As this transcript from Democracy Now! demonstrates, young people in geat numbers are getting involved in the presidential campaigns. This has much to do with the message of change pushed by the candidates in the democratic party and the hope people have to make it happen. Widespread participation in the campaigns has the potential to grow into more widespread participation in this country's democratic process to ensure that the promised changes are cariied out. In order to create a successful campaign and a legitimate government that adequately responds to the people who seek to combat and reverse the injustices imposed by the current administration, candidates must continue to foster participation from diverse sectors of society and acknowledge their contribution by effecting tangible changes in the current oppressive system. These excerpts from debates and personal accounts of the pre-primary jubilee below exemplify that participation, in this case straight out of New Hampshire. - Editor
In the Democratic race, two new polls show Barack Obama with a whopping double-digit lead over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, after earlier ones suggested he had just drawn even. A USA Today/Gallup poll said Obama had opened up a thirteen-point lead over Clinton. The same poll showed John Edwards running a distant third.
On the Republican side, surveys indicate John McCain is leading in New Hampshire. The USA Today/Gallup poll said McCain had a four-point advantage over Mitt Romney, with Mike Huckabee, the Republican winner in Iowa, way back.
New Hampshire has been flooded with campaign volunteers of every stripe, but the story of 2008 is the youth vote. Melissa Harris-Lacewell is a professor of politics and African American studies at Princeton University. She is leading a group of Princeton students in New Hampshire to volunteer with the presidential campaigns of their choice. She joins us now from New Hampshire. We’ll soon turn to the students. Welcome, Professor Harris-Lacewell.
MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL: Thanks for having me.
AMY GOODMAN: Describe the scene to us in New Hampshire.
Yesterday I was at a John Edwards, and it was a much more intimate venue. It was sort of a town hall meeting, both John and Elizabeth Edwards taking questions from the people in the audience. And I’ll say, you know, in that kind of intimate event, it was really nice. You got a chance to see Edwards and his wife interacting. They were telling jokes. They had campaign supporters there with them. And they were answering questions in a very serious way.
We went over to the Dennis Kucinich office a little bit later in the day and saw folks there, talked to them about how they were feeling about being shut out of one of the debates and what that meant for, you know, their possibilities of really getting a groundswell here that would push some of the front-running candidates to address some progressive political issues. So it really is—I mean, seriously, on every single corner, there is this kind of participatory democratic system going on.
Melody Chan, why Barack Obama? Explain what you’ve been doing in New Hampshire and how you got involved in presidential politics this year.
I mean, I absolutely believe so much in Barack Obama’s, I guess, core values and the ideas that he represents and also just the power he has to inspire people. I mean, I was at that same rally in Nashua, and, I mean, it was kind of like a rock concert, you know? Like he was just—he took over the crowd, and there was so much excitement. And it was like—it was really electrifying.
AMY GOODMAN: What most appeals to you about him? Are there positions he has taken that you deeply care about?
And then, for me, the why Hillary question? Every time I go to a door and knock on it and someone will give me two seconds to actually say something to them, that’s what I say to them. So my—sort of my pitch is that I truly believe in her experience and her strength as a person to bring about those policy issues, be it healthcare, energy, withdrawing from Iraq. And I think—I wish—and what I love to see is when people get into her presence, they feel that same inspiration that you hear talked about Barack Obama, and I believe he has it, too. But I just have become really fired up being at these rallies with her and Bill and Chelsea and just the rest of the supporters.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to play an excerpt from Saturday night’s Democratic presidential debate on ABC, where tensions ran high between the three frontrunners of the Iowa caucus: Senator Barack Obama, Senator Edwards and Senator Hillary Clinton. Richardson was also there. Congressmember Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel were excluded, so we will be talking to a student who is for Dennis Kucinich in a minute. The excerpt begins with John Edwards.
Now, what I would say is this: Any time you speak out powerfully for change, the forces of status quo attack. That’s exactly what happens. It’s fine to have a disagreement about healthcare. To say that Senator Obama is having a debate with himself from some Associated Press story, I think, is just not—that’s not the kind of discussion we should be having. I think that every time this happens, what will occur every time he speaks out for change, every time I fight for change, the forces of status quo are going to attack every single time. And what we have to remember—and this is the overarching issue here, because what we really need in New Hampshire and in future state primaries is we need an unfiltered debate between the agents of change, about how we bring about that change, because we have differences about that. But the one thing I do not argue with him about is he believes deeply in change, and I believe deeply in change. And anytime you’re fighting for that—I mean, I didn’t hear these kinds of attacks from Senator Clinton when she was ahead. Now that she’s not, we hear them. And anytime you speak out, anytime you speak out for change, this is what happens.
I want to make change, but I’ve already made change. I will continue to make change. I’m not just running on a promise of change, I’m running on thirty-five years of change. I’m running on having taken on the drug companies and the health insurance companies, taking on the oil companies.
So, you know, I think it is clear that what we need is somebody who can deliver change. And we don’t need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can be delivered. The best way to know what change I will produce is to look at the changes that I’ve already made.
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON: Well, I’ve been in hostage negotiations that are a lot more civil than this.
AMY GOODMAN: The Democratic presidential debate Saturday night with ABC. We’re joined by a Princeton University student who is working for one of the candidates who was excluded from that debate, Dennis Kucinich. Michael Collins is volunteering for his campaign in New Hampshire. Welcome, Michael. Why Kucinich?
So Kucinich is someone who’s kind of an outsider. He’s often said as being ridiculous or crazy, but he’s pretty mainstream. He wants healthcare for everyone. And I think that’s something that a lot of people can agree with, and it’s something that I certainly believe in. So Kucinich, although he’s seen as an outsider or someone who’s a little bit radical, is a pretty reasonable guy. And he’s an outsider, and I think that helps get in—helps him—gives him a different vantage point that a lot of people simply can’t afford, because they’re being paid off by people, they’re getting a lot of funding from people who are, you know, perverting the democracy that we are trying to participate in up here in New Hampshire.
AMY GOODMAN: Michael Collins, I want to thank you for being with us, volunteering for Dennis Kucinich’s campaign; also Melody Chan and Regina Lee.