I know I said I would finish my thoughts on Thursday night’s debate yesterday but, as usual, life gets in the way.
Another big topic, but not one with any surprises in it, was immigration. Clinton strongly reiterated that there needs to be a pathway to to legalization for those in our country illegally. She also said that more compassion needed to be used when raiding business locations as we are not a country that just throws people out leaving children to come home and find Mom and/or Dad sent away to another country. She would work on legislation for comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship, within the first 100 days in office.
Obama basically reiterated the same point of view. He added that the country as a whole needs to tone down the rhetoric on this topic. We need stronger border security and need to fix the legal immigration system so people are not waiting too long to get into our country and they do not attempt to enter illegally.
On the topic of a border fence, something both voted for in 2006, both say they believe this physical border needs to be revisited. Clinton called the Bush plan counterproductive as it splits land, including the University of Texas in Brownsville. She believes that the federal government needs to listen to those who live along the border. Some of the border can be protected through more technology and more personnel instead of a physical barrier.
Obama agreed that local communities needed to be consulted about a physical border fence. The Bush administration has not been good at listening. There needs to be a process to deal with this problem that is well publicized and done in conjunction with comprehensive reform. He also took this time to insert that he feels those who are here illegally, but were brought into the country as young children when they had no real say in the matter, need to be eligible for aid for higher education.
Both were then asked, in light of the increasing number of Hispanics living in the United States, what the downside is to becoming a bilingual nation. Clinton responded that it is important to be bilingual but that English should be the common, unifying language of our country. English is an important part of the American experience.
Obama says that everyone needs to learn English as it is what binds us together as a country. He took this opportunity to point out that we need to get rid of No Child Left Behind and its focus on standardized tests so as to help support the education of those who are native English speakers.
Both were asked to comment on truthfulness and giving others credit for quotes. Neither admitted to doing anything wrong and both took this opportunity to hit on their basics from stump speeches. Clinton discussed the talk versus action theme and that actions speak louder than words. Obama took the opportunity to discuss inspiring the people to get involved in their government – a topic similar to required volunteerism which is not something I think will fly in the US. He discussed a $4000 credit towards higher education in exchange for nationnal service but I am not sure the US has the money for this or the capacity to track and administer it.
When questioned about their non-support of the surge in Iraq which seems, by all accounts to be working, both tried to take the limelight away from the military success and put it on the lack of success in the Iraqi government stepping up to the plate.
We have all seen, unless we live under rocks, the ending of the debate so I will not go into it again.