Presidential campaign round-up
Kathy Williamson | 1/16/2008, 5 p.m.
The Las Vegas Debate
Democrats held a debate in Las Vegas Tuesday night and only three of the candidates were invited to the party - Clinton, Edwards and Obama. One of the hot topics was military recruiting on college campuses. Colleges stand to lose government funding if programs are eliminated. None of the candidates disagreed with the programs.
As the debate progressed, Obama went further by saying that he is for a volunteer army but feels that there must be an end to those who serve three, four or more tours.
Edwards agreed and voiced a concern about those returning from the war with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He also addressed the problems that veterans have in facing homelessness, mental and physical health needs and job training.
When the subject of immigration came up, Edwards said, "We need comprehensive immigration reform, a path to citizenship. I am not for amnesty." He said that if you come here illegally, you should have to pay a fine. "You should learn to speak English and we should help with that process. It should be a requirement to be an American citizen."
Clinton was asked about one of her campaign worker's statement that Hispanics don't vote for blacks. She responded, "The agenda for America is an agenda for blacks and browns."
Obama was asked if he believed the statement. He said, "Not in Illinois. They all voted for me!" He further quipped, "Latinos know that they will have an advocate... I have consistently stepped up."
A question from the organization, 100 Black Men, asked about the high drop out rate of black male students. Obama responded that the reason is similar to why Latinos have high drop out rates - children start school behind. "Every dollar that we spend in childhood education, we get back 10 times... We need after school and summer school programs because poor and minority youth don't have what they need."
Clinton said, "This is a black and brown debate... We need more involvement from the community."
Edwards offered, "We need universal pre-care for every child in America. We have high schools that are drop out factories. We need second chance schools."
A panelist then asked the candidates to respond to reports that Nevada leads the nation in gun deaths and that gun deaths were the leading cause of death among young black men.
Clinton said, "I am against illegal guns... I understand that the political winds are very powerful against getting guns off of the street and out of the hands of young people.... We need to have a registry that really works... crack down on illegal gun dealers and enforce the laws on the books.... I believe in the 2nd amendment." She stated that she will not back off from a national registry plan.
Edwards said "I am against it... growing up in the rural South everyone had guns and hunted." But, he admitted, "I don't believe that you need an AK47 to hunt...."
Obama said that he would like to see some common sense enforcement.