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August 4, 2007

Liveblogging Hillary Breakout Session

-- by Dave Johnson

I am at the Hillary breakout session, which is occurring before the general session with all the candidates. The rest of the candidates will have their breakout session s following the general session.

This is a medium-sized room - the same room where I just completed my Smoking Politics panel. There are more people here now.

Peter Daou and Hillary have come out now. Peter says when Senator found out about the scheduling mixup she immediately told her staff to find a way that she could do a session with the attendees.

Senator will make opening remarks. You want to meet her, but she wants to eet you so when you have a question please tell us a little about yourself.

Hillary now: Thank you for understanding about working out the time. Thank Peter for terrific job he does.

Her microphone went out, she says "vast right-wing consipiracy"

Thank you for helping us create a new progressive movement in America. Thank you for helping me stand up against the rw noise machine, and giving support to the progressive agenda of the Dem party. I only wish we had this active a blogosphere 15 years ago. We have suffered from the imbalance in the country. Now we are better prepared and more focused on getting our ideas out. Progressive infrastructure. We are beginning to match what I have said for years was the advantage of the other side. When I made that comment about the vast rw conspiracy I wasn't kidding - except it was right out there in the open.

I really appreciate the individual and collective effor tbeing the front line of the progressive movement.

Second thing - it makes those of us who run for office a little sharper, more on our toes.

Hillary still: I read blogs and it helps me make my arguments.

...What you help to do is make a space where in that 24/7 world we can be heard. Having people who understand our overall goals, share an understanding of where we are trying to take our country... I think about what if we had the blogosphere in 92 or 94 when we were working on health case. We made our own mistakes but constantly hammered when we were trying to bring health care...

Bill O'reilly was trying to intimidate people into not coming to Chicago (YearlyKos). I was very proud of my campaign standing up and calling Bill O'Reilly out. For Bill O'Reilly accusing people of going over the line...

With that let me throw it open. Please introduce yourselves, where you are from, a little about you.

(Missed name) with National Ed. Assn. No Child Left Behind is a top priority for us. What will you do with the growing public backlash about NCLB.

H: Education got one Q in the CNN debate and doesn't get the emphasis it deserves. We have to admit NCLB became n unfunded mandate imposing rules and mandates without the promised resources. Breached the bargain we thought we were entering into. Bush has been incompetent in enforcing NCLB, even parts of the law that made sense have been rendered impotent.

I have been working on education reform since 1983 in Arkansas.

We should be tracking the progress of the individual children - so kids who move, we know where they are, if they are behind we can help, let's figure out how to marry technology to this so we can track, each year how well a child is growing and learning.

Need to track groups, but emphasis should be on individuals.

Lets move toward national accountability standards. Also reading and match are important but so is science, etc. Kids are being deprived of a broad curriculum. Phys ed gone, now obeisity a problem, for example.

We have to get back to a diverse broad curriculum.

Best thing we can do is pre-kindergarten, to close achievement gap for kids with disadvantaged backgrounds.

Pat , scientist from Northwest U - military commissions act - when can we expect that to be rescinded, Guantanamo closed

H: I agree with both those goals. I voted against Military Commissions act. Unconstitutional denial of habeas corpus. We will try to reinstate habeas corpus and reform military tribunals procedures in next few months.

If you can't get 60 votes, you can't get it through the Senate. Big problem right now, need Republican support. We must close Guantanamo. Increase political pressure.When I am President I will close Guantanamo and restore habeas corpus.

Jeralyn from Talkleft: If you are elected President what kinds of wiretapping will you permit, and how will your Atty Gen. be different from Gonzales.

H: It would be a breath of fresh air to have an Atty Gen who actually believed in the rule of law. It has been a mystery why Pres doesn't pick qualified attys as judges, instead goes with cronies and movement conservatives. We have a dangerous extremism in this country, turned away from sep of powers, checks and balances. White House has contempt for rule of law.

Talked bout wiretapping, we need to be able to track people threatening the country, but warrants, law, etc.

Two more Qs
Will you repeal Dont Ask Don't Tell. Defense of Marriage Act, Telecommunications Act, NAFTA and Welfare Reform

H I am on record against Don't Ask since 1999. Not implemented appropriately. Cost to military readiness from purging military of these people, linguists, etc. I will lead effort to repeal it.

Don't have to be straight to shoot straight.

DOMA served a purpose. Strategy, gave us a bright line to be able to hold back the votes that were building up to amend the constitution to enshrine discrimination. I believe marriage should be left to the states, support civil unions. DOMA put responsibility in the states and you are seeing states take action. But part 3 of DOMA should be repealed because it stands in the way of benefits.

Telecommunications act - ask Al Gore, he is the expert, he pushed it through, I like what the FCC is doing by maintaining more competition, need to look at this more closely becaue I am not an expert.

NAFTA is not living up to what we hoped. Problems, we need smarter trade agreements with labor and environmental, and we need an evaluation of the impact of trade agreements. We need an analysis of what has happened as opposed to what was promised.

Welfare reform - positive consequences far outweigh the negative. But the education program was a key part of original legislation and Bush cut it back.

CHIP - health care for kids - we need universal health care so we don't have these battles.

Kim from NJ, researcher, love your hair. Grandaughter of bus driver. I see how good the transit system is in Europe - we're going to be a 3rd world country compared to them, can we update infrastructure of transit system.

H: Timely, bridge collapse was infrastructure failure. I have been advocating long-term funding to begin to repair and maintain and build new infrastructure. We are living off the investments our parents and grandparents made. We're taking advantage of what our parents etc were willing to pay for. Much more on bridges and roads and airports, etc. We have a trillion dollars of unmet needs. We need to focus on physical infrastructure AND we need universal high-speed broadband internet access.

Bush admin doesn't believe in ANY kind of infrastructure investment. Got to do this in a hurry.

Mass transit must become a priority of our country. We cannot continue to have the congestion and lost productivity time. We are losing money, and time. And we are wasting oil, contributing to global warming. Now we have to fight just to keep Amtrack.

Also need incentives to get people to use it.

Let me end with every election is about the future. It is about what kind of change we want for our country. I have been fighting for change my entire life often against pretty tough odds. What is going to matter in this election is how much power and energy we have from citizens across America. We have to join together to election a president. we cannot afford to use. We cannot continue to ignore the constitution, tax cuts for wealthiest, war that we can't pay for. I am optimistic but appropriately realistic about the challenges we face. Univ Health Care, fight global warming, energy agenda, ending the cronyism, appoint people who are qualified for positions they hold, can't do any of that without your help. I love a vigorous debate and exchange of ideas. That is what the primary is for and certainly what the blogosphere is for. It can play a major role in electing me president. I appreciate everything you're doing - well not everything. Let us have your ideas. We have to learn how to break down the barriers in reaching out to people who may not agree with us.

We have to reach out to people who never read a blog, may not agree with us but who know in their core that we need a new direction.

Posted by Dave Johnson at August 4, 2007 10:05 AM

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