National Public Radio presidential debate

SEN. EDWARDS: But the starting place is to actually enforce the laws that exist here in the United States and their obligation to the WTO, neither of which are being done. They're not being done because corporate America drives so much of what happens in Washington, whether it's trade policy that costs Americans millions of jobs — NAFTA, CAFTA, et cetera; whether it is these dangerous Chinese toys coming into the United States of America; whether it is country-of-origin labeling. Why is the president of the United States not saying to the American people, to local communities, "Buy local"? It is good for the local economy. It is good for farmers. It is good on the issue of global warming. Because everything that comes from China carries an enormous carbon footprint with it.

NORRIS: Steve, just indulge me for just a minute. Your patience, please.

INSKEEP: Please go right ahead.

NORRIS: I'm just curious. You mentioned these Chinese toys. Senator Edwards, you have two small children. Will you be buying toys that are made in China to place under the Christmas tree this year?

MR. EDWARDS: No, ma'am, I will not.

INSKEEP: Got to give Chris Dodd equal time on that question.

NORRIS: You know, it's difficult to do that, because, you know, 70% of the goods and most of the toys that you find at the local Wal-Mart are made in China.

MR. EDWARDS: My kids will not have toys coming from China.

SEN. DODD: Barack and I would like to comment on this. (Laughter.) My toys are coming from Iowa. (Laughter continues.) I'm buying Iowa toys. They're going to eat Iowa food. Iowa toys. (Laughter.)

NORRIS: Senator Obama, and then Senator Gravel. Senator Obama first on this issue of Chinese toys.

SEN. OBAMA: As I said before, the problem is that we are not using the power that we have. And we just have — I can't amplify this point enough. Right now, laws with respect to China are being made in part with the interests of Wall Street in mind and special interests who are manufacturing in China — used to manufacture here in Iowa, now are manufacturing in China, are shipping the goods back here and taking advantage of low — cheap labor and lower environmental standards.

We have to have a president — and this is part of the reason I'm running for president, is to give a voice to American workers. I believe in trade, and I think trade can strengthen America. And I want, by the way, Chinese workers and consumers to benefit. That's good for our long-term security. But I don't want every single trade decision to be looked at through the lens of does this increase corporate profits as opposed to is it good for U.S. consumers and U.S. workers.

NORRIS: Senator Gravel, and then Steve has a question.

MR. GRAVEL: Yeah, Michele, I want to take you to task right at your first rhetoric, and that was this great, tremendous —

NORRIS: I believe it was a question.

MR. GRAVEL: Right. The tremendous increase in their defense. They're only 10% of American defense. They haven't had a tremendous increase. Ten percent of our defense.

And I want to take all of them to task. Clearly, none of them are running for China — president of China — because this amount of demagoguery is shameful.

Here, the Chinese people have a problem. And when we continue this rhetoric of beggar thy neighbor, where our interests always come first, there should be the interests of human beings, the interests of human beings.

NORRIS: Senator Gravel, thank you.

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