Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dartmouth hosts Democrat Candidates debate

On Wednesday, September 26, 2007, the eight Democratic presidential candidates had another debate, this time at Dartmouth College in Hanover New Hampshire. The debate, moderated by NBC’s Tim Russert, was broadcast on MSNBC at 9 PM EDT. Outdoors, even that far north, foliage looked pretty green on campus before the debate.

Although starting with Iraq, where leading candidates could not promise a specific timetable for withdrawal, the debates quickly ventured into many areas. At one point the candidates were asked about lowering the drinking age to 18 out of fairness, and a few of the candidates (not Clinton, Edwards or Obama) favored doing so. One wanted to lower the voting age to 16. On energy, the idea of a $3 per gallon gasoline tax was tossed, and the idea of a more neutral carbon footprint tax was advanced. One candidate wanted to invest heavily in windmills, as on Don Quixote. Mr. Gravel admitted to a real estate bankruptcy in his past, but said the same has happened to Donald Trump.

On gay rights, the candidates were asked about presentation of gay-friendly material, such as stories of same-sex couples, in the public schools. Edwards said that, while he did not support gay marriage, he favored his own children being exposed to all points of view so they could make up their own minds as adults. Other candidates expressed the view that the next generation would want to allow same-sex marriage and would soon want to do away with “don’t ask don’t tell.”

Candidates mentioned that the solvency expiration date for social security is now 2041 because of Bush's deficits, when it should have been 2055. There was support for taxing all of the wage base rather than capping at $97000. In health care, Hillary mentioned that her plan is different from 1993 in that everyone must purchase coverage somehow (either through employer or individually, with help as necessary).

There was a question about whether torture should ever be used in questioning Al Qaeda suspects, followed by looking the other way and a presidential pardon. It was said that Bill Clinton had himself made such a proposal.

Candidates were asked about favorite Bible verses. The Golden Rule and the Beatitutdes were mentioned, and empathy was mentioned as a primary moral virtue.

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