBAMA
1. has promoted green dollar jobs that would begin in 30 days so there is a short
term job
2. environmental and labor standards in Peru trade deal left with Bush

2. "It was just a few days ago that Senator Clinton asserted that she was the strongest candidate when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

She says that the new programs that she proposes she essentially can pay for. She says that you have failed in that regard in the tune of some $50 billion worth of new programs that you cannot account for.

How do you respond to that charge?"


a. OBAMA:

1. Clinton is not telling the truth. Programs are paid for.
2. this is a part of a pattern where things he said were taken out of context -
brings up the Ronald Reagan analogy
3. viewers would rather have candidates debate the issue

(Comment: Not a bad comeback though he bolsters his argument by referring to well
known distortions and not the Clinton assertion specifically made here. He is
doing a good job trying to stay above the fray at this point in the debate)

b. CLINTON:

1. criticizes Obama for making it hard to know where he stands
2. asserts that Obama likes a lot of what Reagan proposed
3. thinks Reagan and the Republicans had bad ideas (privatizing social security,
moving away from fiscal displine in favor of deficit)
4. claims Obama does not account for his foreign aid program
5. claims Obama removed his speech opposing the war one year after giving it and then
voting to fund the war time after time

c. OBAMA

1. responds to Ronald Reagan accusation: he referred to the late president as a
"transformative" figure without suggesting he had good ideas.
2. said he was working on the streets as a civic activist while Clinton worked as a
corporate lawyer for Walmart (Walmart is not looked upon favorably by Democrats)
3. says the Democrats have to think in that same "transformative" way and move beyond
the partisan divide and unite Republicans and independents together
4. says Clinton's husband offered similar analysis in a book

d. BACK AND FORTH (it gets real dirty)

1. Clinton says she never mentioned Ronald Reagan's name
2. Obama says her husband did
3. Clinton distances herself from her husband's strategy
by suggesting that Bill Clinton isn't her. (Don't buy it; they talk to each other)
4. Obama says he can't tell who he's running against.
5. Clinton says her husband is defending her, like any devoted spouse would (good
comeback but does she really need him to save her?)
6. Clinton accuses Obama of representing a "slumlord" when he worked for a law
practice. (this is a low blow)

e. EDWARDS SHINES

1. gently rebukes both candidates by rhetorically asking how their squabbling helps
Americans get health care and a good education
2. claims to have come up with a way to pay for the "most progressive agenda.
3. says he came up with the first health care and global warming plans.
4. goes after Clinton on social security. claims she proposes no means to keep the
entitlement program solvent. (he's right; she hasn't moved beyond meaningless
slogans like "fiscal responsibility."
5. says Clinton is not not willing to speak about tax increases and then notes that
social security taxes are capped.

3. For Edwards: "So the bottom-line question really is: Do you believe that lenders have specifically targeted African-Americans? Is this subprime mess really also an issue of race?"

a. says race is implicated but can't read what is in the lenders' heads.
b. says lenders have targeted the most vulnerable and that implicates African
Americans more
c. proposes a national law that cracks down on predatory lenders
d. anecdote - 38 houses under foreclosure in an African American neighborhood in
Cleveland
e. teach financial literacy

4. "All right. I want both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama to respond.

But, briefly, Senator Clinton, your proposal calls for a five- year moratorium on interest rates, 90-day moratorium on foreclosure, five year keeping those interest rates the same. Alan Greenspan suggested that we simply have to let this housing crisis exhaust itself. Trying to prevent the housing markets from going down merely prolongs the agony.

Does your plan, as he would seem to be suggesting, prolong the agony?"


a. CLINTON
1. obviously disagrees with Greenspan. says her plan mitigates the "agony."
2. says she was calling for action since March (I never heard this on the campaign
stump)
3. interest rate freeze is fair since the bank can always borrow money from Abu
Dhabi" while the homeowner is left with the bag. (Perhaps but the bank can turn
around and offset their costs by offering less to the other customers)

b. OBAMA
1. says we need to help people who want ot keepp the home they are living in
2. need to enforce the Community Reinvestment Act
3. says he introduced a bill to ban predatory lending
4. claims Clinton voted for a bankruptcy bill that made it harder to get out of bank-
ruptcy

c. OBAMA GETS TO RESPOND TO "SLUM LORD" ACCUSATION
1. worked as an associate for a law firm that was representing a church group.
2. said the church partnered with said "slum lord" to "do a project"
3. devoted 5 hours of work
(good answer here and it should be noted that a Los Angeles Times news article
suggested that Clinton received some campaign money from some undisclosed
slum residents. She should be the last to bring these kinds of accusations up.

d. CLINTON RESPONDS TO BANKRUPTCY BILL ATTACK
1. says she regretted her vote for one bankruptcy bill and was glad to see it
defeated (this takes away form her "experience" asset since it calls her
judgment into question once again)
2. voted against an amendment to a bill that would have dropped a provision
blocking credit card companies from imposing 30%^ interest and says Obama
voted for it.

e. OBAMA RESPONDS TO BANKRUPTCY BILL VOTE
1. says he thought the 30% threshold was too high (this doesn't help him since it
suggests he is not amenable to making the necessary compromises to get something
done)

f. EDWARDS JUMPS IN AND MAKES A POINT
1. says Obama's excuse makes no sense because the people were left with no cap
as a result. (this point actuallly makes sense).

g. OBAMA RESPONDS TO CLINTON'S 130 "PRESENT" VOTES
1. Assertion was that he saw presnet on bill keeping sex shops away from schools,
and on limiting rights for those victims of sexual abuse
2. can vote present when considered