Thursday, April 26, 2007

Liveblogging the Democratic Debate Part V

Biden is asked what 3 nations represent the biggest threats to the U.S. He says North Korea, Iran and Russia under Putin who is moving to a more totalitarian government. Calls for more diplomacy.

Gravel gets the same question. "We have no important enemies. We have to deal with the rest of the world as equals. Who are we afraid of?"

Edwards gets asked about Russia. Are they a friend or a foe? Edwards says Russia, moved from being a democracy under Yeltsin to being an autocracy under Putin. Any dissent has been squashed. Edwards says we need to maintain our political, economic, and military strength, but how do we affect what's going on? Wants America to demonstrate its "commitment to humanity".

Richardson is asked how he would do things differently with Russia. Richardson wants Russia to: Assess strategic interests (have them control loose nukes), be more humane in Chechnya, be a stable source of energy for this country, and promote more democracy in their own country. Richardson restates his tenets of forein policy: Being stubborn isn't a foreign policy, and power without diplomacy is blind. Brings up Darfur and wonders aloud why shouldn't America be putting an end to the genocide.

Show of hands question: Is there a global war on terror? It looks like everyone raises their hand except Kucinich and Gravel.

Edwards on national security, when posed with a hypothetical about an attack by al-Qaeda on 2 U.S. cities: there are dangerous people and dangerous leaders that we must deal with strongly. But we have more tools than bombs and we need to use those tools.

Clinton says we should retaliate as quickly as posible. Doesn't mean we go looking for other fights. Let's focus on those who attack us.

Show of hands: Anyone on the stage willing to impeach Vice-President Cheney? Kucinich is asked if this is a proper use of the resources of the Congress, given that nobody publicly supports his proposal.

Kucinich's response is to pull out his pocket copy of the Constitution, and says Cheney should be held accountable. We have to stand for this Constitution and protect it, but while his friends on the stage may not be ready to take the step, they should know that there is one person willing to stand up for it.

Dodd is asked if there is a difference between gay marriage and civil unions. He talks about his two young daughters who "might one day be of a different sexual orientation." His answer is that everyone should be able to have their loving relationships sanctioned. Civil unions are appropriate and proper, but doesn't support same-sex marriage. Expresses pride for Governor Lynch in NH who will sign a civil union bill.

Richardson gets asked about normalizing relations with Cuba under Fidel Castro. Goes off on a tangent about the previous hypothetical scenario on an al-Qaeda attack, and says he would have a strong military response. Brian Williams grants him a few extra seconds to answer the question. Richardson says we must find ways to deal with a post-Castro Cuba. He would change Bush Administration policy limiting family visits, re-evaluate the embargo, make sure Cuba has free elections and unions in a post-Castro Cuba.

Obama is asked what he's done in his personal life to make a difference in the environment recently. Says he organized 3000 people to plant trees on Earth Day. He's also been working to change lightbulbs in the house to save energy.

Gravel and Kucinich engage Obama in arguments over pre-emptive war and nukes with respect to Iran. Gravel is quite a character.

Edwards is asked who he considers his moral leader. He pauses for a long time and says he can't think of anyone. Then he talks about God and his wife.

Clinton is asked if Wal-Mart is overall a good or bad thing for the U.S. She says it is a mixed blessing because it brings goods to rural areas like rural Arkansas. As Wal-Mart grown they've raised serious questions about corporate ethics. Need to get both public sector and private sector leadership to step up and take care of people.

Brian Williams is wrapping up the debate. Thank you and good night.

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