Monday, March 7, 2016

Hillary News & Views 3.7: Flint Debate Coverage, Analysis, and New Water Program

Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with coverage of yesterday’s debate in Flint, Michigan.

Washington Post has the transcript.

Here are some highlights from Clinton on various topics.

Flint crisis:
We are here in Flint, I'm very grateful that my request that we hold this debate be held here so we can continue to shine a very bright spotlight on what has happened in this city.
I agree, the Governor should resign, or be the efforts of citizens attempting to achieve that. But, that is not enough. We have to focus on what must be done to help the people of Flint.
I support a hundred percent the efforts by your senators and members of congress to get the money from the federal government in order to begin the work that must occur to fix the infrastructure. The state should also be sending money immediately to help this city.
I know the state of Michigan has a rainy day fund for emergencies, what is more important than the health and wellbeing of the people, particularly children? It is raining lead in Flint, and the state is derelict in not coming forward with the money that is required.
And, we'll get to what we need to do to help the children and the people when I have a little more time because that's just as important as fixing the pipes.
All the repair work that is being done -- and Mayor Weaver program that we support to begin to help train people in Flint to be able to do this work to distribute the water. Everything that is done has to be triple checked to regain your trust and to hold those who are responsible for fixing the pipes and delivering the clean water which has you said, you bathe in it and drink it and wash food in it. You do everything with it.
Every one of us should have to run through in our minds how we use water every single day to understand the pressures and the real pain that families are going through. So I will make sure as President that I double and triple check. I will work with elected officials who I trust like your mayor and like your senators and member of Congress so that we can assure you that when it's fixed, you can trust it. You deserve nothing less.
I support what President Obama is doing. He called for and got accountability from the officials at the EPA to make sure the state is doing its job. He expanded Medicaid for helping kids particularly to get the health care they need. He is also ordered that there be a Head Start program. I support that.
When it comes to the water itself, we are supporting a program that Mayor Waver announced through Flint Waterworks to pay people in Flint, not outsiders, but people here to deliver the water while we are fixing the pipes. I would do even more of that. As president, what we were able to put together was a beginning. As president, I would concentrate resources on the city for economic development for more jobs as we fix the water and provide the health and education, interventions that children need.
So I would have a full investigation, determine who knew what, when. And yes, people should be fired. How far up it went, I don't know. But as far as it goes, they should be relieved, because they failed this city.
But let me just add this, Anderson. This is not the only place where this kind of action is needed. We have a lot of communities right now in our country where the level of toxins in the water, including lead, are way above what anybody should tolerate.
We have a higher rate of tested lead in people in Cleveland than in Flint. So I'm not satisfied with just doing everything we must do for Flint. I want to tackle this problem across the board. And if people know about it and they're not acting, and they're in the government at any level, they should be forced to resign.

On outsourcing and keeping jobs in America:
Let me talk about the carrots. We're going to have a very clear set of proposals and incentives for manufacturing so that we change the way that companies think about making investments again in America. I have a comprehensive manufacturing plan that I will be implementing.
We're also going to invest more on infrastructure as we both have said, "it's woefully under resourced." That will put a lot of people to work. I want to do more to help small businesses, they are the source of two thirds of our jobs and we have to help them start and grow, particularly minority and women-owned small businesses.
We need to do more to help create clean energy as a source of good jobs but I am also going to go after companies. You know, when a company decides to leave like Nabisco is leaving and they have gotten tax benefits from Chicago and Illinois to stay there, I will claw back the benefits. They will have to pay them back if they are leaving a place that actually invested in them.
I am also going to go after companies like Johnson Controls in Wisconsin. They came and got part of the bailout because they were an auto parts supplier and now they want to move headquarters to Europe. They are going to have to pay an exit fee. We are going to stop this kind of job exporting and we are going to start importing and growing jobs again in our country.
On trade agreements, including Sanders’ blatant lie that Clinton voted for all of them while in the Senate, and the Wall Street bailout:
To set the record straight, I voted against the only multinational trade agreement that came before me when I was in the Senate. It was called CAFTA. I came out against the TPP after it was finished. I thought it was reasonable to actually know what was in it before I opposed it. I oppose it.
Now let me get back to what happened in January of 2009. The Bush administration negotiated the deal. Were there things in it that I didn't like? Would I have done it differently? Absolutely.
But was the auto bailout money in it -- the $350 billion that was needed to begin the restructuring of the auto industry? Yes, it was. So when I talk about Senator Sanders being a one-issue candidate, I mean very clearly -- you have to make hard choices when you're in positions of responsibility. The two senators from Michigan stood on the floor and said, "we have to get this money released." I went with them, and I went with Barack Obama. You did not. If everybody had voted the way he did, I believe the auto industry would have collapsed, taking four million jobs with it.
Well, all I can say is that given the terrible pressures that the auto industry was under and that the middle class of this state and Ohio and Indiana and Illinois and Wisconsin and Missouri and other places in the Midwest were facing, I think it was the right decision to heed what President-elect Obama asked us to do.
He sent a letter, an authorized letter, asking us to support that to save the auto industry. Yes, were there things in it that you and I would not have necessarily wanted? That's true. But when it came down to it, you were either for saving the auto industry or you were against it. I voted to save the auto industry. And I am very glad that I did.
Well, let's have some facts instead of some rhetoric for a change. I went to Wall Street when I was a United States senator. I told them they were wrecking the economy. I asked for a moratorium on foreclosures. I asked that we do more to try to prevent what I worried was going to happen. I also called for closing loopholes including the carried interest loophole. I also called for changes in CEO pay. I have a record. And you know what, if you were going to be in some way distrusted or dismissed about whether you can take on Wall Street if you ever took money, President Obama took more money from Wall Street in the 2008 campaign than anybody ever had.
And when it came time to stand up to Wall Street, he passed and signed the toughest regulation since the Great Depression with the Dodd-Frank regulations.
I have said repeatedly no bank is too big to fail, no executive too powerful to jail. And I have said that I would use the tools in the Dodd-Frank regulations, that if any bank posed a systemic risk to the economy, they would be broken up.
Because we now have tools, laws that we didn't have before. And I am very happy we did. Because there does need to be accountability, including criminal accountability if it is called for.
The Export-Import Bank and the 1990’s:
You know, if we're going to argue about the 1990's instead of talking about the future, which I'd much prefer because I think every election is about the future, and you all deserve to know what we will do to help you have a brighter future -- but, if we are going to talk about the 1990's I think it's only fair to say that at the end of the 1990's, after two terms of my husband's presidency, the unemployment rate in Michigan was 4.4 percent.
There had been a net increase of 54,000 manufacturing jobs. There had been a net increase of 653,000 jobs overall.
And, one of the ways jobs were brought to, and grown here in Michigan was through something called the Export-Import Bank which helped a lot of businesses, particularly small businesses, be able to export around the world.
Senator Sanders opposes that. I think we're in a race for exports. I think China, Germany, everybody else supports their businesses. Here in Michigan there's been $11 billion dollars in recent years used to support exports, primarily from small businesses.
I favor that, he's opposed it. I want to do everything I can for us to compete and win in the global economy, and that's what I will do as president.
When I traveled around the world on you behalf as Secretary of State and went to 112 countries, one thing I saw everywhere was how European and Asian countries were supporting their companies back in their countries, to be able to make sales and contracts in a lot of the rest of the world. In fact, without the export-import bank, supporting businesses of all sizes -- I believe more jobs would be lost here at home and more jobs literally would be exported. Instead of exporting products, we would be exporting jobs.
I just believe that Senator Sanders took that lonely position because most of us who saw the results -- I saw it as a senator from New York. Your Senators saw it here in Michigan. They can give you the names of 240 companies in Michigan that have been helped.
There is a company in Levonia being helped, there are companies all over this state. I know, if we are going to compete and win in the global economy, we can't let every other country support their companies and we take a hands off approach. I will not agree with that.
I did go in many places around the world to sell American products because the alternatives were usually European, Asian, primarily Chinese products. That to me was an unacceptable concession. So yes, Boeing and other big companies get support just like their competitors do from the companies that they are from in the countries that provide the support.
1994 Crime Bill, which she didn't vote for but still apologized for. Sanders voted for it. Still no apology:
Senator Sanders voted for that bill, we both supported it. And, I think it's fair to say we did because back then there was an outcry over the rising crime rate, and people from all communities were asking that action be taken.
Now, my husband said at the NAACP last summer that it solved some problems, but it created other problems, and I agree. And, one of those problems was, unfortunately, a move to expand the reasons why people would be incarcerated, not just at the federal level which is what this bill about, but in states and localities as well. And, that's why the very first speech that I gave in this campaign was about criminal justice reform, and ending the era of mass incarceration because I believe absolutely that too many families were broken up, too many communities were adversely affected. So, we've got to do a bunch of things.
On the criminal justice side, look, we've got to have better policing. That means body cameras, that means ending profiling, that means doing everything we can to make sure there's respect between the community and the police.
He said at the NAACP that there were some aspects that worked well. The violence against women provisions have worked well, for example. But, other aspects of it were a mistake and I agree. That's why I'm focused, and have a very comprehensive approach toward fixing the criminal justice system, going after systemic racism that stalks the criminal justice system, ending private prisons, ending the incarceration of low-level offenders, and I am committed to doing that.
Education in Detroit and beyond:
Number one, I would reinstate a program we did have during the 1990's where the federal government provided funding to repair and modernize public schools because a lot of communities can't afford to do that on their own.
Secondly, I would use every legal means at my disposal to try to force the Governor and the state to return the schools to the people of Detroit -- to end the emergency management, which, I believe, if you look at the data, the situation has only gotten worse with these emergency managers that have put the system further in debt.
Number three, I want to set-up inside the Department of Education, for want of a better term, kind of an education SWAT team, if you will. Where we've got qualified people, teachers, principals, maybe folks who are retired, maybe folks who are active, but all of whom are willing to come and help. When Detroit gets back their schools, they should have all the help they can get to be able to get teachers in the classroom, to be able to find spaces while schools are being repaired. And, I also would look at how we could through the federal government support more teachers because we're going to have a teacher shortage in some of the hardest to teach districts…
You know, I am proud to have been endorsed by the AFT and the NEA, and I've had very good relationship with both unions, with their leadership. And we've really candid conversations because we are going to have to take a look at -- what do we need in the 21st century to really involve families, to help kids who have more problems than just academic problems?
A lot of what has happened and honestly it really pains me, a lot of people have blaming and scape-goating teachers because they don't want to put the money into the schools system that deserve the support that comes from the government doing it's job.
You know what - I have told my friends at the top of both unions, we've got take a look at this because it is one of the most common criticisms. We need to eliminate the criticism.
You know, teachers do so much good, they are often working under most difficult circumstances. So anything that could be changed, I want them to look at it. I will be a good partner to make sure that whatever I can do as president, I will do to support the teachers of our country.
Well, there's no doubt, we have an enormous backlog of infrastructure repairs. Here's what I'd do - the congress finally got around to pass the Highway Transportation Bill, which should never have been partisan - it turned into be one partisan argument. I want to go further.
I want to put 250 billion dollars additional, on top of what Congress has done. That gets us to a half a billion. I want to start a National Infrastructure Bank. I want to capitalize it with 25 billion that I believe will leverage 10 times that, that's another 250 billion.
So I'm trying to do this in a way that will gain support and be affordable but there's no doubt, we have to do more on our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our ports, our airports. And as we've talked in the beginning here, under our ground, our water systems, our sewer systems. We have pipelines that are leaking and that are dangerous. We have so much work to be done and if we can put millions of peoples to work, I think my plan is a very good way to begin doing that work and get people out there doing it.
You know, I don't support it when any locality or any state is against it, number one. I don't support it when the release of methane or contamination of water is present. I don't support it -- number three -- unless we can require that anybody who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using.
So by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place. And I think that's the best approach, because right now, there places where fracking is going on that are not sufficiently regulated.
So first, we've got to regulate everything that is currently underway, and we have to have a system in place that prevents further fracking unless conditions like the ones that I just mentioned are met.
Closing statement:
Well, I'm running for president to do my very best to knock down every barrier that stands in the way of America realizing its potential and every American having a chance to live up to his or her God-given potential. We have a lot of work to do. We have economic barriers. That's why I've laid out plans for more good jobs with rising incomes. We have barriers that stand in the way of quality health care. That's why I will build on the Affordable Care Act.
We have barriers to education. That's why I want to start early and provide debt-free tuition, and deal with student debt so it is no longer the burden that weighs down so many young Americans. And I do want to take on the barriers of systemic racism. I may not have experienced them, but I see the results every single day.
So I'm asking for your support in the primary here in Michigan on Tuesday. I'm asking for it, and I will do whatever I can as the Democratic nominee to run a campaign you'll be proud of.
I don't intend to get into the gutter with whoever they nominate, but instead to lift our sights, to set big goals, to make it clear that America's best days can be and are ahead of us.
Some debate coverage and analysis.

The Huffington Post reports:
In one of the more surprising moments of the Democratic presidential debate Sunday night, Bernie Sanders said he opposes the lawsuit that nine Sandy Hook Elementary School parents brought against Remington, the manufacturer of the AR-15 assault rifle that was used to murder their children in 2012.
"What people are saying is that if somebody who is crazy or a criminal or a horrible person goes around shooting people, the manufacturer of that gun should be held liable," the Vermont independent senator said. "If that is the case, your position is that there should not be any guns in America, period."
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed out Sunday that, as a senator, she voted against the bill that gave gunmakers immunity and thought it was a "terrible mistake," while Sanders voted for it. She strongly disagreed with Sanders about the lawsuit against Remington and offered her passionate support for it.
"I want people in this audience to think about what it must feel like to send off your first-grader, a little backpack maybe on his or her back, and then the next thing you hear is that somebody has come to that school using an automatic weapon, an AR-15, and murdered those children," Clinton said. "Now they are trying to prevent that from happening to any other family, and the best way to do that is to go after the people ... you know, we talk about corporate greed, the gun manufacturers sell guns to make as much money as they can make."
Clinton added that the National Rifle Association lobbied for the immunity bill to be passed. "They basically went to the Congress, and they said, 'Give us absolute immunity,'" Clinton said. "No other industry in America has absolute immunity, and they cause harm all the time." 
Detroit Free Press reports:
Here's the nub of the fight over Clinton's support and Sanders' opposition to the auto bailout.
The $82 billion that helped finance the bankruptcy of General Motors, Chrysler, their finance subsidiaries -- GMAC and Chrysler Financial -- and a handful of large suppliers were part of a much larger Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that covered more than $700 billion that went to bailout the largest banks, and AIG, the insurance giant that has issued credit default swaps that came due when the banks could not cover their losses on mortgage-backed securities.
In short, a Senator or congressman could not vote to rescue GM and Chrysler without voting to provide the money to keep the nation's largest investment banks from failing.
Sen. Clinton voted yes. Sen. Sanders voted no.
It's worth remembering that until the TARP funds were released, banks, as well as other lenders, had stopped financing loans and leases for new cars and trucks. As distasteful as it was to help global banks that made disastrously worthless mortgage loans, without the restoration of credit it's likely that no effort to ignite an economic recovery would have gained traction.
U.S. News & World Report reports:
There was a moment early in Sunday night's Democratic debate which illustrated Bernie Sanders' political purity problem: Like the tea party ideologues that have, from the right, helped reduce the political system to gridlocked dysfunction, the independent Vermont senator tends to make the perfect the enemy of the good.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had pivoted from a discussion of trade deals to the 2009 auto bailout, which helped save the Wolverine State's mainstay industry.
"I'll tell you something else that Senator Sanders was against. He was against the auto bailout," Clinton said. She added:
“So when I talk about Senator Sanders being a one-issue candidate, I mean very clearly – you have to make hard choices when you're in positions of responsibility. The two senators from Michigan stood on the floor and said, "we have to get this money released." I went with them, and I went with Barack Obama. You did not. If everybody had voted the way he did, I believe the auto industry would have collapsed, taking four million jobs with it.” 
Sanders' response was that the auto bailout was part of the larger Troubled Asset Relief Program, which he opposed. "If you are talking about the Wall Street bailout, where some of your friends destroyed this economy," he said. "When billionaires on Wall Street destroyed this economy, they went to Congress and they said, 'please, we'll be good boys, bail us out.' You know what I said? I said, 'let the billionaires themselves bail out Wall Street.'"
He added: "In terms of the auto bailout, of course, that made sense."
Put aside what one thinks of the TARP program – Clinton makes the important point that, on a key piece of legislation, which helped save millions of jobs, Sanders voted no. Yes, he supported other bailout bills, but this one was where the rubber was meeting the road. The unhappy fact of politics is that legislation is often imperfect and often has unpalatable provisions. As the Detroit Free Press explains: "In short, a Senator or congressman could not vote to rescue GM and Chrysler without voting to provide the money to keep the nation's largest investment banks from failing."
Politico reports:
Hillary Clinton said she's ready to take on Donald Trump in the general election, saying she would build a “broad, diverse coalition” to overcome Trump's “bigotry," "bullying" and "bluster.”
Perhaps in a nod to Trump’s love of citing polls, Clinton noted that Trump has received 3.6 million votes — “a good number” — and noted that she is the only candidate in either party to have a higher tally than Trump.
“I will look forward to engaging him,” Clinton said, “because I don’t think we need to make America great again, America didn’t stop being great. We have to make it whole again, we have to knock down the barriers, we have to end the divisiveness.”
Buzz Feed reports:
Bernie Sanders’ strong series of attacks on trade policy during Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate came to a grinding halt after he appeared to lose his temper at rival Hillary Clinton.
“Excuse me, I’m talking,” Sanders snapped at Clinton during a back and forth on the auto bailout provisions in a 2008 financial bailout, which Sanders voted against.
There were audible groans in the press filing center near the debate site on the campus of the University of Michigan at Flint.
A few moments later, as Clinton interrupted him (“if you’re going to talk, tell the whole story, Sen. Sanders”), Sanders reacted strongly, again.
“Let me tell my story, you tell yours,” he said.
The Clinton campaign reacted immediately. “OH HELL NO,” tweeted Clinton’s progressive outreach lead, Zerlina Maxwell.
Sanders has been attacking Clinton for weeks in Michigan over free trade policy passed under her husband’s administration and for her connections with Wall Street. At the Flint debate, he blamed free trade agreements like NAFTA for the end of tens of thousands of jobs in the city and Michigan. On Sunday, he continued leaning into the attacks, especially as it related to, for instance, the Ex-Im Bank.
But Clinton had a strong rejoinder, noting that Sanders voted against the auto bailout program credited with keeping some Michigan’s biggest companies afloat.
The Washington Post reports:
* Hillary Clinton: The former secretary of state came ready to fight on Sunday night. She kept her hit on Sanders's opposition to the automobile-industry bailout well hidden in the run-up to the debate to get maximum impact when she dropped it on his head. Ditto her attack on him being the lone Democratic-voting senator to vote against the Export-Import Bank. She is still not great when it comes to answering questions she doesn't want to answer. Her I'll-release-my-Wall-Street-speeches-when-everyone-else-does answer to a question about her high-paid speaking gigs was not very good. And she remains overly cautious as a candidate; when pressed on whether people at the Environmental Protection Agency should lose their jobs because of what happened in Flint, Clinton was unwilling to say they should -- a swing and a miss at a hanging curveball. Still, overall, this was a very solid showing by Clinton. On guns, on failing schools and on Flint, she was confident and effective.
* Bernie Sanders: The senator from Vermont had effectively walked a fine line in the previous six debates when it came to attacking Clinton without coming across as bullying or condescending. He tripped and fell while trying to execute that delicate dance on Sunday night. Sanders's "excuse me, I'm talking" rebuttal to Clinton hinted at the fact that he was losing his temper with her. His "Can I finish, please?" retort ensured that his tone and his approach to someone trying to become the first female presidential nominee in either party would be THE story of the night.
Put aside the fact that Sanders misstepped on tone, he also did nothing to change the underlying dynamics of the race. If you think Wall Street is the problem for much of what ails the country, you were for Sanders before this debate and certainly for him after it, too. But, as we know from the first 40 percent or so of states that have voted, there aren't enough of those people to make him the nominee. Sanders didn't knock Clinton off her game in any meaningful way, making the debate a loss for him. (Sidebar: His answer about white people not knowing what it is like to live in a ghetto or be poor would have been a massive gaffe if he was not as far behind in the delegate chase as he is.)
Mother Jones reports:
If you're a lead poisoning obsessive (*cough*) Hillary Clinton won your vote tonight during the Democratic debate in Flint moderated by Anderson Cooper:
COOPER: Let me just point out for accuracy's sake, there are 10 million lead service pipes delivering water to people all across this country tonight. Secretary Clinton?
....CLINTON: I want us to have an absolute commitment to getting rid of lead wherever it is because it's not only in water systems, it's also in soil, and it's in lead paint that is found mostly in older homes. That's why 500,000 children today have lead — lead in their bodies....That has, unfortunately, been in many ways, moved to a lower priority. I will elevate it, and I will do everything I can. Water, soil, and paint.
Daily News Bin reports:
After tonight’s showdown, the Democratic primary race may end up being wrapped up sooner than expected. Sanders turned bitterly apoplectic toward Clinton even as she kept a relative degree of calm. 
Even as the two candidates continued to debate the issues rather than bragging about their anatomy like their republican counterparts, Bernie grew hostile in both his tone and behavior. While his gruffness is nothing new, tonight he found himself consistently and rudely cutting off Hillary’s answers in a manner which suggested he didn’t think her answers mattered – and wagging his finger at her nearly all night. He went on to spend most of the night trying to paint the picture that Clinton was the worst possible thing that could happen to the Presidency, all but forgetting his previous assertions that their 2016 republican opponents were the true danger in this election. 
Such behavior is commonplace for a candidate who finds himself in a distant second place, and feels compelled to take increasingly hyperbolic swings at the frontrunner to try to get back into the race. Bernie Sanders is down by more than two hundred standard delegates, and down by more than seven hundred total delegates, and is running out of upcoming states which suit him demographically. Within the next ten days he could be finished. So his increasing demonization of Hillary Clinton is expected. But it’s not the kind of clean, issue-based campaign he promised he’d run when he entered the race. It’s not clear if Clinton boosted herself tonight, but Sanders certainly hurt his dwindling chances.
Clinton has launched a partnership with Flint.
Michigan Live reports:
The program is a partnership between Flint Mayor Karen Weaver and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The initiative received a $500,000 contribution from J.B. and M.K. Pritzker to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. One of the goals is to find employment or provide a springboard toward higher education for 16- to 24-year-olds in the city.
"I am so pleased to begin the Flint WaterWorks pilot project this month and to give Flint teens and young adults an opportunity to gain work experience and skills training while making life better for Flint's residents," said Weaver in a statement.
The opportunities for the teens and young adults will include clean water delivery, providing access to healthy foods, and nutritional information for those impacted by the water crisis.
"People in Flint have had to rely on bottled water for drinking, cooking and bathing for far too long while dealing with the city's lead-tainted water, and we must help them get their damaged pipes replaced and provide the water, healthy food and nutrition information they need," said Weaver on the heels of the city replacing its first lead service line on March 4.
There are at least 8,000 lead service lines at parcels in the city, while it's still unclear the types of lines running to an additional 13,000 parcels — including those running to 11,000 residences — in Flint.
"We know that Flint has a long road to recovery," said Clinton in a statement. "But we cannot wait another minute to help Mayor Weaver and the people of Flint with real solutions that will address this water crisis, and the ongoing economic challenges that face the people of Flint."

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