National Public Radio presidential debate

The point is that you need to be, I think, enriching this. Paul Simon, a former colleague in the United States Senate, wrote a book called "The Tongue-Tied American." And understanding what I mentioned at the outset of this debate about having to run classified ads to find Arabic speakers at a time after 9/11 is an indication that we need to be talking more about that.

And clearly as Joe has just said, this is a source of our wealth and richness of this country. We have so benefited as a result of people who have come here because of religious, political persecution, seeking a better life for their families. This has been a great source strength for our country. We need to work with it, obviously be practical about it. But this is a source of pride in our country, not something to be talked about in negative terms.

MR. INSKEEP: Senator Obama, Senator Obama.

SEN. OBAMA: Well, I completely agree with Chris. Look, a Pew study just came out that shows the next generation, children of Spanish speakers, learn English. You know, they're going to do the same thing that every generation did, so we shouldn't worry about this.

But on the issue of legal immigration, I think, an earlier point was made. We have a broken legal immigration system that has to be expedited. That's part of the problem that we're seeing, whether it's H-1B visas or others. It's too cumbersome. It's often too expensive and unwieldy. That's something I will do as part of comprehensive immigration reform.

MR. INSKEEP: That has to be the last word on immigration. We still have a few minutes left on the clock, and we want to use it for one more question from voters. We were speaking to some Iowa voters on Saturday morning in Des Moines and we received one question which we wanted to put to you all. The gentleman's name is — (name inaudible). He is a Democrat, by the way. And we asked him, what are some things you want to know from the Democratic presidential candidates? And this was his choice.

Q What do you think the toughest choice you have left to make is? Is it gay marriage, immigration, the war in Iraq? What haven't you made up your mind on yet? And why haven't you?

MR. INSKEEP: We'll go left to right, just the way we've introduced people.

Senator Clinton, what is something you don't know the answer to?

SEN. CLINTON: Oh, there's a lot of things I don't know the answer to. (Laughs.)

MR. INSKEEP: Name one.

SEN. CLINTON: Well, I mean, obviously, you know, everything we started off talking about in the beginning of this debate, you know, we're going to have so much repair work to do around the world. What are the best ways to try to stabilize the very difficult problems we face, from Iran to China? And you know, I have some very clear ideas about it, but I'm not going to sit here and say that I have answers.

MR. INSKEEP: We're going to have to go rather quickly. If you can name one specific thing — one specific thing.

MR. GRAVEL: I don't have an answer to be able to persuade the American people that they are the solution, not their leaders. I wish I had the answer to convince them of that.

MR. INSKEEP: That's Senator Mike Gravel — former Senator Mike Gravel.

Senator Obama?

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