COMMENTARY BY FLONORA MERRITT
(From left to right) Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and Chris Dodd. The eight Democratic Presidential Candidates at the Tavis Smiley Forum.
The June 28th 2007 Democratic Presidential Forum at Howard University shed light on where the Democratic candidates stand on the issues. The forum focused on issues that heavily affect African Americans including affordable housing, healthcare and HIV/AIDS epidemic.
For me, only two candidates stood out during this Forum. The first candidate was Mike Gravel because he felt so strongly about the war on drugs. With almost every question, Gravel responded by talking about the war on drugs. There’s just one problem with his campaign strategy. Gravel can’t just focus on one issue. As presidential candidate, you have to communicate a plan for every problem that’s confronting United States.
The second candidate who stood out in this forum was Hillary, of course. She was the only one who made sense to me. Hillary seemed aware of all the issues and had ideas on how to solve them. She was straight to the point. On the AIDS epidemic question, Hillary hit big when she said that if white women from ages 25 to 45 were infected with AIDS, something would have already been done about it. She received major applause for that and as a result may have gained support from more black voters.
To me, the most disappointing aspect of the Forum was Obama. I thought he would have more to say on the issues, but I was wrong. There has been so much hype with Obama. But in my eyes, the thought of a black president isn’t enough to win the election. I thought he, as a black person, would be more aware of the issues but instead, he seemed to “piggy back” off other candidates’ idea. Based on his performance, it really looks grim for Obama.