Live Blogging the MoveOn Town Hall with All Democratic Presidential Candidates

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As mentioned earlier, MoveOn is hosting a virtual town hall tonight asking all Democratic candidates for president their opinions on Iraq. Well, I’m attending one at the Harvard Hillel; here are my thoughts.

Eli Pariser, Executive Director of MoveOn, kicks us off by saying this is the first virtual town hall ever held on this scale. Tonight’s focus: Iraq. Two more town halls, health care and global warming, coming later. 600,000 votes were cast by MoveOn members to determine which questions get asked tonight; questions were pre-submitted by MoveOn members. We’ll have 10 minutes with each candidate.

First up, John Edwards. Edwards begins: “I was wrong and I take responsibility for that.” To paraphrase: We don’t need more debate, nonbinding resolutions, abstract goals. Congress should use funding authority to immediately start bringing troops home. “This is not the time for political calculation; it is a time for political courage.” Incredibly strong rhetoric from Edwards with incredibly strong recommendations/ideas for ending the war; willing to cut funding for troops, if it means forcing Bush to bring troops home.

Next, Joe Biden. “There is not military solution in Iraq.” Need for a political solution. Says that his opponents have offered plans for cutting troops and/or funding, but don’t have a political solution that answers the question of “Then what?” We leave Iraq and get our troops home. Fine. No more Americans are dying. Fine. But then what?

Biden has a plan, the only plan put forward by a Democrat running for president. Basically, we decentralize Iraq in order to stabilize it, breaking it up into loosely federated pieces. Limited central government exists to care for borders, army, distribution of oil revenues, and foreign policy. Oil policy should share oil revenues with Sunnis, especially, in an effort to get them to back off the insurgency. Essentially, under Biden’s plan, oil money holds the country together.

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If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

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