Thursday, November 15, 2007

Democratic Debate (Part 1) Liveblog

Democratic Presidential Debate- University of Nevada Las Vegas- 8 PM EST
Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama, John Edwards, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Sen. Joe Biden, Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Chris Dodd

8:14- Things are starting off with a bang. Obama and Clinton sparring back and forth in true debate form over healthcare. Clinton accuses Obama of not having a true universal health care program; Obama disagrees strongly. Active audience, already heckling candidates.

8:15- Edwards chimes in- starting interestingly with not claiming perfection, talking about restoring trust in the presidency. Challenges Clinton on a vast range of issues...talking about her voting record.

8:17- Clinton responds- attacks Edwards back, saying he wasn't for universal health care in '04- "positive plan for America"

8:18- Joey Biden weighs in- the mudslinging isn't important- it's all about who's going to take action- "little" plug for his experience at the end

8:20- Edwards: "Is it fair to accuse Sen. Clinton of flip-flopping, but change your own positions?"- his problem is that she sounds like she's saying two different things at basically the same time. Commentary on poverty issue. "People are entitled to know that they have choices."

8:22- Chris Dodd- we want a Democrat in the White House. The American people want results. Focus on that.

8:24- Bill Richardson- "All I want to do is give peace a chance." Stop the mudslinging. Let's debate the issues in a positive way.

8:28- Illegal immigrants: Obama- "a nation of law AND a nation of immigrants." Problem is so distracting we can't solve it. Pro- drivers licenses

8:30- Edwards- Doesn't support drivers licenses for illegal immigrants but is pro- immigration reform.
Chris Dodd- Anti- drivers licenses
Kucinich- pathway to citizenship

8:33- Richardson- pro-public safety; anti- drivers licenses for illegal
Biden- No.

8:34- Chris Dodd- Pay for teachers- merit? excelling? Cannot judge based on students and the areas. Need to spend more on Education- NCLB is a piece of crap.

8:36- Teachers' Union clout- Kucinich "I'm the candidate of workers"- stands for jobs for all, education, health care, etc.

8:37- Richardson- teachers are underpaid and we need to be more bold- junk NCLB and get creative

8:39- Clinton- weeding out the bad teachers- system has served us well but we need to reimagine it
Biden- an excellent teacher should be judged by whether they improve themselves outside the classroom- that's merit pay- gathering additional knowledge- merit pay, who makes the decision?- we should demand more of the teachers but we need to pay them more- "don't tell me what you value, show me your budget"

8:42- Pakistan- are there times when the security of the US is more important than the way an ally conducts itself in terms of democratic ideals?: Biden- Musharraf needs to resign from army and hold free elections by January otherwise will move to cut off funding- needs to come up with detailed plan for Pakistan, not Musharraf- need to up economic welfare-type aid not military aid

8:44- Richardson- suggesting cutting off aid but problem, could endanger US national security- are you concerned? Yes, of course- in this policy we forgot our principles- democracy and human rights are most important to him- condition assistance- restore constitution, free elections, end state of emergency, allow Bhutto to run, reinstate Supreme Court, pursue terrorists effectively- we need to be on the side of democracy- at times human rights are more important than national security--VALUES

8:47- Edwards: basic goals: control extremists, support democratic reformers, free elections, control nukes--> Pakistan example of policy that will not work re: spread of nuclear weapons-- need to lead a long-term worldwide effort to rid the world of nukes

8:48- Obama: human rights and security are complimentary not contradictory > Pakistan's democracy would strengthen our battle against extremists > need to keep nukes out of the hands of extremists but can't just prop up anti-democratic practices

8:49- Dodd: ironic that Bush is encouraging Musharraf to restore constitution--national security more important- need to have sense of balance about free elections- might not work in our favor- need to move to remind Musharraf about his role and his promises but dangerous

8:51- Clinton: national security more important but they are not contradictory necessarily > "we are in a bind" > have to stay on top of situations like Pakistan- president needs to pay attention

8:53- Is Gen. Petraeus right about the surge working? >Richardson: we shouldn't be talking body counts- one is too much. The surge is not working- less possibility of a political solution now- get the troops out in a year but we can't just "wave goodbye"- US-led political compromise among three sects

8:55- Kucinich- surge is not working- troops need out now- adherence to internat'l law

8:56- Obama- troops are doing a great job and making a difference in some places but hasn't made real tangible (esp. political!) difference- troops out in 16 months

8:58- Dangerous toys from China- Kucinich: people who voted for free trade with China bear some responsibility

9:00- Edwards- "Cute, Dennis, cute." Free trade messed up. NAFTA/CAFTA not in the interest of American people.

9:01- Clinton- was Ross Perot right in the 1990s about NAFTA?- it didn't do what we hoped- we need to refigure it- smart trade relations to American benefits- about toys--we need to be concerned and keep an eye on corporations trading- need to be sure they're safe- NAFTA was a mistake because it didn't deliver- need to enforce labor rights

9:03- Dodd- global economy- we need to expand markets and shut down markets when things become unsafe

9:04- Obama- pro-Peru trade agreement but opposed to CAFTA and South Korea- need to send our inspectors over to China to see if products are safe, review agreement every year

9:06- Biden- we can shut this down! It's within our WTO rights- enforce the agreement.

9:07- Obama- Q: You're pro-nuclear power, but what about the waste? > nuclear power has to be part of energy mix, but not whole thing- charge polluters, reinvest in alternative power source research - we can meet our energy challenges

9:09- Richardson- technological solution- make Yucca Mountain a laboratory for safely disposing of nuclear waste-- also need to cut advantages for nuclear power companies- energy revolution- renewable energy- American people need to make some sacrifices

9:10- Clinton- are you exploiting your gender?- no, just trying to play the winning card- people don't attack her "because I'm a woman, they attack me because I'm a-head"- HST quote- "I feel very comfortable in the kitchen"- America has made a lot of progress- especially significant to women- not running because she's a woman but it's history in the making and that's significant

9:14- Edwards- all candidates should be held to same standards- need a strong candidate but voters entitled to know they have choices

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