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."

Politics Blogs - Blog Top Sites