Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Drexel Debate: Virtual Spin Room

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 447

The shouting from last night is more shouting from the campaigns, via email. Here is what they want you to think the morning after.

Joe Biden

Following this evening’s MSNBC/Democratic National debate at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Biden for President Campaign Manager Luis Navarro issued the following statement:

“Tonight, Joe Biden proved once again that he is the Democrat most capable of leading the country and taking on the Republicans. While the other candidates were picking on each other, Senator Biden was laying out the case to the American people as to why we need a leader with the breadth and depth of experience to tackle the inter-related problems of a dangerous world.”

“The phrase most often heard on the stage tonight was, “Joe is right,” followed closely by the phrase, “I agree with Joe.” And only one candidate showed clearly that he is ready to take on Rudy Guiliani and the GOP. That candidate was Joe Biden and the evidence tonight was incontrovertible.”

Below is a sampling of support for Joe’s leadership:

On Iran: Clinton
: “Joe is absolutely right.” Sen. Clinton said, “I think that what we're trying to do here is put pressure on the Bush administration. Joe is absolutely right. George Bush can do all of this without anybody. You know, that is the great tragedy and that's why we've got to rein him in, and that's why we need Republican support in the Congress to help us do so.”

On Pakistan: Dodd: “I agree with Joe.” Sen. Dodd said, “I agree with Joe. I think the more immediate problem is Pakistan, the one that needs to be addressed.”

On Afghanistan: Clinton: “I agree with Joe.” Sen. Clinton said, “I agree with Joe [regarding] the Afghanistan situation. Everywhere you look in the world we've got work to do, and I think we've got to do more than just send our young men and women out. That is not an appropriate use of their power.”

On Debating Republicans: Obama: “I'm not fearful, just as Joe isn't, to have a debate about this with Rudy Giuliani because we've got the facts on our side.”

On Oil: Obama: "As Joe pointed out, out of the $90 that it's costing right now for a barrel, about 30 percent of that is just risk."

Hillary Clinton

While her rivals abandoned the politics of hope and launched one attack after another, Hillary demonstrated why she has the strength and experience to deliver the change America needs.

Barack Obama and John Edwards relentlessly attacked Hillary for two hours at tonight's debate in Philadelphia, but scored no points.

Hillary took the best they had, rose above it, and came out on top.

Hillary continued to show her deep understanding of the issues and outlined her positive vision for America.

On Iran, she emphasized that we need to prevent President Bush's rush to war but must engage in aggressive diplomacy to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Hillary was among the very first Senators to speak out and make clear that George Bush does not have the authority to go to war in Iran, and is a co-sponsor of legislation to prevent him from doing so.

On Iraq, she talked about getting our troops home in the smartest, safest way we can. She made it crystal clear that if George Bush won't end this war before he leaves office, as President, she will.

At home she detailed her plans to offer quality, affordable health care to every American, move the nation toward energy independence and protect Social Security by restoring fiscal responsibility.

Tonight, Americans were reminded why poll after poll show that voters believe Hillary has the best combination of strength and experience to be President.
Despite repeated attacks from Obama and Edwards, Hillary leaves tonight's debate in a position of strength. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll out last week shows her leading the primary by 31 points, and beating all of the Republicans in head-to-head general election matchups. And a recent CBS News poll showed Hillary surging to a 28-point lead.

The campaign also posted their selected reviews of Hillary Clinton's performance last night.

Chris Dodd

At tonight's debate at Drexel University, Presidential candidate Chris Dodd demonstrated that he has both a long record of achieving results and an unrivaled ability to lead on the issues most pressing to our nation today. In addition to highlighting his proposals to curb the harmful effects of global warming and bring a responsible end to the Iraq war, Dodd also spoke passionately about the need for bold leadership and bringing people together, as well as the importance of electability when choosing a Democratic nominee.

"Whether it's fair or not fair, the fact of the matter is that when it comes to my colleague from New York, Senator Clinton, 50 percent of the American public say they are not going to vote for her. We, as a party, certainly have to take that into consideration," said Dodd. "For 26 years I have been involved in every landmark piece of legislation and had a Republican as my co-sponsor because no one party is going to straighten all of this out. I knew in order to move our country forward we had to have leadership in this country that understood the value of reaching out and finding common ground with people. So electability and the ability to govern and to do so immediately are important. Don't discount the importance of electability - it's a very important hurdle for us."

A senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Dodd has been involved in virtually every foreign policy debate over the past two decades. His diplomacy skills and experience in foreign affairs were on display at tonight's debate, where he distinguished himself from the field in his belief that we should not give the Administration carte-blanche to use military force in Iran.

"It was a moment (the Kyl-Lieberman vote), it was a critical moment when I think leadership is called for. If you're going to seek the leadership of our country, this is the most serious time in a generation. You have an ascending China, you have an Iran that's ambitious to develop nuclear weapons, you have obviously a four trillion dollar economy that's in trouble, a health care crisis in this country, as well as energy and other issues that are going to confront the next President. Good judgment and leadership in critical moments must be a part of this debate and discussion. That was a critical moment and the wrong decision was made in my view."

"Whether its his leadership on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, global warming, health care, or restoring the Constitution, Chris Dodd unequivocally stands up for what is right for Americans," said Dodd Campaign Manager Sheryl Cohen. "And sure enough, the rest of the Democratic field always seems to follow Dodd's lead. That is the type of leadership and the set of values that we need in the executive office. Backed by a 26 year record of getting results for the American people in the Senate, Chris Dodd's candidacy is the strongest in the field."

The campaign also posted its ever-popular Dodd clock:

John Edwards

Today, Edwards for President communications director Chris Kofinis released the following statement in response to Senator Clinton’s argument for keeping combat troops in Iraq:

"Senator Clinton tonight articulated George Bush’s argument for staying in Iraq. Senator Clinton said we need to keep troops in Iraq for multiple missions, including training Iraqis and fighting al Qaeda. But we fight al-Qaeda in countries all over the world without occupying those countries. For over a year, John Edwards has provided a very specific plan to end the war in Iraq. The bottom line is Senator Clinton still refuses to provide a specific plan and still won’t commit to a timeline for withdrawal. And keeping troops in Iraq to fight Iran, as the resolution Senator Clinton just voted for would do, could even expand the missions in Iraq.

"This is a real difference between Senator Edwards and Senator Clinton. Senator Clinton says she wants to end the war, but she also says she will keep combat missions in Iraq. Keeping combat missions in Iraq means she will extend the war. John Edwards will end the war.

"John Edwards' plan for Iraq is very simple: No combat troops. No combat missions. No combat, period. And not by 2013, by 2009."

The campaign also posted their selected reviews of John Edwards' performance last night.

Barack Obama

At tonight’s debate, Barack Obama demonstrated the real choice in this race. On issues from Social Security to Iran to being open with the America people about her record, Senator Clinton offered more of the same Washington calculation, ducking and dodging that won’t bring the change America needs. Barack Obama demonstrated the kind of leadership that will bring change we can trust – the ability to bring this country together, stand up to the special interests, and tell the American people not just what we think they want to hear, but what they need to know about the challenges we face. That’s the kind of leadership Barack Obama has demonstrated through his two decades of service to America, and that’s what he’ll offer as President of the United States.

The campaign also posted their selected reviews of Barack Obama's performance last night.

Bill Richardson

New Mexico Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson discussed his extensive experience in negotiating with foreign leaders at the DNC-sanctioned NBC/MSNBC Presidential Debate tonight.
When asked about how he would negotiate with Iran, Governor Richardson responded: "Even more of a threat than nuclear weapons is a loose nuclear weapon crossing the border. What we need is an international agreement. The key has to be diplomacy. In the fourth row, there is a man named Bill Barloon whom I rescued from an Iraqi prison in Abu Ghraib. It is going to take leadership, diplomacy, and negotiation. I went head-to-head with Saddam Hussein and brought two Americans out-- Bill is one. The greatest words I heard after I got him out were "thank you." Then I said, "I am taking you home." That is diplomacy. That means talking to Iran, Syria, and North Korea. I have done it all my life as a diplomat, as a U.S. ambassador, as a special envoy, and as a hostage negotiator. I have the most international experience. I have gone head-to-head with the North Koreans. We recently got back six remains of our soldiers. We got the North Koreans to stop their nuclear reactor. I believe it is important that we have a leader not just who can bring people together, but also can resolve some of the thorniest problems we have."

Richardson's campaign is currently running an ad, "Only One," that details a hostage situation in Iraq that then-Congressman Richardson was called upon to defuse. In the sixty-second spot, Bill Barloon, the late David Daliberti, and his wife Kathy Daliberti praise Richardson for obtaining the release of the two men from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in July 1995.

See the ad and background materials here:

During a discussion about his qualifications to be the next President, Governor Richardson discussed his differences with the other candidates on the important issues facing our country.

"We need to get all of our troops out of Iraq," Richardson said. "I would get rid of No Child Left Behind. I believe we need to focus on the future. Look, the reality on the electability issue is that the last Senator who was elected President was 40 years ago. His name was John F. Kennedy. We elect Governors as Presidents. Seven out of the last eight have been either Governors or ex-Governors. My view is that I know how to bring people together. More important than all of the issues that we are talking about is: Who can govern? Who can manage? I am the only CEO in this race. I have balanced budgets. I have provided health care to kids under twelve. I have improved education. I have foreign policy experience. I have negotiated with foreign countries as a diplomat and as a hostage negotiator."

On the topic of energy, Governor Richardson showed that he has the most comprehensive and specific plan to address the issue of energy in the United States.

"We need an energy revolution that does the following: reduces the consumption of fossil fuels and establishes fuel efficiency standards of 50 miles per gallon," Richardson said. "Of all the electricity in America, have at least 30% produced from renewable sources. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040 and by 30% by 2020. We need a cap and trade system. We have to ask the American people to sacrifice a little bit. What does that mean? That means: When we use appliances, mass transit, or air conditioning, we all should come together to reduce this dependency on foreign oil that affects our national security. When 65% of your oil is imported, when the planet is polluted by fossil fuels and manmade pollution, we need American leadership and Presidential leadership to create an energy revolution."

As the only major Presidential candidate to make education a key issue on the campaign trail, Governor Richardson made his position clear.

"Compared to countries like China and India, there is a competitiveness gap here," Richardson said. "I would have 100,000 new science and math teachers. We have to pay our teachers what they deserve: a national average starting salary of $40,000 per year. I will get rid of No Child Left Behind. I would have science and math academies. We need to build into the high school curriculum more language and arts to provoke creativity in science and math."

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