Sept. 7: Barack Obama coming to Portland

Charlie Burr

Img_1447Earlier this summer, my wife and I had the chance to see Barack Obama at a rally and house party in Tampa, Florida.

We arrived undecided, and left enthusiastic supporters. People were pumped, and it was obvious that a lot of those attending were at their first political event, eager to work for change and a new direction for our country.

Oregonians will get a chance to see the senator themselves Friday, Sept. 7, at the Oregon Convention Center. Tickets for the 8:00 p.m. rally will be $25; a smaller reception at 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. will be held on a sliding scale from $500 to $2300. The best way to secure a ticket is to visit barackobama.com, and if you're inclined, tell a friend. (Tickets will be limited, and if you're attending please R.S.V.P. prior to the event. Thanks.)

The campaign is also looking for local leaders interested in playing a bigger role in the campaign.  If you're interested please contact [email protected] or call (202) 543-2660.  The top ten ticket captains -- those committing to selling 25 rally tickets or more -- will receive complementary passes to the smaller 7:30 p.m. reception.

This should be a great event. Hope to see you there!

Comments

  • verasoie (unverified)
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    Is it not possible to attend without paying? What a turnoff.

    Neither Dean nor Kerry made people pay when they visited last time around ... if he's inspirational enough, people will contribute afterwards thanks to what he has to say and do much more, like voluntering.

    This is disappointing.

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    I've endorsed John Edwards. I'm on the Edwards for Oregon steering committee. I've given John Edwards way too much money.

    I am blissfully awaiting all the usual ranting - "BlueOregon is Kari's personal plaything where we only hear about Kari's favorite candidates". Bring 'em on, people.

  • Varner (unverified)
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    Thanks for the post Charlie, I'll be there!

    And Verasoie is forgetting that the referenced rallies were during the general election not a hotly contested and extremely expensive primary. My hunch is that even at $25 a person there will still be strong turnout.

    And for anyone who questions how powerful a speaker Obama is, you should check out the Obama TV section of his website. It's impressive to watch his speeches and to recall this is a candidate who has been criticized for speaking in paragraphs and complete thoughts, not sound bites.

    -One of Kari's playthings.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    I'm glad to see this. This is a fundraiser, not a campaign speech. It's a good way to raise money from small contributors. It's what made it possible for Obama to outraise Hillary. It also builds some momentum to get us out of Iraq and get some real Democrats in Congress. I'm hoping the activist folks in the Portland area will go to Brian Baird's town meeting in Vancouver on the 27th and give him absolute hell for his betrayal of his party and his constituents as he has now endorsed the Bush war of occupation in Iraq. He voted against the initial invasion but he has blood on his hands now as he's beating the drum to keep the troops in Iraq.

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    Alright, Bill R., let's stay on topic. This is not a thread about Brian Baird and Iraq.

    As for the money thing, I actually think that this is a brilliant strategy.

    A friend of mine who is close to the campaign told me that they've been overwhelmed with the response to campaign events... before they started charging, they were drawing 2000 people at a time in small-town rural venues where you'd call it a good day if 50 people showed up.

    These urban venues were starting to look like 25,000 or 50,000 people -- which simply isn't manageable this early in a campaign. So, they've been charging $5 to $25... which cuts down the audience size, but also turns 'em into low-dollar grassroots fundraisers. They are THE reason why Obama had 260,000 donors at Q2.

    Ralph Nader did this back in 2004, and it worked pretty well....

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    Posted by: Varner | Aug 22, 2007 6:17:52 AM ... And Verasoie is forgetting that the referenced rallies were during the general election not a hotly contested and extremely expensive primary

    That isn't accurate. Dean's "Sleepless Summer" Rally was most certainly during the Primary at the time Dean was the front-runner. Dean never ran in the General election since Kerry took the nomination.

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    "They are THE reason why Obama had 260,000 donors at Q2."

    Well, actually it's apparently because when you go to a rally you can buy Obama mersh--and about 60,000 people who bought key rings or huggies are now considered donors to the Obama campaign. It's not illegal or unethical at all, but it's just not the typical image of someone writing a check from their house.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    Ralph Nader did this back in 2004, and it worked pretty well....

    I don't know about anything here in 2004, but Nader did do an event in 2001 at Portland's Memorial Coliseum. He drew 7,000-7,500 people, and according to the Oregonian paying "up to $10." As i recall, there were things folks could do other than pay 10 bucks in order to get a ticket in, especially as the numbers were lower than hoped. Original expectations were for 10,000 (the Coliseum seats twice that). Worked pretty well? I guess it depends how you want to spin it.

    I also think it's a fundraiser, not a rally and would leave it at that.

  • Ben Hubbird (unverified)
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    Well, actually it's apparently because when you go to a rally you can buy Obama mersh--and about 60,000 people who bought key rings or huggies are now considered donors to the Obama campaign. It's not illegal or unethical at all, but it's just not the typical image of someone writing a check from their house.

    I've been wondering about this actually: does this mean he expenses the key rings and shirts and whatnot as fundraising? The campaign sent me a packet of merch after I told them I would consider holding a house party. I wonder if that was all counted as fundraising expenditure as well.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    I'm glad Obama is coming and will gladly pay $25 to attend. I hate the idea of paying for rallies, though. Passing the hat or bucket like Jesse Jackson and other candidates have in the past is fine, but paying for entry into a "public" rally is a bad trend. It is as bad as Gore having closed rallies during much of his 2000 campaign. It is hard enough to motivate people to turn out to these events, even for a dynamite candidiate like Obama. I hope they will consider at least letting students without charge.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
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    I'm with you in spirit, Grant. But it's not just the students who are starving. Brother, can you spare 25 Bucks?

  • Portland Dem (unverified)
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    At least this isn't another posting about Merkley.

  • Ben Hubbird (unverified)
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    Come on, guys, you've got 25 bucks. As I told my friends:

    In 20 years you can tell your kids, "I saw Overlord Barack when he was just a we little Senator running for President!" And your kids will ask you, "What's a President?"
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    I didn't see Edwards for free at the Longshoremen's Hall, but I'm paying to go see Obama.

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    Passing the hat or bucket like Jesse Jackson and other candidates have in the past is fine, but paying for entry into a "public" rally is a bad trend.

    "Passing the hat" is no longer legal. At least, any cash that shows up has to be donated to charity - and can't be accepted by the campaign.

  • marcia (unverified)
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    I had high hopes for Obama, until he came out with his educational policy. When he spoke in favor of merit pay for teachers he lost my vote for good.

  • Fair and Balanced (unverified)
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    Marcia, I'm disappointed whenever anybody on Blue Oregon makes a comment revealing a willingness to stake everything on a single issue. Progressives need to take a less doctrinaire, more open-minded approach to political issues. Would you rather vote for Pat Robertson, for God's sake?

    If you feel that strongly against merit pay for teachers, why not write a guest column and see what kind of discussion it engenders?

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Marcia, isn't merit pay for teachers something that progressives should be open to? It seems like an issue where we could make real progress, and make sure that it is done well (rather than as a right-wing attack on teacher's unions). For me, I'm looking for a candidate who will push to solve our problems rather than just toe the traditional line.

  • marcia (unverified)
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    Miles, simply put...the answer is NO...merit pay is not a progressive idea. It is based on the assumption that teachers are mediocre at best, and if you just dangle that carrot (cash) is front of their noses, they will perform "better." I see that as disrespectful to the profession. It is not just that single issue that I found disturbing. It is the implication that Obama has bought into the corporitization of our public schools system that has resulted in NCLB, the standardized testing craze and finally merit pay. He needs to think past the Business Roundtable Agenda that has run amok in our public schools and come up with some better answers to get my vote. Here is a quote from Don Perl, and education activist in Colorado: "We can not force any artificial program of what is titled "merit pay" on our profession. Let us say that you feel called to teach in an inner city school. Your children come to the classroom with a set of experiences and issues planets away from the students who attend more affluent schools. What are the eating habits of our children? How much lead is there in the water? How do they live? Is there violence at home? All this and more impacts education. Would we fault a dentist who plied his trade in a low income neighborhood because his patients had more cavities than the patients of his colleague whose office served an affluent population? Should we fault teachers because their road of life took them to needier neighborhoods?"

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    Not to let an actual discussion actually take place beyond the confines of the stated topic of this piece (i.e. Obama's Portland appearance)...

    I am all for merit pay for teachers, as long as it is coupled with a massive increase in the baseline salary for teachers, and monumental increase in commitment of resources to eduction in general.

    The pay should be to a level which should attract the best and the brightest to be teachers and the competition for those positions should be fierce (and well rewarded).

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    Posted by: marcia | Aug 22, 2007 5:06:02 PM Miles, simply put...the answer is NO...merit pay is not a progressive idea.

    What crap. Teaching is not a sacred cow profession which is beyond implementation of policies to secure the best educators we can. There are good teachers, mediocre teachers and bad teachers. Just like in any profession or vocation. See my comment above as to why I think your dogma is flawed.

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    Charlie's post says the campaign is looking for "local leaders" but what they are looking for is people who will work to ensure all the tickets get sold. they will. in Seattle, they sold out -- and many people paid $50 and $100 (i, though, like the majority, spent $25 -- it was worth every penny; when you see him in person, you religion).

    we already have local leaders working on the campaign. Oregon Wants Obama! has held a fundraiser ($3,700), participated in a number of community events (Hawthorne Days this Saturday past, Belmont St Fair upcoming and numberous others), we'll be starting meetups (Sept 12, Bethel AME Church) and house parties, and we have 2 websites. and we're just one of numerous groups active for Obama.

    like 2003 with Dean, this is a campaign run primarily from the bottom-up. unlike 2003, however, i'm not sure there's anyone at the campaign who really understands. there's no Trippi advising Obama from what i can see. not many who work at the national level have really understood the changes that are occurring in national politics; the desire to control from the top-down is still very strong for most old political pros. o well. we can deal with that.

    anyway, no need to wait for leaders to show up. they are already here. go to My.Barackobama.com to find groups with mailing lists. you can join with oregonwantsobama.net there or go to our website and keep in touch that way. if you want to blog for Obama, head over to oregonforobama.net.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    To partially contradict my earlier comment, I don't suppose renting the Convention Center is cheap, so charging $25 makes sense.

    In response to Kari, "passing the hat" in terms of cash was probably not legal in '84 and '88 either (I'm guessing the '74 campaign law outlawed it, although it seems like a certain amount of unreported cash was legal, like under $50, not sure). On top of that, the fundraising was often done in churches, which has made it hard for us to go after the Christian Coalition for their in church activites. The laws need to be clear and enforced.

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    ...not sure there's anyone at the campaign who really understands.

    Weekend before last, I had a chance to do the Bridge Pedal, the event in which Portland's major bridges shut down for bike and foot traffic for a day. One of the best part of the ride for me was coming off the St. John's Bridge and seeing three folks cheering riders and holding an Obama sign. It was great, and part of the spontaneous, grassroots support that's going to help Obama win big.

    There's plenty of work to go around, and if anyone's interested in getting involved in this event, contact the campaign at [email protected] Nothing I've seen from the campaign has felt like "command-and-control" organizing to me, just a bunch of folks eager to change the direction of our country. There's certainly room for all hands on deck. Go, Obama!

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    Marcia, if you look at what's coming from directly Obama and the campaign, he's not really talking about same thing as some of the proposals we've seen from conservative activists. I oppose those too. First, Obama's plan isn't linked to testing, which can be very problematic. Also, Obama's been clear that any proposal will be created in partnership with classroom teachers, not arbitrarily imposed upon them. He's absolutely right that we need to pay teachers more, and my understanding of his proposal is that it's much more focused on aggressive recruitment of new folks to come into this critical, but under-valued, field.

    More at Barack Obama/education. This question also came up in Sunday's debate, but I don't have a youtube link for it. Hope you will keep an open mind, and if you're interested, come check him out and judge for yourself.

  • marcia (unverified)
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    Thanks Charlie. I guess I still have hope that he will straighten out his thinking ..However, I can't see that he is clear on where he stands concerning education. In one article he says he would not reauthorize NCLB, and in the next, he is praising it. He uses the standard Business Rountable phrase of making schools more "rigorous" to compete with other nations. I no longer trust ayone who uses the word "rigorous." Similarly, he is just as confusing with merit pay, saying in one article that it should not be tied to test scores, and in the next stating this: "..there's also going to be more accountability...the accountability can't just be based on standardized test performance only, but that has to be part of the mix..." Part of the mix? Yes, tied to test scores, or not? Hmm...So which side of his mouth are we to believe?

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    I would like to encourage, not only the Barack supporters, but also the supporters of Hillary, Edwards, Kucinich, Richardson et. al. to attend this event with the following thoughts. Your attendance will support the movement for change in our Country irrespective of your allegiance for a particular candidate.

    Barack Obama is energizing the Democratic Party across the U.S. and, as a result, we are seeing young people and new faces get involved in politics for the first time on a scale we haven't seen since JFK and RFK. Your attendance and meager $25 donation (which will help cover costs I'm sure)will not harm your favorite candidate, but will only help build the momentum for change in 2008, irrespective of who the eventual nominee is. So come on out on September 7th and join the fun.

    Now for a "shameless" plug (Thanks T.A. for the new word for my vocabulary!) Would you please reserve your tickets on the following links so that I can get "ticket captain" credit?

    Here's a link for information and registration for the 8:00 main event: href=https://donate.barackobama.com/page/contribute/c2cportlandor?custom1=Matthew+Sutton>

    Here's a link with info and registration for the 7:00 pm "major fundraiser" for those of you want to donate big bucks: href=https://donate.barackobama.com/page/contribute/c2cportlandor?custom1=Matthew+Sutton>

    Here's hoping we can all meet up on September 7th!

  • LT (unverified)
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    Merit Pay should be debated as to how it would be implemented. Didn't someone at the ABC debate say the worst possible way would be to have school administrators make the decisions? Only those who have worked in schools (public or private) know that "office politics" can happen in schools.

    Should merit pay be by test scores alone? Would it discourage collaboration among teachers if they were competing for merit pay? Would it penalize special ed teachers or those who teach in the toughest schools? Or maybe there could be a promotion system where the merit reward would be to make the best teachers eligible to be mentors?

    There needs to be serious debate about merit pay, including this question: "Name one current merit pay system existing in the US at this time which you believe should be the model for merit pay in general". That is something of a trick question, as in the past many merit pay systems have collapsed of their own weight.

    BUT, that said, presidents don't wave magic wands and make things happen. NCLB will hopefully be a lesson to future legislators to watch for unintended consequences of what sounds like well meaning legislation.

    This is not an issue I would reject any candidate over at this early stage.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Hillary has the lead in the polls just now and, human nature being what it is, many will join her simply because they like to be associated with the likely winner. I wonder, however, if this lead would hold up if, in an unlikely event, Obama and Edwards formed a partnership. Richardson's supporters probably take from Hillary, Obama and Edwards. Dodd and Biden are insignificant for the time being and will be until they assume their roles as attack dogs for anyone threatening Hillary. Kucinich and Gravel? If the Democratic Party is so progressive, why are they down in the single digits?

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    Hillary's lead in the national polls will pass once the votes are cast in Iowa. Remember that Joe Lieberman was the frontrunner in 2004 going into Iowa and Dean was running second.

    I don't expect any partnership between candidates, but they all are attacking Hillary's status quo positions. I would like to see some of these folks drop out before Iowa. The ones you mentioned are in the single digits because folks understand they can't win the general election

    So come check out Barack Obama on Sept 7th. I will try to post my links again:

    8:00 p.m. rally for $25

    7:00 pm high end fundraiser reception

  • Jim Nam (unverified)
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    Hey Charlie,

    Thank you for making the post. I hope the turn out is great, and what a wonderful group of democrats we have running for president this year. It's great to see this excitement in Oregon and lets make sure the dems win more seats in Congress and we win the Oval Office. I know we can change the direction of the country and move things back into the right direction.

    I would like to say what a great grassroots organization and group of supporters the Obama for America Campaign has.

  • (Show?)

    it just gives me so much frikkin' hope to see Dems and other lefties drawing their lines in the sand months before any vote is cast. what a brilliant strategy for taking back the white house and the country: announce all the things that will stop us from supporting a possible presidential candidate. people saying "No way ever in hell!" to Hillary, and now marcia on Obama. no wonder we've spent the last 40 years getting our asses kicked. we're just too stupid to win on a consistent basis. but better to be ideologically pure than help make the country a better place to live.

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    Brother Jim, good to hear from you from the Iowa trenches! Keep up the great work out there.

    Easy there, T.A., it's a primary. Nothing wrong with taking a look at all the candidates, debating pros/cons, and making an informed decision after getting a sense of who they really are. We're all looking at who's the best candidate to take back the White House, and if folks make it out to the rally on the 7th, hopefully they'll see why that person is Barack Obama.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    In case you missed it, here is video of Barack on the Daly Show last night which gives us a good glimpse of the guy we'll be seeing in Portland on September 7th.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    More electable than any other Democrat in the field? You betcha. Get your tickets now while you still can!!

    And with all due respect to T.A., I think that it is good for Marcia and others to vent their frustrations of particular candidates at this early stage. This allows for time to work through whatever issues they may have with Barack or other candidates. On the merit pay issue for example, like other issues, the problem is that we are getting bombarded by position papers by different groups and competing candidates. I think it is best to look to the candidates own words rather the the "spin" of other people.

    With that in mind, here is a clip from Senator Obama's website about teacher pay:

    "Pay Teachers More: Barack Obama wants to make a promise to educators -- if you're a teacher or a principal doing the hard work of educating our children, we will reward that work with the salary increase that you deserve. If you're willing to take on more responsibilities like mentoring, we'll pay you more. And if you excel at helping your students achieve success, your success will be valued and rewarded as well. Obama believes the key is finding new ways to increase pay that are developed with teachers, not imposed on them and not based on some arbitrary test score. Obama will start treating teachers like the professionals they are."

    This obviously isn't the classic vodoo merit pay that teachers could get freaked out about understandably. Its flexible and developed by the teachers themselves. Obama's sister has been a teacher in Hawaii for many years so he knows all about these issues. He put's improving education in our Country in his top 3 domestic priorities. Check out his speech in July to the NEA in Philadelphia

  • marcia (unverified)
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    Here's a good link to what others are saying about Obama's education policy. And T.A. ...what? We are just supposed to roll over and accept what some guy says, just because he's a Democrat? Sorry. Doesn't work for me. http://susanohanian.org/show_atrocities.html?id=4963

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    no, not roll over, but not say "Never ever." John Kerry was my last choice 4 years ago, and when he won the primary, i busted by butt to get him elected. i don't want Hillary to get the nomination, but if she does, i'll not only vote for her, i'll work hard for her. yes, her corporatist inclinations suck (as did Bill's) but the big picture is too damn important. she'll get lots wrong, but that's Congress' job, and our's, to counter.

    just remember what happened when Dems and indies refused to vote for Gore in 2000. are memories already growing dim?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    we're just too stupid to win on a consistent basis.

    You're right there, T.A., but not in the way you suggest. If the Democrats choose another candidate for president that turns half the nation off and she or he runs a campaign as pathetic and incompetent as Gore's and Kerry's then the prospects for a Democrat in the White House in 2009 are limited.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    Well that candidate is not Barack Bill, Hillary is the one we have to be concerned about getting nominated.

    And moving right along to the foreign policy front, Brezinski says....

    Senator Barack Obama more qualified to be President than Hillary....

    `Obama is clearly more effective and has the upper hand,'' Brzezinski, who was President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, said. ``He has a sense of what is historically relevant, and what is needed from the United States in relationship to the world.''

    Brzezinski, 79, dismissed the notion that Clinton, 59, a New York senator and the wife of former President Bill Clinton, is more seasoned than Obama, 46. ``Being a former first lady doesn't prepare you to be president,'' Brzezinski said.

  • marcia (unverified)
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    All righty then....Hillary it is....Let's go.

  • ben (unverified)
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    Marcia I think you already made your decision long ago... Hillary it is... Give me a break. How many days a week do you volunteer for the campaign? Your just using up all of the energy of all of the people who genuinely are looking for change. Wear us down and we'll all accept mediocre. Hillary? I would like to know your thoughts? I'm assuming your position is that the education system has been fine for the last 15 years just until Bush. Bush is evil, once Bush is gone all of my problems will be over and all of our kids will be brilliant. Am I right? Our slide in education didn't start with Bush or Clinton, it's a bigger problem. I'm sorry but both of my parents are teachers and they are very big union supporters as I am, but they are also confident in their own skills. I can't tell you how much they care about their students and how many hours and how much of their own money they spend trying to make a difference. They want to be protected from being terminated without reason and want to be fairly compensated(which is something many of the other candidates are supporting). They also know that all other professions work their behinds off and have to answer for performance. I happen to be an architect. Guess what. If people don't like my work, I get fired. Immediately. Teachers are not somehow above reproach. Good teachers and a good education system can do amazing things, bad teachers and bad systems need to be fixed. If you think everything is great then your right you do have your candidate. Your still going to have a pension when the private work force gets screwed.

  • ben (unverified)
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    Marcia I think you already made your decision long ago... Hillary it is... Give me a break. How many days a week do you volunteer for the campaign? Your just using up all of the energy of all of the people who genuinely are looking for change. Wear us down and we'll all accept mediocre. Hillary? I would like to know your thoughts? I'm assuming your position is that the education system has been fine for the last 15 years just until Bush. Bush is evil, once Bush is gone all of my problems will be over and all of our kids will be brilliant. Am I right? Our slide in education didn't start with Bush or Clinton, it's a bigger problem. I'm sorry but both of my parents are teachers and they are very big union supporters as I am, but they are also confident in their own skills. I can't tell you how much they care about their students and how many hours and how much of their own money they spend trying to make a difference. They want to be protected from being terminated without reason and want to be fairly compensated(which is something many of the other candidates are supporting). They also know that all other professions work their behinds off and have to answer for performance. I happen to be an architect. Guess what. If people don't like my work, I get fired. Immediately. Teachers are not somehow above reproach. Good teachers and a good education system can do amazing things, bad teachers and bad systems need to be fixed. If you think everything is great then your right you do have your candidate. Your still going to have a pension when the private work force gets screwed.

  • marcia (unverified)
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    Hillary is about as much my choice as Obama. I was being sarcastic. They both smell the same to me. Fishy.

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