Last night in Chicago, the AFL-CIO held a Democratic debate with all nine Democrat presidential candidates: former Gov. Howard Dean (Vt.), Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), Rep. Dick Gephardt (Mo.), Sen. Bob Graham (Fla.), Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (Ill.), and Rev. Al Sharpton.
The candidates were in true form – lamenting tax relief, urging more spending, demanding a balanced budget, carping about President Bush, doing everything one would expect from candidates who know they face an uphill battle.
What follows are some interesting quotes made by the nine Ringwraiths and a quick response to each.
Kerry: If we’re going to create jobs for Americans, which we all want to do, the first thing we have to do is make sure that George W. Bush loses his.
This was just the first of several references to Bush needing to “lose his job.” They were at an AFL-CIO event, afterall.
Gephardt: This administration has declared war on the middle class in this country.
First terror. Then Saddam. Now on to the middle class. Things are going precisely as planned.
Gephardt: This president is the Houdini of economics. Three million jobs have disappeared. He’s got the worst record since Herbert Hoover. He’s got to go for us to get jobs back in this country.
Interesting. Houdini was known as an escape artist. If Bush is Houdini, as Gephardt claims, then Bush will get the country out of this economic slump (and he is). But the real Houdini is Gephardt who has escaped the bonds of the House of Representatives and missed 90% of the votes this year (413 votes missed of 459 votes conducted).
Sharpton: â?¦we meetâ?¦to stop the legacy of Reagan in a union-busting disciple of Reagan named George Bush Jr.
New bumper sticker idea:
GEORGE W. BUSH – DISCIPLE OF REAGAN
The GOP ought to use that.
Kucinich: My first act in office will be to cancel NAFTA, my second act in will be to cancel the WTO.
Watch out, union members. If he holds to his labor views the way he held to his pro-life views, Big Labor will be up a creek.
Dean: [I want to] balance the budget by rescinding the Bush tax cuts which have ruined this economy and to use that money to create jobs and to give health insurance to every single American.
Dean wants to balance the budget by rescinding the tax cuts, but he then would turn around and spend that same money. Using that logic, how would he balance anything?
Gephardt: It’s immoral to have anybody without health insurance in this country.
What if someone doesn’t want health insurance? Will Gephardt require everyone to get it?
Braun: Is there any rational reason why health care insurance is tied to employment?
Yes – otherwise a Socialist government would have to cover it. Of course, if Socialism is your thing. . .
Kucinich: You want universal health care, I’m the candidate. Single payer, universal health care, Medicare for all, backed by a 7.7 percent tax paid by employers.
More health care. More government. More Socialism. More taxes. That’s the Democrat mantra.
Sharpton: We need to have a constitutional amendment . . . to make the quality health care of all citizens a constitutional right.
Better idea: get the Supreme Court to declare it a constitutional right. It would be much quicker and would involve less paperwork.
Edwards: We need to make George W. Bush jobless come 2004.
Graham: All Americans’ pension should be guaranteed by the federal government.
Kerry: My friends, that’s trickle-down economics, and I believe every worker in America is tired of being trickled on by George W. Bush.
Great. Toilet humor at a Presidential debate. Very distinguished.
Kerry: When I am president of the United States, I look forward to appointing an attorney general who is not John Ashcroft…
Can’t forget to slip in a reference to that ever-present threat to American freedom, John Ashcroft.
Gephardt: I’d say to the young people of this country, if you’ll train to be a teacher and teach where we need you for five years, I’d have the federal government pay your college loans. If it’s good enough for the Marines, it’s good enough for the teachers, don’t you think?
Chew on that last line.
Sharpton: The role of government is to help all students become well educated and have access to equal quality education.
Can the Reverend point to that provision in the Constitution?
Sharpton: We have an attorney general that can’t find corporate greed criminals but can put every union leader under investigation in the labor movement.
Reverend Sharpton couldnt afford to miss an opportunity to get a dig in on Ashcroft, though Sen. Kerry did beat him to it.
Lieberman: maybe the first thing I should do is to say that when I’m elected president, I will not reappoint John Ashcroft to attorney general of the United States.
He noticed a pattern emerging.
Lieberman: And so I have said let’s try competition in the public schools. Let’s even try the so-called voucher program on an experimental basis just to see if we learn anything from it.
He received several “boos” from the crowd for saying this. Of course it was comment that made the most sense during the entire debate.
Dean: . . . practically everything President Bush does is a disaster for the country.
Does “everything” include President Bush’s response to September 11 and the War on Terror – the major focus of the Bush White House?
Sharpton: We must have strong federal laws and a strong attorney general that will enforce the federal laws and will make those states that operate contrary to those laws penalized as we did with civil rights legislation and other things because states are doing to laborers what they have done to minorities and others in this country. . . . We cannot keep delegating – we cannot keep delegating the core of this party like we are some stepchildren – labor here, minorities here. We are the family of this party. This party has to stand up for the family, otherwise it becomes dysfunctional and we keep getting beat by those who are hateful and spiteful and trying to turn back the clock on all of us.
Can’t forget to inject the race issue.
Graham: This is the president who repeatedly used misleading information to make the case for war in Iraq. … we have a Pinocchio president.
Graham: Are we really surprised that the man who as president of the Texas Rangers traded Sammy Sosa is having such trouble running our national economy?
Har, har, har. This was Sen. Graham’s closing line, by the way.
Dean: And this time the person who gets the most votes is going to win the White House.
They just can’t let it go.
Lieberman: Well, talking about 2000, let me thank all of you in the AFL/CIO for the tremendous support that America’s working families gave Al Gore and me in 2000. Without your support, we actually might have lost that election.
Again with the 2000 election complaints.
Lieberman: We’d never allow presidents of the United States to be elected the way the National Labor Relations Board conducts labor-organizing elections. Maybe because George Bush won an unfair election, that’s why he continues to tolerate the abuse and harassment that I’ve heard from workers all over America.
In case anyone missed it – Democrats believe Bush was not really elected in 2000.
Lieberman: Do you want to go backward to old ideas, weakness and pessimism? Or go forward with new ideas, strength and optimism?
Who is going backward? Old ideas: universal health care, Great Society, big government. Weakness: Democrats are not the ones viewed as being pro-Defense. Pessimism: Is there anyone more negative than the current crop of Democrat candidates?
Gephardt: This president has declared war on the middle class, on labor unions, on working families. . . . And he has declared war on the American people. I will beat him. I can’t wait to get into debates with him. I will show him for what he is, declaring a war on the people.
He found a line he likes.
Kerry: I cannot wait to stand up and remind him that having a skilled Navy pilot land you on an aircraft carrier in a borrowed suit does not make up for losing 3 million jobs.
They will attack our President on anything. Democrats really hate Bush, don’t they?