Sen. John Edwards
Democratic Candidate for President
Friday, November 7, 2003; 10:30 AM
In January voters in New Hampshire will cast ballots for the Democratic candidate they feel would best hold the office of the presidency. The eventual winner of the nationwide nomination process will face President Bush next November.
The Concord Monitor and washingtonpost.com will host a series of live discussions with participating Democratic candidates for President to give readers the opportunity to share thoughts and questions directly with the nominees.
Democratic candidate Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) was online Friday, Nov. 7th, 10:30 a.m. to take your questions on the campaign and his vision for the United States.
The transcript follows.
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Sen. John Edwards : I am looking forward to answering the questions people have. I have put out a comprehensive plan in writing called "Real Solutions for America" and people can get a copy of that at johnedwards2004.com
Sen. Edwards, how do you intend to boost the manufacturing base of the United States if elected President? Your home state has suffered numerous losses in the textile industry to overseas production. Would you promote higher tariffs, or increased tax breaks for industry?
Sen. John Edwards : I think that this is a very important issue. We have lost over 3 million private sector jobs under President Bush. Two and a half million of those are manufacturing jobs. In order to protect the jobs we have I would do the following. First, put enforceable provisions into our trade agreements for environmental protection, labor protection, prohibitions for child labor and forced labor. All of these would be aimed at helping level the playing field for American workers. I would close corporate tax loopholes that give American companies an incentive to go overseas and take jobs with them. Instead I would give tax breaks to American companies who would keep manufacturing jobs here in America. In order to create jobs in areas where jobs have been lost, I would identify those places where job loss have been high and in those areas provide seed money of venture capital to new business who would locate there and create quality jobs with good benefits. Also, for existing business and industries that are willing to locate a plant of facility there I would give tax write offs for wages and investment in the facility.
The purpose plan is to create 5 million jobs over two years and to bring those jobs to the communities that have been hit hardest by job loss.
Will you work to repeal the Bush tax cuts?
Sen. John Edwards : I voted against the Bush tax cuts. I believe we should repeal the tax cuts for those that earn over $200,000 a year, and close a group of corporate tax loop holes including the loophole that creates incentives for American companies to go overseas. I would not raise taxes on middle Class working families because I believe they are the engine of our economy and it would be a mistake and would inhibit long-term economic growth. In fact I would reduce further the taxes on middle class working families by helping them make a down payment on their first home, creating incentives for them to invest and become part of the investor class and helping them save by matching savings up to dollar for dollar up to $1000 per family per year.
As a former trial lawyer, I am curious about your position on the issue of civil tort reform? Could you outline your views on the nexus between sky-rocketing jury awards, exhorbitant insurance rates and the economy? Thanks!
Sen. John Edwards : For almost 20 years I worked within the legal system and am very familiar with it. I am proud of the work against powerful insurance companies and drug companies. I believe we have the best legal system in the world, but it is not perfect and can be improved. For example, doctors and health care providers are facing rising malpractice premiums and are having difficulty getting reimbursement for the services they provide. This is a serous issue and deserves a response. I have proposed that we put additional responsibilities on attorneys who file malpractice cases by requiring that they have the cases reviewed by independent experts who determine that they are serous and meritorious before a case can be filed and that the attorneys certify that this has been done. If an attorney fails to meet their obligations the attorney would be held accountable. And I would impose a three strikes and your out rule so that if an attorney violated the requirement three times they would loose their right to file such cases for a substantial period of time.
These measures would be taken in addition to providing relief to doctors directly who face rising malpractice premiums and serious insurance company reform.
Do you believe the Confederate flag should be desplayed at state government buildings and public universities in the south?
Sen. John Edwards : This is an issue that I have faced because of the Confederate flag controversy in South Carolina. South Carolina, as a matter of compromise, displays the Confederate flag on a flagpole in front of the state capitol. Because I grew up in the South and believe that the Confederate flag is a very divisive symbol I have stated publicly a number of times that I believe that South Carolina should remove the flag from the state capital grounds.
Sen. John Edwards : Thank you. If anyone has additional questions please submit them to johnedwards2004.com, because I want to respond to everyone.
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