Congress discusses Clintons speech

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 24, 2007

You went to a dinner in Birmingham to hear former President Bill Clinton present a speech. What exactly was the dinner&8217;s purpose?

This is an annual celebration, its called a Jefferson Jackson Celebration. It is a fund-raiser for the Democratic Party.

What were some of the topics that Clinton spoke about?

Email newsletter signup

His main focus was on being the party of solutions. He talked a lot about being part of solutions, and he said that America has a lot of problems and crisis, and we need to be the party that provides answers. He talked surprisingly very little about Iraq. He talked a lot about the economy and about healthcare. He talked a lot about domestic problems. He did a lot of statistical analysis talking about healthcare. He spoke about an hour or so and was really good.

Specifically what were some of the items he focused on looking at the economy?

He talked about the deficit. He talked about the fact that there was a mandate at the polls in November, showing that people were tired of the deficit going higher and higher. He talked about the money that we have spent just in Iraq. We could have spent one tenth of that and given every citizen affordable healthcare or free healthcare. He talked about how that would boost the economy. He spoke about how we could put people back to work and stop outsourcing jobs to other countries to keep those jobs at home. He said this would stimulate the economy as people spent that money, which would boost it. Then instead of the deficit going up, he said we need to find a way to get it back down and go back to a surplus and end this war in Iraq.

Did you agree with what Clinton talked about?

Yes, I agreed with him whole-heartedly. Healthcare is a major factor. When I go to the pharmacy my co-pay is almost the price of my medicine. You have people with n insurance that cannot afford to pay for their medicine, or they must only get a portion of it.

Who benefits from this fund-raiser?

The Democratic Party. It is for money for the upcoming election on 2008. They raised a record amount of money, $350,000, and they had a record turnout, 2,000 people. The Democratic Party in Alabama needs the money. I think they have never matched a Republican fund-raiser in Alabama so this was a plus. Joe Turner has really done a good job as the Democratic Party leader in Alabama.

Did Clinton mention the upcoming presidential elections?

He made a statement along the lines of, he had a great preference in the presidential outcome. One thing I got to tell him briefly when he was walking down from the podium when we shook hands is that we are not going to abandon the Clinton ship just because (Barack) Obama is running for president. A lot of people in the African American community of this country are not going to vote for Obama just because he is black. I think he is smart but I don&8217;t think he has the experience to be the president of the United States. We are not going to abandon the Clinton ship just because he is black.

Do you think there will be some that support Obama purely because he is a legitimate black candidate?

I think there will be some that will do it because they see this as a great opportunity; Obama is a great, viable candidate to run for the office of President. I have the greatest admiration for Barack Obama. I think he is brilliant, a shining star. He will move up the ranks of the Democratic Party, but I think Hillary Clinton has the experience being the first lady of the United States of a two-term president and being a U.S. Senator. She knows about foreign policy, and I think it is important to have a president that knows about foreign policy. You need someone with that dealing with the terrorists and the European Union and all the issues a president will face, and I think she has that. I think that to jump ship on the Clintons by voting for Obama based on his race would be a betrayal of trust. I think the Clintons have sacrificed a lot to somewhat cater to the African American race and to people of color, minorities in general and poor people.

Do you think down the line Obama might be a more viable choice for president?

I am hoping when Hillary gets nominated, and I think she will be, she will do the smart thing and ask Barack Obama to be her vice presidential running mate.

Do you feel he would accept that offer?

If he has the ambitions that I think he does, I would think he would.