Democratic Debate Live Blog II
Next question on "don't ask, don't tell." Hillary happy to deal with this, to applause. Biden: Peter Pace is flat wrong;" Gays openly serve, and we need them, and it's not right to kick them out.
Any disagreement? We're seeing an advertisement for the Democratic Party, (except on Iraq — note we did not discuss Iran or Israel, or Russia, etc.) How will they distinguish themselves?
Edwards trying to make the point on leadership?
Funny question about how to use Bill Clinton. Bill appears to be getting several job offers tonight. Can't hurt Hillary, who doesn't need to say anything. Others simply focus on Bill's strengths, instead of the vulnerability he presents for Hillary if you take 10 years to write a 600 page book.
Richardson brings in Middle East policy and need to revise peace process — smart to use the Clinton question for that.
Response of the night so far: Hillary says we need to use all our Presidents to help us repair the damage of the last 7 years. Wonder how George 41 feels about that?
Gas prices: What would you do? (This is where they'll all sound silly.) Dodd links energy solution to global warming — just lost the coal vote. He advocates a carbon tax — a tough stand favored by many economists. His rebate proposal mirrors what economists were urging us in California 35 years ago.
Grampa Gravel says we need to grow up about high gas prices — it's really a lot more when you consider the costs of Middle East military adventures.
Usual from Edwards, Richardson, Biden rhetoric about price gouging, but they're probably not serious about this; they all seem to see the links between energy/warming/security. Shifting into part II of the debate. Back in a few minutes.
UDATE: Were staring part II, with questions from “undecided” voters from NH:
Q re Iraq: how to rebuild military? Dennis K: we need to end our occupation, and can’t end breaking Army till then. Any disagreement? Here we get into proposals to increase size of the military.
Obama focuses on extended tours and treating troops with dignity when they come home — Bush tried to do it on the cheap.
To Dodd — are there relics of the Cold War that can be cut? Responds we’re not listing to our military; all recognize responsibility to ensure security.
Q from a military mom: Why can’t veterans receive treatment at hospital of their choice? Obama says not all facilities have full services. Turns the question: Discusses VA ability to negotiate drug prices; and vets should get service at non-VA hospitals if VA not available. Richardson says he disagrees, but it’s not clear what about.
To Gravel on his experience from VA: — says he gets his meds from the VA — (smirking in the press room). Attacks Obama for not enough oversight of Walter Reed. Did he know about those problems? No.
Q on Iran: How to solve it? Force or diplomacy? Hillary says she’s concerned about Iran, and she’s pleased that Bush starting more diplomacy; need a process of engagement, just like we had with the Soviets. I keeps seeing a different Hillary — talking directly to the electorate with a of confidence, as long as she doesn’t have to explain her prior votes.
Edwards asked more pointed: would you use force to prevent nuclear Iran? Carrots and sticks — and the sticks are sanctions. Wolk asks about military threats? No responsible president can take it off the table.
Biden says, “give up on policy of regime change.”
What about Pakitan? Hillary says Wh not listening to her advice about strengthening that regime and recognizing his dilemmas.
Blitzer asks Dennis K about killing civilians — he needs to ask this of all. Obama ducks the question by focusing on OBL — “you take him out” — and not the civilians. Good, show of hands. All say tit’s okay to kill civilians, but Hillary says we can do it as long as there is “not a tremedous amount of collateral damage.” God help us. Only Dennis K kept his hand down, I think.
Q about Darfur: What should US do? Biden calls for no-fly zone. Another raise hands: use militayr force to stop genocide? Hillary wants a clarification. She’s telling them all how to be President.