December 12, 2007
Someone just reminded me that tomorrow is the Democratic Debate sponsored by The Des Moines Register, David Yepsen’s paper. I’d encourage all candidates to make strong pro-student statements at that debate.
Here’s the deal–David Yepsen, a columnist at The Des Moines Register, and over half of the Democratic Presidential campaigns have questioned the rights of Iowa students–not originally from the state–to participate in the caucus. Some campaigns have retracted their statements, the youth vote community has been organizing around this issue, and now the mainstream media is finally starting to take it up. You can read previous reporting on this issue (chronologically) here, here, here, and here.
In less than 24 hours since my last post on this topic, a lot has happened.
First, from the candidates: Hillary Clinton’s Youth Director, Emily Hawkins emailed me with a new statement from the Clinton campaign:
“Hillary wants every student who lives in Iowa and wants to caucus in Iowa and is eligible to caucus in Iowa to do so. We hope that they will and we hope that they will caucus for Hillary. The Iowa caucus is special because it is based on Iowa values. We hope and trust that every campaign is making sure that potential caucus goers have all the information they need, and in no way explicitly or implicitly encourages anyone to break the law by participating in two places. Not only is it okay to engage students in Iowa, but it is critical to ensure that they are active participants in the process, and we are doing everything we can to get them out to caucus.”
The statement also appeared in a blog post by Hawkins on the Hillary Clinton blog, along with information about the legal rights of all students to caucus, and helpful websites to aid those students in participating.
I should note that Dodd has also issued retractions on his statements. The Dodd retraction wasn’t quite as strong as Clinton’s, but Dodd campaign blogger Matt Browner-Hamlin has issued repeated reassurances that Dodd is committed to supporting the rights of ALL Iowa students to caucus.
We’ll still need to watch and make sure that actions on the ground and in local media match those words, but this is a good sign and I’m glad some campaigns have come out in support of the rights of all students. We’re still waiting on Biden and Richardson. And I would love to see Edwards–who has stayed totally above this fray–to weigh in on the side of students. He’s run a good youth operation, despite low levels of support among that demographic. I’d love for them to take a stand.