Barack Obama in 2004 third IL Senate Debate


On Abortion: Moral accusations from pro-lifers are counterproductive

Q: [to Keyes]: Doesnít your pro-life stance conflict with your support of the death penaty?

KEYES: It doesnít conflict at all. Abortion and capital punishment are at different level of moral concern. Abortion is intrinsically, objectively wrong and sinful whereas capital punishment is a matter of judgment, which is not in and of itself a violation of moral right. The question of whether or not you should apply capital punishment depends on circumstances and itís an area where Catholics have a right to debate and disagree.

OBAMA: Now I agree with Mr. Keyes that the death penalty and abortion are separate cases. Itís unfortunate that with the death penalty Mr. Keyes respects that people may have a different point of view but with the issue of abortion he has labeled people everything as terrorists to slaveholders to being consistent with Nazism for holding an opposing point of view. That kind of rhetoric is not helpful in resolving a deeply emotional subject.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

On Civil Rights: Gays should not face discrimination but should not marry

Q: [to Keyes]: Youíve criticized homosexuality throughout your career. What would you say to your child if he or she were a homosexual?

KEYES: Marriage is based upon heterosexual relations because they are connected to procreation. Where procreation is impossible, marriage is irrelevant. And that is the civic explanation against homosexual marriage. It is irrelevant. And the idea that one should have legislation that is regulating private friendships for no reason is a degrading of those friendships.

OBAMA: Well, to answer the original question, I would love that child and seek to support them. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman but I detest the bashing and vilifying of gays and lesbians. Most gays and lesbians are seeking basic recognition of their rights so theyíre not discriminated against in employment or renting a house, so they can see their partner in a hospital. These are rights for everybody, not just some people.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

On Crime: Passed 150 laws to toughen penalties for violent crime

OBAMA: The fact is Iíve passed 150 pieces of legislation that toughened penalties for violent criminals, everything from sex offenders to domestic abusers to gang bangers. So thereís only one candidate whoís ever dealt with hardened criminals on this stage and thatís me. The other guy only talks about it and I think thatís something voters will be focused on in this election.

KEYES: When I was part of the effort to fight terrorists, I dealt with some of the most hardened criminals on the face of the earth. What I learned to understand, that Senator Obama seems to forget when dealing with domestic crime and foreign relations is that you must go after the people who cause the problem and you must get after them before than can do harm. You must deal with the individuals who pose a threat to the decency of our communities.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

On Crime: Restrict police entry rules, to protect our civil liberties

Q: On the right to let cops go into dangerous places with search warrants without knocking, you voted no as well. Would you explain?

OBAMA: With respect to the potential for police officers not to knock when they go in, thereís an issue of search and seizures and there must be some parameters for law enforcement to protect our civil liberties.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

On Crime: Death penalty should be enforced fairly and with caution

Q: [to Keyes]: Doesnít your pro-life stance conflict with your support of the death penalty?

KEYES: It doesnít conflict at all. Abortion and capital punishment are at different level of moral concern. Abortion is intrinsically, objectively wrong and sinful whereas capital punishment is a matter of judgment.

OBAMA: I think that the death penalty is appropriate in certain circumstances. There are especially heinous crimes: terrorism, the harm of children. Obviously, weíve had some problems in this state in the application of the death penalty. Thatís why a moratorium was put in place and thatís why I was so proud to be one of the leaders in overhauling a death penalty system that was broken. We became the first in the nation requiring the video taping of capital interrogations and confessions. We have to have this ultimate sanction in certain circumstances where the whole community says ďthis is beyond the pale.Ē

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

On Crime: Death penalty should not discriminate by gang membership

Q: On mandatory death sentences for gang members who kill cops you voted no. Would you explain?

OBAMA: [The proposed legislation] was entirely unnecessary and unconstitutional. It suggested that I could kill a police officer but because Iím not a gang member, I would be treated differently. I think both cases should be death penalty eligible.

KEYES: Senator Obama does not think it superfluous to have hate crimes legislation that adds a special animus to certain acts of violence already penalized against the law. But in order to convey against those certain acts a special category of deviation from society. The law provides a special message aimed at discouraging things considered especially harmful to a society and a community.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

On Education: Sex education needed to help children discuss molestation

KEYES: [to Obama]: You voted that sex education should begin in kindergarten but it would be ďage appropriate sex education.Ē But you opposed putting internet filters in schools. It makes me wonder what exactly you think is age appropriate. Do you believ that in the 2nd grade we should be teaching from books like Heather Has Two Mommies.

OBAMA: Actually, that wasnít what I had in mind. We have an existing law that mandates sex education in the schools and we want to make sure that itís medically accurate and age appropriate. I have a 3 year old daughter and a six year old daughter and one of the things I talk about with my wife is the possibility of someone touching them inappropriately. And thatís why [sex education] is in the law. So they can exercise some kind of protection against abuse. As for filters, I have voted for them. In the school setting, there was information schoolchildren could not access such as information about breast cancer, which is why there was a broad opposition.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

On Government Reform: Electing US Senators empowers people: keep 17th Amendment

Q: [to Keyes]: Youíve publicly endorsed the repeal of the 17th Amendment, which gives individual voters rather than the state legislature the right to choose their US Senators. Doesnít that disenfranchise people?

KEYES: Senators were originally chosen by the state legislatures for the simple reason that the US Senate was supposed to represent the state government as sovereign entities. Our laws in Illinois are passed by the state legislature. Are the people disenfranchised in the passing of these laws I donít think so.

OBAMA: Listen, I love my colleagues in the state legislature but I think [Illinois citizens] should be voting, not state legislatures. I have a little understanding about our constitution because I teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago and I understand thatís how the constitution was framed. It also prohibited anyone but white, male property owners from voting. Thatís why we had amendments. Itís a funny way to empower people to take their vote away.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

On Gun Control: Bush erred in failing to renew assault weapons ban

KEYES: [to Obama]: I am a strong believer in the second amendment. The gun control mentality is ruthlessly absurd. It suggests that we should pass a law that prevents law abiding citizens from carrying weapons. You end up with a situation where the crook have all the guns and the law abiding citizens cannot defend themselves. I guess thatís good enough for Senator Obama who voted against the bill that would have allowed homeowners to defend themselves if their homes were broken into.

OBAMA: Letís be honest. Mr. Keyes does not believe in common gun control measures like the assault weapons bill. Mr. Keyes does not believe in any limits from what I can tell with respect to the possession of guns, including assault weapons that have only one purpose, to kill people. I think it is a scandal that this president did not authorize a renewal of the assault weapons ban.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

On Principles & Values: Seek common ground, not a moral crusade

I came to Chicago 20 years ago to help communities that had been damaged by steel plants that had closed. Iíve worked 20 years to bring jobs to the unemployed. After law school, I worked as a civil rights attorney, helping to bring affordable housing and for the last 8 years Iíve worked as a state Senator. Iíve provided tax relief to those who needed it, health care to those who didnít have it and helped to reform a death penalty system badly in need of repair. I accomplished these things by setting partisanship aside and seeking common ground. Thatís what you, the people of Illinois have told me you want, someone who can reach out and find practical solutions. Now my opponent has a different track record. He is on a moral crusade and labels those who disagree with him as sinners. I donít think that kind of talk is helpful. I think government works best when we focus on practical solutions for affordable health care and jobs, and working together, Iím certain we can accomplish all of these tasks.
Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

On War & Peace: Iraq War has made US less safe from terrorism

KEYES: What probability was there that there was going to be a biological or nuclear attack against the US [from Iraq]? Bush acted to reduce that probability to zero.

OBAMA: There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. This war has made us less safe because it betrayed a set of international rules that were in place to protect us, that could have helped us defeat terrorism. Mr. Keyes implied that by fighting this war in Iraq we have reduced the probability of a terrorist attack to zero. That cannot be the case when we have nuclear fuel lying around in the former Soviet Union. We still have ports that are insecure. We have nuclear and chemical plants that are still insecure. The notion that we have eliminated the terrorist threat while Osama bin Laden roams free in the hills of Afghanistan is simply not the case.

KEYES: We have reduced the probability of an attack from Saddam Hussein to zero.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

On War & Peace: Saddam has no connections to Al Qaeda nor to 9/11

Q: Is the Iraq War the right war at the right time?

OBAMA: There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. This war has made us less safe. Osama bin Laden roams free in the hills of Afghanistan.

KEYES: The breathtaking naivete of the assertion that there is no connection between Al Qaeda & Saddam Hussein when Saddam was providing payments to the families of Hamas suicide bombers who had ties to Al Qaeda. I worked on the National Security Council staff. Maybe thatís why I understand the situation a little better than Barack Obama. Those ties are real and we cannot afford to let them operate.

OBAMA: I donít think that Mr. Keyes knowledge of the situation is better than Donald Rumsfeldís or the other experts who have confirmed that there was no connection between those who perpetrated the attacks of 9/11 and Iraq. This was an ideologically driven war. But now we do have a hotbed of terrorism to fight in Iraq.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

The above quotations are from Third Illinois 2004 Senate Debate: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes, Oct. 21, 2004.
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Barack Obama on other issues:
Abortion
Budget/Economy
China
Civil Rights
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Immigration
Jobs/Farming
Principles
School Choice
Social Security
Tax Reform
Technology
War & Peace
Welfare
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