Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Liveblogging the Texas debate

Ok, keep in mind that the candidates were speaking so fast, and sometimes over each other, here is my best job, and I tried to clean it up a bit but my hands are tired from trying to type at warp speed. So some things are lost and others are in shorthand. Jeez, I wish blogger came with a find and replace all since certain terms like comprehensive immigration reform kept coming up . . . so tiring to type it all out. My thoughts during the debate, then in italics below. During debate, italics are for the questions from the journos. [Ed. update: I have been pwned - check CNN's transcripts, so much better than mine. Ed voice #2: I don't get PAID for this!]

Opening remarks - Obama is doing good job of sharing anecdotes from Texas, Ohio and demonstrating that he "shares our pain", wants "America to be as good as our promise; clinton did a rote intro.

Cuba - Obama would meet with Castro's replacement, thinks that remittances are very important - [huge issue for all immigrants - this will score big points.]

Clinton says there has to be lots and lots of preparation and diplomatic work before I would do that.

Economy - Obama "you don't need an economist to tell you that people are working harder for less. . this has to be the priority of next president. what's said is that we need to restore a sense of fairness. Stop giving tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas and start giving those to companies who invest in America.

On trade deals, it's absolutely important that we engage not only through the lens of wall street, but also through the lens of main street. . . creating a green economy. we send a billion dollars to foreign countries every day because of our addiction to foreign oil.

Senator Clinton and I agree on many of these issues, and I think it's a credit to both of us that early on many of the other candidates agreed on many of these issues. the question we have to ask is how are we going to get it done? only if we are able to form working coalition for change. Priority that whoever the next president is. . ."

Clinton - "Talking about tax codes. the wealthy and well connected have had their president the past 7.5 years, i think it's time the rest of us had a president. . . We need a trade time out, see what's working, not working. i'd like to have a trade prosecutor to enforce the standards that we have."

Also need moratorium on home foreclosures I've met the families . . .the postal worker who really got hoodwinked, that really wasn't fair to him. I would have a 90 day moritorium so we can get it figured out, and have a 5 year freeze. [huge applause - I think that it was smart of her to brought up this issue because it is a huge concern of people's]

3 ways we need to jumpstart the economy : clean green jobs, $5 B investment would put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work, invest in infrastructure, we don't have enough we need to rebuild America and that will also put people to work, and finally we need to end George Bush's war on science, we need to think about how we fund the future. Think about everything that goes on at this great university to create the new economy.

On Immigration:

Q: federal raids by enforcement officials have generated fear and divided families would you consider stopping these raids?

Clinton - i would consider it except in egregious situations when it would be appropriate. but when we see what's happening babies being left w/ no one to take care of them, with children with no one left to come home to, that is not the America i know. that is against American values and it is a stark admission of failure by the American government. I have been for comprehensive immigration reform, signed onto the first bill.

tough, more secure boarders, of course, i'd like to see more fed help for austin and laredo that absorb healthcare, education, and enforcement costs. i personally would work with our neighbors to the south to create jobs there.

. . . path to legalization, bring out of shdows, pay fine, pay back taxes, and learning english. if they commited a crime in our country or country they came from then that;s a different story. I would introduce that in the first 100 days of my presidency. [major applause, and a smart move. Clinton now realizes she has to move left to recapture the votes that she's losing. Goddamn, she's smart and she truly is passionate about this issue.]

Obama - "couple things I would add - comprehensive immigration reform is something i worked on extensively. 2 yrs ago we were able to get the bill out of senate but it died in the House this year because it was used as a political football.

One, it is absolutely critical that we tone down the rhetoric when it comes to the immigration debate - the ugly undertone often directed at the Hispanic community, hate crimes skyrocketd in terms of . .

We are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants and we can reconcile those two things. [I think this is a particularly strong point of his because it can mean all things to most people - it is like the term compassionate conservative - it can be the idea of human enforcement, it can be the idea that the middle is somewhere in between and it leaves it deliberately murky.]

We need comprehensive immigration reform, strong border security, cracking down on employers who are taking advantage of undocumented workers can't complain if not getting overtime and safety not being observed. but we have to do it in a way that makes sure people with Spanish surnames aren't being discriminated against.

We have to make sure undocumented workers learn english, pay a fine, but also that they go to the end of the line. [Here Obama is looking to the general election debates by inserting this and he smartly pivots to talking about the difficulties of LEGAL immigrants. This plays to APAs, a group that he has had problems with before, the Irish, Eastern Europeans, etc - very global] It is important that we fix LEGAL immigration system because right now we have a backlog that means years for people to apply legally. what's worse we keep increasing the fees, you've got hardworking immigrant family, they have to get an attorney and they just can't afford these things.

It's discriminatory against people with good character who we WANT in this country. We have to improve our relatoinship with Mexico and work with the mexican govt so their economy is producing jobs on that side of border. prob is we have Bush administration that came in promising all sorts of leadership on creating US-Mexico relationship but Bush is so obsessed with iraq that he hasn't been able to ensure that we work with Mexico.

Q: A controversial item that was not held up when the immigration debate collapsed. border fence. to many peopel it's a question of soverignty. but to many people its much more personal - livelihood, personal trade., rancher., walk or short drive to see family. would you commit to finish and speed up construcution. or you think it's time for the president of the US to say wait a minute?

clinton- i think both obama and i voted for that as part of immigration debate. i was at UT brownsville, and this is how absurd there is are it's approipritate. i think when both of us voted for it, we were voting for where there would be appropriate but with most things the bush admin has gone off deep end. there is a smart way to protect borders and a dumb way to protect borders. what i learn is that ut brownsville would have part of its campus cut off. i know it because i've been fighting with them about the northern border - interfering w families, trade. i would have review, listen to ppl who live on border. [applause]

but you know john, there's lots we've learned about technology and smart fencing. there is tech smart tech so that ppl can be supervising limited space and be responsive in terms of ppl crossing , eminent domain actions against homeowners and municipalities. there are places where after careful review and listening to ppl who live along border, let's deploy more tech and personel instead of physical barrier, will give us opp to secure border instead of interfering with family and business relations.

Obama - this is an area where Clinton and i almost agree. key is to consult with the interests whether personal or environmental, the bush admin is not real good at listening, not what they do well. i will reverse this policy, there may be areas where that makes sense, but tech, personell may be better appraoch. i think it is important for us to deal with prob in terms of 100,000s of ppl coming across border if we also want to provide opportunity for 12M undocumented who are already here. . . i think american ppl want fairness,want justice, i think they recognize the idea that you're going to deport 12 mil ppl is ridiculous, but they do also want order to process, we;re not going to be able to do things in isolation. we're not going to be able to deal with prob of 12 mil ppl in shadows and also ppls coming across border.

one last point I want to make on the immigration issue - something we can do immediately is to pass the Dream Act, which allows children who through no fault of their own are here [applause - smart move because it reinforces the idea of Obama as a father and makes voters think about their kids' futures]. . .

I do not want two classes of citizens here in this country, i want everyone to prosper.

Q: There are more than 30M ppl in this country who speak Spanish, many of them are right here. by the year 2050 there will be 130M Hispanics in the US, is there any downside in the US becoming bilingual nation, is there limit?

clinton - important for as many Americans as possible to do something i've never been able to, learn another language but it's important that English remain our ommon unifying language. brings country together in way we've seen generations of immigrants be part of american experience and pursue american dream., i've been adamantly against efforts by some to make english our official language.

we have 170 languages in nyc alone, and i do not think we should be discriminating against ppl who do not speak english who have to go to shops or use court system. so i encourage ppl become bilingual but i want to see english remain common unifying language of country.

obama- important that everyone learns english, binding together as country. also think every student should be learning second language, b/c when you start getting into debate about bilingual ed, i want to make sure children who are coming out of spanish speaking households don't fall behind but i also want to make sure english speaking students get to learn more than one langauge. Part of America's continuing leadership in the world is the ability to communicate across borers. one of failures of NCLB that lots of local and statae officials troubled by there;s emaphsis n standards pushing out a lot of learning that needs to take place. foreign lang is one of those areas neglected and i want to see more of it.

i would say, wait, we need to review this, there may be places wh . .

Clinton - I do not believe that the insurance companies should be able to make life or death decisions for America! [WHOA! This is straight u Edwards style populism]

Senator Edwards said that not having it [mandates] is like not having mandatory social Security or Medicare.

Understand that if you do not have a plan that starts out with universal health care, you will be nibbled to death! [wow]

Obama on health care: Says something about how he and Clinton both said they were for universal healthcare and at that time he was down 30 points in the polls, but now the political climate has evolved. I wasn't clear on what he was trying to say here. Was he saysing that now everyone wants universal healthcare?

Obama - It is clear that John Mccain does not understand the economy e=because he still supports President Bush's failed eocnomic poliic.es [ZING!]

Clinton - Right now we are borrowing money from the chinese to pay saudi arabia, i do not believe that is a good polciy. [Uhm, is this race baiting in two ways? way to go, you stay classy! also, you're borrowing money from Chinese BANKS not from the poor chinese laborers to pay Saudi Arabian oil firms.]

Moment of crisis -

Obama- I wouldn't point to single moment, but the trajectory of my whole life. I was raised by a single mom and my dad left when I was two. what is most important in my own life is lerning to take responsiblity for my own actions. working as a community organizer on streets of chicago. . .

Clintin - Well, i think everybody here knows I've lived through some crises and challenging moments in my life. and I am grateful the support and prayers of countless Amreicas. Ppl often ask me, how do you do it, how do you keep going, and i just have to shake my hed in wonderfment because with all the challenges i've had they are nothing compared with the challegnes of everyday aMericans.

You know, the hits i've taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every in the lives of Americans, and I've resolved every single day that i've been blessed and i've resolved to do everything i can to give others those sme blessings, I was called by my faith and my upbringing , that's what motivates me that's what gets me up in the morning. no matter what happens in this contest, and you know I am honored, absolutely honored to be here with Barack Obama, [Obama shakes her hand] you know no matter what happens were going to be absolutely fine, we have strong support from our family and friends, and I just hope the American people will be fine, and that's what this election should be about. [standing ovation]

[Whoa, she stole that sentiment and framing from Edwards pretty much whole cloth - so much for charges of plagiarism.]

[Obama pulls her chair out for her at conclusion. Hmmm, this is very controversial - there are some people who would take this as a very gentlemanly thing, but others would think that it is patronizing.]

I like this emotional, personable side of Clinton, it's what she showed in New Hampshire, and I think it's better than what Mark Penn endorses - a Clinton on attack. I don't agree with that idea, and I don't think Americans want to see a negative Hillary. We know she's strong because of all that she's weathered. And I would like for Hillary to remain involved with public life, but I would prefer Obama as president. I think that emotional connection matters, and it's why Obama is doing so well. Mandy Grunwald, who is clinton's media person, has advised a softer, more emotional Clinton, and I really do think that has to do with her political smarts and because she is a woman. Mark Penn has had terrible advice so far and needs to get shitcanned. If one of the things that comes out of this campaign, one of the lessons, is that we need to do away with the old style of political campaigning, the "old white boys" club.

I still think Clinton is a better debater overall, but she isn't as likeable. People in the crowd were actually laughing at his lines, and they didn't seem to be terribly prescripted. The crowd seems to be divided pretty evenly, just as the polls say they are, but the advantage usually lies to Obama because he picks up the undecideds.

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