Debate Quotes
By The Associated Press ... nGVEqMvidg

Quotes from the Spanish-language debate sponsored by Univision on the campus of the University of Miami Sunday night:


On the Iraq war:

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: "I was against the surge when it was first proposed. And I believe that nothing which General (David) Petraeus or Ambassador (Ryan) Crocker or anyone else coming before the Congress will say next week will in any way undermine the basic problem: There is no military solution. That has been said for years now. And that is why I believe we should start bringing our troops home."

REP DENNIS KUCINICH: "Here's the plan. Number one, we have to end the occupation, bring the troops home, bring the contractors home. We have to have a simultaneous plan where we reach out to the nations, like Syria and Iran, to form a multinational international peacekeeping force that moves in as our troops leave so there's no vacuum. And also, we have to have a program of reconstruction and rehabilitation and reconciliation, and we have to stop trying to steal Iraq's oil. This is the way that we can take steps towards trying to achieve peace."

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: "And the president now is trying to present an argument that somehow because there has been some impact as a consequence of 30,000 troops in Baghdad, that that has brought about any movement on the political front. At this point, I think everybody is aware there will be no military solution to what's happening in Iraq. The question is, are we going to be able to bring about a political accommodation?"

FORMER SEN. JOHN EDWARDS: "What I'm concerned about, about the Petraeus report, is that it will be basically a sales job by the White House, that it'll be a PR document -- (applause) -- because that's what we've continually gotten from this administration, throughout the course of the war."

SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD: "The first obligation and job of an American president is to keep this country safe and secure. I would argue that today presently our troops in Iraq are doing just the opposite of that. We're more vulnerable, less safe, more insecure today as a result of the presence there because we've turned Iraq into an incubator for jihadists and terrorists.


On the issue of the emerging political power of power of Hispanics:

SEN. DODD: "You asked the question earlier whether or not this was a risk to be here. The issue of empowerment, I think, is critically important. The mere fact that we're having this forum here today is the empowering to the community of this country, the 44 million Hispanics that recognize as a result of this forum that they're invited to be very much a part of the political process of this country, and I strongly support that.'

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON: "I'm very proud, first of all, to be the first Latino -- major Latino candidate to run for president. And I want to say that I think any way that this country can promote diversity is critically important. You know, language is important, but you know, Latinos are always asked these questions. Latinos care about civil rights and immigration, but we care about all issues. We care about health care, about the war in Iraq. We're mainstream."


On the war on terrorism:

FORMER SEN. MIKE GRAVEL: "Well, the first thing that you would do is to realize that terrorism is not a war. Our war on terrorism makes no sense. We've had ... terrorism since the beginning of civilization, and we'll have it to the end of civilization. It must be treated as a criminal act for what it is. The United States of America should now interface with Interpol and with other countries to bring these people to justice, but our government has done just the opposite.


On immigration:

SEN. OBAMA: "We can't just have hundreds of thousands of people coming into the country without knowing who they are. It also means, though, that we have an employer verification system that works, and it means that we provide a pathway to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented workers who are already here. And that is something that I have championed, and that is something that I will pass when I am president of the United States; we will begin working on it the first year."

SEN. CLINTON: "I have championed comprehensive immigration reform, and it includes starting with securing our borders in order to give people the support they need to come over and support us when it comes to having a pathway to legalization. We all know that this has become a contentious political issue. It is being demagogued, and I believe that it is being used to bash immigrants, and that must stop."

REP. KUCINICH: First of all, a Kucinich administration will build relationships between nations, not walls. We need to move forward with an America that remembers where we came from, and that is -- immigration reform has to be central to it. That means there must be a path to legalization, because there are no illegal human beings. We have to start looking at our policies, which are aimed at separating people."

GOV. RICHARDSON: "This is what we need to do in immigration my first year. One, yes, more border security, technology at the border. Number two, a stronger relationship with Mexico and Central America, to create jobs so that flow doesn't come here. Third, enforce the law. Those that knowingly hire illegal workers should be punished."

EDWARDS: "You know, it's interesting to me. When you walk into a Blockbuster to -- to rent a movie, you don't see anybody, but you hear a voice saying, "Welcome to Blockbuster." We can figure out when somebody's walking into a Blockbuster. It seems to me we can figure out when somebody's coming into the United States of America, and especially if we use the technology that's available to us. And I think that's what the focus should be on -- more Border Patrol, better use of technology, as absolutely a path to -- to earn citizenship for those who are living here and who are undocumented."

GRAVEL: "I think it's abominable that they go out and do these raids, separate families. .) Stop and think -- all these people want to do is earn enough money to feed their families, whether they send them money back home or they bring their families here. If we made it easier for them to go back and forth on the borders, you wouldn't have this problem."