Monday, December 31, 2007

Biden: No Permanent Bases in Iraq

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 385

From the inbox:


Ft. Dodge, IA (December 31, 2007) - Osama Bin Laden sent a new message to his followers over the weekend. In it, he tried to rally support by claiming that the United States wants to control Iraq’s oil and to build permanent military bases in Iraq to dominate the region. Bin Laden claimed, “America seeks, alongside its agents in the region, to create an allied government ... that would accept in advance the presence of major U.S. bases in Iraq and give the Americans all they wish of Iraq's oil.” [Washington Post, 12/29/07]

For two years, Sen. Joe Biden has led the effort to put Congress on record that the United States will not build permanent military bases in Iraq and does not seek to control its oil. As a result, none of the funding that Congress gave to the President for Iraq last year could be used for those purposes.

Sen. Biden has repeatedly pressed President Bush to clearly state U.S. policy in order to dispel the widespread belief in Iraq and across the Middle East that the United States intends to build permanent bases and to control Iraq’s energy resources. The President has refused to make a clear statement of U.S. policy. For example, the Defense Authorization bill he vetoed this week included a provision barring the construction of permanent U.S. bases that Senator Biden originated.

Sen. Biden issued the following statement:

“The President’s failure to make it clear that we will not build permanent military bases in Iraq and do not seek to control its oil, has handed Bin Laden a huge propaganda tool that allows him to enlist new recruits and makes the world more dangerous. President Bush has steadfastly refused to heed my call on this critical issue as seen in his veto of the Defense bill that included my language that the United States will have no permanent military bases in Iraq.

“I call on the President to state clearly and unequivocally, once and for all, that the United States will not build permanent military bases in Iraq and does not seek to control Iraq’s oil. With each passing day, the American people witness the negative consequences of this White House’s failed diplomacy. It is time for a change in Washington.”

Biden Sponsored Amendment to Bar Permanent Bases in Iraq. In May 2006 and again in August 2006, Senator Biden sponsored an amendment that was agreed to in the Senate by voice vote. The first provided “that no funds made available by title I of this Act may be made available to establish permanent United States military bases in Iraq or to exercise control by the United States over the oil infrastructure or oil resources of Iraq.” [S.AMDT.3855, agreed to in Senate by voice vote on 5/3/06; S.AMDT.4423, agreed to in Senate by unanimous consent on 6/22/06; S.AMDT.4851, agreed to in Senate by unanimous consent on 8/3/06]

The Washington Post reported, “The Senate also approved by voice vote an amendment by Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) putting the chamber on record as opposing permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq and U.S. control of the country's natural resources.” [Washington Post, 5/4/06]

According to Army Times, “The Senate approved an amendment to the 2007 defense appropriations bill sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., barring U.S. government funds from being used to establish any facility in Iraq for permanent stationing of U.S. armed forces or exercise U.S. control over Iraqi oil resources.” [Army Times, August 2006]


Friday, December 28, 2007

Richard Schiff to Campaign for Joe Biden This Week

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 388

Wow! Its West Wing week here in Iowa. First came news of Martin Sheen, who played President Josiah Bartlett on the former NBC hit TV series, campaigning for Bill Richardson. Now comes word that Richard Schiff, who played White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler on the show, is coming to the state on behalf of Senator Joe Biden.

No word yet on whether Dennis Kuchinich has been able to land a committment from Sam Lloyd, the actor who played UFO buff Robert Engler in West Wing season 1 espisode 5 and season 3 espisode 13. But hope springs eternal.

BTW: Josiah Bartlett. Joe Biden. Same initials. Kewl.

Here's a press release from the Biden campaign with details on Schiff's appearances (I'll add updates as they become available):

Emmy Award-Winning Star Of “The West Wing” Will Stump For Sen. Biden At Events Throughout Iowa

Des Moines, IA (December 28, 2007): Emmy Award-winning actor Richard Schiff, renowned for his role as White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler on the hit political drama “The West Wing,” will make stops in Waterloo, Independence, Manchester, Elkader, Dubuque, Mason City, Ames, and Des Moines, Iowa this week to stump for Sen. Biden ahead of the January 3rd caucuses.

“The West Wing inspired its audience to seek the kind of presidential leadership that is based on experience, judgment, wisdom, and conscience,” said Schiff. “On January 3rd, Iowans will have the opportunity to choose a president who can deliver that leadership by caucusing for Joe Biden. I believe that the enormous challenges facing our country at home and abroad—from safely leaving Iraq, to improving our education system, to the crisis that erupted yesterday in Pakistan—require Joe Biden’s expertise in foreign affairs and constitutional law, his ability to unite the country, and his steadfast values, which include, most importantly, telling the truth. Iowa, and America, need Joe Biden because he is ready to lead from Day One and in the high-stakes world we live in, there are no re-takes.”

Richard Schiff began his career as a theater director in New York and later founded and served as the artistic director of the Manhattan Repertory Theatre, where he directed both on-and off-Broadway productions. After later shifting into acting, Schiff earned roles in numerous hit television series and films. Schiff won an Emmy in 2000 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role as White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler on “The West Wing.” He was subsequently nominated two more times for this role in 2001 and 2002. Born and raised on the East Coast, he now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Sheila Kelley.

Friday, December 28:
Waterloo Center for the Arts
225 Commercial Street
Waterloo, IA

Saturday, December 29:
Bill's Pizza & Smokehouse
201 1st Street W
Independence, IA

Pizza Ranch
1100 W Main Street
Manchester, IA

Johnson’s Restaurant
916 1/2 High Street NE
Elkader, IA

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
350 E 3rd Street
Dubuque, IA

Sunday, December 30:
Masonic Temple Association of Mason City
304 1st Street SE
Mason City, IA

Location TBD
Ames, IA

Location TBD
Des Moines, IA


Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Indispensable Voice

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 389

There aren't words - and believe me, every one of us with a keyboard and an internet connection, or a typewriter, or a pen and paper, have spent hours today trying to come up with some - to describe the utter chaos, hopelessness and despair arising from today's assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Such incidents have occurred in our own country, decades past, and we are still dealing with the after effects.

There are some leaders who speak to their people in a voice heard but once in a generation. For Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was one of these. She was human, with vices as well as virtues, blindness as well as vision. But at this moment in history, her voice was indispensable, and, echo though it may in time to come, its absence now dooms her country to turmoil and the wider world to further uncertainty.

Here at home, far away in America, and, as it can often seem, farther away still in Iowa, these events strike at a pivotal moment in our own process of choosing our next leader. This is a somber and sobering moment, calling for leadership, and wisdom, and sound judgment. And, most inconveniently for many of us here in Iowa, it troubles our assumptions, our inclinations and our decisions exactly one week before we're required to render the first binding judgment on the field of candidates seeking to lead us in these times.

To those of us confronting our choices in light of these events, I commend to you Joe Biden, and his statements and bearing at a press conference in Des Moines today addressing the situation in Pakistan. The clip below is about twelve minutes long, but more than worth the investment of your time in watching.

What makes this clip extraordinary is that it marks but the latest chapter in Joe Biden's deep engagement on Pakistan, going back not weeks or months, but years. He knows Pakistan's leaders and the issues confronting them, and as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has long worked to help the people of Pakistan regain their democracy. Biden is not, by any means, the only candidate in this race who has given thought to Pakistan, but he is, perhaps, the only one who has been obliged to reckon with it as a regular part of his day job.

Pakistan has lost an indispensable voice today. In America, Joe Biden is an indispensable voice of our own. I don't know what the future, political or otherwise, holds. I don't know if my hopes will be fulfilled and Joe Biden will be elected president. But I do know we are all the stronger for his running, all the wiser for his speaking, and all the braver for his courage. Joe Biden is the indispensable American voice in these times.

Biden Issues Statement on the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 389

Joe Biden's Senate office has released the following statement on the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Washington, DC – Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) issued the following statement today after the assassination of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto:

“This is a terrible day. My heart goes out to Benazir Bhutto’s family, friends and followers.

“Like her father before her, Benazir Bhutto worked her whole life – and gave her life – to help Pakistan become a democratic, secular and modern Muslim country. She was a woman of extraordinary courage who returned to Pakistan in the face of death threats and even after an assassination attempt the day of her return, she did not flinch. It was a privilege to know her these many years and to call her a friend.

“I am convinced Ms. Bhutto would have won free and fair elections next week. The fact that she was by far Pakistan’s most popular leader underscores the fact that there is a vast, moderate majority in Pakistan that must have a clear voice in the system. Her assassination makes it all the more urgent that Pakistan return to a democratic path.

“This fall, I twice urged President Musharraf to provide better security for Ms. Bhutto and other political leaders – I wrote him before her return and after the first assassination attempt in October. The failure to protect Ms. Bhutto raises a lot of hard questions for the government and security services that must be answered.

“I know that Benazir’s followers will be tempted to lash out in anger and violence. I urge them to remain calm – and not play into the hands of the forces of destruction. I urge Pakistan’s leaders to open a fully accountable and transparent investigation. We must find out who was behind this and bring those responsible to justice. And the United States should offer any assistance necessary, including investigative teams, to get to the bottom of this horror.

“The way to honor Benazir Bhutto is to uphold the values for which she gave her life: democracy, moderation and social justice. I join with the Pakistani people in mourning the loss of a dear friend.”


On October 24, 2007, Senator Biden wrote to Pakistan’s President Pervaiz Musharraf expressing the need for effective security for all candidates – particularly Benazir Bhutto – who would be participating in the upcoming election. Sen. Biden had previously written President Musharraf in September before Ms. Bhutto returned to Pakistan, urging him to provide her with full security. The full text of the October letter, signed also by Senators Leahy and Lieberman, is below:

October 24, 2007

President Pervaiz Musharraf
c/o The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
3517 International Court, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Dear President Musharraf:

We write to express our sympathy for the tremendous loss suffered by Pakistan in the October 18 suicide attack during a rally welcoming Pakistan Peoples Party leader Benazir Bhutto. The brutal murder of 140 Pakistani citizens in Karachi was a senseless tragedy, and we extend our condolences to you, to the victims’ families, and to all of the people of Pakistan.

We believe this devastating attack serves as a stark reminder of the need for effective security mechanisms for the protection of all candidates and their supporters (particularly, although not exclusively, Ms. Bhutto and members of her party), who will be participating in the coming election. To this end, we ask you to take the following points under close consideration, as you and your government develop a plan to confront these serious challenges:

1. We believe it is very important to the democratic process that Ms. Bhutto be provided the full level of security support customarily afforded to any former Pakistani Prime Minister. One of the most important security provisions would be government-provided bomb-proof vehicles and jamming equipment, in order to protect Ms. Bhutto and other senior political leaders from roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices.
2. We are troubled by allegations—well-founded or not— of potential links between certain currently-serving or retired military or intelligence officials and extremist forces who might target secular politicians. In order to dispel any suspicion of complicity on the part of any past or present government officials, we urge you to ensure that any individual involved in (or alleged to have been involved in) past political action against Ms. Bhutto and her supporters be excluded from any part of the former prime minister’s security detail.
3. We urge you to refrain from using security concerns as a rationale for imposing a ban on political rallies. We believe your government, like the governments of other nations afflicted by the scourge of terrorism, can adequately protect political leaders and their supporters without stifling the democratic process.
4. We urge the government of Pakistan to conduct a thorough and transparent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the attack of October 18. We also encourage the government of Pakistan to accept whatever forensic, intelligence, and investigatory support from outside countries might be necessary to ensure a successful outcome to this inquiry. If the resources of the U.S. government would be helpful in bringing the perpetrators of this terrible assault on innocent Pakistanis to justice, we stand ready to facilitate the provision of such resources in any way we are able to do so.

We share the pain that you, and all Pakistanis, suffered at the brutal murder of 140 of your fellow citizens. We continue to believe in the critical importance of a strong friendship between the people of United States and Pakistan.


Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
United States Senator

Joseph I. Lieberman
United States Senator

Patrick J. Leahy
United States Senator


New Biden Ad: "Office"

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 389

Joe Biden has a new ad up in Iowa. Titled "Office," the 30-second spot makes the case that Biden's has the experience to clearly see the challenges facing our country and the statesmanship to meet those challenges as our next president.

Here's the script:

ANNOUNCER: We don't have to imagine the crises the next president will face. Ending the war, and bringing our sons and daughters home safe. Keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

For 35 years, Joe Biden has been tested, and made the tough decisions that have protected out nation and saved lives.

Isn't that what we need in this office?

BIDEN: I'm Joe Biden, and I approve this message.

Here's the video:

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Biden Gets Two More State Rep Endorsements in Iowa

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 394

That makes 16 total, for those keeping score at home. The momentum continues to build in Iowa!

Des Moines, IA (December 22, 2007) – Today, Sen. Joe Biden received endorsements from two key Iowa elected officials. State Representatives Dennis Cohoon of Burlington and Eric Palmer of Oskaloosa become the 15th and 16th Iowa State legislators to endorse Sen. Biden.

“I am supporting Sen. Biden because he’s the most prepared to be president from Day One,” said Rep. Cohoon. “And as a high school special education teacher for thirty years, I know Sen. Biden can accomplish the education reforms we need to get kids in preschool earlier and give them the opportunity to go to college.”

Rep. Palmer stressed Sen. Biden’s experience in world affairs and his commitment to civil rights: “The Des Moines Register talked about knowledge and experience in their endorsement. To me Joe Biden exhibits real knowledge and experience in foreign affairs and his understanding of the constitution, both qualities not exhibited by this White House. As Vice-Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, I am particularly impressed with Sen. Biden’s expertise in constitutional law, which will be critical to getting America back on track.”

In commenting on the endorsements, Biden for President National Political Director Danny O’Brien said, “These are two huge endorsements for Senator Biden that point to his growing momentum in the state. Eric and Dennis were highly sought after and the fact that they chose Joe Biden demonstrates that Iowans are beginning to focus in on what really matters in a president, authenticity and readiness for office.” Added O’Brien, who is also serving as Iowa State Director for the campaign, “We are very grateful to Eric and Dennis for stepping up at this critical time.”

In accepting the endorsement, Senator Biden said, “Getting the endorsement of two men I respect so much is a great tonic for the final push in Iowa. I know that what matters most in Iowa are the voices inside the caucuses who have the most respect from their constituents. That voice belongs to state and local officials. I have such tremendous gratitude for Rep. Cohoon and Rep. Palmer for their support and their confidence in our campaign.”

Rep. Dennis Cohoon was first elected in 1986 and has served in the Iowa State House for 21 years. He has been a high school special education teacher at Burlington Community High School for 30 years and is a member of the Iowa State Educators Association. Rep. Cohoon serves on several committees in the Iowa House: the Appropriations Committee, Education Committee, Local Government Committee, and Transportation Committee. He is also the Chairman of the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee.

Rep. Eric Palmer was elected to the Iowa State House in 2006 and is serving his first term. Prior to his service in the House, Rep. Palmer was an Oskaloosa City Councilman for 6 years, and he has been an attorney in Oskaloosa for 20 years. Rep. Palmer serves on several committees in the Iowa State House: the Education Committee, Human Resources Committee, Labor Committee, Ways and Means Committee and he serves as Vice Chairman of the Judiciary committee. Rep. Palmer also serves on the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

Reps. Cohoon and Palmer join an impressive group of Iowa state legislators who have endorsed Senator Biden including: State Sen. Joe Seng (Davenport), House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Des Moines), Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Polly Butka (Clinton), Rep. John Whitaker (Hillsboro), Rep. Doris Kelley (Waterloo), Rep. Lisa Heddens (Ames), Rep. Jim Lykam (Davenport), Rep. Mike Reasoner (Creston), Rep. Dick Taylor (Cedar Rapids), Rep. Roger Thomas (Elkader), Rep. McKinley Bailey (Webster City), State Senator Herman C. Quirmbach (Ames), Rep. Mary Gaskill (Ottumwa) and Rep. Bruce Hunter (Des Moines).


Friday, December 21, 2007

[UPDATED] Biden Campaign Announces Caucus Countdown Tour

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 395

Press release from the campaign.

Des Moines, IA (December 21, 2007): The Biden Campaign announced today that Sen. Joe Biden will return to Iowa on Wednesday, December 26th, to kick-off the
campaign’s ‘Caucus Countdown Tour’. The tour will begin with a Caucus Countdown Rally in Des Moines on Wednesday evening.

The following day, Biden will hit the trail for an eight-day barnstorm of the state which will take him through 28 counties. Over the course of this campaign Biden will have visited 90 of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Further details on countdown tour events are forthcoming.

Wednesday, December 26th
Italian American Cultural Center
1961 Indianola Avenue
Des Moines, IA

Thursday, December 27th
Lecompte Memorial Library
110 S Franklin Street
Corydon, IA 50060

Creston High School
601 W Townline Street
Creston, IA

Eagle’s Lodge
1530 Ave F
Council Bluffs, IA

Friday, December 28th
Adel Public Library
Community Room
303 S 10th Street
Adel, IA

Mabe's Pizza and Restaurant
110 E. Water Street
Decorah, IA

Featherlite Center
Howard County Fairgrounds
220 7th St W
Cresco, IA

Waverly Civic Center
200 1st St. NE
Waverly, IA

Waterloo Center for the Arts
225 Commercial Street
Waterloo, IA

Saturday, December 29th
Bill’s Pizza and Smokehouse
201 1st Street West
Independence, IA

Pizza Ranch
1100 W Main Street
Manchester, IA

Johnson’s Restaurant
916 1/2 High St NE
Elkader, IA

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
350 E 3rd Street
Dubuque, IA

Sunday, December 30th
Masonic Temple Association of Mason City
304 1st St. SE
Mason City, IA 50401

Garner Education Center
325 West 8th Street
Garner, IA

Sister Sarah’s
1515 N McCoy St
Algona, IA 50511

Boys and Girls Club of Sioux City
513 14th Street
Sioux City, IA

Monday, December 31st
217 S 25th Street
Fort Dodge, IA 50501

Ames Public Library Auditorium
515 Douglas Avenue
Ames, IA

Jasper County Community Center
2407 1st Avenue East
Newton, IA

Tuesday, January 1st
Raccoon River Brewing Company
200 10th Street
Des Moines, IA

WarrenCounty Administration Building
301 N Buxton Street
Indianola, IA

Knoxville, IA

Home of State Sen. Joe Seng
Davenport, IA

Wednesday, January 2nd
Burlington Arts Guild
629 Washington Street
Burlington, IA

Douma Elementary School
Side Entrance
307 W Mary Street
Ottumwa, IA

The Peppertree
2274 Highway 63
Oskaloosa, IA

North Ridge Parking Pavilion
2250 Holiday Road
Coralville, IA

The Roundhouse
1350 A Street SW
Cedar Rapids, IA

Thursday, January 3rd – CAUCUS DAY
310 East 4th Street
Waterloo, IA

UAW Hall
3450 Central Avenue
Dubuque, IA

Mojo’s Coffee House
129 Main Street
Davenport, IA

Des Moines, IA

# # #

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Joe Biden and the Future of American Farms

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 397

Passing along this campaign press release on farming because, y'know, this is Iowa.


“Farm Policy, Foreign Policy, And Economic Policy Are All Connected And Affect The Future Of American Farms”

Webster City, IA (December 20, 2007): Today at the All Cultures Equal, Inc. Center in Webster City, Iowa, Sen. Joe Biden discussed the importance of electing a candidate who can connect the dots between farm policy, economic policy and foreign policy to preserve the future of family and independent farms. He also outlined his own policy proposal for preserving the future of family farms in the 21st century global economy.

“In today’s global market, instability – whether it is in Pakistan or on Wall Street – is going to hit farmers’ bottom line,” said Sen. Biden. “I have represented an agricultural state for 35 years. We need a president who understands how all these things are related, because farm policy, foreign policy, and economic policy are all connected and affect the future of American farms. Farmers need a President who will restore stability.”

Sen. Biden praised the Farm Bill which the Senate recently passed as a step in the right direction, but he argued that more must be done to protect the future of family farms. For example, Sen. Biden supported a payment limitations measure that would have capped payments at $250,000, but the legislation was defeated during consideration of the Farm Bill.

"First, we must level the field on farm subsidies," said Sen. Biden. "Subsidies should do what they were designed to do, provide assistance in times of trouble, not just help the big get bigger at the expense of the little guy."

Sen. Biden urged that more aggressive steps be taken to make sure family farmers and independent producers are not squeezed out of markets by giant agri-business and market consolidation.

"Too often the deck is stacked against family farmers," said Sen. Biden. "We have to make sure competition is fair."

Sen. Biden supports the Packer Ownership Ban and would update protections to stop packers from engaging in price manipulation and make it easier for farmers to seek redress for unfair or deceptive practices. In 2006, it is estimated that captive supplies of livestock cost family farmers and ranchers more than $5.7 billion.

Sen. Biden praised expansion of conservation measures in the Farm Bill and called for more support for new farmers.

"The average farmer in Iowa is over 60. We are losing the next generation of farmers," said Sen. Biden. "We must stop this trend and do more to help young people get into farming."

Sen. Biden would also protect access to credit and capital for new farmers – including funding for alternative farming such as organic production or free range hog production. He supports helping farmers make the transition to organic production, which often allows them to collect a premium on their products, if they want to pursue that alternative. It takes three years of not using fertilizer and pesticides to make that transition and Sen. Biden would provide support to farmers during that period.

"Finally, we must have a smart and tough trade policy that levels the playing field for farmers in the global economy," said Sen. Biden. "That means we have to fight for fair agreements, to keep markets open – and review and enforce the trade agreements we have. In my administration trade officials will ensure enforcement is a priority."

New Biden Ad in Iowa: "January Night"

Day Until Bush Leaves Office = 397

With just two weeks to go until caucus night, Joe Biden is airing a new ad in Iowa beginning today. The 30 second spot, titled "January Night," intersperses text slides and stark black & white photos to highlight the dramatic nature of the choice Iowa voters will make on January 3.

Here's the script:

NARRATOR: It is a time of possibilities. Remarkable things can happen in the swirling dark cold of a January night. People are deciding that the truth counts. That leadership takes a steady hand, a steel spine, a cool head, an honest heart. We'll need wisdom and judgment. This world can be made safer for our nation and our families.

It's time to choose a president.

BIDEN: I'm Joe Biden, and I approve this message.

And the video:

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Biden Talks Education in Fort Dodge

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 397

Joe Biden talked education today at the Fort Dodge Public Library. While there, Senator Biden discussed the decline in test scores among American students, occurring even as No Child Left Behind emphasizes test scores above all else.

I strongly agree with Joe Biden's stand on the need to expand the scope of our education policies beyond the constraints of No Child Left Behind. Education is more than test scores, and a well-educated society is the best possible answer by far to a host of issues confronting the country. For everything from crime and drugs, to unemployment and poverty, to our ability to compete in the global economy, to low voter turnout rates in elections, education can be the silver bullet. Biden's proposals show that he gets this, and has a workable set of plans to get us where we need to be.

As an aside, I saw a statement from Bill Richardson's campaign today decrying the increased prominence of domestic issues in the campaign of late. While I agree that Iraq is our most urgent foreign policy issue, voters across Iowa and across the country are also concerned about pressing domestic concerns, such as education, that directly impact their daily lives every bit as much as Iraq. Voters want a candidate who can credibly and effectively address issues both at home and abroad. Events like today's in Fort Dodge vividly illustrate that Joe Biden is that candidate.

Here's a campaign press release on Biden's Fort Dodge remarks.


“In The 21st Century, Education Has Become A Critical National Security Issue”

Fort Dodge, IA (December 19, 2007): Today at the Fort Dodge Public Library in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Sen. Joe Biden responded to new international test results showing that U.S. students lag behind their peers in other countries.

America's 15 year-olds recently ranked 25th in mathematics and 21st in science among the 30 member countries that make up the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Just 70 percent of American high school students reach graduation day. The United States now ranks 17th in the world in high-school graduation rates and 14th in college graduation rates.

"I want to make something very clear," said Sen. Biden. "It is not our students who failed these tests - it is our policies that are failing our students."

Sen. Biden called for an overhaul of No Child Left Behind and comprehensive education reform including: universal preschool, more time spent on learning, putting a well-paid effective teacher in every classroom, expanding service opportunities for middle and high school students and providing a minimum of two years of higher education for every student.

"Education is more than just math, science, and reading. Our focus on multiple choice tests has narrowed the curriculum and the ability of teachers to innovate," said Sen. Biden. "And that shows - not just in the math and science test scores - but in the basic education our students are missing: American history and training in how our government works."

Sen. Biden noted that in the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress test on civics education, only half of 8th graders were able to link religious freedom to the Bill of Rights and only half of 12th graders were able to identify the President's role in foreign policy. Only 47 percent of high school seniors have mastered a minimum level of U.S. history. Only half of U.S. high school students knew that the sentence "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" is in the Declaration of Independence.

"Too many students are simply not getting a basic education in how democracy works," said Sen. Biden. "That's a crisis at a time when our civil liberties are under assault by an administration that has ignored basic protections such as habeas corpus, disregarded the balance of power and secretly authorized torture."

Sen. Biden announced that he would invest in grants to develop civics curricula for use in schools. He called for providing service opportunities through programs such as Americorps for middle and high school students and rewarding national service with help for college.

"My mother has an expression: 'children tend to become that which you expect of them.' I want a country where we expect much from America's children," said Sen. Biden. "As President, I assure you: education will always be my top domestic priority because I believe in the next generation. I believe that they will solve climate change, make us energy independent, and bring peace to the Middle East. But we need to give them the foundation to do it."

Several members of the Delaware State Educators Association, which recently endorsed Sen. Biden for president, were in attendance at today’s event.

Mike Hoffman, DSEA Treasurer said, “I support Sen. Biden because he’s always come to the teachers to get their input. I appreciate that he recognizes that No Child Left Behind needs to be scrapped and that unfunded mandates are wrong. Teachers want to be held accountable but we need to have a fair measure of our students. When Joe Biden talks about making real education reform, I know he means what he says.”

Mary Jo Faust, NEA Director for the Delaware State Education Association and a 2nd grade teacher in the Capital School District, added, “I support Joe Biden because he understands my needs as a teacher. He knows that No Child Left Behind is too prescriptive, that kids need to be in school earlier and longer, and that I teach best when I have small class sizes. And he also understands that we need a professional level starting salary to retain and attract teachers in the classroom.”

Monday, December 17, 2007

Anyone Else Talk with Musharref Today?

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 400

Anyone besides Joe Biden, I mean?

BIDEN Issues Statement Following Conversation with Musharraf

Washington, DC – Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) issued the following statement today after speaking by phone with Pakistan’s President Pervaiz Musharraf:

“This morning I spoke again with President Musharraf of Pakistan. I expressed my support for his recent decisions to retire from the military and to end the State of Emergency which he had imposed on November 3. I told President Musharraf that these steps were necessary but far from sufficient. I urged him to fully return Pakistan to the democratic path, in particular by lifting restrictions on the press, restoring an independent judiciary and ensuring that the January 8 elections are free, fair and transparent.

“Immediately following the imposition of the State of Emergency, the Bush Administration placed all U.S. aid to Pakistan under review. That review apparently came up empty: the Administration has lobbied hard against placing any conditions of aid that has exceeded $10 billion since 9/11. As I told President Musharraf, it is unlikely that Congress will be similarly inactive.

“The fate of democracy in Pakistan and America's future are joined – we have a profound stake in helping Pakistan succeed. Last month I unveiled a comprehensive plan for a new approach to Pakistan that would move from engagement with one man to engagement with a whole nation. The plan would provide considerable new resources, both economic and political. It would lay the foundation for a new era of cooperation, and strengthen the national security of both of our nations. But the first step must be a genuine return to the democratic path.”

So, how about it? Anyone else?


*crickets chirping*

(Dodd gets a pass because of the retro immunity filibuster)

Other candidates talk about being "Ready From Day One." Joe Biden isn't waiting for "Day One" to lead: he is doing it now, and better than any of the other candidates.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Most Impressive Dem of the Week: Joe Biden

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 401

Joe Biden wins the award for Most Impressive Democrat of the Week. So says Huffington Post's Chris Weigant:

Senator (and presidential candidate) Joe Biden wins for being first out of the box last week to use the words "Special Counsel" (which last week's column heavily advised doing). Interviewed on ABC last Sunday, Biden called for a Special Counsel to be appointed to look into the CIA's destruction of interrogation tapes. He was the first presidential candidate to do so, and to date only one other (Edwards) is in the news for agreeing with Biden. This is the difference between leadership and poll-testing popular stances. Clinton and Obama are also sitting Senators, and there's nothing stopping them from making bold moves such as this, but they always seem to come from Joe Biden. For those of you counting MIDOTW awards, out of a total of seven awards given so far, Biden is now tied with Chris Dodd (2 each), while the entire rest of the Democratic field has exactly zero among them. So join me in saying: "Way to go, Joe!" [emphasis added]

This adds to the buzz that continues to build around Biden, right across the spectrum of Democratic opinion. With 19 days to go before the caucus, and following a widely praised performance at Thursday's Des Moines Register debate, things continue to move in Joe Biden's direction. Way to go, Joe, indeed!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Nevada Plumbers & Pipefitters Union Endorses Joe Biden

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 402

According to today's Las Vegas ReviewJournal, the Plumbing, Pipefitting, and Refrigeration Workers UA Local 525 has endorsed Joe Biden for President.

"The Biden team in Nevada is excited to have The Plumbers and Pipefitters on board. They bring another level of grass roots support to our campaign," said Biden for President Nevada State Director Ronni Council in a press release.

In the same press release, UA Local 525 Business Manager Brett McCoy said, “Joe Biden has always been there for organized labor and that record is important to us. He’s also the only candidate who has a plan to get us out of the war and who is aware of the domestic problems we face, like the economy, and knows how to fix them.”

“The history of the last century has taught a simple lesson,” the press release quotes Senator Biden as saying. “When the union movement is strong, our middle class is strong. When our middle class is strong, our country is strong.

“As president, I will immediately sign the Employee Free Choice Act into law. I will guarantee that the National Labor Relations Board returns to being a fair forum to contest unfair labor practices. I will appoint people to the Department of Labor who understand the value of unions to our economy and will make sure that pro-union officials play senior roles at the Departments of Commerce, State, Agriculture, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services. And I will also create good, union jobs by investing in our national infrastructure. We have $1.6 trillion of work to do to rebuild our roads, tunnels, ports and bridges. That means more construction, manufacturing, and transportation jobs for Americans.

“I am honored that the Plumbers and Pipefitters have pledged their support to my campaign and will continue to work as hard for them in the future as I have in the past.”

Local 525 represents about 2,200 members in the southern half of Nevada, including the greater Las Vegas area.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thoughts on the Des Moines Register Democratic Debate

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 403

The Des Moines Register debate among the Democratic candidates for president has just wrapped up. Here are some thoughts on each candidate, in alphabetical order.

Joe Biden - hampered by a cold, Biden nonetheless delivered a strong performance in this debate. All the candidates recognize the importance of Iowa in the 2008 campaign process, but more than any of the others, Joe Biden was able to speak to Iowan's specific issues and concerns directly and effectively, but without overt pandering. Two examples: speaking about the contrast between his first trip to Iowa in 1974 and the present, Biden observed that there is now "so much open land and so few farmers," due to the rise of agribusiness at the expense of family farms, and he gave a terrific response on alternative energy and biofuels, giving an answer that referred to both cellulosic and corn-based ethanol and the comparative long term potential of each that will have the other candidates scrambling back to their playbooks to emulate. Look for that to pay dividends for Biden in the final sprint to January 3rd. But undoubtedly the best moment of this debate for Joe Biden, or any of the other candidates, for that matter, was his statement on civil rights, which drew applause from not only the audience, but the other candidates on the stage. Biden carried the entire hall, and the debate with it, in that moment.

Hillary Clinton: In a debate focused on issues and substance, Hillary Clinton came in with a game plan focused on selling her personal qualities to voters, rather than her policies. She strove - visibly strove - to appear relaxed, unflappable, strong, and confident in her inevitable success in this campaign. I'm not so sure this was the best strategy for this particular debate. The idea that this race is for all practical purposes over a full 3 weeks before caucus night is beginning to ware on Iowans. Clinton may have done better to engage on issues, rather than portraying herself as the One to Beat.

Chris Dodd: Dodd is always at his best when talking about the rule of law and restoring the Constitution, and today was no exception. Dodd also scored well in a gutsy pitch for a corporate carbon tax instead of a cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But there wasn't a home run for Chris Dodd today, and that is what he needs absolutely every single time he goes to bat between now and January 3rd. Even then, it may already be too late for Dodd to improve his chances at a respectable showing in the caucuses, and that would be a shame for a candidate who has run a solid, ideas-based campaign.

John Edwards: Today was a missed opportunity for John Edwards. Edwards had a chance to come in to this debate and remind Iowans why it was they catapulted him to national prominence with a second place finish here four years ago. Rather than do that, however, John Edwards treaded water with answers that did little more than rerun lines from his stump speeches. Edwards didn't gain any ground today, which, with the polls showing him in a no-margin-for error dead heat with Clinton and Obama, is as much as to say that he lost ground.

Barack Obama: Today was easily Barack Obama's best debate so far. At a pivotal moment in the campaign, his statement repeating his "fierce urgency of now" case for his candidacy and his description of his plans for his first year in office showed a combination of heart and head that put Barack Obama in his best light. The trick for Obama now is that he must clearly display this combination again and again between now and caucus night to pull supporters away from the other established front runners. Obama's off-the-cuff remark about looking forward to receiving Hillary Clinton's advice when he is president was also 100% pitch perfect. It's hard to imagine Barack Obama performing any better than he did at this debate.

Bill Richardson: Amiable, unpretentious in spite of his accomplishments, and likeable, Bill Richardson nonetheless came into this debate an undeniably deflated candidate. Once showing potential to actually crack into the polling territory inhabited by Clinton, Edwards and Obama, Richardson appears to have peaked in mid summer and has been steadily losing ground ever since. Lacking energy, let alone any memorable lines, and seemingly unable to close the sale with Iowa voters, Bill Richardson did nothing to halt his slide in today's debate. You can practically hear the air seeping out of his candidacy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chris Matthews: Biden in Top Three for Nomination Race

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 404

On Hardball this past Monday, Chris Matthews did his regular "Power Ranking" of the Democratic candidates for president, ranking who is most likely to become the nominee next year. The big news: Joe Biden is now ranked third in the field, behind only Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, both much better financed and beneficiaries of infinitely more media coverage.

Here's what Matthews had to say:

"On the Democratic side I say, and this may surprise you, that Joe Biden is now the third best bet for the nomination. I'm hearing a lot of buzz about him from people who pay attention."

Here's the video:

This confirms what I'm hearing from other voters I talk to, as well. As voters here become more focused on making their final caucus choices, and as they get to know Joe Biden, they are seeing him not only as the candidate who is the leading voice on solving the Iraq mess, but more and more as a legitimate alternative to the established front runners. The closer we get to caucus night, the better positioned Joe Biden is to dramatically exceed expectations here in Iowa.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Biden Ad in Iowa: "Action"

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 405

Joe Biden is putting up a new ad in Iowa tomorrow. Titled, "Action," the 30-second spot features Senator Biden speaking directly to the camera about his record of leadership and results in public life.

Here's the video:

I like this ad, and I think it marks the opening of a new phase in Biden's campaign. It provides viewers with a look at a very presidential Joe Biden, and makes the case that a vote for Biden is a guesswork-free proposition: if you want to know how he'll perform as president, just take a look at what he has done, and continues to do, in his public career. And the ad comes at exactly the right moment for the campaign, when buzz is beginning to build around Biden's candidacy and people are taking serious stock of the candidates before making their final caucus decision. I think viewers will come away impressed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Joe Biden Increases Iowa Grassroots Support

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 411

Joe Biden continued to add strength to his Iowa ground game today with the announcement of more than fifty local elected officials, veteran Democratic activists and community leaders from more than twenty Iowa counties who have joined the Biden campaign's statewide steering committee.

In a press release issued by Biden's campaign, Dubuque County Sheriff Ken Runde said, "I am endorsing Sen. Biden because over the years he’s been the Democrats’ leader in supporting law enforcement, and as a veteran myself, I believe he is best prepared to resolve the war in Iraq and is right to support our troops. Joe Biden is as down to earth as you can get and he is a fair and honest man."

"I looked over the field and talked to friends and family who had Joe Biden at the top of their list," added Paulee Lipsman, a former DNC member and veteran of many Iowa caucuses. "I have finally decided, as have many others, that Joe Biden in fact will make a great president and I want to do everything I can to help him win."

“We are honored that these Iowans pledged to support Sen. Biden. This group of community leaders reveals the grassroots energy behind Sen. Biden that’s spreading across Iowa. We look forward to their help in building toward a successful caucus day.” said Biden for President Political Director Danny O’Brien.

The full list of individuals who endorsed Joe Biden for President today includes:
- Paulee Lipsman, Former Member of the Democratic National Committee, Polk County
- Ken Runde, Dubuque County Sheriff
- Grant Veeder, Black Hawk County Auditor
- Chuck Larson, Fremont County Supervisor
- Craig White, Black Hawk County Supervisor
- Marty Larsen, Sheriff of Chickasaw County
- Bob Elliott, Democratic Activist, Johnson County
- Les Aasheim, Mayor of Clive, Polk County
- Sharon Aasheim, Democratic Activist, Polk County
- Ann Michalski, Dubuque City Councilwoman, Dubuque County
- Susan Dunek, Keokuk City Councilwoman, Lee County
- Lou Galetich, Norwalk School Board Member, Boone County
- George Meinecke, Norwalk School Board Member, Warren County
- Jill Morrill, Johnston School Board Member, Polk County
- Margaret Moore, Walker Councilwoman, Linn County
- Everett Moore, Former Walker Mayor, Linn County
- Don Schultz, Former State Representative, Black Hawk County
- Gene Blanshan, Former State Representative, Guthrie County
- Chuck Taylor, Fayette County Democratic Party Chair
- Jamie Hogan, Adams County Democratic Party Chair
- Don Wills, Vice Chair of the Greene County Democratic Central Committee
- Jim Carnahan, Former Polk County Democratic Chair
- Steve Hodge, Former School Board Member, Former Polk County Democratic Party Chair, Dubuque County
- Doug Jones, Vice Chair of the Decatur County Democratic Central Committee
- Diane Bolte, Clinton County Democratic Secretary
- Matt Porter, President of CWA Local 7108, Black Hawk County
- Laurie Soroka, Vice President of CWA Local 7102, Polk County
- Nick Powers, UAW Local 838 Member, Black Hawk County
- Don Krause, Des Moines, Polk County
- Linda Krause, Des Moines, Polk County
- Pat Johnson, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Union, Retired, Clinton County
- Tom Avenarius, Dubuque Candidate for State Representative, UAW Retiree and Vietnam Veteran
- Steve Wandro, Attorney and Democratic Activist, Polk County
- Sara Riley, Local Attorney, Linn County
- Nate Boulton, Labor Lawyer and Democratic Activist, Polk County
- U.J. Booth, Local Attorney, Community Activist and Veteran, Clarke County
- Linda Booth, Community Activist, Clarke County
- Carlton Blackburn, President of Connections, Johnson County
- Arleon Kelley, Methodist Minister, Fayette County
- Doug Burks, Chief Pharmacist Winneshiek Medical Center, Winneshiek County
- Sue Burks, Pharmacist and Small Business Owner, Winneshiek County
- Debbie Hillman, Shenandoah Hospital Nurse, Page County
- Steven Schmit, Ed. D., Director of the Division of Postdoctoral Training for the American Osteopathic Association, Black Hawk County
- Anita Quirk, Educator, Chickasaw County
- Marylyn Bruce, Democratic Activist, Polk County
- Cheri Canier, Democratic Activist, Clinton County
- Mike Finnegan, Democratic Activist, Clermont, Fayette County
- Cathy Hermes, Democratic Activist, Davenport, Scott County
- Mary Kennedy, Democratic Activist, Polk County
- JoAnn McKibben, Cumming, Warren County
- Barry McKibben, Cumming, Warren County
- Gabriel Russo, St. Charles, Madison
- Patty Russo, St. Charles, Madison

Biden on Hardball

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 411

Senator Joe Biden was on Hardball last night, talking with host Chris Matthews about the latest National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iran's nuclear weapons program.

In his conversation with Matthews, Joe Biden again pointed out the recklessness of the Bush Administration's policy regarding Iran, and the damage it continues to inflict on America's ability to lead around the world.

A link to the video is below. The clip runs about seven minutes, but is well worth viewing.

Biden responds to Bush, NIE
Biden responds to Bush, NIE

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Thoughts on the NPR Debate

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 412

The NPR debate just wrapped up in Des Moines. Here are some thoughts about the candidates' performance, in alphabetical order.

Joe Biden - Another strong debate performance from Biden today. On all of the three spotlight topics of the debate, Biden spoke forthrightly on not just the details of the issues of Iran, China and immigration, but the specific policy measures he would put in place to address those issues. I thought Biden's point about immigrants learning English - that there hasn't been an immigration wave in our history that has not embraced English as a primary language in its second generation - was a particular highlight. But the home run of the day came in this exchange with Hillary Clinton on Iran and Clinton's vote in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman resolution:

Clinton: "None of us is advocating a rush to war."
Biden: "Terminology matters.It's not about not advocating a rush to war. I'm advocating no war."

I think Biden won the debate in that moment.

Hillary Clinton - for the most part, Hillary Clinton came across well enough to prevent negative press, but I didn't find her performance to be as compelling as in previous debates. It may have been the radio format, but in her answers at this debate, Hillary Clinton sounded like a candidate who's trying hard not to lose, rather than one who is "in it to win it." Senator Clinton is rarely tentative in her debate performances, nor was she today; but increasingly, I get the impression that there's a filter between her beliefs and her words that conveys the impression that she's being more and more careful on the stump. Clinton is in a a real fight to win here in Iowa, and obviously isn't crazy about it.

Chris Dodd - Dodd had some good moments today, particularly on the issue of China and trade. The spin email from the Dodd campaign summarized his performance on this topic pretty fairly:

Sen. Dodd, who called for an immediate suspension of food, toys and pet food imported from China over the summer after safety concerns were cited, characterized the United States’ trade relationship with China as ‘adversarial.’ “When you manipulate your currency as they (China) do; when you’re in violation of the World Trade Organization; when you employ slave labor in the production of your manufactured goods; when you deny access on your shelves to the products and services we produce, it is not a competition, it’s adversarial. We need to stand up and say: “This is a market you want to be in. If you want to be here, then you’re going to have to play like an adult.”

On the other hand, Dodd also pledged to put only toys made in Iowa under the tree this Christmas. I can hear his two daughters crying about that from here.

John Edwards - While the tone of today's debate was more relaxed that the last TV debate, John Edwards still got in some smacks at Hillary Clinton which I'm sure pleased his supporters. The release of yesterday's National Intelligence Estimate downgrading the urgency of any nuclear weapons threat from Iran poses additional problems for Senator Clinton in defending her Kyl-Lieberman vote, and John Edwards worked hard to exploit that. Clinton has characterized her vote as one in favor of diplomacy with Iran, a point with which John Edwards took issue today:

"Declaring a military group sponsored by the state of Iran a terrorist organization, that's supposed to be diplomacy?" Edwards said at one point. "This has to be considered in the context that Senator Clinton has said she agrees with George Bush terminology that we're in a global war on terror, then she voted to declare a military group in Iran a terrorist organization. What possible conclusion can you reach other than we are at war?"

Edwards did rather poorly, however, in struggling to respond to a question about the specific actions he would take to extend basic rights to undocumented workers as an interim measure while enacting comprehensive immigration reform.

Mike Gravel - Here's to maybe the last chance we'll have to listen to Mike Gravel grumble nonsense to power.

Dennis Kucinich - Nothing new from Dennis4President today. There was an odd moment at the end of the debate when he seemed to be saying he hadn't made up his mind about the standards of conduct to which the president and vice president should be held, and whether Bush and Cheney should be impeached. As someone who has introduced articles of impeachment in the House of Representatives against Vice President Cheney, you would think Kucinich would have reached closure on this issue. Quite strange, but there again, nothing new.

Barack Obama - Obama seemed to disappear for long stretches of today's debate. When he did speak, he avoided making any problems for himself, but the audio-only format didn't do any favors for Senator Obama's often deliberate and low-key Q&A style.

Today's radio debate almost makes me wish television had never been invented. It is so much more productive to get candidates together in a setting like today's at the Iowa Historical Museum and speak over radio than it is to put everybody on camera. Doing debates via radio is infinitely cheaper than putting on a televised debate; anybody who has covered any of the TV debates this cycle, as I did at Drake University back in August, can attest to what a mammoth undertaking those are, with all the production expense that entails. Because television is so much more expensive than radio, the urgency is to cover as many topics as possible in the space of two hours, with the result that all substance is lost and there is only time for sound bites.

Radio, with its much lower production costs, would enable a number of debates similar to today's, focused on a few specific topics, with the result of a much more substantive discussion.

Ain't gonna happen, though. Bummer.

Here's a link to a transcript from CQ Transcriptions, via the New York Times.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Biden: "I Will Eat Rudy Giuliani Alive at a Debate "

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 413

Another rocket from Biden to the Giuliani camp today demonstrates again how Joe Biden knows how to keep his eye on the ball. This is the kind of fire we need to bring to the general election campaign in order to win: hard, fast, and aimed in the right targets.

"I can't wait to debate Rudy Giuliani.

Over the weekend, Rudy Giuliani attacked the Biden plan for a political solution in Iraq, "They're saying, 'We will divide the country.' (The Iraqi government) has to decide to divide the country. We're trying to create stability over there."

The former mayor never misses an opportunity to display how little he knows about foreign policy. My plan is to give regions in Iraq more control over their daily lives. It's a way for states to share power with a central government and achieve a political solution to the chaos there and it was endorsed by a bipartisan majority of 75 Senators, both Republican and Democrat. We've already seen it play out -- where local authorities have been given more control over their affairs, violence has gone down. Meanwhile, the Bush administration's attempt to create a strong central government is still not working -- for all the headlines the surge has created, we're no closer to a political solution in Baghdad than we were when the surge began months ago.

Folks, we've seen how dangerous it is to elect a president who doesn't understand how the world works. The last thing we need in the White House is four years of George W. Giuliani, or George W. Romney. Notice we haven't heard a word about their plans to reach a political solution in Iraq.

I promise you, when I am the Democratic nominee next year, I will eat them alive at the debates."

"George W. Giuliani or George W. Romney." Ouch!

Joe Biden for President

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 413

One month from today, when I go to my precinct caucus, I will be casting my vote for Joe Biden.

Back in May of this year, I wrote a post which was somewhat tongue-in-cheek at the time, but which I revisit now in earnest:

Since starting this blog this past January, I’ve had the opportunity to meet, or at least shake hands with, every candidate in the Democratic field who has made a visit to Iowa. I’ve heard their ideas, or at least their rhetoric. I’ve had a chance to see how they perform in front of crowds large and small. I’m as star-struck by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as moved by the personal story of John Edwards, as impressed by the résumé of Bill Richardson, and appreciative of the Senate careers of Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, as anybody. I’ve heard the policy speeches on Iraq and health care, climate change and energy. I’ve been on the conference calls with the candidates, and heard them make the case about why they are uniquely qualified to lead the United States at this critical moment in history. I’ve watched the debates. I’ve sized them up, weighed the pros and cons, scrutinized their records. I’ve looked them in the eye, and taken the temperature of the fire in their bellies.

I now have to face the question of whether the time has come to declare support for one candidate above the others.

I’m happy to say this is not an easy choice to make. The Democratic roster this cycle is arguably the most impressive ever fielded by the party. Any one of the candidates I mention above could legitimately serve as president, and would do a better job of it than any Republican candidate this cycle, and, I need hardly say, the current incumbent. And, to an unusual degree, they all will have a future in national politics and running for the White House again after the 2008 election is over.

Those words remain true to this day. Democrats have an oustanding field of candidates to choose from in this campaign and choosing among them has taken far longer than I had anticipated. But over the last month, the case to be made in favor of Joe Biden above the others has become increasingly compelling. To continue quoting from the earlier post:

In my view, however, one stands above the rest on experience, on leadership, on political courage, on character and integrity, and the strength of the ideas they have brought to this campaign.

Joe Biden possesses all of these attributes, and then some. For nearly two years, and for far longer than he has been running for president, Joe Biden has distinguished himself as the voice that matters on Iraq; on delivering real homeland security without sacrificing our civil liberties on the alter of fear; on energy and climate change, healthcare, education, crime, jobs, reproductive freedom and workplace equality for women, ending the genocide in Darfur, and most recently, the upheaval in Pakistan, Joe Biden shows again and again that when it comes to bold ideas, policy proposals that are not only specific, but workable, and proven leadership, he towers above the other candidates like a colossus.

Crucially, Joe Biden also has the ability not just to articulate his proposals, but to take the fight to the Republicans and win. For all the back and forth there's been about which of the Democratic candidates would be the most electable next November, no one else has shown the agility and just plain muscle of Joe Biden in bringing heat to the Republicans. Need convincing? Go ask Rudy's campaign how they feel about Biden's renowned "a noun, a verb and 9/11" barb.

The 2008 presidential contest comes at a time of testing for our country, when our values, our character and our leadership are being challenged around the globe. This is a time not for big names, but for big ideas; not for poll-tested slogans, but for time-proven leadership; not for image, but for vision. Above all, this is a time for American renewal, to restore justice and humanity to the use of our power abroad, reason and civility to the conduct of our politics at home, and, most of all, peace and hope to a world that cannot achieve it without a rebirth of American leadership. This is a time for American greatness. This is the time for Joe Biden.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Hmmm. Good Point.

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 416

The Quote of the Day today comes from Joe Biden, responding to a voter's question at a forum on Iraq in Portsmouth, New Hampshire:

"I know a lot of my opponents out there say I'd be a great secretary of state. Seriously, every one of them. Do you watch any of the debates? 'Joe's right, Joe's right, Joe's right.'

"I ask you a rhetorical question: Are you prepared to vote for anyone - at this moment in our history - as president who is not capable of being secretary of state? Who among my opponents would you consider appointing secretary of state? Seriously. Think about it."

New ARG Iowa Poll: Richardson Dropping Like a Stone

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 416

American Research Group is out with a new Iowa poll this morning that vividly illustrates how fluid the Democratic nomination race in Iowa is now that we're heading into the home stretch.

Of particular interest are the numbers for Bill Richardson. In the previous ARG Iowa survey, conducted November 10-14, Richardson was at 12%; in this latest poll, conducted between November 26-29, Richardson now has the support of just 4% of "Likely Democratic Caucus Goers." No, this is not a typo: Richardson's actual poll result is 4%. If accurate, this poll shows a dramatic collapse of Richardson's backing, with two out of three of the New Mexico Governor's supporters deserting him for other candidates.

Predictably, much of Richardson's lost support has accreted to the top tier, judging by the fact that Obama's support jumped 6 points and Edwards increased by 3 points. But the other surprise in these numbers is Joe Biden increasing from 5% to 8%, his first significant move in months. This is what every candidate prays for going into the climactic phase of the campaign in Iowa: a late surge. If Biden can hold these gains, and then build his numbers into double digits, he stands a serious chance of dramatically exceeding expectations on caucus night.

Overall results:

Nov 10-14 Nov 26-29
Biden 5% 8%
Clinton 27% 25%
Dodd 3% 3%
Edwards 20% 23%
Gravel - -
Kucinich 2% 2%
Obama 21% 27%
Richardson 12% 4%
Undecided 10% 8%

Other highlights:

* 33% of likely caucus participants are undecided (8%) or say that they could switch candidates between now and January 3 (25%).
* 80% of those saying they support Clinton say their support is definite.
* 57% of those saying they support Edwards say their support is definite.
* 75% of those saying they support Obama say their support is definite.
* Among men, Clinton is at 22%, Edwards 22%, and Obama 30%.
* Among women, Clinton is at 28%, Edwards 24%, and Obama 25%.

The soft support number shown for John Edwards is further bad news for his campaign, with 43% of his supporters indicating that they may still end up supporting someone else; this is worrying news for Edwards, even with the 3% gain noted above. Look for John Edwards to continue to weaken over the next few weeks.

Some facts about the poll's methodology:

Sample Size: 600 completed telephone interviews among a random sample of likely Democratic caucus goers living in Iowa (536 Democrats and 64 no party (independent) voters).

Sample Dates: November 26-29, 2007

Margin of Error: ± 4 percentage points, 95% of the time, on questions where opinion is evenly split.

Incidence of Likely Democratic Caucus Participation: 10.5% of Democratic and no party voters.

Question Wording:

If the 2008 Democratic presidential caucus were being held today between (names rotated) Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson, for whom would you vote?

Would you say that you definitely plan to participate in the 2008 Democratic presidential caucus, that you might participate in the 2008 Democratic presidential caucus, or that you will probably not participate in the 2008 Democratic presidential caucus?

Chasing Access

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 416

Today's Washington Post carries an interesting article on the trials and tribulations of reporters trying to penetrate the de-facto bubble of candidates' unbelievably demanding schedules and actually speak with those whom they seek to cover. The article focused on Hillary Clinton in particular, but noted the same issue, if to a lesser degree, also arises with Obama and Edwards.

I've been running around Iowa tailing candidates since January of this year, and know from experience that it has never been an easy matter to get face time with a candidate as a blogger, so the fact that the main stream media encounters the same problem doesn't surprise me. The plain fact is that candidates are on a mission to get their message out every single day, and, if the campaign doesn't see a way to make use of the access you're requesting to help them get their message of the moment out to voters, then they don't have time for you. This is sometimes especially true if you're [only] a local blogger.

Fortunately, as [only] a local blogger, I also have the luxury of setting that role aside at will, and showing up at candidate events as someone far more important: an actual voter. In this regard, I almost always have better luck in getting face time with the candidates. So I can attest to the fact that when campaigns push aside requests for access from the media so their candidate can spend time talking with voters, that is, while undeniably convenient for the campaigns, nonetheless very often true.

Granted, I often run right home and blog about what the candidates and I talk about on those occasions. I'm sure that some members of the mainstream media would call 'foul' on that, but there's no point in being a blogger - or a voter, for that matter - if it's the same as being reporter.

In an ideal world, everyone would be spoiled to the same extent that voters (and sometimes, even bloggers) in Iowa and New Hampshire are when it comes to up close and personal interaction with people who want to be our next president. And, setting Iowa voter smugness aside for a moment, I truly wish that were so. But, as the Post's article dramatizes, this is far from an ideal world. So, to the mainstream media frustrated by the often large gap between what they want from the campaigns versus what the campaigns are willing to give, all I can say is: welcome to the club, guys; we've got jackets.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Clinton Ad: "Strong"

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 418

Hillary Clinton has released a new ad in Iowa. Titled "Strong," the 30-second spot intersperses footage of Hillary interacting with voters and shots of the candidate in an interview setting. The ad is aimed at playing up Clinton's experience and immediate readiness to govern.

The script for the spot is as follows:

CLINTON: “You know we have big economic problems ahead. The price of oil is going way up; the price of our homes is going down. The middle class is getting slammed.”

ANNOUNCER: If you want a strong economy, we need a strong President.

CLINTON: “I’ll start by taking away those tax breaks that the administration has lavished on big corporations and give you a break instead. I’ll create new jobs as we push for alternative energies and I’ll cut the deficit. A lot of people talk about America’s problems, but the next President has to be ready to solve them on day one.”

“I’m Hillary Clinton and I approved this message.”

And here's the video:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Richardson Ad: "Bold Plan"

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 419

Bill Richardson has put up a new ad in Iowa. The 30 second spot, titled "Bold Plan," is themed around Richardson's education proposals.

Unlike many of his previous ads, in this new spot Bill Richardson does not address viewers directly. The new ad features a professional narrator and gaggles of cute, smart, happy public school students and their dedicated, competent teachers and administrators, all hard at work and occasionally interacting with the candidate. Here's the video:

The ad was produced by Steve Murphy and Mark Putnam of Murphy Putnam Media.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Biden Print Ad: "Joe Is Right"

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 420

Joe Biden has put up a new print ad in Iowa today. Titled, "Joe is Right," the ad stresses Biden's foreign policy credentials and plays up his electibility.

Here's an image of the ad, which is running today in the Des Moines Register, Cedar Rapids Gazette, Davenport Quad City Times, Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, Sioux City Journal, Dubuque Telegraph Herald, and Burlington Hawkeye:

New Edwards Ad: "Mess"

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 420

John Edwards has put up a new ad in Iowa. The 30 second spot, titled "Mess," addresses the obligation to leave a better America to our children. Here's the script:

What we want to make certain is true is that our children have a better life than we've had. Twenty generations of Americans before us have ensured that that was true.

And if we want to do that, we're going to have to be willing to take on this corrupt system and change it. And if we're not going to do it, we're going to have to be willing to look our children in the eye and say we're going to leave this mess for you.

This is the great moral test of our generation, and we will meet that test.

I'm John Edwards and I approve this message.

Here's the video:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Messages from the Candidates

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 425

For those giving thanks that there are still (or only!) 42 days left before the caucuses, and that New Hampshire has finally settled on a date for its primary, the candidates evidently want to make sure that you know you - and your vote - are not forgotten just because today's a holiday. In that spirit, here are Thanksgiving messages from the Democratic field.

Joe Biden

Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, the Bidens are celebrating a little bit differently than usual. My family and I will be in Des Moines celebrating our favorite American holiday. We're still grateful for the same things -- the health of our loved ones, the blessings of liberty. But this year we are keeping faith with our mission to spread our campaign gospel all across the Hawkeye state.

The spirit of Thanksgiving rests in our recognizing the blessings in our lives, and as we all take stock, I hope you will join me in expressing sincerest thanks to our soldiers serving in harm's way in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. May God bless you on this day of thanks, and may God protect our troops.

Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton

I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I love this holiday, and celebrating together with family and friends.
Thanksgiving is also a time to think of those in need. Every year I am inspired by the outpouring of generosity from all over the country. I hope that this year you'll share in that tradition, whether you volunteer your time or make a donation to help others.
At our campaign offices in California, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina as well as our headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, we're accepting donations of nonperishable food to help local efforts to fight hunger. If you're not near one of our offices in those states and would still like to give back this Thanksgiving, here are a few national organizations with information about how you can help.
America's Second Harvest
1 800 Volunteer
End Hunger Network
Hunger Free America
This year, I'm so thankful to have you with me working for change. From my family to yours, have a very happy Thanksgiving.

Chris Dodd

DES MOINES – In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Presidential Candidate Chris Dodd, his family, and his staff today expressed heartfelt gratitude for the hospitality and support they have received across the state of Iowa. Dodd and his family, who recently relocated to Des Moines, are spending Thanksgiving Day with a family in Monticello.

Dodd issued the following statement of thanks:

“As families gather across the state of Iowa and the country on this Thanksgiving Day, I take a moment to remember how much I have to be grateful for. I want to express my sincere thanks for the following, all of which have made my experience in the Hawkeye State deeply enriching and inspiring:

My wife, Jackie, my two daughters, Grace and Christina, and my numerous other family members and friends who have offered their support every step of the way.

The people of Iowa, who have so graciously welcomed Jackie, the girls and me into their neighborhoods, homes, and schools so that we can be together.

The young servicemen and women from Iowa and across the nation, who sacrifice so much in order for us to gather safety and soundly in our homes on days like today.

The fire fighters and first responders in Iowa and elsewhere, who each and every day risk their lives for others.

Iowa's strong and dedicated Democrats, who are making a difference in this state from the local level all the way up to the State House and the Governor's Office.

The caucus process, for representing democracy at its very core, and for going above the power of money and celebrity in order to let each candidate be heard.

Our county chairs across Iowa who have worked tirelessly to reach out to caucus-goers, and share my passion for getting our country back on track.

The simple pleasures of life - coffee at the Ritual Café in Des Moines, the scenic beauty of Decorah in the fall and the Loess Hills at sunset, the stacked shelves at Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City, and the loose meat sandwiches at the Canteen in Ottumwa.”

John Edwards

At this time of year, it is very important that we take a moment and give thanks for all we have and all that is around us.

We are grateful to be spending this Thanksgiving with our family. We set aside this day to give thanks for all of our blessings - and for the time we have together. We are grateful for our family, our friends and to live in this great country.

Over the past few years, we have been blessed to have built friendships with so many wonderful Iowans. We wish you and your family a joyful Thanksgiving and hope you have the opportunity to treasure this day with those you love.

With warmest holiday wishes,

-John and Elizabeth Edwards

Barack Obama

"On this Thanksgiving, as we spend time with our family and friends, let's all reflect on what we're thankful for in our own lives. And let's remember those who cannot be with their loved ones because they're serving overseas. But let's also do our part to help those who have no place to go for a meal. Amid reports that more and more Americans are visiting food pantries at a time when those same pantries are less and less able to help them, I will be volunteering this week at the New Horizons food pantry in Manchester, New Hampshire. And I encourage all Americans to do what they can to help those in need -- because the best way to show our gratitude for what we have is by doing our part for those who have less."

Bill Richardson

"As we gather with our families this holiday, let us remember the troops serving abroad who cannot be with theirs. The military men and women risking their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world reflect the best that America has to offer. We are all truly grateful for their courageous service."

"And as we gather in our homes, let us remember also our veterans here who have no home to go to. One in four homeless on our streets is a veteran, and tragically, a wave of homeless vets from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are expected in the coming years. We must act now to stop this. We must give these men and women the care, support, and respect that they have earned and deserve. We must do better by them."

And finally, from me, here's wishing you a day of thanks filled with the love of your family, friends, and neighbors. And, while you're on line, you might want to visit The Hunger Site, where a click of the mouse turns into a free donation of food for those in need.

Enjoy every bit of today.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Las Vegas Debate: Virtual Spin Room

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 430

[Updated with new content from the Biden campaign]

The morning after the debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, there is an almost eerie silence from some of the candidates. Usually, all of the campaigns waste no time in releasing statements arguing that their candidate wiped the floor with the others, but as of 8:00 CST this morning, only Clinton, Dodd and Richardson have shown up in my in box and/or issued statements on their campaign websites. Below are the statements made as of this initial posting; I will include updates if/when additional candidate statements are issued throughout the day.

Joe Biden

Following the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, Joe Biden's campaign has posted a spin video which, in a clever twist, lets the other candidates do the talking for them:

Hillary Clinton

Clinton Midwest Co-Chair and Former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell’s Statement on Tonight’s Debate

“Hillary Clinton was the clear winner of tonight’s debate. While her opponents stumbled over tough questions, and took pages from the Republican playbook of attack politics, she focused on her positive vision for change,” said Bonnie Campbell. “Time and time again, she took questions on tough issues from health care to immigration to protecting national security, and each time she showed her strength and experience. This debate demonstrated what so many Iowans already know — Hillary Clinton is a strong leader who will turn America around and restore its standing in the world.”

Chris Dodd


Experience, Leadership, Honesty Prove Dodd is Most Qualified, Electable Candidate

LAS VEGAS, NV – At tonight’s debate at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Presidential candidate Chris Dodd demonstrated his ability to lead and stood out as the most qualified and experienced candidate in the field. Dodd explained strongly and clearly his views and ideas on the issues most pressing to Nevadans and Americans such as immigration, education issues, and national security.

Dodd, who learned Spanish while in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, spoke in Spanish while answering a question about whether or not he believes fighting terrorism and slowing the flow of illegal immigration coming from our southern border as intrinsically related issues.

“When you take the oath of office, you don’t swear to (only) uphold the Constitution or (only) protect the country. I believe by upholding our rights, we do protect the country. And the Administration has taken the opposite view. They are posing to us the false choice, the dichotomy that to be safer, we have to give up rights. I think that is so fundamentally flawed and fundamentally dangerous for the United States of America to embrace that idea,” Dodd said.

Highlighting his 26 years of work on children’s and education issues, including being named the Head Start Senator of the Decade, authoring legislation dealing with after-school programs, newborn screening, Autism awareness and founding the Children’s Caucus, Senator Dodd explained his position on merit pay for teachers, pointing to the way teachers should be judged at “excelling.”

“If you define excelling by teachers who will go into rural or poor, urban areas and make a difference, mentor children after school, put in extra time to make a difference, then I think that sort of merit pay has value,” said Dodd. “If you're judging excelling by determining whether or not that teacher has students who do better because they're in better neighborhoods or better schools, I'm totally opposed to that. We spend less than 5 percent of the national budget on elementary and secondary education. We need to fundamentally reform No Child Left Behind. No Child Left Behind is a disaster for most schools and most teachers. I've dedicated a good part of my public career to children and to education -- one-quarter of the population, but truly, 100 percent of our future. This is an issue that deserves far more attention.”

Dodd also emphasized the importance of choosing a candidate who is attractive to Democrats and represents the issues important to them, and who can win against the Republicans next November.

“There's a shrillness to the debate,” Dodd said. “The American people want results, they want the job done. But when people get up in the morning and go to work, they sit around and they worry about their jobs, their retirement, their healthcare, their kids' education, and they wonder if anybody in Washington is paying any attention to them and whether or not the job is being done on their behalf. And, frankly, when a campaign is about turning up the heat or who's angrier or who's yelling louder, the American people turn off. They want us to come together. They want a president that can lead the country. We want a Democratic candidate who can unite our party.”

“Chris Dodd was by far the most Presidential candidate on stage tonight,” said Nevada State Senator and Dodd supporter John Lee. “His long track record of getting results for the American people on everything from health care to workers' rights to the economy showed that he is ready to lead and, in fact, is already leading on every major issue of our day. I am confident that come caucus night, Nevadans will support the candidate that is best for our state and best for our country. That candidate is undoubtedly Chris Dodd.”
Also, here's the ever-popular and eminently useful "Dodd Clock":

Bill Richardson

Governor Richardson Demonstrates Bold Leadership at CNN Debate in Nevada

Richardson has strong performance on day he is nominated for fifth time for Nobel Peace Prize

LAS VEGAS, NV-- On his birthday and the day he was nominated for a fifth time for the Nobel Peace Prize, New Mexico Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson established himself as the most experienced candidate at the CNN/Nevada Democratic Party Presidential Debate tonight.

Amid rising negativity on the campaign trail, Richardson asked his fellow candidates to stop the personal attacks and focus on the issues.

"You know, it seems that John wants to start a class war," Richardson said. "It seems that Barack wants to start a generational war. It seems that Senator Clinton, with all due respect on her plan on Iraq, does not have a plan to end the war. All I want to do is give peace a chance. I say that because these are the fundamental issues. Do our plans end the war? Do our plans make America energy independent? Do our plans give health care to every American? Are we creating jobs and economic growth? Are we resolving the real problems affecting this country? Let us stop this mudslinging. Let us stop going after one another on character and trust. Let us debate the issues that affect the American people, and let us be positive."

As the only major Democratic Presidential candidate to commit to getting all of our troops out of Iraq, Richardson dominated the discussion on the Iraq war.

"We should not be talking about body counts," Richardson said. "One American death is too many. The surge is not working. There is now less of a possibility of a political solution. Three out of the 18 benchmarks of the General Accounting Office have been fulfilled. Even for Republican math, that is a failing grade. The Iraqi people now say that it is okay to shoot an American soldier. Our troops are dying. Unlike my colleagues, my plan does not leave any forces behind. We should not just wave goodbye; we need a U.S.-led political compromise. The Sunni, Shia, and Kurds should share power and oil revenues. The European Union and rich Arab states should contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq. We have spent $500 billion on this war. Instead, this money should be used in America for health care, education, and on kids.

"I would pull out all of the contractors. I would get all of them out, just like I would get all of our troops out, including residual forces. I would do it within a year. What I believe we need to do is to reform our military. I would increase military pay, educational benefits, and create a new G.I. Bill for our military. With regard to our veterans and military families, I would have a Heroes Health Card for every military person in this country. That would mean that they could get health care, not just at the VA system, but anywhere they want. I would fully guarantee funding at the VA. Most importantly, the big challenge is mental health. We do not treat mental health with the parity that it deserves. For our troops coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a huge mental trauma burden. Our VA and mental health systems do not give veterans the coverage they deserve."

Richardson's strong debate performance illustrated that he is the candidate who best represents experience and change.

"Tonight, we have talked about Iran, we have talked about Iraq, and we have talked about regimes that have not been friendly," Richardson said. "My policy would be diplomacy through negotiation. We would not be the world's policeman, but rather the world's conscience. All my life, as Ambassador to the United Nations, as a special envoy, through bipartisan solutions as a Governor, as a Congressman, and as Secretary of Energy, I have brought people together. Specifically on the Middle East, I would have a Middle East peace envoy. This President is the only President who has not had one. I would have protection for the security of Israel and a Palestinian state. I also would look at adjustments to the 1967 borders. I would look at dealing with Jerusalem effectively, efficiently, and fairly on the settlements issue. I would talk to Syria, and I would talk to Iran. That is called leadership and diplomacy. To take these steps, you have to be bold. We are talking about electing a President who will need to repair the enormous damage caused by this administration over the last eight years."

A former Secretary of Energy, Richardson also discussed his bold plan to solve the energy crisis.

"The future is renewable energy," Richardson said. "It is not oil, it is not coal, and it is not nuclear. We need an energy revolution in this country to shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources-- 50% by the year 2020. We need an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as a mandate. We need to have 30% of our electricity be renewable. It is also going to be the American people sacrificing a little bit when it comes to being part of an energy efficiency revolution."

Richardson proved that his experience as a border Governor has prepared him to achieve comprehensive immigration reform as President.

"I am a Governor-- I am in New Mexico, not Washington," Richardson said. "I am the only one who has dealt with the immigration issue directly. We need to talk about bringing this country together. A dysfunctional relationship exists between the President and Congress-- that needs to be corrected. Two years ago, I was the first Governor to declare a border emergency because the federal government was not doing its job in stopping the flow of drugs and people. We should stop demonizing immigrants. I am against the fence because it will not work. The Congress only funded half of the fence, and it is not American. I would do four things. First, we have to secure the border and double the number of border patrol agents. We need to keep the National Guard there longer and use detection equipment. Second, those that knowingly hire illegal workers should be punished. Third, we should have a relationship, called foreign policy, with Mexico. Mexico is our friend, but we should speak frankly to our friends. It should go something like this-- Mexico, give jobs to your people. At the very least, stop handing out maps on the easiest places to cross. Lastly, we need a legalization plan-- not amnesty, not citizenship, but a path to legalization that involves conditions, including learning English and paying back taxes."

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