John Edwards in 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum


On Foreign Policy: We need country-of-origin labeling for China trade safety

Q: Is China an ally or an adversary?

A: China is a competitor. They hold American debt; there are huge human rights abuses going on in China. But thereís also a trade safety issue here. What about 2 million toys that have come into the US and had to be recalled from China? How about the fact that we donít have real country-of-origin labeling that the US actually enforces, so the American people know what theyíre buying, where itís coming from? We should have a president who enforces country-of-origin labeling. We should have a Consumer Product Safety Commission thatís not looking out for big multinational corporations, thatís actually looking out for the safety of our children here in America.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 8, 2007

On Government Reform: Money from trial lawyers OK because they donít push policy

Q: You have taken a firm stand against accepting money from lobbyists. But trial lawyers are now contributing significantly to your campaign. How is that any better than lobbyists?

A: Itís very different, because whatís happened is the lobbyists in Washington DC are the people whose job it is to rig this system against all of you. They do it every single day. They get paid to do it. And the difference between them and trial lawyers is that when lawyers give money to the jury who are making the decisions, thatís called a bribe. When lobbyists go to members of Congress and give money to them, thatís called politics. The question is, are we actually going to bring an end to this? Are we going to stop it? Youíre being outspent 18 to 1 by big multinational corporate lobbyists in Washington DC. What I believe is that America needs change. We donít need lobbyists in Washington. We need the Democratic Party and a president who will stand up for working men and women.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 8, 2007

On Government Reform: Public campaign finance would reduce length of campaigns

Q: Is the presidential campaign too long?

A: Itís definitely too long. And one of the things we could do is publicly finance our political campaigns, which we should do.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 8, 2007

On Jobs: Treat CEO pensions exactly as we treat every other worker

We ought to treat the pensions and the retirement of the chairmen and CEOs of companies exactly the way we treat every other worker in the company.

I intend to explain to America how important unions and organized labor is to the future and the economic security of this country. Whoís been with you in the crunch? In the last few years, 200 times I have walked picket lines. I have helped organize thousands of workers with 23 national unions. I have worked with employers.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 8, 2007

On Free Trade: NAFTA is perfect example of bigger need for change

Q: Would you scrap NAFTA or fix it?

A: It needs to be fixed, but the first thing I want to say is NAFTA is a perfect example of the bigger problem. This deal was negotiated by Washington insiders, not by anybody in this stadium tonight. And the question is, when are we going to change it? Itís cost us a million jobs. We need environmental and labor standards. We need actually the Justice Department prosecuting the standards under NAFTA.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 7, 2007

On Free Trade: FactCheck: NAFTA did not cost US a million jobs

John Edwards made this claim about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA): ďItís cost us a million jobs.Ē

Thatís a disputed estimate. Other economic studies have produced far lower numbers. The million job figure comes from the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank in Washington with ties to the labor movement. EPI estimated that the growth of exports since 1994 has supported an additional 1 million jobs in the US, while imports have displaced domestic production that would have supported 2 million jobs, leaving a net loss of 1 million. EPIís detractors state that EPIís estimate assumes that NAFTA is to blame for 100% of the growth in the trade deficit between the US and both Canada and Mexico and that it ignores other factors.

Whatever the effects of NAFTA, the US has gained nearly 26 million jobs since the agreement took effect on Jan. 1, 1994, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 7, 2007

On Government Reform: Democrats should say no to all insider lobbyist money

I asked [the other candidates] whether all the Democratic candidates and whether the Democratic party would say no from this day forward to Washington insider lobbyist money. We should say, this game is over; the system is rigged in Washington, DC. It is not working for you; it is not working for the American people. And weíre going to stand up to give the power in America back to you and back to all Americans who deserve it by saying no forever to lobbyist money in Washington, DC.
Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 7, 2007

On Principles & Values: Donít change one group of insiders for different insiders

The fundamental question is, whoís going to bring about the change that has not occurred over the last three or four decades in Washington DC? My belief is we donít want to change one group of insiders for a different group of insiders. We need to give the power in America back to you and back to working men and women all across this country. And I do not believe we will see the kind of change that we need unless WE begin to lead that change.
Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 7, 2007

The above quotations are from 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum, August 8, 2007.
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