AFL-CIO Debate

Update:  Added Bolding to Hillary’s answer on Obama’s blunder answer on Pakistan.  “Think Big” but watch your mouth, was one tough answer.


Chris Matthews show reviews: Pat Buchanan says Hillary won the debate. Willie Brown says Hillary did what she had to do. They think Obama did well because he had a hometown advantage. Edwards is getting trashed by all. Edwards called small by Matthews. Buchanan loved the “I’m Your Girl” line by Hillary.

Good reviews by all regarding Hillary.

Obama’s home town advantage fizzled.

It’s Over


Q to Richardson, Job description for your VP

Richardson: not Cheney

Q to Clinton on lobbyists

Clinton: we need reform in Washington, get rid of contracting out of government jobs.  I fought the drug companies and special interests. 

Q to Obama: You got lobbyist money and bundlers

Obama: no federal lobbyist money.  The reason I am in politics is for people

Q to Edwards: how is lawyer money different from lobbyist money?

Edwards: Lawyers don’t bribe juries. Lobbyists bribe congress.

Q to Biden, Would you appoint a Ripublican to your cabinet?

Biden: Maybe.  We need more than 50% to make change. 

Q to Dodd: Was Homeland Security Dept a good idea?

Dodd: No.  It’s too large.  We are not safer.  Iraq is not safer. 

Q to Kucinich: what have you accomplished in congress this session?

Kucinich: I’ve written bills.  The Dem Congress has not kept its promise to bring the troops home.

Q to Obama: Would you honor Barry Bonds at White House?

Obama: He still needs to hit one more.  Barry Bond is a remarkable baseball player. 

KO: Is that a No or a Yes?

no answer

KO to Clinton on Katrina recovery

Clinton: Put someone in charge responsible to the president who knows what they are doing.

KO to Biden: Would you stop No Bid contracts

Biden: yes

KO to All:  In 455 days the election will be over and the next race will start immediately thereafter.  Does this trouble you? 

Richardson: yes

Obama: Campaigns last too long.  Washington insiders.  Bush is a disaster.  Mobilize Americans to bring change.  Change from bottom up.

Biden: Would not bother me because I will do a good job.  The bad job by Bush is what is causing this.  Next president will not have a margin of error.

Clinton: I will be so busy I will not worry.  I will do healthcare, energy independence, education.  There is so much work to do I will not worry.  Bring your brooms to Washington.

Dodd: This campaign began early because people care and are frustrated.  The frustration is from the bottom up.  I agree with Hillary and Joe on this.

Edwards: It is too long.  Publically finance our campaigns.  Let’s stand up to drug companies. 

Kucinich: I will come from behind and no one will run against me. 


Union Q: We need healthcare.

Kucinich: I have a plan for universal health care. 

KO gives Edwards a response opportunity.

Edwards: I have been walking the picket lines. 

KO: but you are from a right to work state.

Edwards: yes. 

Biden:  can’t make it out

Union Q what policies to make business invest in energy efficient technology.

Dodd: Americans should have good health care plan.  80% reduction of CO2.  Better gas mileage.  Tax polluters. 

Union Q to Clinton, what changes to No Child Left Behind

Clinton: I supported funding for green economy.  No Child Left Behind was an unfunded mandate.  We need growth models for students.  Tests are not enough. 



Union Q: Why is my active reserve daughter forced to buy her own equipment? 

Dodd: I’ve written legislation to protect our troops but Ripublicans have stopped it.

Union Q to Edwards: I lost a third of my pension and health care.  I can’t afford to pay for my wife’s health care.  What can you do?

Edwards:  Bless you.  Pensions of CEOs should be like workers pensions.  I will explain the importance of labor.  Who’s been with you?  I’ve been there for you. 

Union Q to Clinton:  On pensions

Hillary: These are snapshots of what is wrong.  We need to protect pensions.  Protect Social Security.  Bush won’t enforce the laws.  I will care about labor.  I will sign the employee free choice act.  We will rebuild the manufacturing sector.  I will take this comittment to the White House.

Union Q to Obama on undocumented workers.

Obama: We can be a nation of laws and immigrants.  Comprehensive immigration reform.  Employers must be held accountable.  Must have an earned pathway to citizenship.  Go to the back of the line.  I was a community organizer. 

Union Q to Biden on Healthcare. 

Biden: I spent a lot of time in a hospital.  We need 100,000 new nurses.  Insure every child.  For 24 years I walked picket lines with you. 


Union member question (Sago mine survivor), Bush has failed workers by rolling back work place protection.  What will you do?

Biden: My heart goes out to you.   What you heard about Pakistan earlier is wrong.

Union Q, we want to start a union at Resurrection Hospital.  How will you help those of us who want to form a union? 

Kucinich: I am a union member.  Will be a union president. 

Union Q, after serving in armed forces I lost my job when I came back.  What about manufacturing jobs. 

Richardson: protect pensions, job protection.  As Iraqi war veteran I will also fully fund medical treatment for veterans. 


Q to Richardson on Iraq if Al Qaeda takes over.  Richardson: let’s get out then focus on what needs to be done. 

Same Q to Obama:  A phased redeployment.  Troops in the region.  Focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Biden: I have a detailed plan to get out.  Create 3 regions.  Let’s talk truth.

Clinton: Redeploy responsibly.  Put pressure on Iraqi government.  Diplomacy.  We need to keep focused on Al Qaeda.

Dodd: Let’s thank our troops. They have not failed, our policy has.  Diplomacy. 

Edwards: Get 50,000 troops out.  Then diplomacy. Genocide must be prepared for.

Kucinich: Get out now. 

KO to Obama: Why did it take so long to find out how you would vote on the supplemental?  Obama: We need to be orderly.  Hoped Ripublicans to join us but not enough have joined us.  Only way to stop Iraq war is to get Ripublican help. 

Same to Clinton:  This is Bush’s war.  But these are our sons and daughters fighting.  I do not want to undercut them.  But the only way to get the message across to George Bush is to vote how I did.  We need to force George Bush to end the war.

Q to Dodd:  You called Obama confusing and confused on Pakistan, Why?  Dodd: We have to be careful.  It is irresponsible to suggest we will invade Pakistan.  Obama was wrong.  We need to be careful with our language. 

Obama responds:  I find it amusing to be criticized – to Dodd: you did not read my speech.  If we have actionable intelligence we need to act. 

Clinton responds: I do not believe we should engage in hypotheticals.  It is a mistake to destablize Pakistan.  Pakistan has nuclear weapons.  Think big but don’t say everything you think.  Crowd Boos.

Dodd:  I said I made a mistake on Iraq vote, you made a mistake on Pakistan and you should say so too. 

Obama: I did not say that.  I said something else. 



BREAK:  Hillary lovely in Pink and Black.   


Edwards: 2 million toys imported to U.S. from China. 

Kucinich:  We dug a hole to China.


Q to Clinton: Response?  I’m not here to get in fights with Democrats.  I want a united Democratic Party.  If you want a winner that knows how to take the right wing on – I’m your Girl!

Q to Obama: Don’t Americans like cheaper goods?  Obama: Americans want jobs not cheap T-shirts.  Who does the president negotiate for?  People or corporations?  Congress listening to special interests is a problem. 

Q to Richardson: Is China an ally or adversary?  Richardson:  We have to get tougher with China.  On trade and Darfur. 

Same Q to Obama.  Obama: enforce trade agreements.  Chinese are our bankers.  A competitor. 

Biden: They hold a mortgage on us.  We are in debt by a trillion dollars to China.

Clinton: Amen to Biden.  We had a surplus, George Bush is paying with a credit card.  Tougher standards on what China exports to U.S.

Dodd: A competitor getting close to adversary. 


Q to Obama:  You voted to subsidize this stadium, were you right?  Obama: yes.

Q to Richardson: Sell the toll roads? Privatize? Richardson: No.  Let’s finance infrastructure by getting rid of earmarks and corporate subsidies.  Invest in our power grid and highways and bridges and rails, strong land use policy.

Q on Trade to Clinton: How would you fix NAFTA?  Clinton: NAFTA hurt workers.  We need a broad reform, NAFTA is a piece of it.  Important to enforce our agreements.  A trade prosecutor.  I voted against CAFTA and fast-track authority for this president.  We need a source of new jobs by investing in energy. 

Same Q to all: Richardson: No to more NAFTAs, no to union busting attorneys at OSHA;  Obama: Amend NAFTA.  Corporate lobbyists not working people involved, Stop corporate lobbyists;  Biden: President must create jobs not export jobs; Dodd: requires modification; we need to stop outsourcing too; for 26 years I’ve stood with labor; Edwards: It needs to be fixed, Washington insiders did this; Kucinich: I will withdraw from NAFTA and WTO.


Question to Biden – Did you guys drop the ball on infrastructure?  Biden: I proposed solutions years ago.  We don’t need any more studies.  We need to put America back to work.  Can’t wait to debate Rudy.  Ripublicans have been irresponsible.

Q to Edwards: How to convince Americans that changes to infrastructure must be made?  Edwards: Americans know the changes are needed.  Who will bring the change?  We need to lead the change.  Stop lobbyist money like I said this past Saturday. 

Q to Kucinich: Should government subsidize sports?  Kucinich: We should buy the team.  I have written infrastructure legislation.


Question to Dodd on infrastructure.  Dodd:  Stop spending money on Iraq.  We need new priorities.  Cut back on defense spending. 

To Clinton, Is our government doing anything to keep us safe (on infrastructure).  Hillary: Our prayers to the Utah miners.  We need a better infrastructure which will also help with homeland security; including broadband.

To Obama, What are we not prepared for? Obama: welcome to chicago.  We are not safer now than after 9/11.  We should not have gone to Iraq.  Neglect of Afghanistan.  Let’s fight on the right battlefield.  This will give us the resources for infrastructure.


Keith Olbermann introduces the candidates.  Obama gets a hometown cheer.  Hillary gets a good response too.  AFL-CIO President John Sweeney speaks about the importance of labor unions. “one of the people here tonight will be the next president”. 

KO: I’ll ask questions.  Follow-ups at my discretion.  There will be a lightning round.  Please hold applause audience. 


It’s steaming hot in Chicago. 

John Edwards is drowning and needs labor support to give him some air. 

For Obama it’s a home town crowd again. Antoin “Tony” Rezko is probably in the stands counting on his investment. 


Cool Stare

Update on 8/9: New York Times correction: “An article on Tuesday about the relationship between Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama inaccurately described a moment involving them while they were doing television interviews after the State of the Union address. Mrs. Clinton took a circuitous route past Mr. Obama not to avoid him, but to accommodate a television producer.”
Naderites and PINOs at Big Blogs are pumping their fists in the air over a Big Media story today that once again trades in gossip and “catty” female stereotypes. The New York Times story once again attempts to push the Big Media narrative of Hillary as calculating, catty, cunning, and another “c” word who feels entitled.

The actual facts do not intrude in this typical Big Media narrative story which Naderites and PINOs are rejoicing in.

Here are the facts: Hillary campaigned (even in lightning storms) to help elect Obama to the Senate. Hillary and Bill Clinton helped Obama when he was in the Senate. Obama repaid Hillary with scorn and abuse. The story notes that right after his election Obama was overheard (supposedly by Hillary) puffing his chest in a Lebron James way and bragging “I outpoll her in Illinois.” Hillary has good relations with fellow Senators Dodd and Biden who treat her with respect. The New York Times does not bother to mention the ugly anonymous attacks the Obama campaign launched against Bill Clinton, knowing the stories were false. [Obama has still not apologized to Bill Clinton]. But the New York Times does not bother with facts. The Big Media narrative does not like facts.

Here’s how the New York Times does the Big Media narrative dance. First, ignore the history in which Obama was helped by Hillary to get elected and the insults he hurled her way. Start the story in January 2007 to imply that Hillary is upset that Obama is running against her. This narrative gets the “entitlement” smear right out in front and ignore how hard Hillary works and how she has earned her frontrunner status:

The tension between the two Democratic presidential hopefuls, which has spilled into public view in the last three weeks, has been intensifying since January. It is clear that the genteel decorum of the Senate has given way to the go-for-the-jugular instinct of the campaign trail.

As the Senate held late sessions of back-to-back votes before its summer break, the two rivals kept a careful eye on each other as they moved across the Senate floor. For more than two hours one night, often while standing only a few feet apart, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama never approached each other or exchanged so much as a pleasantry.

The scene repeated itself the next evening, a departure from the clubby confines of the Senate, where even the fiercest adversaries are apt to engage in the legislative equivalent of cocktail party chitchat.

Second, mention how “fake” Hillary is by being publically polite and singing Happy Birthday:

When the cameras are on them, they can make a point of showing good sportsmanship. At a Democratic forum Saturday in Chicago, Mrs. Clinton smiled and moved her hands as though she was conducting a choir when an audience of liberal bloggers sang “Happy Birthday” to Mr. Obama, who was turning 46.

Follow the atmospheric alleged fakeness of Hillary with Obama making a substantive critique of Hillary and lobbyists to further diminish Hillary:

By the end of the event, Mr. Obama had called her “Hillary” in a sharp tone, criticizing her for accepting contributions from lobbyists.

After a tableu vivant of Hillary and Obama at the Senate, the New York Times finally gets to some background history:

It was not always this way.

When Mr. Obama was running for the Senate in 2004, Mrs. Clinton once sat on the tarmac waiting out a lightning storm to fly to Chicago for a fund-raiser on his behalf. After he arrived in Washington in 2005, he studied her first year in office and worked to keep a similarly studious and low profile. After Hurricane Katrina, he joined Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton as they visited storm evacuees in Houston.

Immediately the story veers from the Obama slights against Hillary to Hillary the alleged cold and calculating and … well, Hell’s Bells, Let’s Blame Hillary:

The relationship began to change when Mr. Obama began musing aloud about a presidential bid. The day he opened his exploratory committee, several Senate observers said, he extended his hand and said hello on the Senate floor. She breezed by him, offering a cool stare.

One week later, after the State of the Union address, the two senators found themselves doing back-to-back interviews on CNN. Mr. Obama went first, with Mrs. Clinton pacing a few feet away. Finally, an aide escorted her completely around the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building, avoiding walking directly by Mr. Obama.

Many Senate observers, even those close to Mrs. Clinton, say they believe she set the less-than-collegial tone. But Mr. Obama offered a glimpse into his own competitiveness two years ago when a Chicago television reporter told him about snagging a hallway interview with Mrs. Clinton.

“I outpoll her in Illinois,” Mr. Obama said. Then, realizing how his remark might sound, he added, “That was a joke!”

We’re supposed to believe that poor Obama, the innocent, is just joking but nameless “observers” believe it’s Hillary that’s to blame.




Update III: We’ll have a “live” post while the debate is on tonight.
Update II: “Sen. Hillary Clinton, whose greatest disappointment was her failure to reform the American health care system when she had the chance to in the 1990s, will work the health care issue on a slightly smaller scale this month – as a shift nurse at one of Southern Nevada’s St. Rose Dominican Hospitals. It’s part of the Service Employees International Union “Walk a day in my shoes” program, which has presidential candidates pulling a union worker’s shift to meet one of the criteria for winning the coveted SEIU endorsement. [snip] The Clinton event, which promises to be a media circus, illustrates how important Nevada has become in the Democrats’ nomination strategy.”

Update: Gravel has not been invited to the forum. AFL-CIO states Gravel did not answer a required questionnaire. Gravel is upset.
KO as in Keith Olbermann will be the moderator of the AFL-CIO presidential forum tonight.

Once again Obama gets a major forum in his home ground. Both Obama and Edwards should do better tonight because they will know the likely questions before the debate.

Thousands of union members, probably many from the Chicago area where we are told Obama has support, will be attending the debate.

The nation’s largest labor federation originally planned to hold its forum at McCormick Place convention center. But more than 12,000 union members want to attend.

Spokesman Steve Smith says the decision was made to move the event to the home of the Chicago Bears to ensure there’s enough room.

Some more details from the Chicago Sun-Times

On Tuesday, seven of the eight Democratic candidates will gather on a stage at Soldier Field — in the north end zone — for the AFL-CIO’s Working Families President Forum. It’s the latest in a string of Democratic forums and debates, different because the audience will be between 12,000 and 14,000 union members and their families, drawn from Chicago’s extensive labor community and union activists from surrounding states.

The forum, moderated by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, runs for 90 minutes, starting at 6 p.m. It will be televised live on MSNBC and XM satellite radio.

Obama and Edwards will have a good idea of what questions will be asked. Hillary will be able to answer spontaneously without having to explain herself later on. Other candidates will have their research teams writing answers for likely questions.

Working men and women will ask the candidates questions focusing on issues that affect the daily lives of working families—from jobs and wages to health care, retirement, education and Iraq. Some of the questions will be submitted and selected by visitors to the AFL-CIO’s Working Families Vote 2008 website.

AFL-CIO union members in the Chicago area can request tickets to attend the forum from their local union or the Chicago Federation of Labor at 312-222-1000; members outside the Chicago area may request tickets from the AFL-CIO by calling 202-637-5297 or e-mailing Scroll down to find information about nearby hotels.

Due to federal elections law, only AFL-CIO union members and their families may attend the forum, but it will be broadcast in full for the public on MSNBC from 7-8:30 p.m. EST (6-7:30 p.m. CDT). We encourage working family activists to host friends, colleagues and family at “watch parties” to see and discuss the forum and critical issues in the 2008 election.

Expect another tag team effort from the Lazio-desperate Edwards and Obama campaigns against Hillary.

Maybe Edwards will be asked about his Bankruptcy Bill “yes” vote for which he now trys to explain away with his typical and familiar “I was wrong.”

Obama has this question among many to answer (from a commenter at the AFL-CIO website):

“i hope keith asks barrack obama why he voted against saving united employees pensions when we presented a bill to save our pensions after we went into bankruptcy… he said afterwards that united airlines was his constituent in illinois, and it was a conflict of interest for him… and when he agreed to show up at a rally in washington dc with candidates biden clinton and kucinich, why he was a no show and did not answer the phone the whole day hiding from us… it was a union rally for airline employees and other transportation workers… ask this man these questions please”

Obama and Edwards will be happy they will have advance knowledge of what the questions might be by looking at the final ten questions to be voted on.

Some of the questions Olbermann will ask the seven Democratic presidential hopefuls will come from the more than 2,200 submitted by union members at the AFL-CIO’s Working Families Vote 2008 website. You have until Sunday at midnight to vote for your favorite among the final 10 questions.

And by the way, Obama is still explaining his invasion of Pakistan remarks. Now he is trying to explain them away.