News Release

Questioning the Candidates on Substance


Alpert is New Hampshire program coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee. Miller is director of New Hampshire Peace Action. Alpert said today: “During the months leading up to its first-in-the-nation presidential primary, New Hampshire residents really do get the chance to meet all the candidates. With a little skill, preparation, and luck, they can get candidates to explain their positions on key issues. More important, perhaps, they can also shift the political debate by letting candidates know where potential voters stand.”

Some interactions are on video at the New Hampshire Peace Action blog.

Alpert continued: “I approached Sen. John McCain at the Barley House restaurant in Concord on Dec. 17 with a question about nuclear weapons. The Senator initially tried to avoid me entirely, but eventually responded to a question about U.S. compliance with Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which calls on the U.S. and the other declared nuclear powers to make good faith efforts toward the reduction and elimination of their nuclear weapons. McCain said that he was happy with what the U.S. had done on this and that it was in compliance with all the treaties.

“I followed up by asking how we would be able to convince other nations to forego the nuclear option if the United States continues on its present course, which includes the Bush nuclear doctrine of first strike nuclear attacks. He replied, ‘the same way we’ve done throughout our history.’ Video is available.

“Two days earlier, I asked Hillary Clinton if she would support a No First Use policy, which would contradict her statements that ‘all options are on the table’ with Iran, a statement which implies a threat to use nuclear weapons. Clinton, who was standing behind a indoor fence after a presentation at a Nashua college, told me ‘I’m not discussing nuclear policy on a rope line.’ I gave her a copy of my article, ‘Clinton must speak clearly on nukes,’ which was published in the Concord Monitor Nov. 2. Clinton said she would send a response.”

Minor is with the Palestinian Human Rights Action Network. She lives in eastern Iowa and has been asking several of the candidates about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hassberg is coordinator of the War and Law League, which has conducted a presidential candidate survey regarding war-making powers. Among the candidates responding, the group reports: “Senator John Edwards says President Bush long ago exceeded his authority to act in Iraq, inasmuch as the 2002 congressional authorization did not give him ‘the power to use U.S. troops to police a civil war.’ Edwards wants no funding without a firm timeline for withdrawal.

“Rep. Dennis Kucinich believes that Congress’s war power includes more than the power to declare war: that the Constitution’s ‘necessary and proper’ clause empowers Congress to direct a war and ultimately to end it.

“Rep. Ron Paul says the Constitution clearly requires a president to get Congress’s approval before initiating force, even in the event of hostilities — as FDR did after the Pearl Harbor attack. He questions the legality of three U.S. wars and holds that presidential power has vastly expanded, mainly from ‘the refusal of Congress to assert its constitutional authority…'”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.