National Public Radio presidential debate

MR. GRAVEL: Because when you have a foreign policy that's beggar thy neighbor, we all become beggars. And so when they talk about the currency of China, what about the — what manipulations we do? What about the American companies that dump things abroad?

NORRIS: Senator Gravel, thank you.

MR. GRAVEL: What about the tariffs — you want to have a —

NORRIS: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

MR. GRAVEL: Thank you.

NORRIS: In the interest of time.

Steve has a question.

INSKEEP: Just want to wrap up Dan Frommelt's tradeoff that he discussed, the $300 TVs versus the $600 TVs. Is any of you willing to state frankly that, if you do what you're talking about — getting tough on the currency, cracking down on what Senator Dodd called slave labor, taking other steps — that Americans are going to pay more for consumer goods at Wal-Mart, and you believe it's worth it? Is anyone willing to state frankly that that is the tradeoff?

Congressman Kucinich.

REP. KUCINICH: Either buy America or bye-bye America. We have to recognize that, and a Kucinich administration will rebuild American industry. And while I'm listening to this debate right here, I'm the only one up here who voted against China trade. My good friend John Edwards, who is a friend of mine, you know, he voted for it and is now decrying what's come over.

I'm saying that it is critical that we rebuild America's industry, that we not get in an arms race with China, that we have new trade laws based on workers' rights, human rights, environmental quality, that we take a new direction with respect to environmental policy, getting China away from nuclear, coal and oil.

I mean, we should be able to have solid relations with China, but we got to get our own house in order, stop the speculation on Wall Street and stop Wall Street from moving our jobs out of this country. And that's what the China trade vote was all about.

INSKEEP: But Senator Obama, is that the trade-off, that people will have to pay higher prices if we do what you propose; and that's worth it, in your view?

SEN. OBAMA: I actually believe that China will modify its behavior if we actually are tough in our negotiations. Look, we are the biggest market for China. They can't afford to just say, "See ya later." They're going to have to sell here. And if we tell them you have to meet certain safety standards, that you have to enforce certain labor and environmental agreements, they will meet them.

Now, could there potentially be some higher costs in the front end? Probably. But I guarantee you I don't meet a single worker in Iowa who's been laid off who says, "I wouldn't rather pay a little bit more for sneakers at Wal-Mart but still have a job."

NORRIS: Now listen, just quickly, I want to bring another listener into this, because we did get some questions from the listeners. And I want to hear from Karen Zuch (ph). She is a listener. She is also a mother. So let's take a quick listen.

MS. KAREN ZUCH (Santa Cruz, California): (From tape.) As the mom of a 1-year-old son, I am very concerned about the toxic chemicals that lace many toys and other products sold in America. These chemical agents cause cancer, birth defects and genetic damage. Unlike the European Union, the U.S. does nothing to limit the use of these agents and does not require that the toxic ingredients are listed.

If you are elected president, what changes will you make to ensure that my son will grow up free from these frightening dangers?

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