Barack Obama

Where They Stand: Barack Obama on Higher Ed

With Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continuing to slug it out for their party's Presidential nomination, we've decided to highlight some of their key higher education policy proposals. Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has not yet offered a detailed plan on these issues.

Last week we took a look at the proposals offered by Hillary Clinton, the junior Senator from New York. Today we examine those of her challenger, Sen. Barack Obama. The junior Senator from Illinois laid out his education plans in November.

Obama's plan for higher education would:

Increase Federal Financial Aid and Make It Easier for Students to Apply for Aid

Ward Connerly Hearts Obama

The backer of anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives tells the Rocky Mountain News he gave a "token" amount because he likes Obama's "post-racial" candidacy. It must be truly be token. The contribution does not show up in a search of the Federal Election Commission database. Given Connerly's reputation among Democrats, this is one endorsement the Illiniois senator didn't need.

In related news, Connerly's initiative in Colorado appears to have enough signatures to make the ballot. This is one of five states where he's sponsoring measures banning affirmative action in government programs.

Let's Talk About Kids

Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate featured yet another extended exchange between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama about the merits of their respective health care plans. Health care's gotten a lot of attention in this campaign, with good reason--it's one of the biggest economic challenges facing our country, and both candidates have big, aggressive plans on it.

Yet we rarely hear much these days about another issue on which the candidates both have big, aggressive--but contrasting--plans: Early Education. Sure, the candidates toss early education into their answers to questions on other issues, and it's part of the list of policy areas where they say they'll make change. But, in all the 24 debates Democratic candidates have had so far this primary season, there hasn't been a single question specifically about early childhood education.

Obama, Clinton Debate How to Change Cuba Policy

With Fidel Castro stepping down this weekend (see earlier TAS posts here and here), and after a bit of behind-the-scenes nudging from some of our colleagues, last night CNN and Univision asked Senators Clinton and Obama about how they would handle Cuba if they were president. And it was no brief exchange, Cuba took 9 of the debate's 90 minutes. Check it out:


On Syria: A Question for Barack and Hillary

The Bush administration is ratcheting up sanctions on the government of Syria. Steve Clemons comments:

GEORGE W. Bush certainly seems like he likes to strangle things. He's been trying to strangle Cuba and Cuban-American families with tightened restrictions on family-related travel to emphasize how much every President of the United States since Eisenhower has tried (and failed) to undermine Fidel Castro's government.

Now, Bush yesterday started to strangle Syria more tightly. Arguing that Syria is not doing enough to stop the movement of terrorists between Iraq and Syria, Bush issued an Executive Order increasing the number of Syrian officials whose financial assets can be held.

So -- someone on the press beat with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, ask these two presidential hopefuls if they agree with the President's action against Syria or not? If so, why? If not, what reasons would they as President use to undo our counter this action.

I'll give you my answer. Bush's move is reckless -- and threatens to add further stress to a region that is wondering whether Bush's initiative to achieve some kind of Israel/Palestine deal is real or contrived.

Candidates Support Infrastructure Investment

America needs $1.6 trillion in public investments to get our infrastructure up to date, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. New America's Economic Growth program, led by Sherle Schwenninger, argues that not only is it necessary, but in a time of recession, infrastructure-based stimulus is the best way to revive the economy.

So it's heartening to see that with rust-belt states coming up on the primary horizon, more presidential candidates are supporting public investment.

Assessing the Presidential Candidates on Early Education

Voters in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, including we here at Early Ed Watch, go to the polls today to express their choices for the 2008 Democratic and Republican presidential nominations. So we thought this is a good time to look at what the candidates have proposed on the early education front.

Here’s the good news: We’re seeing some pretty ambitious proposals on early education from the Democrats in the field. Senator Hillary Clinton would provide funds to help states create universal pre-k programs for all 4-year-olds that meet high quality standards, starting at $5 billion and ramping up to $10 billion annually in five years. She would also increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Senator Barack Obama has pledged to invest $10 billion annually to help states create and implement comprehensive early learning systems to serve children from birth through age five, improve Head Start and childcare quality, and expand Early Head Start. He would also make the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit partially refundable for low-income families. And both candidates have some smart ideas about supporting work-life balance to help parents spend more time with their young children. Despite some differences, both candidates are proposing serious investments that could make a real difference for American children.

Fukuyama and Wright Debate Candidates' Foreign Policies

What are the foreign policy implications of various presidential candidates? New America Foundation Board Member Francis Fukuyama and Senior Fellow (and co-founder) Robert Wright discuss.

What to Make of the N.H. Primaries

Check out what New America's Mark Schmitt and Steven Clemons had to say on the subject this morning: