Chicago Sun-Times
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Sweet Democratic debate special. Kucinich only Dem for slavery reparations. Report 5.


WASHINGTON—The debate, in South Carolina, is in the first southern primary state. The African-American vote in South Carolina is very important. That’s why a question about reparations for slavery was interesting. For Chicagoans, the matter is familiar—it’s been before City Council. Now the matter is part of the presidential dialogue.

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) said “ I'm not for reparations..But I think there are other things we can do to create some equality that doesn't exist in this country today,” he said, going on to talk about a report about in Charleston, S.C., where the debate was taking place, African-Americans pay more in mortgages.

CNN moderator Anderson Cooper asked Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and again he sidestepped a yes or no answer instead preferring to redefine reparations to make it into part of a much broader conversation about economic justice.

“I think the reparations we need right here in South Carolina is investment, for example, in our schools. I did a,” Obama said, to some applause.

“ I did a town hall meeting in Florence, South Carolina, in an area called the corridor of shame. They've got buildings that students are trying to learn in that were built right after the Civil War. And we've got teachers who are not trained to teach the subjects they're teaching and high dropout rates.

We've got to understand that there are corridors of shame all
across the country. And if we make the investments and understand
that those are our children, that's the kind of reparations that are
really going to make a difference in America right now," Obama said.

Cooper just asked for a show of hands to this question “Is anyone on the stage for reparations for slavery for African-Americans?” in order to nail the candidates down.

Using this method of questioning, the only one who said yes was Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio.)


Kucinich's statement on this issue:
The Bible says we shall be and must be repairers of the breach. And a breach has occurred.

We have to acknowledge that. It's a breach that has resulted in inequality in opportunities for education, for health care, for housing, for employment. And so, we must be mindful of that.

But it's also a breach that has affected a lot of poor whites as well.

We need to have a country which recognizes that there is an inequality of opportunity and a president who's ready to challenge the interest groups -- be they insurance companies or mortgage companies or defense contractors who are taking the money away from the people who need it.

Yes, I am for repairing the breach. Yes, I am for reparations.

Obama did not sideswipe the answer. He said clearly that to use it on education and helping the poor schools would be a better way

again, I have to tsk tsk you for expecting him to answer like some establishment DLC dem like Hillary instead of him answering a question that is not expected. He is much respected for thinking out side the box.
Honestly, you guys keep wanting him to act like an insider. he won't. You guys keep dismissing Obama for being himself and don't understand that alot of his strength and appeal lies in his being true to self. authentic. Not being a DLC establishment insider.
Why do you think the grassroots support keeps growing.

Obama should be ashamed of his answer. In responding to a slavery reparation question, he either changed the age of the Florence school buildings to make his answer "sound" better or he just doesn't know his American history. There are no civil war era schools in the Florence area. He's about 100 years off in his timeline, as there are some WWI era schools.

Thank you, David Bright, for taking the time to track down and post Rep. Kucinich's full statement.

The author of this article, Lynn Sweet, is negligent in her journalism to single out Rep. Kucinich in her headline then fail to quote his statement on the issue. Sweet dedicates five out of eight paragraphs in this article to Edwards and Obama, but isolates Kucinich, without opportunity to comment, in a single sentence.

In a presidential race that has already seen controversy and accusations of the media excluding some candidates to focus on those they deem worthy of their attention, it is a shameful oversight, if it is in fact an oversight, for Sweet to deliver an article of this nature.

Minimum Wage for the President?
How ludicrous! Are we really to believe that Obama and Kucinich and Biden would be willing, as President, to accept the minimum wage of $5.85 per hour? Have we in this country grown so politically timid and over-democratized that we’re afraid to distinguish between the hamburger flipper at the local diner and the president of the United States…? It’s time the candidates smell the brew of truth take a sip of courage.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 23, 2007 7:38 PM.

Sweet Democratic debate special. Gravel hits Obama on special interest money. Report 4. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet Dem debate special. Obama black enough? Clinton feminine enough? Clinton's more passionate response. Report 6. is the next entry in this blog.

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