02:10 PM: OBAMA AT SEIU. Homecare worker Pauline Beck is introducing Barack Obama, who "walked in her shoes" in California on Aug. 8. The Senator made breakfast and did the laundry for her charge, 86-year old John Thornton, Beck said. Now we're watching a video of Obama's day with Beck. He met her at home before dawn and ate with her kids before heading to work.
Beck is a great reminder that female workers in the caring professions are increasingly the face of the 21st century labor movement.
Here comes Obama to the strains of Aretha Franklin's "Freedom." The crowd jumps to its feet. He's hugging everybody on stage. He leads a chant: "SEIU! SEIU!" And now he's beginning his speech. He gives a shout out to "my homies" in SEIU.
02:29 PM: PROMISES FROM OBAMA: "If the Democratic party means anything, it means standing with labor." He's sounding like a preacher today and can't speak for more than one minute without being interrupted by cheers. Quotable lines abound.
"I have news for [the Bush administration]: It's not the Department of Management, it's the Department of Labor."
"I'm tired of playing defense. The SEIU is tired of playing defense, Andy Stern is tired of playing defense. We're ready to play offense for the living wage, we're ready to play offense for secure retirements. We're ready to play offense for some universal health care."
Obama swears, to a standing ovation, to sign universal health care into law by the end of his first term. Yep, it looks like the health debate is increasingly one of political strategy. Obama says, "There are a lot of good health care plans out there. ... Sen. Clinton put out a plan today, and I'm sure there are a lot of good ideas in there, too. But the real key...is bringing people together in a way that builds consensus." Little dig at Hillary's 1994 record.
Now onto immigration: "I have never seen an issue that has been used so crassly for partisan purposes." He talks about the millions of custodians and health care workers who are working everyday but "living in hiding."
"When I am president I will put comprehensive immigration reform back on the agenda and I will not rest until it is passed once and for all." Standing ovation.
02:30 PM: A BIGGER DIG AT THE CLINTONS FROM OBAMA. "It's time we had a Democratic nominee after the primary who doesn't choke saying the word 'union.' It's time we had a Democratic president who says the word 'union' once in a while. Come on, it won't kill you."
02:47 PM: TOP-FORM OBAMA. Barack Obama is a natural in front of this crowd. He's shouting, they're standing, the room is roaring. He says he's walked on picket lines since his days as a community organizer after college, and that as president, if he hears workers rights are being compromised, "I'll have to find a comfortable pair of shoes."
He shouts, "I'm not new to this!" He imitates a candidate embracing labor for the first time: "Oh, you organize? The SEIU wears purple shirts?" Laughter. The implication is pretty clear: John Edwards, despite his work of recent years, doesn't have as long of a history with the SEIU. Now Obama's receiving another standing ovation as he criticizes Congressional Democrats for taking too much money from big business.
This speaking style is exciting. Obama sounds more like a civil rights leader today and a lot less like an overly cautious presidential candidate. He's doing call and response, and his one-liners are cutting. But this isn't a rhetoric Obama will take on the road outside of the SEIU convention -- or at least he hasn't yet. Maybe that's a good thing; maybe a civil rights preacher persona doesn't translate in Iowa. But if you don't see this Obama, the Obama today completely at home rabble-rousing among labor activists, you can't comprehend the fervor some of his progressive supporters feel.
"Just imagine what we can do together. Imagine having a president whose life work was your life work. Imagine having a president whose life story was like so many of your own."
05:31 PM: MAN OF THE HOUR? The feeling coming into this SEIU candidates' forum was that today's event was John Edwards' to win or lose. But that was before Barack Obama truly blew the crowd away earlier this afternoon. Edwards isn't going to be able to match Obama's energy -- the Senator from Illinois was in rare form today. But Edwards is passionate: "I will say this very plain and simple. I will be the president who walks out on the White House lawn and first, says the word 'union'...and I will tell you this, I will say it openly in front of the media for the world to hear, I intend to be the best union president in the history of the United States of America."
Edwards moves on to health care, saying that unlike some of his competitors, he won't give industry lobbyists a seat at the table, because they're likely to "eat all the food." HUGE rounds of applause as he promises, for the second time this week, to submit a bill rescinding health coverage for members of Congress if they don't pass universal health care by July 2009.
Edwards talks about banning mandatory overtime, an issue no other candidate discussed today. Now the crowd is screaming in agreement every 30 seconds or so. When he talks about low wages -- $5. 73 an hour, for example -- the audience "boos" and he ad libs, "Correct response!" Cute. Now they're chanting his name.
05:47 PM: EDWARDS ON POVERTY, IMMIGRATION, THE WAR AT SEIU. A key distinction emerges between John Edwards and Hillary Clinton; Hillary discussed the history of labor in terms of the creation of the middle class, Edwards portrays it as a fight against poverty: "The greatest anti-poverty movement in American history is the organized labor movement." This is typical of the different ways in which these two candidates talk about inequality.
Edwards goes a step further than Clinton and Obama's vague complaints about the "outdated" minimum wage and gives a specific numeric goal for a raise: $9.50. Moving onto a national law against predatory lending and the need for Congress to stop funding the war in Iraq, Edwards is approaching Obama-level enthusiasm from the crowd, which is standing and chanting his name. I like this new line on immigration: "I do not want to live in a United States of America made up of first class citizens and second class workers."
Edwards draws to a close by declaring that despite his wife's ill health, "This is the cause of my life. ... It's clear what I'm going to do. The question is, what are you going to do?" He says he feels the energy of the Civil Rights movement in the movement to end the Iraq war. "Brothers and sisters, like Dr. King, I can see the promised land, it's there, it's right in front of us, the question is, will we have the courage to go in step there? Will we lead? The only thing I ask all of you is to trust your heart. You know what to do!"
Edwards asks again, "Do you believe?" and the audience jumps up screaming and clapping and cheering. They are with him as he intones "God bless you all," and blows them a kiss.
07:31 PM: SEIU MEMBERS PREDICT EDWARDS ENDORSEMENT.
(Photos: SEIU members in John Edwards T-shirts provided by their SEIU locals. Washington, D.C., Sept. 17, 2007.)
It's hard sometimes in the heat of the moment to distinguish enthusiasm for a politician's rousing speech from enthusiasm for the politician himself. So in the cool of the evening I headed out to the courtyard of the Washington Hilton, where the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Political Action Conference attendees were mingling over drinks and nibbling on breaded shrimp, roast beef, and veggies. Despite the tremendous outpouring of enthusiasm for Barack Obama from the conference's audience of union leaders and regular members earlier in the day, member after member predicted that loyalty would trump enthusiasm, and that John Edwards, the candidate who has most assiduously courted labor, would win the SEIU's straw poll, and eventually the powerful and activist union's nod.
"I will fall off my chair tomorrow if he don't get it," said Tamekia Robinson of California's Local 1000, predicting a win for Edwards in the SEIU's straw poll, whose results will be announced tomorrow. "If he don't get it, I will be highly, highly, highly surprised."
Robinson, who described herself as an Obama supporter, said she was pleased that the membership was included in the endorsement process, even though she thinks the outcome is already foreordained. "I think it's nice they did their little fluff, their go-around, even though it was already concluded," she said. Three of the five largest SEIU locals have already called, at the conference, for an endorsement of Edwards, she noted. It would be hard for anyone to trump that.
"We had a meeting," explained Laurene Mackay of the United Long Term Care Workers, Local 6434, which she says endorsed Edwards in a membership vote "at the union." Mackay sported a T-shirt with the John Edwards campaign logo on it, printed in the SEIU colors of yellow on purple, that her local had given her. "We had already chosen who we were going to vote for," she explained. "Then we got the T-shirts."
Those T-shirts were a matter of some controversy with one of her table-mates, Larry Perkins of Local 1000. "I was O.K. with the presentations today with everyone until they got to John Edwards," he said. "Then I saw all these purple and yellow T-shirts with "John Edwards" on them and I didn't see shirts for anybody else. It was like they were steering people to John Edwards." Of course, Perkins himself had been an Edwards man until he saw that. "It was like, man, this was engineered," he said.
Others ranked the support of the crowd as putting Edwards in the lead, with Obama in second, and Hillary Clinton a close third or even with Obama. "Edwards was number one in there, to people responding to him," said Rita Stephenson, also of Local 1000, who personally liked Clinton and Edwards best. "Obama was second. She was maybe third." Her dinner companion, Attila Gabor of Local 1021, agreed about Obama. "I think he got a very good reception but I think Edwards was on top of him," he said, lifting his hand up to his face to demonstrate how high the support for Edwards stretched.
Jason Morales, of Local 1199 United Healthcare East (one of the three which has called for an SEIU endorsement of Edwards at the conference, according to Robinson), said that he came out of the day most pleasantly surprised by Chris Dodd's performance. "I thought he was going to be dull and boring," he said, but "the energy that he had and that he brought to the table" was impressive. Morales had kind words for Obama, too, whom he called "unbelievable, a great speaker." But when pressed about where his support lay, Morales eventually gave the most frequently heard answer.
"I like Edwards," he said. "He's a labor man."
When the Dems convention deadlocks, they will turn to their only proven national vote getter, Al Gore.
In a new survey, the Pew Research Center asked respondents "a different kind of question".
They asked: "as I say some words or phrases, tell me whether John Edwards, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton comes to mind." (The names were read in random order.)
Interesting stuff - these were the results:
Edwards unveils plan to revamp education
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards rolled out a program for reforming primary education in the United States on Friday, proposing to pay teachers up to $15,000 more in high poverty areas and initiating universal preschool. Edwards detailed the proposals, which also include longer school years and overhauling the No Child Left Behind education law, in a speech at Brody Middle School in Des Moines.
He called the federal law enacted by the Bush administration "a case study in what's broken in Washington, D.C." and said it needs to be radically reformed, to which he received the largest applause from a crowd of 300, largely supporters and school staff, who filled the school auditorium.
"It's a needlessly punitive arbitrary harsh approach to a genuine need of our schools," he said.
Rather than requiring students to take standardized tests, Edwards said assessments that measure higher-order thinking skills must be developed, including open-ended essays, oral examinations, projects and experiments.
Edwards, who voted for the No Child Left Behind law when he represented North Carolina in the Senate, said he's seen over several years how it was poorly implemented and underfunded.
"It's a combination of the way it was implemented and the administration's failure to fund it, failure to provide resources for schools ... and the failure to provide help to schools to turn them around, those things in combination have made it a problem," he said.
Edwards said giving all children an equal chance to get a quality education is a commitment that is at the core of his plan to build a country "where everyone has a chance to succeed."
His plan would cost $7 billion a year initially and increase in cost. He said it would be funded by collecting capital gains taxes currently not paid and closing offshore tax loopholes.
Edwards said schools are still separate and unequal 50 years after a Supreme Court ruling required desegregation in public schools.
"No longer legally separated by race, our children are sorted by economics, often with a racial or ethnic dimension. At the same time, our children are preparing for unprecedented global economic competition," Edwards said in the policy statement.
Edwards' plan calls for federal funding for the creation of universal preschool for all children when they turn 4. The preschools will teach skills students will need in school, including language abilities and introductions to early math, reading and other academic concepts.
The program, which will be voluntary, will begin in low-income neighborhoods where schools are struggling. Tuition would be charged on a sliding scale based on family income and waived for children from low-income families.
Edwards also proposed creation of a national program to promote health screening for problems related to speech, hearing, vision, dental and learning disabilities. The program would promote home visits by nurses to 50,000 low-income new parents.
Edwards also said he would raise teacher pay by up to $15,000 for teachers in high-poverty areas.
Clinton Favored by Older, Low-Income Voters in Early Primaries
Hillary Clinton is dominating the Democratic presidential field among lower-income and older voters in early primary states, while Republican Fred Thompson is making inroads among religious voters, particularly in the South and at the expense of rival Mitt Romney.
A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll conducted this month in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina reveals strengths and weaknesses for each candidate within powerful voting groups. Polling trends in these states are closely watched because they plan to hold the nation's first voting contests next January.
In all three states, New York Senator Clinton, 59, appeals to individuals in households earning less than $40,000 as well as those over the age of 65. Illinois Senator Barack Obama, 46, her main rival for the Democratic nomination, fares better among younger voters in Iowa.
"Clinton's demographics are just what you want, because it is in fact older voters who actually exercise their vote more,'' said Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University in Ames. Her association with "universal health care probably is very important'' to lower-income workers, he said.
In Iowa, where Clinton is locked in a tight race with Obama and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, 37 percent of Democratic voters 65 and older support her, far more than her two rivals.
Clinton's lead in this age group is even more striking in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Forty-eight percent of older voters in South Carolina support Clinton, while 3 percent favor Obama. In New Hampshire, 44 percent of those voters support Clinton, while 8 percent back Obama.
Barbara Army, 74, a retired electronics worker from Nashua, New Hampshire, said in a follow-up interview that she trusts Clinton to fix "messes'' such as health care and education. "She knows what needs to be done and she will get it done,'' Army said.
The poll of 1,079 registered voters in Iowa, 1,312 voters in New Hampshire and 820 voters in South Carolina was conducted Sept. 6-10. The margin of sampling error is from 3 to 5 percentage points. [..]
Among the Democratic candidates, Obama, who campaigns as the candidate of change, fares slightly better than Clinton and Edwards with younger voters in Iowa.
Clinton leads Obama and Edwards among households earning less than $40,000 in all three states. She has a double-digit advantage in South Carolina and New Hampshire.
In Iowa, Edwards, 54, gets a boost among union members, who make up 11 percent of the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Edwards, who has received four union endorsements, is supported by 37 percent of respondents in this category, while 23 percent favor Clinton and 12 percent support Obama. Clinton has picked up at least three union endorsements.
While Obama is the first African-American to have a serious chance at winning the Democratic nomination, Clinton is drawing more support from black voters in South Carolina, with 43 percent, compared with 32 percent for Obama. Clinton also registers better with white voters there, garnering 51 percent, while 15 percent support Obama.
Madeleine K. Albright, President Clinton's secretary of state and now chairperson of the National Democratic Institute, foreign policy adviser
Samuel R. Berger, President Clinton's national security adviser and now a principal at business consultancy Stonebridge, foreign policy adviser
Lt. Gen. Daniel William Christman, a former West Point superintendent and now senior vice president for international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, foreign policy adviser
Gen. Wesley K. Clark, President Clinton's Kosovo commander and now a Democratic fundraiser, endorsed Sen. Clinton Sept. 15
John H. Dalton, President Clinton's Navy secretary and now president of the Financial Services Roundtable's Housing Policy Council, veterans and military retirees for Hillary
Lee Feinstein, a deputy in President Clinton's State Department, national security coordinator
Leslie H. Gelb; president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, a former New York Times correspondent and a former State and Defense Department official, informal adviser
Richard C. Holbrooke, President Clinton's UN ambassador and broker of the Dayton Peace Accords (and now a Washington Post columnist), foreign policy adviser
Martin S. Indyk, President Clinton's ambassador to Israel and now director of Brookings's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, foreign policy adviser
Gen. John M. ("Jack") Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff who co-crafted the Iraq "surge" and is now a military analyst (sometimes for ABC news), military issues adviser
Lt. Gen. Claudia J. Kennedy, former deputy chief of staff for intelligence, veterans and military retirees for Hillary
Lt. Gen. Donald L. Kerrick, President Clinton's deputy national security adviser, organizes meetings of retired officers
Vali Nasr, Naval Postgraduate School professor, Middle East adviser
Michael O'Hanlon, Brookings senior fellow and former Congressional Budget Office defense and foreign policy analyst, supporter
Rep. (and retired Vice Adm.) Joseph Sestak, veterans and military retirees for Hillary
Andrew Shapiro, Sen. Clinton's Senate foreign policy staffer
Jeffrey H. Smith, former CIA general counsel and now a partner leading the public policy and government contracts group of law firm Arnold & Porter, national security adviser
Strobe Talbott, Brookings president, informal adviser
Togo D. West, President Clinton's secretary for veterans affairs and former secretary of the Army, veterans and military retirees for Hillary
Former Amb. Joseph C. Wilson IV, the half of the Plamegate couple who criticized the administration for using questionable evidence to promote the Iraq war, endorsed Sen. Clinton July 16
Former Amb. Jeffrey Bader, President Clinton's National Security Council Asia specialist and now head of Brookings's China center, national security adviser
Mark Brzezinski, President Clinton's National Security Council Southeast Europe specialist and now a partner at law firm McGuireWoods, national security adviser
Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser and now a Center for Strategic and International Studies counselor and trustee and frequent guest on PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, foreign policy adviser
Richard A. Clarke, President Clinton and President George W. Bush's counterterrorism czar and now head of Good Harbor Consulting and an ABC News contributor, sometimes Obama adviser
Gregory B. Craig, State Department director of policy planning under President Clinton and now a partner at law firm Williams & Connolly, foreign policy adviser
Roger W. Cressey, former National Security Council counterterrorism staffer and now Good Harbor Consulting president and NBC News consultant, has advised Obama but says not exclusive
Ivo H. Daalder, National Security Council director for European affairs during President Clinton's administration and now a Brookings senior fellow, foreign policy adviser
Richard Danzig, President Clinton's Navy secretary and now a Center for Strategic and International Analysis fellow, national security adviser
Philip H. Gordon, President Clinton's National Security Council staffer for Europe and now a Brookings senior fellow, national security adviser
Maj. Gen. J. (Jonathan) Scott Gration, a 32-year Air Force veteran and now CEO of Africa anti-poverty effort Millennium Villages, national security adviser and surrogate
Lawrence J. Korb, assistant secretary of defense from 1981-1985 and now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, informal foreign policy adviser
W. Anthony Lake, President Clinton's national security adviser and now a professor at Georgetown's school of foreign service, foreign policy adviser
James M. Ludes, former defense and foreign policy adviser to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and now executive director of the American Security Project, national security adviser
Robert Malley, President Clinton's Middle East envoy and now International Crisis Group's Middle East and North Africa program director, national security adviser
Gen. Merrill A. ("Tony") McPeak, former Air Force chief of staff and now a business consultant, national security adviser
Denis McDonough, Center for American Progress senior fellow and former policy adviser to then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, foreign policy coordinator
Samantha Power, Harvard-based human rights scholar and Pulitzer Prize winning writer, foreign policy adviser
Susan E. Rice, President Clinton's Africa specialist at the State Department and National Security Council and now a Brookings senior fellow, foreign policy adviser
Bruce O. Riedel, former CIA officer and National Security Council staffer for Near East and Asian affairs and now a Brookings senior fellow, national security adviser
Dennis B. Ross, President Clinton's Middle East negotiator and now a Washington Institute for Near East Policy fellow, Middle East adviser
Sarah Sewall, deputy assistant secretary of defense for peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance during President Clinton's administration and now director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, national security adviser
Daniel B. Shapiro, National Security Council director for legislative affairs during President Clinton's administration and now a lobbyist with Timmons & Company, Middle East adviser
Mona Sutphen, former aide to President Clinton's National Security adviser Samuel R. Berger and to United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson and now managing director of business consultancy Stonebridge, national security adviser
Barry M. Blechman, President Carter's assistant director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and founder and chairman of the Henry L. Stimson Center, military advisory group
Irving N. Blickstein, former assistant deputy chief of Naval operations and a RAND researcher, military advisory group
Derek Chollet, Edwards's Senate foreign policy aide, chief national security adviser
Lt. Gen. Michael A. Hough, former Marine Corps deputy commandant for aviation, military advisory group
Gen. Paul J. Kern, former Army Materiel Command commander who directed the internal investigation into the abuses at Abu Ghraib and now a lobbyist with the Cohen Group, military advisory group
Gen. Lester "Les" Lyles, former commander Air Force Materiel Command and now an aerospace consultant, military advisory group
Gen. Gregory S. ("Speedy") Martin, former commander Air Force Materiel Command and now a consultant, military advisory group
Rear Adm. William J. McDaniel, former commanding officer of Portsmouth Naval Medical Center, military advisory group
Rear Adm. David R. Oliver Jr., former principal deputy under secretary for acquisition and technology and now CEO of aerospace and defense company EADS North America, military advisory group
Michael Signer, onetime aide to former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, deputy policy director for foreign affairs and national security
Maj. Gen. Allen Youngman, former Kentucky adjutant general and now a defense lobbyist with American Business Development Group, military advisory group
Good policy stuff from John Edwards.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EDWARDS EDUCATION PLAN
The first candidate with a comprehensive education plan is John Edwards. No surprise there, and no surprise that the proposals are excellent. The details were released last Friday and highlighted in a speech at an Iowa middle school; apologies for not getting to it until today. The basics:
There's been very little media coverage of the plan, but predictably, the few articles written about it were too focused on the estimated costs -- $7 billion in the first year. The bottom line here, as policy-makers debate reforms to NCLB, is that Edwards manages to be critical of the bill's real faults without using it as an easy punching bag. He articulates an intelligent alternative model for state assessments and pays attention to some problems Congress has all but ignored, such as promoting socioeconomic integration within school buildings. Now we'll see if other candidates rise to the occasion and present their own visions for our schools.
- Universal pre-school for 4-year olds, with tuition on a sliding-scale based on family income.
- "Smart Start" services for kids younger than 5, including screenings for health problems and learning disabilities and home visits to new parents.
- A new focus on good teaching. Edwards walks a fine line between supporting reform in the way teachers are paid and aligning himself with the teachers' unions. He wants to give teachers in high-poverty schools between $5,000 and $15,000 in annual bonuses, but only if their overall school is high-achieving, if they take on extra mentoring responsibilities, or if they achieve advanced certification. He does not support rewarding individual teachers for the performance of their specific set of students.
- Create a national teachers' university modeled on West Point.
- Reform No Child Left Behind by creating better assessments of student learning that include essays, oral presentations, and long-term projects. Yes! Assessing high standards doesn't have to mean multiple choice. Edwards seems to understand that we have to get the testing industry out of the policy-making process. Some other NCLB changes are similar in scope to what's offered in the Miller-McKeon discussion draft currently in committee.
- Build 1,000 new high-quality schools, including magnet schools in urban areas and schools affiliated with colleges and built on their campuses. Focus on integrating schools by providing incentives for suburban schools that admit high-poverty students.
- Create a federal fund to turn around failing schools.
- Support community service among high school students.
Posted by Dana Goldstein on September 26, 2007 4:11 PM
The Warm Seat: The MySpace/MTV live dialogue with John Edwards just finished. Almost every question was a softball, and Edwards dutifully whacked them over the fence. Of course, it was a home game for him: At the end, 94 percent of the viewers said they liked his answers.
Here's a rough timeline of the proceedings. [..]
12:28 Chris Cillizza, co-moderator and Washingtonpost.com blogger extraordinaire, explains how we can watch people's feedback in a little box on the MySpace page. It's a real-time BS-meter! CNN, are you taking notes?
12:29 [..] The first student asks about Euro-centric school curricula. What would Edwards do to change that? Edwards says he's all for curricular diversity. That said, "the president of the United States doesn't run the public school system." Suggests providing funding as a reward for diversification. Congress would love that, I'm sure.
12:32 Another question: How are you going to make education affordable for everyone? As it turns out, Edwards has a program called College for Everyone! (Was that kid a plant?) The gist: Work at least 10 hours a week, and America will pay for your tuition and books.
12:35 Cillizza follows up: How do you fund an education program that's so sweeping? Edwards: Get rid of banks as intermediaries in student loans. "We'll still be making student loans, but several billion dollars a year can be made up for by eliminating the intermediary." Also, collect taxes that aren't being paid. [..]
12:41 The first IM question! LunarGoddess6B asks: Are you planning on increasing our taxes to pay for these programs? Edwards: "The answer is yes. Politicians don't want to say it, but it's the truth." For one thing, he says, get rid of tax cuts for the wealthiest. Beyond that, raise capital gains tax from 15 percent to 28 percent for people who make over $250,000 a year.
12:48 Kelsey from New Orleans: What would you have done differently post-Katrina? Edwards: "Everything." Says we need to rebuild levies, add police officers, and create 50,000 "stepping-stone jobs" for NOLA residents to rebuild their own city. Proposes "Brownie's law," which would require anyone in charge of a federal agency to have experience in that field. Is Michael Brown watching this???
12:54 Q: Do you believe AIDS is a national-security issue? Edwards: "I have met with Bono personally to discuss this." This guy is good. Says he's pro-sex ed, pro-needle exchange, and wants to allocate $50 million over next five years to fighting AIDS. So, about Bono
12:58 Q: How should the United States pressure China to help stop the genocide in Darfur? Edwards vows to ratchet up pressure, calls for Americans to personally divest from Sudan, and says we need security forces on the ground, since the African Union is doing a crappy job. [..]
1:05 Back from commercial break. The jacket has come off! Edwards rejects the phrase "global war on terror." "I think there is a threat from terrorists," he says. "But Bush has used this term as an excuse" for Iraq, Guantanamo, wire-tapping, etc. [..]
1:14 Here's a real curve ball: How would you implement universal health care? "The reason we don't have universal health care is not complicated: It's because of the drug companies, the insurance companies, and their lobbyists." [..]
1:18 Cillizza again: "Can you talk specifically about what your plan does that theirs don't do?" Edwards: Sen. Obama's plan isn't universal. It might leave 12 million to 15 million Americans uncovered. President Clinton's plan is "extremely similar to mine," so it's hard to be critical.
1:21 A student with a genetic degenerative eye disease asks about adult stem cells. Edwards: "This is obviously something that matters a great deal to you." Yes, most likely. "There should be no ideological limitations on stem cell research." Recommends doubling NIH funding for stem cell research.
1:24 Question about reducing CO2 emissions. Edwards: "Al Gore is right: Climate change is a crisis." Wants to cut emissions by 80 percentand implement cap-and-trade system. Says he'd ask Americans to "sacrifice." Applause. "This is a word you won't hear much. You can't spend and innovate your way out of this problem." [..]
Posted by Christopher Beam, Sept. 27, 3:34 p.m. ET
Behind the Horse Race Numbers: Edwards Strongest Democrat in General Election Match-ups
October 04, 2007
The most recent Rasmussen Reports data show that all of the most likely Democratic nominees lead their strongest prospective opponents. At this point John Edwards appears to be strongest in individual match-ups leading Giuliani by 9%, Thompson by 10%, and Romney by 11%.
Hillary Clinton holds almost as big a lead, but falls just short of Edwards' margin. She leads Giuliani by 5%, Thompson by 8%, and Romney by 9%.
Barack Obama holds a more narrow 5% lead over Giuliani, a 6% lead over Thompson, and a 3% lead over Romney.
How do we explain these findings, in the wake of Edwards' third place showing in Democratic primary trial heats?
First, one naturally points to Edwards' southern roots. Since John F. Kennedy's victory in 1960, the only Democrats to win the Presidency were southern Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
Second, Edwards--despite his current left wing rhetorical appeal--is actually perceived as more conservative than either Clinton or Obama.
Overall, 44% perceive Edwards as liberal in comparison to 51% who percieive Obama as liberal and 57% who see Clinton in this way.
By contrast, 13% characterize Edwards as conservative, compared to 8% who see Clinton and Obama in this way.
Finally, Edwards at this point demonstrates the greatest appeal to Independents beating Guiliani by 13%. Obama wins Independents by 5% and Clinton wins them by 3% against Guiliani.
All of this may well be academic as Clinton leads national trial heats for the Democratic nomination according to the Real Clear Politics average. [..] Rasmussen noted earlier this week that a Clinton victory is not inevitable, but she is the clear frontrunner. [..]