Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate Ajamu Baraka ‘Debates’ Mike Pence and Tim Kaine
Democracy Now! gave Green Party running mate Ajamu Baraka a chance to respond in real time to questions put to the Republican and Democratic vice presidential candidates during their debate this week.
Candidates Tim Kaine, a Democratic Virginia senator, and Mike Pence, the Republican governor of Indiana, squared off Tuesday night at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., in the only vice-presidential debate. The encounter was moderated by Elaine Quijano of CBS News. Third-party running mates were excluded.
View part one of the debate above and part two below. A full transcript provided by Democracy Now! follows.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly
AMY GOODMAN: Vice-presidential candidates Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine faced off in Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, Tuesday night in the first and only debate before next month’s election—the first and only vice-presidential debate. Pence is the governor of Indiana and a former congressman. Tim Kaine is the junior senator from Virginia and Virginia’s former governor.
Third-party vice-presidential candidates, including Libertarian William Weld and the Green Party’s Ajamu Baraka, were excluded from the debate stage under stringent rules set by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties.
Well, on Tuesday night, Democracy Now! aired a special “Expanding the Debate” broadcast, where we gave major third-party candidates a chance to respond to the same questions in real time as the major candidates. The Green Party’s Ajamu Baraka joined us live from Richmond, Virginia. Libertarian vice-presidential candidate William Weld did not respond to our invitation. Ajamu Baraka is a longtime human rights activist, founding executive director of the U.S. Human Rights Network and coordinator of the U.S.-[based] Black Left Unity Network’s Committee on International Affairs. Today we air highlights from our “Expanding the Debate” special. We begin with moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, on the campaign trail, you praised Secretary Clinton’s character, including her commitment to public service, yet 60 percent of voters don’t think she’s trustworthy. Why do so many people distrust her? Is it because they have questions about her emails and the Clinton Foundation?
SEN. TIM KAINE: Elaine, let me tell you why I trust Hillary Clinton. Here’s what people should look at as they look at a public servant. Do they have a passion in their life that showed up before they were in public life? And have they held onto that passion throughout their life, regardless of whether they were in office or not, succeeding or failing? Hillary Clinton has that passion. From a time as a kid in a Methodist youth group in the suburbs of Chicago, she has been focused on serving others with a special focus on empowering families and kids. As a civil rights lawyer in the South, with the Children’s Defense Fund, first lady of Arkansas and this country, senator, secretary of state, it’s always been about putting others first.
And that’s a sharp contrast with Donald Trump. Donald Trump always puts himself first. He built a business career, in the words of one of his own campaign staffers, “off the backs of the little guy.” And as a candidate, he started his campaign with a speech where he called Mexicans rapists and criminals, and he has pursued the discredited and really outrageous lie that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States. It is so painful to suggest that we go back to think about these days where an African American could not be a citizen of the United States. And I can’t imagine how Governor Pence can defend the insult-driven, selfish, “me first” style of Donald Trump.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Governor Pence, let me ask you: You have said Donald Trump is, quote, “thoughtful, compassionate and steady,” yet 67 percent of voters feel he is a risky choice, and 65 percent feel he does not have the right kind of temperament to be president; why do so many Americans think Mr. Trump is simply too erratic?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Well, let me—let me say, first and foremost, that, Senator, you and Hillary Clinton would know a lot about an insult-driven campaign. It really is remarkable, at a time when, literally, in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, where she was the architect of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, we see entire portions of the world, particularly the wider Middle East, literally spinning out of control. I mean, the situation we’re watching hour by hour in Syria today is the result of the failed foreign policy and the weak foreign policy that Hillary Clinton helped lead in this administration and create. The newly emboldened—the aggression of Russia, whether it was in Ukraine or now their heavy-handed approach—
SEN. TIM KAINE: You guys love Russia. You both have said—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —their heavy-handed approach—
SEN. TIM KAINE: You both have said Vladimir Putin is a better leader than the president.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Well, hang on a sec.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Gentlemen, we’re going to get to Russia in just a moment. But I do want to get back to the question at—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: But in the midst—in the midst—yeah, Elaine, thank you. Thank you.
SEN. TIM KAINE: No, but, Elaine—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Thank you. Thank you, Senator. I’ll—yeah.
SEN. TIM KAINE: These guys have praised Vladimir Putin as a great leader. How can that they defend that?
ELAINE QUIJANO: Yes, and we will get to that, Senator.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Yeah, yeah.
ELAINE QUIJANO: We do have that coming up here. But in the meantime, the questions were about your running mates.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Well, Senator, I must have hit a—
ELAINE QUIJANO: And your running mates—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Yeah, I must have hit a nerve here, because—
ELAINE QUIJANO: Why the disconnect?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: At a time of great challenge in the life of this nation, where we’ve weakened America’s place in the world, stifled America’s economy, the campaign of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine has been an avalanche of insults. Look, to get to your question about trustworthiness, Donald Trump has built a business, through hard times and through good times. He’s brought an extraordinary business acumen. He’s employed tens of thousands of people in this country—
SEN. TIM KAINE: And paid few taxes and lost a billion dollars a year.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —built, literally, a global reputation.
ELAINE QUIJANO: But why the disconnect with your running mates?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: But there’s a—there’s a reason why people question the trustworthiness of Hillary Clinton. And that’s because they’re paying attention. I mean, the reality is, when she was secretary of state, Senator—come on—she had a Clinton Foundation accepting contributions from foreign governments—
SEN. TIM KAINE: You are Donald Trump’s apprentice.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —and foreign donors.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Let me talk about this issue of the state of the world.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: But, Senator, I think—I think I’m still on my time.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Well, I think—isn’t this a discussion?
ELAINE QUIJANO: This is our open discussion.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Yeah, let’s talk about the state of the world.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Senator, well—well, let me interrupt.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Governor, you have an opportunity—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Let me interrupt you and finish my sentence, if I can.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Finish your sentence.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: The Clinton Foundation accepted foreign contributions from foreign governments and foreign donors while she was secretary of state.
SEN. TIM KAINE: OK, now I can weigh in. Now—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: She had a private server—
SEN. TIM KAINE: Now, I get to weigh in. Now, let me just say this.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Which I did raise. Senator, please—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —that was discovered—
ELAINE QUIJANO: You have an opportunity to respond.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —to keep that pay-to-play process out of the reach of the public.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Governor Pence—Governor Pence doesn’t think the world’s going so well, and he, you know, is going to say it’s everybody’s fault.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Do you?
SEN. TIM KAINE: Let me tell you this: When Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, Governor Pence, do you know that Osama bin Laden was alive?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Yes.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Do you know that we had 175,000 troops deployed in the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do you know that Iran was racing toward a nuclear weapon and Russia was expanding its stockpile? Under Secretary Clinton’s leadership, she was part of the national team, public safety team, that went after and revived the dormant hunt against bin Laden and wiped him off the face of the Earth. She worked a deal with the Russians to reduce their chemical weapons stockpile. She worked a tough negotiation with nations around the world to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program without firing a shot.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program?
SEN. TIM KAINE: Absolutely, without firing a shot. And instead of 175,000 American troops deployed overseas, we now have 15,000.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Right, and we—
SEN. TIM KAINE: These are very, very good things.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: And Iraq has been overrun by ISIS, because Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Well, if you want to plug some more American troops in Iraq, you can propose that.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Hillary Clinton—Hillary Clinton—
ELAINE QUIJANO: All right.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate a status of forces agreement.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to bring Green Party vice-presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka into this discussion. If you can respond to Governor Pence and Senator Kaine?
AJAMU BARAKA: Well, I think that we are seeing a dramatic example of why the people of this country dislike and distrust both of these major candidates and their vice-presidential running mates. We have this silly bickering as opposed to getting to the real issues to debate for the American people. There’s a reason why they are both distrusted: because I think that the American people understand that both represent the politics of the establishment, the status quo, that the American people are very distrustful of. They see that, in fact, the Middle East has spun out of control. We see that the—Hillary Clinton led the attacks on a number of countries, including Libya, led the justifications for destabilizing Syria. They see that Donald Trump has his bombastic rhetoric regarding carpet bombing in the Middle East and attacking this nation and that nation. And they are sick of it.
Many people in this country are prepared to support a peace candidate. And the only peace candidate, the only peace ticket, in this race is, in fact, the Green Party. So this kind of bickering and these kinds of personal attacks, as opposed to having a serious conversation about the critical issues that face this country, issues of war and peace, is a perfect example of why more and more people are looking beyond these two parties and looking for a real alternative. And the only alternative we have right now is, in fact, the Green Party and the Stein-Baraka ticket.
AMY GOODMAN: Green Party vice-presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka joining in Democracy Now!’s “Expanding the Debate” special, as we bring you more highlights in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: “If I was President” by Wyclef Jean. His home country, Haiti, is being ravaged by Hurricane Matthew. The issue of climate change was not raised in one question during last night’s sole vice-presidential debate of the 2016 election. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we return to our “Expanding the Debate” special. On Tuesday night, vice-presidential candidates Republican Governor Mike Pence and Democratic Senator Tim Kaine faced off at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, for their first and only debate before next month’s election. Democracy Now! aired a special “Expanding the Debate” broadcast Tuesday, where we gave major third-party candidates a chance to respond in real time to the same questions put to the major candidates. The Green Party’s Ajamu Baraka joined us live from Richmond, Virginia. Today we’re airing highlights from that “Expanding the Debate” special. This is moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News.
ELAINE QUIJANO: The New York Times released part of Mr. Trump’s 1995 tax return and reported that he could have avoided paying federal income taxes for years. Yesterday, Mr. Trump said he brilliantly used the laws to pay as little tax as legally possible. Does that seem fair to you?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: This is probably the difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and Senator Kaine. I mean—I mean, Hillary Clinton and Senator Kaine—and God bless you for it, career public servants, that’s great—Donald Trump is a businessman, not a career politician. He actually built a business. Those tax returns that were—that came out publicly this week show that he—he faced some pretty tough times 20 years ago. But like virtually every other business, including The New York Times not too long ago, he used what’s called net operating loss. We have a tax code, Senator, that actually is designed to encourage entrepreneurship in this country.
SEN. TIM KAINE: But why won’t he release his tax returns?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Well, we’re answering the question about—about the business thing. Is he—
SEN. TIM KAINE: I do want to come back on this, but—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: His tax return—his tax returns showed he went through a very difficult time, but he used the tax code just the way it’s supposed to be used. And he did it brilliantly.
SEN. TIM KAINE: How do you know that? You haven’t seen his tax returns.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: He created a runway—because he’s created a business that’s worth billions of dollars today.
SEN. TIM KAINE: How do you know that?GOV. MIKE PENCE: And with regard to paying taxes, this whole riff about not paying taxes and people saying he didn’t pay taxes for years, Donald Trump has created tens of thousands of jobs. And he’s paid payroll taxes—
SEN. TIM KAINE: Elaine, let me talk about that.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —sales taxes, property taxes.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Senator, I’m going to give you about 30 seconds to respond, and I have question on Social Security for you.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: The only issue on taxes is Hillary Clinton is going to raise taxes—
SEN. TIM KAINE: OK.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —and Donald Trump and I are going to cut them.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Donald Trump started this campaign in 2014. He said, “If I run for president, I will absolutely release my taxes.” He’s broken his first—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: And he will.
SEN. TIM KAINE: He’s broken his first promise. Second, he stood on the stage last—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: He hasn’t broken his promise. He said he’ll do it.
SEN. TIM KAINE: He stood on the stage last week, and when Hillary said, “You haven’t been paying taxes,” he said, “That makes me smart.” So it’s smart not to pay for our military? It’s smart not to pay for veterans? It’s smart not to pay for teachers? And I guess all of us who do pay for those things, I guess we’re stupid. And the last thing I’ll say is this—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Senator, do you take all the deductions that you’re entitled to?
SEN. TIM KAINE: The last thing—the last thing I want to ask Governor Pence is this—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: I do.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Governor Pence had to give Donald Trump his tax returns to show he was qualified to be vice president. Donald Trump must give the American public his tax returns to show that he’s qualified to be president.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Yeah.
SEN. TIM KAINE: And he’s breaking his promise.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Elaine, I have to respond to this.
ELAINE QUIJANO: You get very little time here, 20 seconds.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: I mean, yeah, I’ll be—I’ll be very respectful.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Governor?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Look, Donald Trump has filed over a hundred pages of financial disclosure, which is what the law requires.
SEN. TIM KAINE: But he said he would release his tax returns.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: The American people can review that. And he’s going—Senator—
ELAINE QUIJANO: All right, gentlemen, I need ask you about Social Security—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —he’s going to release his tax returns when the audit is over.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Richard Nixon released tax returns when he was under audit.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: The issue the American people care about: They’re going to raise your tax, and we’re going to cut your taxes.
SEN. TIM KAINE: If you can’t meet the Nixon standard, people ought to have some—
ELAINE QUIJANO: Gentlemen, gentlemen, the people at home cannot understand either one of you when you speak over each other. I would, please, ask you to wait until it is that the other is finished.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to Green Party’s Ajamu Baraka, his response to the question about The New York Times releasing part of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns that showed he could have avoided paying taxes for 18 years.
AJAMU BARAKA: Look, on the issue of taxes, I’m more concerned about the fact that we have a number of corporations, multinational corporations based in the U.S., that historically don’t pay any taxes. So we have a issue with individuals, rich individuals, who are able to avoid taxes, but we also have these multinational corporations, based in the U.S., that are avoiding taxes to the tune of $717 billion.
You know, there is a different code for the rich and one for the rest of us. And what we have to do is to eliminate that contradiction. So the real issue is not just the fact that Donald Trump took advantage of the tax laws. The real issue is that those tax laws exist. So, if we’re going to have a fair economy, if we’re going to have fairness in this economy, we have to eliminate those kinds of loopholes. And we are prepared to, in fact, do that. It’s a shame that we have corporations that make billions of dollars but yet are able to avoid paying any tax here in this country.
AMY GOODMAN: This is moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News.
ELAINE QUIJANO: All right, I’d like to turn to our next segment now. And in this, I’d like to focus on social issues. You have both been open about the role that faith has played in your lives. Can you discuss, in detail, a time when you struggled to balance your personal faith and a public policy position? Senator Kaine?
SEN. TIM KAINE: Yeah, that’s an easy one for me, Elaine. It’s an easy one. I’m really fortunate. I grew up in a wonderful household with great Irish Catholic parents. My mom and dad are sitting right here. I was educated by Jesuits at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. My 40th reunion is in 10 days. And I worked with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras, now nearly 35 years ago, and they were the heroes of my life. I try to practice my religion in a very devout way and follow the teachings of my church in my own personal life. But I don’t believe in this nation, a First Amendment nation, where we don’t raise any religion over the other, and we allow people to worship as they please, that the doctrines of any one religion should be mandated for everyone.
For me, the hardest struggle in my faith life was the Catholic Church is against the death penalty, and so am I. But I was governor of a state, and the state law said that there was a death penalty for crimes if the jury determined them to be heinous. And so I had to grapple with that. When I was running for governor, I was attacked pretty strongly because of my position on the death penalty. But I looked the voters of Virginia in the eye and said, “Look, this is my religion. I’m not going to change my religious practice to get one vote, but I know how to take an oath and uphold the law. And if you elect me, I will uphold the law.” And I was elected, and I did. It was very, very difficult to allow executions to go forward, but in circumstances where I didn’t feel like there was a case for clemency, I told Virginia voters I would uphold the law, and I did. That was a real struggle. But I think it is really, really important that those of us who have deep faith lives don’t feel like we can just substitute our own views for everybody else in society regardless of their views.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Governor Pence?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Well, it’s a wonderful question. And my Christian faith is at the very heart of who I am. I was—I was also raised in a—in a wonderful family of faith. It was church on Sunday morning and grace before dinner.
But my Christian faith became real for me when I made a personal decision for Christ when I was a freshman in college. And I’ve tried to live that out, however imperfectly, every day of my life since. And with my wife at my side, we’ve followed a calling into public service, where we’ve—we’ve tried to—we’ve tried to keep faith with the values that we cherish.
And with regard to when I struggle, I appreciate, and—and—and I have a great deal of respect for Senator Kaine’s sincere faith. I truly do.
SEN. TIM KAINE: That’s shared.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: But, for me, I would tell you that, for me, the sanctity of life proceeds out of the belief that that ancient principle that—where God says, “Before you were formed in the womb, I knew you.” And so, for my first time in public life, I’ve sought to stand with great compassion for the sanctity of life.
The state of Indiana has also sought to make sure that we expand alternatives in healthcare counseling for women, non-abortion alternatives. I’m also very pleased at the fact we’re well on our way in Indiana to becoming the most pro-adoption state in America. I think if you’re going to be pro-life, you should—you should be pro- adoption.
But what I can’t understand is with Hillary Clinton, and now Senator Kaine at her side, is to support a practice like partial-birth abortion. I mean, to hold to the view—and I know, Senator Kaine, you hold pro-life views personally, but the very idea that a child that is almost born into the world could still have their life taken from them is just anathema to me. And I cannot—I can’t conscience about—about a party that supports that, or that—I know you’ve historically opposed taxpayer funding of abortion. But Hillary Clinton wants to—wants to repeal the long-standing provision in the law where we said we wouldn’t use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion.
So, for me, my faith informs my life. I try and spend a little time on my knees every day. But it all, for me, begins with cherishing the dignity, the worth, the value of every human life.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Elaine, this is a fundamental question, a fundamental question. Hillary and I are both people out of religious backgrounds. Her Methodist Church experience was really formative for her as a public servant. But we really feel like you should live fully and with enthusiasm the commands of your faith. But it is not the role of the public servant to mandate that for everybody else.
So let’s talk about abortion and choice. Let’s talk about them. We support Roe v. Wade. We support the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience, their own supportive partner, their own minister, but then make their own decision about pregnancy. That’s something we trust American women to do that.
And we don’t think that women should be punished, as Donald Trump said they should, for making the decision to have an abortion. Governor Pence wants to repeal Roe v. Wade. He said he wants to put it on the ash heap of history. And we have some young people in the audience who weren’t even born when Roe was decided. This is pretty important. Before Roe v. Wade, states could pass criminal laws to do just that, to punish women if they made the choice to terminate a pregnancy.
I think you should live your moral values. But the last thing, the very last thing, that government should do is have laws that would punish women who make reproductive choices. And that is the fundamental difference between a Clinton-Kaine ticket and a Trump-Pence ticket that wants to punish women who make that choice.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: No, it’s—it’s really not. Donald Trump and I would never support legislation that punished women who made the heartbreaking choice to end a pregnancy.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Then why did Donald Trump say that?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: We just never would.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Why did he say that?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Well, look, it’s—look, he’s not a polished politician like you and Hillary Clinton. And so, you know—
SEN. TIM KAINE: Well, I would admit that’s not a polished thought.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —things don’t always come out exactly the way he means them.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Well, can I say—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: But I’m telling you what the policy of our administration would be.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Great, great line from the—great line from the Gospel of Matthew—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: But what—but what—
SEN. TIM KAINE: “From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Yeah.
SEN. TIM KAINE: When Donald Trump says women should be punished or Mexicans are rapists and criminals—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: I’m telling you—
SEN. TIM KAINE: —or John McCain is not a hero, he is showing you who he is.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Senator, you’ve whipped out that Mexican thing again. He—look—
SEN. TIM KAINE: Can you defend it?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: There are criminal aliens in this country, Tim, who have come into this country illegally, who are perpetrating violence—
SEN. TIM KAINE: You want to—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —and taking American lives.
SEN. TIM KAINE: You want to use a big tar brush against Mexicans on that?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: He also said, “And many of them are good people.” You keep leaving that out of your quote. And if you want me to go there, I’ll go there.
But here’s—there is a choice here, and it is a choice on life. I couldn’t be more proud to be standing with Donald Trump, who’s standing for the right to life. It’s a principle that Senator Kaine—and I’m very gentle about this, because I really do respect you—it’s a principle that you embrace. And I have appreciated the fact that you’ve supported the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of taxpayer funding for abortion, in the past, but that’s not Hillary Clinton’s view. People need to understand, we can come together as a nation. We can create a culture of life. More and more young people today are embracing life, because we know we are—we’re better for it. We can—like Mother Teresa said at that famous National Prayer Breakfast—
SEN. TIM KAINE: But this is important. I—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —bring the—let’s welcome the children into our world. There are so many families—
SEN. TIM KAINE: Let—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —around the country who can’t have children. We could improve adoption—
SEN. TIM KAINE: But, Governor—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —so that families that can’t have children can adopt more readily those children from crisis pregnancies.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Governor, why don’t you trust women to make this choice for themselves? We can encourage people to support life. Of course we can. But why don’t you trust women? Why doesn’t Donald Trump trust women to make this choice for themselves? That’s what we ought to be doing in public life, living our lives of faith or motivation with enthusiasm and excitement, convincing each other, dialoguing with each other about important moral issues of the day.GOV. MIKE PENCE: Because there—
SEN. TIM KAINE: But on fundamental issues of morality—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Because, Senator—
SEN. TIM KAINE: —we should let women make their own decisions.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Because there is—a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable—the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn. I believe it with all my heart. And I couldn’t be more proud to be standing with a pro-life candidate in Donald Trump.
AMY GOODMAN: Mike Pence and Tim Kaine. Ajamu Baraka, Green Party nominee for vice president?
AJAMU BARAKA: Well, I have to say that while I’m not a person of faith, necessarily, in terms of the organized religious view, I do operate from a ethical framework, informed by my lived experiences, but informed by my understanding of the kinds of values that we must have in order to be fully formed human beings and to live in harmony with each other and with nature. And so I believe in the value of cooperation. I believe in the possibility of peace. I believe that human beings can be more than what they are today.
But I also believe very passionately that we cannot have a situation in this country where women are criminalized for exercising their self-determination over their bodies, that women have a fundamental right to autonomy and self-determination over themselves, their sex lives and everything else. And it’s sort of absurd for me to see these two white males engage in this kind of conversation. Well, to a certain extent, I guess we have to agree, though, with—more with Tim Kaine than the right-wing patriarchy of Mike Pence. I believe that he represents a position that is quite troubling, one that we have to reject as a society evolving in a way—in a direction in which we are going to represent and support and recognize the equal rights of everyone in the society.
It’s also quite surreal to me that both talk about the sanctity of life, just 20 minutes from talking about militarism and going to war. I guess that’s one reason why some of us find ourselves unable to completely understand the morality of some of these individuals who call themselves people of faith. It’s a clear contradiction to me. Tim Kaine, who says he believes in life, felt—said he was compelled to sign off on those death sentences in Virginia. That’s not true. He had the ability to commute those death penalty cases to life in prison. He made a political choice. And as a consequence, someone’s life was taken. So, you know, these kinds of ethical contradictions are the kinds of contradictions that we find reflected also in the contradictory policies of both of these candidates.
AMY GOODMAN: Green Party’s Ajamu Baraka joining in Democracy Now!’s “Expanding the Debate” special with the two major-party candidates that took place in Virginia last night. This is Democracy Now! We’ll continue our “Expanding the Debate” special in a moment.
AMY GOODMAN: “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we return to our “Expanding the Debate” special. On Tuesday night, vice-presidential candidates Republican Governor Mike Pence, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine faced off at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, in their first and only debate before next month’s election. On Tuesday night, Democracy Now! gave major third-party candidates a chance to respond to the questions in real time live as the major candidates. The Green Party’s Ajamu Baraka joined us live from Richmond, Virginia. Today we’re airing highlights from our “Expanding the Debate” special. We go back to moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Senator Kaine, Governor Pence, please—
SEN. TIM KAINE: Syria.
ELAINE QUIJANO: I want to turn now to Syria. Two hundred fifty thousand people, 100,000 of them children, are under siege in Aleppo, Syria. Bunker buster bombs, cluster munitions and incendiary weapons are being dropped on them by Russian and Syrian militaries. Does the U.S. have a responsibility to protect civilians and prevent mass casualties on this scale, Governor Pence?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: The United States of America needs to begin to exercise strong leadership to protect the vulnerable citizens and over 100,000 children in Aleppo. Hillary Clinton’s top priority when she became secretary of state was the Russian reset, the Russian reset. After the Russian reset, the Russians invaded Ukraine and took over Crimea. And the small and bullying leader of Russia is now dictating terms to the United States to the point where all the United States of America, the greatest nation on Earth, just withdraws from talks about a ceasefire, while Vladimir Putin puts a missile defense system in Syria while he marshals the forces and begins—look, we have got to begin to lean into this with strong, broad-shouldered American leadership.
It begins by rebuilding our military. And the Russians and the Chinese have been making enormous investments in the military. We have the smallest Navy since 1916. We have the lowest number of troops since the end of the Second World War. We’ve got to work with the Congress—and Donald Trump will—to rebuild our military and project American strength in the world.
But about Aleppo and about Syria, I truly do believe that—that what America ought to do right now is to immediately establish safe zones, so that families and vulnerable families with children can move out of those areas, work with our Arab partners, real time, right now, to make that happen.
And secondly, I just have to tell you that the provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue, I should say, to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo.
Now, there’s a broad range of other things that we ought to do, as well. We ought to—we ought to deploy a missile defense shield to the Czech Republic and Poland, which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama pulled back on, out of not wanting to offend the Russians back in 2009.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Governor, your two minutes are up.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: We’ve just got to have American strength on the world stage. And when Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, the Russians and other countries in the world will know they’re dealing with a strong American president.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Senator Kaine?
SEN. TIM KAINE: Hillary and I also agree that the establishment of a humanitarian zone in northern Syria, with the provision of international human aid, consistent with the U.N. Security Council resolution that was passed in February 2014, would be a very, very good idea.
And Hillary also has the ability to stand up to Russia in a way that this ticket does not. Donald Trump, again and again, has praised Vladimir Putin. And it’s clear that he has business dealings with Russian oligarchs who are very connected to Putin. The Trump campaign management team had to be fired a month or so ago because of those shadowy connections with pro-Putin forces. Governor Pence made the odd claim—he said, inarguably, Vladimir Putin is a better leader than President Obama. Vladimir Putin has run his economy into the ground. He persecutes LGBT folks and journalists. If you don’t know the difference between dictatorship and leadership, then you got to go back to a fifth grade civics class.
I’ll tell you what offends me—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Well, that offended me.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Governor Pence just—Governor Pence just said—Governor Pence just said that Donald Trump will rebuild the military. No, he won’t. Donald Trump is avoiding paying taxes. The New York Times story—and we need to get this—but The New York Times story suggested that he probably didn’t pay taxes for about 18 years, starting in 1995. Those years included the years of 9/11.
So, get this. On 9/11, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s hometown was attacked by the worst terrorist attack in the history of the United States. Young men and women—young men and women signed up to serve in the military to fight terrorism. Hillary Clinton went to Washington to get funds to rebuild her city and protect first responders. But Donald Trump was fighting a very different fight. It was a fight to avoid paying taxes so that he wouldn’t support the fight against terror.
ELAINE QUIJANO: The question was about Aleppo, Senator.
SEN. TIM KAINE: He wouldn’t support troops. He wouldn’t—he wouldn’t support—this is important, Elaine. When a guy running for president will not support the troops, not support veterans, not support teachers, that’s really important.
ELAINE QUIJANO: All right.
SEN. TIM KAINE: And I said about Aleppo, we do agree the notion is we have to create a humanitarian zone in northern Syria. It’s very important.
AMY GOODMAN: Ajamu Baraka, vice-presidential nominee for the Green Party, your response?
AJAMU BARAKA: This is a very dangerous conversation. What we are seeing from both candidates, of both—of both parties, is a commitment to go to war. You know, it’s very disheartening to see the kind of images coming from the conflict in Syria. But that conflict had a genesis. It didn’t just emerge out of thin air. And not to get into the details of how this conflict evolved, I think it’s important, though, to say that, you know, the U.S., their hands are not—are not clean, that this notion that the U.S. was standing on the side and not involved, that narrative is a false narrative.
And this idea that the collapse of the last ceasefire can be put at the foot of the Russians is, in fact, a outright lie. Now, that may be painful for folks who are not following the situation very closely, but it is, in fact, a fact, that, basically, the Pentagon undermined the agreement, the ceasefire agreement, that was negotiated by John Kerry, when they attacked the Syrian army and killed 62 of their soldiers, when they attacked a known site. That was the effective collapse of that ceasefire.
So, going into Syria and establishing a humanitarian zone, we’re talking about an act of war. Where is the legitimacy for that? The U.S. has no legitimacy to be operating in that territory. And this plan on both the Democrat side and the Republican side to take the U.S. back into a war—because when you’re talking about a intervention, you’re talking about boots on the ground. Another war? The American people are tired of this. And I don’t think they’re going to go for the justification for intervention again into this conflict.
What we would do with the Stein-Baraka administration is use the power of the state to engage in a real peace process, to use the power of this state to have real national reconciliation in Syria, to de-escalate the issues—de-escalate the conflict in Syria and across the Middle East. So, we’re not going to stand by and allow for this kind of war propaganda to be whipped up by both of these candidates and by the corporate media.
AMY GOODMAN: Green Party vice-presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka as part of our “Expanding the Debate” special, when we gave him a chance to respond to the same questions posed to Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence in real time.
AMY GOODMAN: Vice-presidential candidates Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine faced off in Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, Tuesday night in their first and only debate before next month’s election. Pence is the governor of Indiana and a former congressman. Tim Kaine is the junior senator from Virginia and Virginia’s former governor, before that, the mayor of Richmond.
Third-party vice-presidential candidates, including Libertarian William Weld and the Green Party’s Ajamu Baraka, were excluded from the debate stage under stringent rules set by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties.
Well, on Tuesday night, Democracy Now! aired a special “Expanding the Debate” broadcast, where we gave major third-party candidates a chance to respond to the same questions in real time live as the major candidates. The Green Party’s Ajamu Baraka joined us live from Richmond, Virginia. Libertarian vice-presidential candidate William Weld did not respond to our offer. Ajamu Baraka is a longtime human rights activist and the founding executive director of the U.S. Human Rights Network and coordinator of the U.S.-based Black Left Unity Network’s Committee on International Affairs. Today we air highlights from our “Expanding the Debate” special. We begin with moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News.
ELAINE QUIJANO: All right, I want to turn to our next segment now: immigration. Your running mates have both said that undocumented immigrants who have committed violent crimes should be deported. What would you tell the millions of undocumented immigrants who have not committed violent crimes? Governor Pence?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Donald Trump’s laid out a plan to end illegal immigration once and for all in this country. We’ve been talking it to death for 20 years. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want to continue the policies of open borders, amnesty, catch and release, sanctuary cities—all the things that are driving—that are driving wages down in this country, Senator. And also, too often, with criminal aliens in the country, it’s bringing heartbreak.
But I—Donald Trump has a plan, that he laid out in Arizona, that will deal systematically with illegal immigration, beginning with border security, internal enforcement. It’s probably why for the first time in the history of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement their union actually endorsed Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, because they know they need help to enforce the laws of this country.
And Donald Trump has laid out a priority to remove criminal aliens, remove people that have overstayed their visas. And—and once we have accomplished all of that, which will—which will strengthen our economy, strengthen the rule of law in the country and make our communities safer once the criminal aliens are out, then we’ll deal with those that remain. But I have to tell you, I just—I was listening to the avalanche of insults coming out of Senator Kaine a minute ago.
SEN. TIM KAINE: These were Donald’s—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: And he said—he says—
SEN. TIM KAINE: Hold on a second, Governor.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: It’s my time, Senator.
ELAINE QUIJANO: It is, in fact, the governor’s time.
SEN. TIM KAINE: It is. You’re right. I apologize. This is your two minutes. I apologize.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Thanks. I forgive you. He says ours is an insult-driven campaign. Did you all just hear that? Ours is an insult-driven campaign? I mean, to be honest with you, if Donald Trump had said all the things that you said he said, in the way you said he said them, he still wouldn’t have a fraction of the insults that Hillary Clinton leveled when she said that half of our supporters were a “basket of deplorables.” It’s—she said they were irredeemable, they were not American. I mean, it’s extraordinary. And then she labeled one after another “ism” on millions of Americans who believe that we can have a stronger America at home and abroad, who believe we can get this economy moving again, who believe that we can end illegal immigration once and for all. So, Senator, this—this insult-driven campaign, I mean, we’re—
ELAINE QUIJANO: Governor—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: That’s small potatoes compared to Hillary Clinton—
ELAINE QUIJANO: Senator Kaine?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —calling half of Donald Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables.”
SEN. TIM KAINE: Hillary Clinton said something on the campaign trail, and the very next day, she said, “You know what? I shouldn’t have said that.” Look—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: She said she shouldn’t have said half.ELAINE QUIJANO: Governor, this is Senator Kaine’s two minutes, please.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Look—yeah, that’s right, so now we’re even.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Yeah.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Look—look for Donald Trump apologizing to John McCain for saying he wasn’t a hero.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Oh, come on.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Did Donald Trump apologize for calling women slobs, pigs, dogs, disgusting?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: She apologized for saying “half.”
SEN. TIM KAINE: Did—
ELAINE QUIJANO: Governor, it is his two minutes, please.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Did Donald Trump apologize for taking after somebody in a Twitter war and making fun of her weight? Did he apologize for saying African Americans are living in hell? Did he apologize for saying President Obama was not even a citizen of the United States? You will look in vain to see Donald Trump ever taking responsibility for anybody and apologizing.
Immigration. There’s two plans on the table. Hillary and I believe in comprehensive immigration reform. Donald Trump believes in deportation nation. You’ve got to pick your choice. Hillary and I want a bipartisan reform that will put keeping families together as the top goal; second, that will help focus enforcement efforts on those who are violent; third, that will do more border control; and, fourth, that will provide a path to citizenship for those who work hard, pay taxes, play by the rules and take criminal background record checks. That’s our proposal.
Donald Trump proposes to deport 16 million people, 11 million who are here without documents. And both Donald Trump and Mike Pence want to get rid of birthright citizenship. So if you’re born here but your parents don’t have documents, they want to eliminate that. That’s another four-and-a-half million people. These guys—and Donald Trump has said it—deportation force. They want to go house to house, school to school, business to business, and kick out 16 million people. And I cannot believe—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: That’s nonsense. That’s nonsense.
SEN. TIM KAINE: I cannot believe that Governor Pence would sit here and defend his running mate’s claim that we should create a deportation force to—so that they’ll all be gone.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Senator, we have a deportation force. It’s called Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. And the union for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, for the first time in their history, endorsed Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States of America.
SEN. TIM KAINE: So you like the 16 million deportations?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: The—no, Senator, that’s nonsense. Look, what you just heard is they have a plan for open borders, amnesty. That’s—that goes—
SEN. TIM KAINE: Our plan is like Ronald Reagan’s plan from 1986.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: They call it comprehensive immigration reform—they call it comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill. We all know the routine. It’s amnesty. And you heard one of the last things he mentioned was border security. That’s how Washington always plays it.
SEN. TIM KAINE: No, I—
ELAINE QUIJANO: So, Governor—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: They always say we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that, we’ll eventually get the border.
SEN. TIM KAINE: We voted for border security three years ago, and Governor Pence was against it.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Governor, Mr. Trump has said—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: I’ll tell you, Ronald Reagan said a nation without borders is not a nation. Donald Trump is committed to restoring the borders of this nation—
AMY GOODMAN: Green Party vice-presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party’s plan for immigration and your response to the Democratic and Republican candidates?
AJAMU BARAKA: Dr. Stein has laid out our plan, which is basically we support comprehensive immigration reform. But we also understand that we’ve got to address the issues that drive people to this country. And those issues are related to the—to the relationship between the U.S. and these various countries in various parts of the world, in particular in Central and South America. If we have fair trade, if we have a situation where countries are allowed to develop along their own lines, where they can develop their economy, then we won’t have the push that we see that is occurring that’s compelling people to have to come to or go to another country in order to survive. We see the consequence of NAFTA is devastating effects on the countryside in Mexico. And now we see the same kind of agreement being at the point of being approved with the Trans-Pacific Partnership. So, these kinds of fair—these kinds of trade issues, these kinds of economic issues are the driving force for immigration.
We think that both parties are—can be criticized for their immigration, or non-immigration, policies. It is really sort of rich that the Democrats will talk about deportation, where under the Obama administration we’ve had record deportations. And the consequence has been a reign of terror in various immigrant communities. The Obama administration has refused to respect the provisions of the covenant—of the convention on migrant rights, that would give undocumented folks the ability to live a life out of the shadows, to have access to education and to healthcare. So, both parties have played games with this immigration issue.
And we believe that the only way we’re going to be able to address this issue is, again, building a powerful movement that will force the politicians to have something that is really rooted in the real needs of people, to allow them to be legalized and allow them to organize themselves and allow them to be fully human. And that means we’ve got to struggle to achieve that.
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News questioning Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Your fellow Republican, Governor Pence, Senator Tim Scott, who is African-American, recently spoke on the Senate floor. He said he was stopped seven times by law enforcement in one year.
SEN. TIM KAINE: A U.S. senator.
ELAINE QUIJANO: He said, “I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you’re being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself.” What would you say to Senator Scott about his experiences?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Well, I have the deepest respect for Senator Scott, and he’s a close friend. And what I would say is that we—we need to adopt criminal justice reform nationally. I—I signed criminal justice reform in the state of Indiana, Senator, and we’re very proud of it. I worked when I was in Congress on the Second Chance Act. We have got to do a better job recognizing and correcting the errors in the system that do reflect an institutional bias in criminal justice.
But what—what—what Donald Trump and I are saying is let’s not have the reflex of assuming the worst of men and women in law enforcement. We truly do believe that law enforcement is not a force—
SEN. TIM KAINE: Elaine, can I—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —for racism or division in our country.
ELAINE QUIJANO: So what would you say to Senator Scott, Governor?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Law enforcement in this country is a force for good. They are the—they truly are people that put their lives on the line every single day. But I would—I would suggest to you what we need to do is assert a stronger leadership at the national level to support law enforcement. You just heard Senator Kaine reject stop-and-frisk. Well, I would suggest to you that the families that live in our inner cities that are besieged by crime—
SEN. TIM KAINE: Elaine, let me—let me—
ELAINE QUIJANO: Governor, the question was about Senator Scott. What would—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —want to see more vigorous law enforcement in the country.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Yeah, let—
ELAINE QUIJANO: What would you tell Senator Scott?
SEN. TIM KAINE: And, Elaine, if I could—if I can jump in. I’ve heard Senator Scott make that eloquent plea. And look, criminal justice is about respecting the law and being respected by the law. So there is a fundamental respect issue here. And I just want to talk about the tone that’s set from the top. Donald Trump during his campaign has called Mexicans rapists and criminals. He’s called women slobs, pigs, dogs, disgusting. I don’t like saying that in front of my wife and my mother. He attacked an Indiana-born federal judge and said he was unqualified to hear a federal lawsuit because his parents were Mexican. He went after John McCain, a POW, and said he wasn’t hero because he had been captured. He said African Americans are living in hell. And he perpetrated this outrageous and bigoted lie that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen. If you want to have a society where people are respected and respect laws, you can’t have somebody at the top who demeans every group that he talks about. And I just—again, I cannot believe that Governor Pence will defend the insult-driven campaign that Donald Trump has run.
AMY GOODMAN: Green Party vice-presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka, what would you respond to South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, African-American, who spoke about being stopped by police numerous times?
AJAMU BARAKA: That he represents a lived reality in this country, that it is what we spoke about a moment ago, that in this country, if you are an African American, and, in particular, African-American male, and—but now also a African-American woman, you are being—you are subjected to this kind of harassment, this kind of dehumanization. It is part of what we see with the increased, aggressive policing in our communities.
And why have that—why has that occurred? Well, one reason, we believe, is because what we have now is an aggression that is a reflection of the fact that our communities are seen as a surplus population, a surplus community, that right now, because black labor is no longer needed in this new economy, we find that we have become a social problem. And we see the consequence of that with mass incarceration, with this aggressive policing, with these—with the war being waged against our communities and against Latinos and against Native people.
So, you know, that is the reality that we are facing, and it’s a reality that we’ve got to resist. It is a systematic violation of our fundamental human rights. And every people on this planet have a right to resist any encroachment, any violation of their human rights. And that is something that we are—we are prepared to support. We stand in solidarity with people who are in resistance to the systematic oppression. And it’s part of what we are doing with this campaign in terms of connecting up with that resistance movement and hoping that we can expand that movement to a powerful force here in this country.
AMY GOODMAN: Green Party vice-presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka responding in real time during the debate last night in our “Expanding the Debate” special. We’ll continue with this special in a moment.
AMY GOODMAN: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” The Rolling Stones, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we return to our “Expanding the Debate” special. On Tuesday night, vice-presidential candidates Republican Governor Mike Pence and Democratic Senator Tim Kaine faced off at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, in their first and only debate before next month’s election. Democracy Now! aired a special “Expanding the Debate” broadcast last night, where we gave major third-party candidates a chance to respond in real time to the same questions put to the major candidates. The Green Party’s Ajamu Baraka joined us live from Richmond, Virginia. Today we’re airing highlights of our special. This is moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Gentlemen, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea and has provided crucial military support to the Assad regime. What steps, if any, would your administration take to counter these actions? Senator Kaine?
SEN. TIM KAINE: You’ve got to be tough on Russia. So let’s start with not praising Vladimir Putin as a great leader. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have said he’s a great leader. And Donald Trump has business—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: No, we haven’t.
SEN. TIM KAINE: —has business dealings—has business dealings with Russia that he refuses to disclose. Hillary Clinton has gone toe to toe with Russia. She went toe to toe with Russia as secretary of state to do the New START agreement to reduce Russia’s nuclear stockpile. She’s had the experience doing it. She went toe to toe with Russia and lodged protests when they went into Georgia. And we’ve done the same thing about Ukraine, but more than launching protests, we’ve put punishing economic sanctions on Russia that we need to continue.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, didn’t know that Russia had invaded the Crimea.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Oh, that’s nonsense.
SEN. TIM KAINE: He was on a TV show a couple months back, and he said, “I’ll guarantee you this: Russia is not going into the Ukraine.” And he had to be reminded that they had gone into the Crimea two years before.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: He knew that.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Hillary—Hillary Clinton has gone toe to toe with Russia to work out a deal on New START. She got them engaged in a meaningful way to cap Iran’s nuclear weapons program. And yet she stood up to them on issues such as Syria and their invasion of Georgia. You’ve got to have the ability to do that, and Hillary does.
On the other hand, in Donald Trump, you have somebody who praises Vladimir Putin all the time. There—America should really wonder about a President Trump, who had a campaign manager with ties to Putin, pro-Putin elements in the Ukraine, who had to be fired for that reason. They should wonder, when Donald Trump is sitting down with Vladimir Putin, is it going to be America’s bottom line, or is it going to be Donald Trump’s bottom line, that he’s going to be worried about with all of his business dealings?
Now, this could be solved if Donald Trump would be willing to release his tax returns, as he told the American public that he would do. And I know he’s laughing at this, but every president—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: But what’s it got to do with Russia?
SEN. TIM KAINE: Every president since Richard Nixon has done it, and Donald Trump has said, “I’m doing business with Russia.” The only way the American public will see whether he has a conflict of interest—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: No, he hasn’t said that.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Senator, your time is up.
SEN. TIM KAINE: He has, actually.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Governor?GOV. MIKE PENCE: Well, thanks. I’m just trying to keep up with the insult-driven campaign on the other side of the table.
SEN. TIM KAINE: You know, I’m just saying facts about your running mate.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Yeah.
SEN. TIM KAINE: And I know you can’t defend them.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Senator, please. This is the governor’s two minutes.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: I’m happy to defend him, Senator. Don’t put words in my mouth that I’m not defending him.
SEN. TIM KAINE: You’re not.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: I’m happy to defend him. Most of what you said is completely false, and the American people know that. This—
SEN. TIM KAINE: I’ll run through the list of things where you didn’t defend him.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Senator, please, this is Governor Pence’s two minutes.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: This isn’t—this isn’t the old days where you can just say stuff and people believe it. Look, this is the—this is the alternative universe of Washington, D.C., versus reality. Hillary Clinton said her number one priority was a reset with Russia. That reset resulted in the invasion of Ukraine, after they had infiltrated with what are called little green men, Russian soldiers that were dressing up like Ukrainian dissidents. And then they moved all the way into Crimea, took over the Crimean Peninsula. But Donald Trump knew that happened. He basically was saying it’s not going to happen again.
The truth of the matter is that—that what you have in the rise of aggressive Russia, which has had—increased its influence in Iran, that’s now—now, because of this deal, is on a pathway in the future to obtain a nuclear—the leading state sponsor of terror in the world, in Iran, now has a closer working relationship with Russia because of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and $150 billion and sanctions all being lifted.
And then, of course, Syria. I mean, it’s—it really is extraordinary. Syria is imploding. You just asked a very thoughtful question about the disaster in Aleppo. ISIS is headquartered in Raqqa. It is—ISIS from Raqqa has overrun vast areas that, at great sacrifice, the American soldier won in Operation Iraqi Freedom. And yet Senator Kaine still sits here, loyal soldier—I get all that—in saying that the foreign policy of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama somehow made the world more secure. I mean, it really is astonishing, that on the day—
SEN. TIM KAINE: We’ve wiped out the leader of al-Qaeda.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —on the day that Iran released four American hostages—
SEN. TIM KAINE: We stopped Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
ELAINE QUIJANO: All right, Governor—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: —we delivered 400 million in cash on—as a ransom payment for Americans held by the radical mullahs in Tehran.
AMY GOODMAN: Green Party vice-presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka?
AJAMU BARAKA: You know, this conversation is really surreal. What gives the U.S. the justification to believe that it has a moral right to intervene any place on this planet? Are we—are we to believe that they are the arbiters or the supporters, the defenders of international human rights, when any rational person who can see and can think clearly can see that that cannot be the case, that we talk about the aggression on the part of the Russians?
But let’s look at what’s happened over the last 15 years with U.S. policies. They have gone into Iraq and destroyed that country. They have gone into Afghanistan. They have subverted Venezuela. They have gone into Libya and destroyed that country. They have been involved in aggression across the planet. Obama, every Tuesday, decides who’s going to live and die in his drone program. They allow for the—for the Saudis to go into Yemen and to create a humanitarian crisis there that no one talks about. So this notion of the U.S. having some kind of humanitarian justification to flaunt international law, to intervene where it chooses, to determine what governments are legitimate or not, to claim to be in a position to criticize the Russians, to me, is surreal.
We have to have a more critical approach to and understanding of U.S. policy. We cannot allow ourselves to be so easily manipulated by the administrations and by the corporate press. They clearly, even in the framing of these questions, have assumed that we have this enemy in the Russians and that the only solution, the only way we deal with these competitors—that’s what we’re talking about: capitalist competitors—is through military means. We’ve got to resist that and reject those kinds of policies. And that’s what we intend to do with this campaign.
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to debate moderator Elaine Quijano.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Gentlemen, I’d like to shift now to the threat of terrorism. Do you think the world today is a safer or more dangerous place than it was eight years ago? Has the terrorist threat increased or decreased? Senator Kaine?
SEN. TIM KAINE: The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways, because bin Laden is dead. The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways, because an Iranian nuclear weapons program has been stopped. The terrorist threat to United States troops has been decreased in some ways, because there’s not 175,000 in a dangerous part of the world. There’s only 15,000. But there are other parts of the world that are challenging.
Let me tell you this: To beat terrorism, there’s only one candidate who can do it, and it’s Hillary Clinton. Remember, Hillary Clinton was the senator from New York on 9/11. She was there at the World Trade Center when they were still searching for victims and survivors. That’s seared onto her, the need to beat terrorism.
And she’s got a plan to do it. She was part of the national security team that wiped out bin Laden. Here’s her plan to defeat ISIL. First, we’ve got to keep taking out their leaders on the battlefield. She was part of the team that got bin Laden, and she’ll lead the team that will get Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS. Second, we’ve got to disrupt financing networks; third, disrupt their ability to recruit on the internet, in their safe havens; but, fourth, we also have to work with allies to share and surge intelligence. That’s the Hillary Clinton plan. She’s got the experience to do it.
Donald Trump. Donald Trump can’t start a Twitter war with Miss Universe without shooting himself in the foot. Donald Trump doesn’t have a plan. He said, “Um, I have a secret plan,” and then he said, “Um, I know more than all the generals about ISIL.” And then he said, “I’m going to call the generals to help me figure out a plan.” And finally he said, “I’m going to fire all the generals.” He doesn’t have a plan.
But he does have dangerous ideas. Here’s four. He trash-talks the military: The military is a disaster, John McCain’s no hero, the generals need all to be fired, and I know more than them. He wants to tear up alliances: NATO is obsolete, and we’ll only work together with Israel if they pay “big league.” Third, he loves dictators. He’s got kind of a personal Mount Rushmore: Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Muammar Gaddafi—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Oh, please. Come on.
SEN. TIM KAINE: —and Saddam Hussein. And last, and most dangerously, Donald Trump believes—Donald Trump believes that the world will be safer if more nations have nuclear weapons. He’s said Saudi Arabia should get them, Japan should get them, Korea should get them. And when he was confronted with this, and told, “Wait a minute, terrorists could get those, proliferation could lead to nuclear war,” here’s what Donald Trump said, and I quote: “Go ahead, folks. Enjoy yourselves.” I’d love to hear Governor Pence tell me what’s so enjoyable or comical about nuclear war.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Governor Pence?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Did you work on that one a long time? Because that had a lot of really creative lines in it.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Well, I’m going to see if you can defend any of it.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Look, look, I can defend. I—I can—I can make very clear to the American people, after traveling millions of miles as our secretary of state, after being the architect of the foreign policy of this administration, America is less safe today than it was the day that Barack Obama became president of the United States. It’s absolutely inarguable. Now, we’ve weakened America’s place in the world. It’s been a combination of factors, but mostly it’s been a lack of leadership.
I mean, I will give you—and I was in Washington, D.C., on 9/11. I saw the clouds of smoke rise from the Pentagon.
SEN. TIM KAINE: I was in Virginia, where the Pentagon’s smoke—
GOV. MIKE PENCE: I know you were. We all lived through that day as a nation. It was heartbreaking. And I want to give this president credit for bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.
But the truth is, Osama bin Laden led al-Qaeda. Our primary threat today is ISIS. And because Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate a status of forces agreement that would have allowed some American combat troops to remain in Iraq and secure the hard-fought gains the American soldier had won by 2009, ISIS was able to be literally conjured up out of the desert, and it’s overrun vast areas that the American soldier had won in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
My heart breaks for the likes of Lance Corporal Scott Zubowski. He fell in Fallujah in 2005. He fought hard through some of the most difficult days in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and he paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom and secure that nation. And that nation was secured in 2009. But because Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama failed to provide a status of forces agreement and leave sufficient troops in there, we are back at war. The president just ordered more troops on the ground. We are back at war in Iraq. And Scott Zubowski, whose mom would always come to Memorial Day events in Newcastle, Indiana, to see me, and I’d always give her a hug and tell her we’re never going to forget her son—and we never will—Scott Zubowski and the sacrifices the American soldier made were squandered in Iraq because this administration created a vacuum in which ISIS was able to grow.
And a reference to the Iranian deal, the Iranian deal that Hillary Clinton initiated, $150 billion to the radical mullahs in Iran.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Stopping a nuclear weapons program without firing a shot?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: You didn’t stop the nuclear weapons program.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Yes, we did.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: You essentially—
SEN. TIM KAINE: Even the Israeli military says it stopped.
GOV. MIKE PENCE: You essentially guaranteed that Iran will someday become a nuclear power, because there’s no limitations once the period of time of the treaty comes off.
AMY GOODMAN: Ajamu Baraka, Green Party vice-presidential nominee, the question: Do you think that this country is safer, or is it more dangerous, than it was eight years ago?
AJAMU BARAKA: This country and the world is more dangerous as a consequence of the rampage that the U.S. has been involved in in the so-called Middle East. I think Governor Pence and Tim Kaine, I think they forgot that the real genesis of this—of this situation really has to be laid at the foot of the invasion of Iraq, an invasion that Hillary Clinton supported and an invasion that is where we see the expansion of the forces of the jihadists in that part of the world. So, it’s been the policies of both administrations. Under the Bush administration, there was a conscious decision to utilize jihadist forces to advance U.S. policies. The award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh clearly documented that. And that policy was continued under the Obama administration.
So, the policies of using these jihadists to advance their interests in places like Syria, we see the blowback happening across—across the world. The policies have gone into—into Libya and destroying that state. You know, one of the things that did not come out in the hearings around Benghazi was what was happening at that annex. And I think the story is very clear. What they were involved in at the annex was a gun-running program to transfer the weapons from Libya, after they had destroyed that country, to Syria. So we see that it’s been the militarism, it’s been the policies of the Bush and the Obama administration, that has created the destabilization, not only in the Middle East, but also we are experiencing the blowback of the enhancement, the military enhancement, of these jihadist forces.
So, you know, any simple explanation that could be put on the—at the feet of either one of these parties is something that we have to look at very critically. This is part a collective process, a bipartisan process, to advance U.S. interests by using these unsavory forces and using and working through their vassal states like the Saudis, who even Joe Biden said they can’t stop from—they can’t stop the Saudis from providing finance to these various Wahhabist groups. So, this is a complex and a nasty game that is being played by the elites.
AMY GOODMAN: Green Party vice-presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka, as part of our “Expanding the Debate” special, when we gave him a chance to respond to the same questions in real time posed to Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence in the first and only vice-presidential debate of this election season. Watch the full debate at democracynow.org. When we come back, we get response. Stay with us.Your support matters…
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