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2 Views: Democratic primary- Kunin on Clinton, Bevans on Obama

02/27/08 5:55PM By Madeleine M. Kunin
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(HOST) Why are Vermonters getting behind different presidential candidates? Today and tomorrow we explore the reasons in several essays. This afternoon, we hear Two Views of the Democratic primary race. First is Madeleine Kunin, the former governor, on why her personal observations lead her to back Hillary Clinton.

(KUNIN) The good news for the country is that this year we have the most exciting Presidential primary contest that anyone can remember. Voters, and especially young voters, are turning out in record numbers.

The hard part for Vermont Democrats in the March 4 primary is that they face a choice between two history making qualified candidates for the nomination, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Let me tell you why my choice is Hillary Clinton.

The difference between the two candidates has been boiled down to two words, change and experience. The reality is more complex, for Vermonters as well as the rest of the country. Both candidates represent change - change from the last eight years of the Bush administration, and change from the last 219 years of white male Presidents.

For some, the litmus test has been Hillary’s vote on the Iraq war. I spoke out against the war and disagreed with her vote. I have moved beyond 2002 because I know that either Hillary or Barack will take the same course of action if they are in the oval office in 2009 - to get us out of Iraq as soon as possible.

Both candidates has had valuable experience as youthful activists, she with the children’s Defense Fund and Legal Aid, he as a community organizer. I believe her experience in the following years is both deeper and broader. In six years as a U.S. Senator, she has proved her ability to build coalitions and work across party lines, something Obama supports and Clinton has achieved.

My enthusiastic support is based on knowing her as a person. She stood out from other Governor’s wives when I was governor because she was deeply engaged in education reform in Arkansas. As Deputy Secretary of Education in the Clinton administration I was recruited to help explain and sell her health plan. Yes it was defeated, but I give her great credit for taking on the fight for health care for everyone.

Later she wrote "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child," returning to the roots of her political activism. I saw her swing into action in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. The State Department didn’t want her to attend because of concerns over human rights in China. She went anyway.

The message she delivered to the thousands of women from all over the world was mesmerizing. We heard her voice booming from the loudspeakers, as the cold rain pelted down on us and the mud rose up over our shoes.

"Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights," she declared. The women cheered in a universal language.

When I was ambassador to Switzerland in 1998 she gave such a brilliant speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the director was prompted to ask her, "When are you going to run for President?"

I think I know the real Hillary Clinton, not the caricatured cardboard figure she has been made to appear. I know her as funny, warm and caring, as an incredibly smart, committed woman, who has the courage to stand up for her beliefs and to break the toughest ceiling of all for women, - the Presidency.

(HOST) Madeleine Kunin on her support of Hillary Clinton. And now, Judy Bevans the vice chair of the democratic party and a super-delegate with a different view, one that favors Barack Obama's style of leadership.

(BEVANS) Every election is an exercise in hope. I am always hopeful that there will be a candidate who speaks for me, addresses the issues I think are important and speaks in a way that I can understand what drives them, what their values are, and why he or she wants to be our next president.

And so I look and I listen very carefully during primary time and this year, the one candidate who speaks for me and addresses what I consider to be important issues is Senator Barak Obama. Like Senator Obama, I was very much against going to war in Iraq. As does Obama, I believe in communication that goes beyond talking only to our allies, and that diplomatic efforts need to be used instead of war.

Usually in elections, candidates will tell you what they're going to do if they're elected. Senator Obama tells us what WE will do together to change things. That sentiment will be familiar to Vermonters. We have a tradition of working together to solve problems and find the right direction for change.

And change is the right word.

Change is what I need, and I think it's what the country needs.

Change to return to respect for our constitution and the separation of powers.

Change to restore the credibility of our regulatory agencies by replacing current appointees with qualified and respected professionals.

Redirecting our national budget priorities to those matters government should take responsibility for: caring for our returning verterans, providing quality education for our children, and solving our health care crisis.

Obama's words are more than inspirational to me. They are powerful and visionary. He casts a vision for the future of hoope to replace fear. And in that vision he reaches across the lines that divide us. He is my choice for President because he restores faith in ourselves and he calls for us to take action with him. He reconnects us with our government,

I believe that no one person can handle our nation's problems, But with his leadership we can handle them together and restore our nation to its rightful place of respect..

After a steady diet of fear for the last eight years Obama asks us to be resolute, not fearful. Barak Obama has begun to face these issues because he has already begun to lead.



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