Business’s Live Blog Of NPR Democratic Debate (December 4, 2007)

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[Re-published from We will update this post on Donklephant periodically, but for the latest check out the live blog at]

We’ll be live blogging the event.

2:07: Only 3 topics will be discussed during the debate: (1) Iran and the lessons of Iraq, (2) relations with China and how they affect us here and (3) immigration. The participating candidates are Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, John Edwards,

2:10: First question, do the candidates agree that Iran still presents a threat? Clinton disagrees with Bush’s assessment that a policy change is not required. She stresses more diplomacy. Mike Gravel doesn’t think Iran is a threat. Obama thinks Iran is still a threat. He expresses concern over the fact that the Bush administration has a tendency to ignore facts that could get in the way of ideology. Dodd thinks their needs to be more international support, reminds everyone that we need a more multilateral approach and Iraq hurts our ability to do that. Biden says that we cannot trust President Bush, criticizes some of his policies. Biden states that Iran is not a nuclear threat and says that Iran must be dealt with directly. Edwards points out the vote in the Senate to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Kucinich reminds everyone that he’s been right about WMD in Iraq and now Iran for the longest time.

2:16: Hillary is questioned regarding her vote to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. She cites their support for Hamas and Hezbollah and then cites Obama as a corresponding source. Hillary maintains that Obama is just as militant towards Iran as she has always been. Edwards “strongly disagrees” with Hillary regarding her vote, but fails to be able to defend his remarks against Iran while discussing Israel. Obama responds to Hillary to more clearly define his position – he insists that IF Iran had WMD’s he would strike but that it was only a hypothetical case.

2:20: Kucinich clarifies… Hillary, Edwards and Obama sanction the President’s militant rhetoric by insisting all options are on the table. Dodd points out that he and Biden voted against that Senate resolution. Hillary defends her vote saying that the resolution did not, in any way, license the President to go to war – she says that the resolution only provides sticks. Edwards insists that Hillary “agrees with George Bush” and Hillary calls it an “outlandish political attack.” She insists that her vote has further pressured the Iranians with positive results. Gravel insists there is no evidence – Gravel refers to Hamas and Hezbollah as elected organizations and cites that Iran has a right to support any political group, just as the United States can support Israel. Biden chimes in, as the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee – Biden says everyone misunderstands – the declaration of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization undermines America – in both foreign policy and oil prices. Obama piles on. Edwards wants to clarify to the listeners that only ONE democratic candidate voted for the aforementioned resolution. Edwards then proposes a return to stick-and-carrot diplomacy. Hillary responds that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is directed by the Ayatollah – and that diplomacy requires economic sanctions provided in the resolution she voted for. Hillary insists “none of us is advocating a rush to war.”

2:29: Question – why are Americans disliked so much? Biden contends it’s because we are trust so little. Argues that our foreign policy makes it seem as though we’re engaging in a war on Islam.

2:31: Edwards is asked how to reconcile our support for Israel with the concerns of the international Muslim community. Edwards gives an odd answer about education. Obama criticizes the rhetoric of many GOP candidates. Says that it gives the impression that we are not willing to engage in diplomacy. Specifies by saying that we need to close Guantanamo and take other measures to appeal to the people within those regions. Kucinich cites the Iraq war.

2:35: This is truly a good debate. It’s a shame more aren’t like this.

2:38: Time for a break. Next topic is China.

2:40: Question – Given China’s size, who has more leverage China or the United States? Edwards initially dodges the question. When pressed says that they are strong, but we are stronger and need to engage China more. Obama notes that China has more leverage in areas that we do not engage in. Kucinich pulls the ‘I told you so’ card again by referencing his vote against trade benefits for China out of concern for its impact on the manufacturing base in America. Clinton says we have more leverage, but it doesn’t count because a) we’re not using it and b) we’ve handicapped ourselves through fiscal irresponsibility and bad foreign policy.

2:46: Question – Would you restrict trade with China? Biden would not restrict trade through tariffs. Justifies this by saying that we are over emphasizing the significance of China.

[Continued at]