Not going to blog the whole thing, especially with the thoroughly entertaining but still somewhat annoying squabbling, but here's my notes on the first half of tonight's Democratic debate.
Democratic Debate Liveblog
January 21, 2008- Martin Luther King Day
Myrtle Beach, SC before the Congressional Black Caucus
CNN --- Host: Wolf Blitzer
8:01- Sen. Edwards enters, followed by Sen. Obama, and finally Sen. Clinton.
8:08- Photo opportunity and housekeeping concluded (finally); To Clinton on the economy- how would your ec. stimulus plan benefit the average SC taxpayer?- moratorium on home foreclosures for 30 days to try to work things out; interest rate freeze for 5 years; $650 to people who qualify to help pay energy bills; jumpstart jobs- clean energy jobs; fund to help communities deal with home crisis, unemployment; "the right" rebates; reference to MLK at end
8:10- Obama- same question- march on Washington was for jobs as well as justice- GWB has squandered money on war- tax rebates to working class Americans- $75k a year or less income- $500 at least per family and additional money for seniors
8:13- Edwards- his plan doesn't call for rebates- huge chasm between rich and poor getting bigger- include ALL Americans in stimulus plan- green infrastructure, create job, don't just give money out- difference between Edwards and others is on JOBS and trade deals- help states- home rescue fund for those on mortgage crisis
8:15- Obama- response- green jobs impt. but to energy plan- need to deal with short-term first, then long-term; trade- NAFTA a mistake because of lack of labor and environmental standards- Peru different- and Edwards voted for China- bigger problem
8:17- Clinton- immediate stimulus to economy- crisis is too deep to deal through spending- Bush's proposed stimulus "too little, too late"- green-collar job program would be v. helpful- stimulation AND long-term planning- Congress must play major role in fighting Bush's plan
8:19- Edwards responds to Obama- green-collar effort would have immediate effect- knows trade deals have had negative effect from personal experience- Peru would leave enforcement of environmental issues to Bush- bad
8:20- Obama responds- he's dealt with effects of trade deals too, in work with workers of Chicago factories as social worker (?)
8:21- To Obama- how do you respond to the charge that fiscal responsibility is not a priority for him?- not true- thinks people are looking for someone who will make a break with the usual Washington system
8:23- Clinton responds- record and words matter- it's sometimes hard to understand what Obama says when he's challenged on it and says it's not what he meant- you determine what someone will do in the future by what they've done in the past- clarifying distinction between words and actions on the war in Iraq
8:25- Obama responds to Clinton- spent a lifetime fighting Reagan's policies but respects how he was able to build a working majority to get his policies passed
8:28- Clinton responds...
8:29- Edwards (finally)- "Are there three people in this debate, not two?"- what good is this kind of "squabbling" going to do?- this is not about the candidates personally, it's about the issues- about fiscal responsibility- good record- plans and ways to pay for them- very explicit- Social Security needs a solution and Obama and Edwards have plans for it- Clinton doesn't- we need to be consistent and have to do something about cap on Soc. Sec. taxes- the American people need to know what's going to be done
8:32- To Edwards- do you believe that mortgage lenders have specifically targeted African-Americans?- yes- doesn't know if they're racially motivated but targeted low income people which is frequently low income- pretending the past didn't happen doesn't deny that it did- African-Americans vulnerable to mortgage predators- solutions: nat'l predatory lending law, help them save money and deal with financial institutions
8:35- To Clinton- would a freeze on foreclosures, interest rates "prolong the agony" of the housing market?- no- it's a means of working it out that needs to happen- something needs to be done to help people who need the help
8:37- Obama- need to help homeowners- history of preying on low-income people- open bank branches, access to financing- banks have dominated policy in Washington for a long time- difference with Clinton- need to stand up to special interests- respond to Clinton charge- people need to trust leaders so leaders can build consensus
8:40- Clinton- claim about bankruptcy bill- regretted voting for it first time- opposed later bankruptcy bill that Obama supported- used to taking incoming fire but this arena cannot have hands-off attitude on record
8:41- Obama responds...Edwards interjects...Obama responds...discusses consistency in how they vote as indicator of future actions
8:42- Clinton- Obama never takes responsibility for straight up or down votes- even back to Illinois State Senate (voting "present" 130 times)- always explanations- difficult to get straight answer
8:44- Obama responds...
8:46- Edwards responds...Obama responds...Edwards responds...Obama responds...
8:49- To Clinton- why would African-American women be better off in your healthcare program?- everyone would be comprehensively covered under her healthcare program with the same coverage level given to Congressional employees- need universal healthcare system where we can manage chronic healthcare problems and make demands of insurance industry
8:51- To Obama- does your healthcare plan cover illegals?- something needs to be done- responsibility needs to be put on Congress and president and need to involve American people
8:52- To Edwards- same question- no- but need to marry immigration reform and healthcare reform- strengthen public healthcare system- Obama's plan is not universal- Edwards' and Clinton's are- Obama and Clinton have taken money from drug companies and Edwards has not
8:55- Obama responds- does not take money from drug companies or lobbyists- perhaps individuals- mandate is a problem- people aren't trying to avoid getting healthcare, they can't afford it- need to reduce costs
8:58- Edwards responds- argument flawed like "you shouldn't have to have health care"- everyone is worthy of healthcare
8:58- Clinton responds- Democrats need to stand for universal healthcare- 3 ways- single-payer system, employer system, universal responsibility- willing to "go to the mat" for it- Obama contradicting himself over and over again- back to the "present" votes
9:00- Obama responds- if we aren't making it affordable enough and mandate families to buy health insurance they can't afford= problem- Edwards interjects- MA example- subsidies- people will buy healthcare if they can afford it- don't suggest that he's not in favor of having everybody covered or that he was a fan of single-payer- Clinton's presentation of his position is flawed