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Archive for August, 2007

Question: What will you do about youth violence?

Edwards: After saying parents can turn of their children’s TVs and monitor the video games they play with, he said one thing we can do, and which he will do if elected president, is to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

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Questioner #1, an audience member: If you’re elected, and I hope you are, where will you find the strength to stand against the stranglehold of the military industrial complex has held on our country for forty years?

Edwards: Well first of all, I don’t think it’s hard to stand for what’s right. I don’t think it takes courage to stand for what’s right and I think there are multiple places that, we can do real work on this pentagon budget. I’ll just talk about a couple of them. I’ll start with the most drastic, I have to believe that as President of the United States I have a responsibility to lead an international effort to rid the planet of nuclear weapons. [Lots of clapping and cheering]. And there are a lot of reasons for that, but the most obvious being we are no longer in the world of America and the Soviet Union. Today we have countries, Pakistan is the example I usually use, Pakistan: unstable leader, that clearly, or serious radical element in Pakistan which could take over the government at any time. There in constant dispute with India over Kashmir, it would be an extraordinarily dangerous situation, if a new government, controlled by radicals actually took over Pakistan and had a nuclear weapon. We see Iran trying to get nuclear weapons. I think America should be leading the way, the President of the United States should be leading the way, to make the world a safer place by eliminating nuclear weapons over time.

I think we can get rid of some of these offensive space based weapons systems, missile defense, which has never been proven to work; a little more wonky, but the F22 fighter jets system, which we’ve wasted a lot of money is another place money can be saved. (a gentleman in the crowd)

Questioner #2 on handshaking line: I just want to clarify: you’re absolutely against nuclear weapons. You want to abolish all nuclear weapons.

Edwards: I want to rid the planet of nuclear weapons.

Questioner #2: what are your first three steps as president?

Edwards: The first: end the program that going on now with the Bush administration to develop new nuclear weapons: I’ll stop that unilaterally. The second is I will convene the leaders of the world, perhaps at the United Nations, depending on what the best forum is to do that, and say ‘I, as President of the United States, want to lead the effort to get nuclear weapons off the planet. I want you to join me’ and start working with them because we can’t do it alone.”

He did not get to number three, his attention was diverted.

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Question: “I’m appreciative your stands on many issues. There is one that is still very troubling to me. With regard to Iran, you and several other candidates have made the statement that ‘all options are on the table.’ I hear that statement as a threat that would include a preemptive strike and or worse, a nuclear strike. For me, I see a nuclear strike as a form of genocide. Why do we have to leave the threat of nuclear genocide as an option on the table in our disagreements with Iran? Why does nuclear genocide have to be an option?”

Edwards: In short, he said some good things but never answered the question. He talked about dealing with Iran in a different way, economic carrots and sticks, etc. Then he moved to his stand on nuclear weapons in general and of wanting to move toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.

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Question: what will you do as President about the bloated US defense?

Answer: The first thing I would do is eliminate the billions for nuclear weapons. But beyond that, I want to be the President who has the United States the initiative in eliminating all nuclear weapons from the world.”

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Question: Do you support nuclear abolition?

Paul: responded with a question of his own: “How many nuclear weapons do we have now?”

Questioner: “Around 10,000 warheads.”

Paul: 10,000? How many times can you destroy the world with that?”

Questioner then reports: In the following conversation, Ron Paul told me that we had “way too many”, and that he would build no more weapons, that he’d take the first strike option off of the table, and that he would talk to generals and other military experts first, “but several hundred ought to do.”

Questioner asked Doctor Paul what happened to the “Peace Dividend”, and what he’d do to fight wasteful Pentagon spending, and to end Cold War programs. He said, “Change foreign policy.” He added that, “The Military Industrial Complex is a problem,” and explained that they effectively forced us to keep spending on the weapon programs. He explained that we have created a powder keg in the Middle East, and that we need to end the Iraq War.

Earlier in the evening, he admitted that he might not be able to stop people from killing each other, but that he could stop them from killing Americans. When also asked about how he was planning on getting congress to support efforts to reduce the national deficit, he started by explaining that as the Commander and Chief, he could remove soldiers from and immediately start saving billions of dollars.

In explaining the problems in the Middle East, he included a reference to the recent 50 billion dollars in loans and grants given to a Middle Eastern country, and asked if it were necessary. He explained that the cost of the weapons means “big bucks to the Military Industrial Complex.” He told me that there is no peace dividend, because the war on terror was scaled up by the Military Industrial Complex, and explained that for the Military Industrial Complex to keep working, “There’s always got to be an enemy.”

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On August 23, 2007, Hillary Clinton visited Main Street Bookends in Warner, New Hampshire.

Questioner #1 on hand-shaking line: Please take the nuclear option off the table with Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea.

Clinton: “yes, yes, yes” as her attention was shifting away.

Questioner #2 on hand-shaking line: When will be nephew be coming home from Iraq?

Clinton: “When we can get him.” (

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Question: “At the Des Moines debate last week, you spoke about the need to work for nuclear abolition. I applaud you for that. But you’ve also said that no president should have his hands tied in options in dealing with other countries. However, I want to challenge you and the other candidates on this: why can’t you renounce the nuclear option – and take the threat of nuclear genocide of innocent civilians off the table.”

Edwards: “What we really need to do is get all nuclear weapons off the planet.”

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