Thursday, April 26, 2007

Liveblogging the Democratic Debate Part III

Edwards says the Supreme Court decision on abortion last week is indicative of exactly what is at stake in this country. Believes in a woman's right to choose, but it is an extraordinarily difficult issue for many people, and we have to show respect to people who have a different view.

Obama gets the same question. Most Americans recognize this is a profoundly difficult decision for families and women to make. Trusts women to make these decisions with their families, doctors and clergy. Broader issue: can we move past some of the debates on what we don't agree on and start talking about things we agree on like reducing teen pregnancy.

Biden: As President would you have a litmus test question for Supreme Court nominees regarding Roe V. Wade? Said he led the fight to defeat Robert Bork, would make sure his Supreme Court nominees shared his values.

Kucinich gets the same question. Any of his appointments would reflect his thinking. Intends to be a President who is a healer. Wants to protect a woman's right to privcay, protect Roe V. Wade but to go out and engage people and open their hearts.

Dodd is asked about whether he regrets his vote to confirm Chief Justice Roberts. Says he is profoundly dismayed with Roberts' decision on the abortion case last week, but doesn't regret his vote. Thinks Kucinich is right, an that abortions should be "rare, safe and legal" (borrowing words used by earlier candidates).

Asking all candidates to say a name or pass: Your model Supreme Court Justice?

Richardson - Whizzer White - Justice Ginsburg is his second choice since White is dead.

Dodd - Justice Brennan - second choice is Justice Ginsburg

Edwards - Justice Ginsburg or Justice Breyer.

Now the candidates get questions about guns and Virginia Tech.

Clinton says the system failed because mentally ill person gets a gun.

Richardson gets asked about being the NRA's favorite candidate. Did any part of the Va Tech shooting cause him to re-think his position on guns. Admits to being a Western governor, in a region that likes hunting, but notes that the vast majority of gun owners are law abiding. Says we should ensure mentally ill cannot buy a gun. For instant background checks, and that states are properly funded to detect problems. Calls for mental health parity.

Biden is asked about how the federal government could have saved the students at Va Tech. Should not have let the assault weapons ban lapse, should close the gun show loophole, agrees with other candidates that federal government should focus more on mental illness.

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