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FOX News Republican presidential debate from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, January 10, 2008 - Ronald Reagan Edition
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Ron Paul spoke with the press after the Republican and Democrat Facebook and ABC Debate outside of Manchester, New Hampshire
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Clinton, Obama get fiercely personal
Democratic South Carolina debate heats up
MYRTLE BEACH, SC—The smoldering acrimony between the Democratic presidential front-runners flared openly as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama traded charges in a debate Monday about who is dishonest, who is cowardly and who is doing the bidding of reviled special interests.
The debate was the most fiercely personal of the election season as the candidates showed the strains of a long and bitter campaign. At one point, Obama and Clinton raised their voices over each other to be heard. Each even attacked the other's biography.
Obama dismissed Clinton for working as "a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart" during the 1980s while he was a community organizer on the streets of Chicago's South Side.
Clinton countered by blasting Obama for doing legal work he did for Tony Rezko, a developer and campaign donor to Obama since indicted on corruption charges, while she joined her husband in struggling against the Republican-controlled Congress during the 1990s.
Smarting from charges former President Bill Clinton has made that Obama has not been consistent in his opposition to the Iraq war and that Obama had spoken favorably of Republican policies, the Illinois senator accused the New York senator and her husband of misleading the public.
The only polite treatment of the evening was reserved for the members of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, the hosts of the Martin Luther King Day event, who were seated in the front row of the auditorium and to whom the candidates made frequent reference. Some influential African-American leaders are staying out of the fray right now and have refused to endorse a candidate in the days leading up to this weekend's South Carolina primary, where roughly half the Democratic electorate is black.
But, you know, I don't want to go down that route. What I want to really focus on is this issue of national security, because I think you've repeated this a number of times. You are the person best prepared on national security issues on day one, and so if you're running against John McCain, that you can go toe-to-toe.
Keywords: SC, South Carolina, Democratic Debate, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, National Security, Foreign Policy
I fundamentally disagree with that. And I want to tell you why, because I believe that the way we are going to take on somebody like a John McCain on national security is not that we're sort of -- we've been sort of like John McCain, but not completely, you know, we voted for the war, but we had reservations.
I think it's going to be somebody who can serve a strong contrast and say, "We've got to overcome the politics of fear in this country." As commander-in-chief...
As commander-in-chief, all of us would have a responsibility to keep the American people safe. That's our first responsibility. And I would not hesitate to strike against anybody who would do Americans or American interests' harm.
But what I do believe...
BLITZER: All right.
OBAMA: Wait, Wolf, let me finish. I was listening to these folks quite some time.
What I do believe is that we have to describe a new foreign policy that says, for example, I will meet not just with our friends, but with our enemies, because I remember what John F. Kennedy said, that we should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate.
Having that kind of posture is the way I think we effectively debate the Republicans on this issue. Because if we just play into the same fear-mongering that they have been engaged in since 9/11, then we are playing on their battlefield, but, more importantly, we are not doing what's right in order to rebuild our alliances, repair our relationships around the world, and actually make us more safe in the long term.
Barack Obama: One last point I want to make, because I think the media, you know, has really been focused a lot on race as we move down to South Carolina. And I have to say that, as I travel around South Carolina, I am absolutely convinced that white, black, Latino, Asian, people want to move beyond our divisions, and they want to join together...
... in order to create a movement for change in this country.
And, I mean, I'm not entirely faulting the media because, look, race is a factor in our society. There's no doubt that in a race where you've got an African-American, and a woman, and John...
... there's no doubt that that has piqued interest, but I guess what I'm saying is I don't want to sell the American people short.
Keywords: SC, South Carolina, Democratic Debate, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Unity, Division, Change, Together, John Edwards
They are desperate to move beyond the same, old arguments that we've been having and start actually getting something done in this country. And that's what the Democratic Party has been about.
Barack Obama: I have been troubled, and we already had this discussion, so I don't want to go over it again, the degree to which my record is not accurately portrayed. But that's standard practice in some of our political battles.
What I do want to focus on, though, is how important it is, when you talked about taking on the Republicans, how important it is I think to redraw the political map in this country. And the reason I say that is that we have gone through the 2000 election, the 2004 election, both of which were disappointing elections.
But the truth is that we as Democrats have not had a working majority in a very long time. And what I mean by that is a working majority that could push through the kinds of bold initiatives that all of us have proposed. And one of the reasons that I am running for president is because I believe that I can inspire new people to get involved in the process, that I can reach out to independents and, yes, some Republicans who have also lost trust in their government and want to see something new.
When you look at Bush and Cheney and their record, the one good thing they've done for us is they have given their party a very bad name.
Keywords: SC, South Carolina, Democratic Debate, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, politics, Washington
That gives us a unique opportunity in this election, and what we can't do, I think, is just to take the playing field as a given. We want to expand the scope of the electorate so that we can start getting a 60 percent majority, more folks in the House, more folks in the Senate, and I think that's something I can do.
OBAMA: And that's why we've seen record turnout in every election so far. I'm not taking all the credit for it. I think people are voting against George Bush. But I also think that we've inspired people who had not previously voted before, and that's what the Democratic Party has to do.
OBAMA: Well, I don't think Dr. King would endorse any of us. I think what he would call upon the American people to do is to hold us accountable, and this goes to the core differences, I think, in this campaign.
I believe change does not happen from the top down. It happens from the bottom up. Dr. King understood that.
It was those women who were willing to walk instead of ride the bus, union workers who are willing to take on violence and intimidation to get the right to organize. It was women who decided, "I'm as smart as my husband. I'd better get the right to vote."
Keywords: SC, South Carolina, Democratic Debate, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Democrats, change, women, blacks, workers, unions, people
OBAMA: them arguing, mobilizing, agitating, and ultimately forcing elected officials to be accountable, I think that's the key.
So that has been a hallmark of my career, transparency and accountability, getting the American people involved. That's how we're going to bring about change. That's why I want to be president of the United States, to respect the power of the American people to bring about change.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN: I'd like to follow-up with Senator Obama. It was just a few days ago that Senator Clinton asserted that she was the strongest candidate when it comes to fiscal responsibility.
She says that the new programs that she proposes she essentially can pay for. She says that you have failed in that regard in the tune of some $50 billion worth of new programs that you cannot account for.
How do you respond to that charge?
OBAMA: What she said wasn't true. We account for every single dollar that we propose.
Now, this, I think, is one of the things that's happened during the course of this campaign, that there's a set of assertions made by Senator Clinton, as well as her husband, that are not factually accurate.
And I think that part of what the people are looking for right now is somebody who's going to solve problems and not resort to the same typical politics that we've seen in Washington.
That is something that I hear all across the country. So when Senator Clinton says -- or President Clinton says that I wasn't opposed to the war from the start or says it's a fairytale that I opposed the war, that is simply not true.
When Senator Clinton or President Clinton asserts that I said that the Republicans had had better economic policies since 1980, that is not the case.
Now, the viewers aren't concerned with this kind of back-and- forth. What they're concerned about is who's actually going to help the get health care, how are they going to get their kids...
Keywords: SC, South Carolina, Democratic Debate, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Democrats, campaign, lies, attacks, smears, negative, politics, Washington
... going to college, and that's the kind of campaign I've tried to run. I think that's the kind of campaign we should all try to run.
BLITZER: OK. Thank you, Senator. Senator, we're a little off topic. I have to let Senator Obama respond, then Senator Edwards, who's going to come...
OBAMA: We're off topic, but...
BLITZER: But go ahead and respond, and then I want to get back to this issue that we're talking about, fiscal responsibility. But go ahead.
OBAMA: Let's talk about it.
Hillary, I will be happy to provide you with the information about all -- all the spending that we do. Now, let's talk about Ronald Reagan. What you just repeated here today is...
OBAMA: Wait. No. Hillary, you just spoke.
CLINTON: I did not say anything about Ronald Reagan.
OBAMA: You just spoke for two minutes.
CLINTON: You said two things.
OBAMA: You just...
CLINTON: You talked about admiring Ronald Reagan and you talked about the ideas...
OBAMA: Hillary, I'm sorry. You just...
CLINTON: I didn't talk about Reagan.
OBAMA: Hillary, we just had the tape. You just said that I complimented the Republican ideas. That is not true.
What I said -- and I will provide you with a quote -- what I said was is that Ronald Reagan was a transformative political figure because he was able to get Democrats to vote against their economic interests to form a majority to push through their agenda, an agenda that I objected to. Because while I was working on those streets watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart.
OBAMA: I was fighting these fights. I was fighting these fights. So -- but I want to be clear.
So I want to be clear. What I said had nothing to do with their policies. I spent a lifetime fighting a lifetime against Ronald Reagan's policies. But what I did say is that we have to be thinking in the same transformative way about our Democratic agenda.
We've got to appeal to Independents and Republicans in order to build a working majority to move an agenda forward. That is what I said.
OBAMA: Now, you can dispute that, but let me finish.
Hillary, you went on for two minutes. Let me finish.
Keywords: SC, South Carolina, Democratic Debate, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, book, Tom Brokaw, praises, Ronald Reagan, Republicans
The irony of this is that you provided much more fulsome praise of Ronald Reagan in a book by Tom Brokaw that's being published right now, as did -- as did Bill Clinton in the past. So these are the kinds of political games that we are accustomed to.
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James Kotecki pre-game tonight’s Republican debate from the stage at the Reagan Library. The facilities here are AWESOME. And the location is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
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