Hello! You are part of a community of millions who seek out Democracy Now! each month for ad-free daily news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for our in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power and lift up the voices of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We produce all of this news at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation. We do this without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How? This model of news depends on support from viewers and listeners like you. Today, less than 1% of our visitors support Democracy Now! with a donation each year. If even 3% of our website visitors donated just $10 per month, we could cover our basic operating expenses for a year. Pretty amazing right? If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make a monthly contribution.

Your Donation: $
Friday, February 1, 2008 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | NEXT: Taxi to the Dark Side: Oscar-Nominated Documentary Film...
2008-02-01

Democratic Presidential Nomination Could Hinge on Divided Latino Vote

Guests

Dolores Huerta, longtime labor activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez.

Federico Peña, co-chair of Barack Obama’s campaign. Under President Clinton he headed the Department of Transportation and served as Secretary of Energy. He is former mayor of Denver.

Gilbert Cedillo, California State Sentaor.

DONATE →
This is viewer supported news

With Super Tuesday just four days away, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are actively courting support from Latino voters across the country. We speak to Dolores Huerta, a longtime labor activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, who is supporting Clinton; Federico Pena, a former Clinton cabinet member and Denver mayor, now co-chairing Obama’s campaign; and California State Senator Gilbert Cedillo, who is also backing Obama. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZALEZ: With Super Tuesday just four days away, Senators Clinton and Obama are actively courting support from Latino voters across the country. Latinos comprise a major portion of the Democratic electorate in many Super Tuesday states including California, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. In contests so far, Clinton has won large percentages of the Latino vote. In Nevada, exit polls show she won more than 60 percent of the Hispanic vote, though the Culinary Workers Union had backed Obama. In Florida, Clinton won 59 percent of the Latino vote; Obama won only 30 percent.

Clinton has scored several major endorsements from within the Latino community in California, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the pioneering labor activist Dolores Huerta. Obama supporters in California include Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero and Maria Elena Durazo, the head of the powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

AMY GOODMAN: The campaign has even split families. Congressmember Loretta Sanchez of California is backing Clinton, while her sister, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, is in the Obama camp.

We’re joined now by several guests to talk about the upcoming vote. Dolores Huerta, longtime labor activist, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, Thursday she was campaigning for Hillary Clinton in New Mexico. She lives in California. We’re also joined by Federico Pena. He is co-chair of the Barack Obama campaign. He served in the cabinet of President Bill Clinton as head of the Department of Transportation and Energy Secretary. He joins us on the phone from Denver, Colorado, where he is the former mayor.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Dolores Huerta, let’s begin with you. Why do support Hillary Clinton?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, I believe that she’s a person who has the experience that we need. I believe she has the courage, because she has, you know, taken risks like coming out for national healthcare when nobody else was doing that. She was also — just the fact that shes running for the presidency of the United States. So you’ve got the combination that we need for a president that can take, you know, as she has said often, to lead on the first day she gets inaugurated, because she’s got the intelligence and the experience and the courage and the capability of running the country.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Dolores, as I’m sure you’re aware, Ted Kennedy, I guess the icon of the Democratic Party in the Senate, this week came out in support of Barack Obama, and he immediately went to try to campaign among Latinos in California, I guess evoking especially the memory of Bobby Kennedy, who marched with Cesar and you and many of the farm workers in the 1960s. Your response to this effort by Ted Kennedy to convince Latinos to back Obama?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, on the other hand, we have the endorsement of Bobby Kennedy, actually, Robert Kennedy’s son. Bobby Kennedy, as you know, has been very active on the environment, and he had a beautiful piece at the — he, Kerry Kennedy, the head of the Robert Kennedy Foundation, Kathleen Kennedy, former lieutenant governor of Maryland — all of these are Robert’s children. And I want to refer you to an LA Times

editorial that they wrote of why they were supporting Hillary. And in that article, Bobby says he has worked with Hillary on the environment for fifteen years, and Kathleen has worked with Hillary for twenty-five years.

One of the things that, you know, they keep talking about, the progressive candidates, you know, Hillary Clinton voted against the nuclear waste dumping in Yucca Mountain in Nevada, while on the other hand Barack Obama actually took money from the company that was creating the nuclear waste and wanted to dump it in Nevada. So, you know, I think that that pretty much offsets Ted Kennedy’s endorsement, because you’ve got Robert Kennedy’s children — of course, the farm workers’ union, we were much more closer to Robert, and these are the activists. These are the ones that are out there doing community work, and that they know what Hillary has done in terms of her long history in civil rights, in working for children, working for education. You know, so they know that she’s the one that they feel is the best person to run for president.

AMY GOODMAN: Federico Pena, you’re co-chair of the Barack Obama campaign, yet under President Clinton, you headed the Department of Transportation, as well as the Department of Energy. Your response? Why have you gone from the Clintons to Obama?

FEDERICO PENA: Well, Amy and Juan, good morning. Let me say good morning to my good friend, Dolores Huerta. We’ve been friends for many, many years.

Let me be very succinct in telling the audience why I’m supporting Barack Obama. Number one, I believe the next president of the United States has to have an extraordinary ability to reunite the American people. Of all the candidates who were running, all seven or eight originally, I concluded that the person who had the God-given talent and skill, just a natural ability to bring people together, was Barack Obama.

Secondly, I believe the next president has to be more than just a Democratic president. I want a Democratic president who will have the ability to bring bold change in Washington. And to do that, you have to be able to work with Republicans and independents. And Barack Obama does not have, in twenty years of experience fighting Republicans in Washington, having that sort of albatross around his neck, therefore he will be far more able to bring the parties together.

And lastly, in terms of foreign policy, I want a president who will look to the world from the future and not the perspective of the past. Barack Obama’s early years, the way he was raised, his whole personal experience gives him good judgment about the world, and that’s why, unlike Hillary Clinton, he opposed the war in 2002. He has been steadfast about that. And I think it’s that kind of good judgment that the American people want, and I certainly want, in the next president.

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, I don’t know about his judgment. I just want to mention one thing in particular.

AMY GOODMAN: Dolores Huerta.

DOLORES HUERTA: Yeah. There was a big issue, if you will recall, where we had a woman who — in Chicago, Elvira Arellano, who refused to be deported, and she was undocumented. She was in sanctuary for twelve months, for an entire year, right there in Chicago, where Obama lives. The people who did that campaign, these were the same ones that organized the big marches in Chicago, went to see Obama to get some support for Elvira Arellano. He not only refused to help them, but he didn’t even bother to go see Elvira. I went from California four times to be there with her. We had a large delegation from Mexico from all the political parties that went to see Elvira. Five ambassadors, they all flew to Washington, D.C. to plead on her behalf. Obama never, never lifted a finger to help her, as he never did when we had two Latinos that had been unjustly incarcerated for a murder that they did not commit. Again, a big campaign to free these two young men from prison. They were ultimately freed. But when they went to see Senator Obama, he refused to help them.

I have been a civil rights activist like this all of my life, and I have been to Chicago many times for many different campaigns that the community there —- the Latino community was there. I have, to this day, to meet Mr. Obama. I have never encountered him in any of these big campaigns that we have done in Chicago on different issues. And, as I say, I have never yet to meet the man. And so, I don’t know about his -—

AMY GOODMAN: Did Senator Clinton weigh in — Dolores Huerta, did Senator Clinton weigh in in either of those cases?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, let me — yeah, let me just say this, that this is a — we’re talking about Chicago. We’re talking about the third largest Latino area outside of Mexico City, right?

FEDERICO PENA: Can I —-

DOLORES HUERTA: But Hillary doesn’t live in Chicago. These people here actually went to see Obama, Senator Obama. So I don’t believe that he has that kind of courage and that kind of judgment. Or let’s say, is it judgment or is it wisdom or whatever? But he chose not to be associated with one of the biggest causes that we have in our community, the cause of Elvira Arellano, the cause of these two young men, where he could have stepped in. They were ultimately freed, by the way, but not with his help. So, I mean, I don’t know -—

FEDERICO PENA: Amy and Juan, can I say something?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, Federico Pena. Yes.

FEDERICO PENA: First of all, I didn’t know that this morning’s call was going to give an opportunity for each of us to criticize the other candidate. I am happy to do the same thing as respect to Hillary Clinton, but let me interrupt and correct the misimpression that my good friend Dolores just left. I’ve spoken to the senator about this case and his staff. His staff met with this woman twice. The reason she got special exemption years ago with Senator Durbin’s help was because she had a special medical condition. That special medical condition went away. She was no longer subject to a unique law that had to be passed specifically on her behalf, and that’s why it wasn’t done. So it’s clearly not the case.

But let me get back to this issue of who has been most involved in the Hispanic community. Now, Dolores just said that she’s been to Chicago a number of times — by the way, Dolores, I go to Chicago a lot myself — and that she’s never seen Barack in the community. Well, Barack Obama was the only person who participated in the massive marches by immigrants who were protesting the inappropriate immigration laws being considered in Congress. Hillary Clinton did not. It was Barack Obama who has been strongly supporting immigration reform in the Congress, introducing amendments with Senator Menendez, Congressman Gutierrez. And it was Barack Obama who said that he supports states having drivers’ licenses for undocumented citizens, whereas Hillary — and you saw her during the debate — at first she said she was for it, then she’s against it. And now she’s definitely against it. Where is the courage?

You talk about courage. I want to stand with a president who has the courage to stand up for the things that are right, to say the war was wrong in 2002, when Hillary said it was right. And then, last night in the debate, she started to say that, well, it really wasn’t a resolution to engage in war. And Barack read the title of the resolution, which is very clear. So we have to be careful when we talk about courage and judgment, because there is another side to the story as respects Hillary Clinton. I didn’t want to go there this morning, but since Dolores launched this first attack about Yucca Mountain — and then she knows that Barack has been against Yucca Mountain. I know about Yucca Mountain, because I was Secretary of Energy under President Clinton. And we can talk about the position of President Clinton on Yucca Mountain, if you’d like to, too, but I thought we were going to have this conversation, one about our own candidates, and have it a bit more clean.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going break and come back to the conversation. Federico Pena, co-chair of Barack Obama’s campaign, we’re speaking to him in Denver. He was the Secretary of Transportation and Energy under President Clinton. Dolores Huerta is the longtime labor activist, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez, and she’s speaking to us from California. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. We will come back to this debate in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We are speaking with Federico Pena, co-chair of Barack Obama’s campaign. Under President Clinton, he headed the Departments of Transportation, as well as Energy. Dolores Huerta is the longtime labor activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez. Juan, the issue of licenses.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yeah, I want to turn to last night’s Democratic debate in Hollywood. The candidates were asked about the impact undocumented workers have had on the labor market for African Americans. This is Senator Barack Obama.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: I do not think that it is either appropriate to give a driver’s license to someone who’s here undocumented, putting them, frankly, at risk, because that is clear evidence that they are not here legally. And I believe it is a diversion from what should be the focus at creating a political coalition with the courage to stand up and change the immigration system.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: The only point I would make is, Senator Clinton gave a number of different answers over the course of six weeks on this issue, and that did appear political. Now, at this point she’s got a clear position, but it took a while. And —-

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: Well -—

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: I’m just being — just in fairness, initially, in a debate you said you were for it. Then you said you were against it. And the only reason I bring that up is to underscore the fact that this is a difficult political issue. From my perspective, I agree with Bill Richardson that there is a public safety concern here and that we’re better off, because I don’t want a bunch of hit-and-run drivers because they’re worried about being deported and so they don’t report an accident. That is a judgment call.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: And if I recall, about a week after I said that I would try to support my governor, although I didn’t agree with it personally, you were asked the same question and could not answer it. So this is a difficult issue. And both of us have to recognize that it is not something that we easily come to, because we share a lot of the same of values.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: I agree.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: We want to — we want to be fair to people. We want to respect the dignity of every human being, every person who is here. But we are trying to work our way through to get to where we need to be, and that is to have a united Democratic Party with fair-minded Republicans who will join us to fix this broken immigration system.


JUAN GONZALEZ: That was Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama last night at the Kodak Theater in their debate. Obviously we had a little mix-up on the tapes, and that was actually the debate that they had over the issue of drivers’ licenses. I’d like to begin first with Dolores Huerta. Your response on this issue of driver’s licenses and how — drivers’ licenses for immigrants and how Hillary Clinton appears to have waffled on this issue?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, the reason is, I believe — and I think both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are in agreement on the issue that we have to have immigration reform. Actually, when you come down to the driver’s license issue, it’s a state issue. Neither she or he, as US senators, can do anything about drivers’ licenses. It’s got to be a state-by-state issue. And the only answer to that is that we have to have immigration reform. We get immigration reform, then the driver’s license issue really does — it’s a non-issue, because the real solution is to have immigration reform. And on that issue, of course, she has been very, very strong.

The other thing is, when we talk about unity, I mean, Hillary Clinton has been a very effective legislator. She has passed a lot of legislation with many Republicans that have supported her on her legislation. So when they say that — this whole thing about unity, I mean, she has shown that she can work with the other side of the aisle, which is sometimes very difficult to do, as we have known with that Republican Senate, and yet she has effectively done this.

Also, she actually was the introducer of an immigration reform bill in 2004. This was way before we had all of the marches on May the 1st of 2006. So she’s already been out there. You know, her first involvement with the Latino community was registering voters when she was twenty years old in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, which is the poorest area of the United States of America. So she’s not a Johnny-come-lately to our community.

And it’s interesting that in Nevada, where she got almost 59 percent of the Latino vote, in spite of the oppression and the voter suppression and huge intimidation on the part of the Obama supporters of the Latino casino workers, they voted for Hillary. And out of the casinos, nine casinos that they had for voting sites, seven of the nine casinos voted for Hillary Clinton over the endorsement of the Culinary Workers Union.

AMY GOODMAN: Federico Pena?

FEDERICO PENA: Well, let me start with three points. Number one, this was about courage, and it’s very, very clear that Senator Clinton was at first supporting her governor, but when the governor ran into a lot of controversy on the issue of drivers’ licenses, she quickly switched. I don’t understand why Governor Richardson stood very tall and said, “Look, in my state it works,” and apparently Senator Clinton wouldn’t even support that program. So this is not just a matter of states doing this on a state-by-state basis. This is an issue at the federal level. And as a presidential candidate, it seems to me you ought to be consistent in that view. Barack has been consistent. He is at a great risk, because there are lots of people who disagree with him that undocumented citizens, individuals, ought to be able to have a driver’s license.

Secondly, let me talk a little bit about the other comment that was made about immigrants. I was very dismayed when Senator Clinton apparently started to blame unemployment among African Americans and others on immigrants. That’s the kind of scapegoating that divides our country; that’s not a unifier. All the studies that I have seen — and I’ve seen many of them — indicate that undocumented workers do not reduce salaries of other workers —- only in the very lowest job categories, and usually it’s undocumented workers who are competing with other recent immigrants. So Barack understands that, but he was strong enough to say let’s not scapegoat the unemployment problems of African Americans or anybody else on immigrants. Frankly, that’s a Republican argument. That’s a Tom Tancredo argument. And I was disappointed to hear Senator Clinton make that point.

And lastly, let’s remember that it’s the Hillary Clinton campaign, through her pollster, who started asking the question of their people who were being polled, would they be willing, as Hispanics, to vote for an African American president. I find that extremely distasteful. Again, I would find that coming from a Republican candidate polling, running against an African American, but not from a Democrat running against another Democrat. This is what I experienced when I ran for mayor. These kinds of questions were asked by my opponents when I ran for mayor: would the people of Denver be ready for a Hispanic mayor? It became public. It backfired and hurt the other candidate. So when we’re talking about who is the best unifier here, who’s really supporting the controversial issues impacting the Hispanic community, these are the records and these are the public statements of both candidates.

AMY GOODMAN: Federico Pena, I want to thank you for being with us. I know you have to leave right now. Former mayor of Denver, as well as, well, Barack Obama supporter, though he was the Secretaries of both Energy and Transportation under President Clinton, he spoke to us from Denver. We’re going to stay with Dolores Huerta. We’ll also be joined by California State Senator Gilbert Cedillo, who is a Barack Obama supporter. But first we’re going to go to another mayor, to the current mayor of Los Angeles, Villaraigosa, and what he has to say about his candidate.

    MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA: Well, people have asked me why the mayor of the second largest city in America would leave the sunny California for Iowa and New Hampshire in the dead of winter. And I said, it’s simple. This is the most important election of my lifetime. We’re at war. We’re in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we want to get our troops out as quickly and safely as possible. Fifty million people uninsured today. We’re losing the strength of the middle class. We depend on foreign oil in a way that, frankly, is unacceptable at a time of global warming. And I’m supporting -—

    REPORTER: But why Senator Clinton?

    MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA: — Hillary Clinton, because I think she’s got the strength, the experience and the leadership to hit the ground running, to do the important things we need to do to move America in a new direction. I look at Hillary, and the one thing that you know about her is this is a woman who understands that we’ve lost our prestige and respect around the world, that we need to collaborate with our international partners around the world, and we need to engage in diplomacy around the world. And I believe her when she says she’s going to move quickly to get us out of this war.


JUAN GONZALEZ: That was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. We’re joined now by Senator Gil Cedillo of Los Angeles, a former roommate at UCLA of the Los Angeles mayor and longtime comrade of his in the Chicano movement. But on this election, they’re on different sides. Gil Cedillo, welcome to Democracy Now!

GILBERT CEDILLO: Good morning to you and Amy and your audience.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Gil, talk —

GILBERT CEDILLO: Just for the record, the mayor used to live with me.

JUAN GONZELEZ: OK.

AMY GOODMAN: We also, of course, still have on line with us Dolores Huerta, longtime labor activist.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, and Dolores Huerta is still on the line with us. Gil Cedillo, why are you supporting Barack Obama?

GILBERT CEDILLO: I’m supporting Barack Obama because the challenges that confront this country are not challenges of capacity. It’s not about whether or not we have experienced people in this country. We have plenty of experienced people, talented people, capable people. The challenges that exist in this country and the questions of war and peace are challenges of leadership. And on those matters, this young man has proven himself to be an extraordinary leader. He’s uncompromising. He’s taking positions that are not politically safe. He’s taking them because they’re the right thing to do. He has lived his life as an example of leadership. He’s going to bring our nation together, independents, Republicans, Democrats, young and old, people of all races, all genders. He’s an extraordinary human being, and we would be honored to have him as our president.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to another clip from the debate last night that took place at the Kodak Theater, absolutely packed out, between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. And this was about the issue of jobs. Let’s turn to that clip.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: I think to suggest somehow that the problem that we’re seeing in inner city unemployment, for example, is attributable to immigrants, I think, is a case of scapegoating that I do not believe in, I do not subscribe to. And this is where we do have a very real difference with the other party. I believe that we can be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

    Now, there is no doubt that we have to get control of our borders. We can’t have hundreds of thousands of people coming over to the United States without us having any idea who they are. I also believe that we do have to crack down on those employers that are taking advantage of the situation, hiring folks who cannot complain about worker conditions, who aren’t getting the minimum wage sometimes or aren’t getting overtime. We have to crack down on them. I also believe we have to give a pathway to citizenship, after they have paid a fine and learned English, to those who are already here, because if we don’t, they will continue to undermine US wages.

    But let’s understand more broadly that the economic problems that African Americans are experiencing, whites are experiencing, blacks and Latinos are experiencing in this country are all rooted in the fact that we have had an economy out of balance, we’ve had tax cuts that went up instead of down, we have had a lack of investment in basic infrastructure in this country, our education system is chronically underfunded. And so, there are a whole host of reasons why we have not been generating the kinds of jobs that we are generating. We should not use immigration as a — as a tactic to divide. Instead, we should pull the country together to get this economy back on track. That’s what I intend to do as president of the United States of America.

    WOLF BLITZER: Senator Clinton, now we’re going to stay on the subject, but Doyle has a follow-up.

    DOYLE McMANUS: Senator Clinton, Senator Obama has said that he favors allowing illegal immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses, and you oppose that idea. Why?

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: Well, let me start with the original question from Kim, because I think it deserves an answer. I believe that in many parts of our country, because of employers who exploit undocumented workers and drive down wages, there are job losses. And I think we should be honest about that. There are people who have been pushed out of jobs in factories and meat processing plants and all kinds of settings. And I meet them. You know, I was in Atlanta last night, and an African American man said to me, "I used to have a lot of construction jobs, and now it just seems like the only people who get them anymore are people who are here without documentation." So I know that what we have to do is to bring our country together to have a comprehensive immigration reform solution. That is the answer.

    What we’ve got to do is to say, come out of the shadows, we will register everyone. We will check, because if you have committed a crime in this country or the country you came from, then you will not be able to stay; you will have to be deported. But for the vast majority of people who are here, we will give you a path to legalization if you meet the following conditions. Pay a fine because you entered illegally. Be willing to pay back taxes over time. Try to learn English, and we have to help you do that, because we’ve cut back on so many of those services. And then you wait in line.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Again, those were the candidates last night at the Kodak Theater, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Dolores Huerta, your response and also to the issue raised by Federico Pena, that he saw this statement by Hillary Clinton as, in essence, scapegoating immigrants?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, I don’t believe so. I think, first of all, we have to remember that this so-called black-and-brown divide is coming from the media, and they would love to see nothing better than to see a division between black and brown, so that in November the Republicans again can take control of the White House. So I don’t see that. You know, we have some of the strongest civil rights leaders, like Andy Young, Martin Luther King’s right hand, and John Lewis, an active civil rights worker, that are supporting Hillary Clinton.

And when we say that Latinos won’t vote for an African American, that’s ridiculous. Ron Dellums, who was — who is supporting Hillary Clinton, the mayor of Oakland, was just recently elected when he ran against a very strong, popular Latino labor leader, Ignacio De La Fuente. I supported Ron Dellums and, of course, the Latinos in Oakland supported him to win that mayorship. And he won, you know, on the first ballot without even a runoff. And we have a big history of coming together to elect, you know, blacks for browns, and Antonio Villaraigosa was elected with the African community. Of course, Mr. Cedillo didn’t endorse him, but he won with the strong support of the African American community. Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, both very — both strong congresswomen, African American women, are supporting Hillary Clinton. So this black-brown divide is being perpetuated and promoted by the press, and we’ve got to be careful not to fall into that.

On the driver’s license issue, I just want to say this, is that Gil Cedillo — actually we had the driver’s license in California. Governor Gray Davis paid a price for that. He signed the driver’s license bill. And Gil Cedillo was the one that led the fight in the Senate, in the California legislature, to get rid of the driver’s license after we already had it. So, you know, I think that we all have to come together and think of one thing: we need immigration reform. That’s what we need. We have to work very hard to get a congress that is going to be able to pass a decent, workable law for immigration reform.

One other thing, actually, [inaudible] here is that Hillary Clinton has, you know, been a very strong labor leader. She has co-sponsored or sponsored over thirty pieces of legislation for working people. She has intervened in labor disputes over eleven of them to settle labor disputes between unions and their employers. She has walked picket lines. You know, so, I mean, her whole — you have to look her record. Her record is exemplary.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Dolores, I just want to interrupt you, because we only have a few more minutes, and I wanted to ask one last question to Gil Cedillo, which is on the issue of the foreign policy. To those on the left who say that both Clinton and Obama are in essence neoliberals who are supporting the growth of the American empire, the — Obama wants 90,000 more troops in the US military, and Clinton is ready to possibly go to war with Iran — what do you say on this issue of both of the candidates and how they are dealing with the issue of the American empire?

GILBERT CEDILLO: Well, let me begin by saying that it would be a tremendous message to the world community for us to elect an African American, a son of an immigrant, father a Kenyan, his mother Anglo American, an extraordinary message.

Second, he has a different vision for our role standing in the world. He believes in diplomacy, and it is a pillar of his view for how we deal with foreign policy. He is against NAFTA, Juan, you know that, and you would like that position, as I share it. And so, we’re going to look at someone who has a different view of the world, who will have a capacity to be — to embrace and be embraced in this kind of shrinking global world of ours. And so, he is a person who will be a leader and who will be embraced by other world leaders. He has said — and I think this is key — that he is willing to go and talk to other leaders around the world, whether they agree with us or not, to make our position clear in the world. He is open to that, to diplomacy. He doesn’t fear negotiating, and so — and believes we should negotiate from strength, but doesn’t fear negotiating with others in the world.

Let me go back, if I may, because I want to —-

AMY GOODMAN: We just have fifteen seconds, Gil.

GILBERT CEDILLO: Well, let’s just be clear what the distinctions were. She is against driver’s license. She accepted the scapegoating argument, and her pollster serves as the basis for creating this so-called black-Latino divide. Clearly, clearly, not positions of leadership, not getting above the fray, very disappointing last night to hear her fall into the myth that somehow Latinos are displacing African American and displacing other workers in this country. It is a myth.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to -—

GILBERT CEDILLO: That’s the rightwing myth that’s perpetuated every day on A.M. radio, on Lou Dobbs. It’s anti-immigrant hysteria, and we should be above that.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to leave it there. I want to thank you both for being with us, Gilbert Cedillo, California state senator, as well as Dolores Huerta, longtime labor activist, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez — she, of course, a Clinton supporter; Gil Cedillo, an Obama supporter. This is Democracy Now!

, democracynow.org, the War and Peace Report. Of course, the debate will go on.

Show Full Transcript ›
‹ Hide Full Transcript

Recent Shows More

Full News Hour

Stories


Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.