McCain both have failed to establish a definitive
stance on this issue.
■ Two-thirds of the public favors universal
healthcare—a significant increase over 1987.
This sentiment especially resonates with blacks,
more than 40 percent of whom say they
haven’t been able to afford personal or family
healthcare in the last year, but both whites and
Latinos strongly support it. All five Democrats
support universal healthcare coverage, which
neither Giuliani nor Romney supports.
Aside from reaping benefits in terms of
enhanced outreach, racially diverse campaign
staff members and advisers shape an inclusive
image of their candidates by contributing their
perspective to each message. Scheduling and
long-term planning directors determine which
constituents candidates should focus their
attention on; speech writers define the message
conveyed, and outreach coordinators deliver it
to the electorate.
“If you’re going to venture into a predominantly African-American audience, talk about
issues that matter to people of color—and these
aren’t welfare or crime reduction; they’re job creation, tax cuts, the war on terror,” says Christie,
recalling advice he used to give to his candidates.
“Talk like you’re looking or asking for their votes
or opinions rather than coming in and making
presumptions about what [you think] people
want to hear. Candidly, the best exchanges are
when a representative goes into a meeting with
predominantly persons of color and just listens.”
Some candidates are deliberately staffing
their campaigns with people who reflect the
diversity of their constituents. Clinton’s director
of women’s outreach is white; her two political-outreach coordinators are black, as is her online-communications coordinator; her Internet
director is Asian. “The woman who travels with
her is Muslim; her policy director is [Asian
Indian],” says Solis Doyle. Clinton also created
a position dedicated entirely to mobilizing
Latino voters and employs a Latino director of
Hispanic media and an Asian press secretary for
agencies, smaller classes and student testing;
supports No Child Left Behind Act, holds states
accountable for closing achievement gap.
■ PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Voted to protect
the Americans with Disabilities Act by improving
legal efficiency; rejected Individuals with
Disabilities Education Improvement Act after supporting it; voted to guarantee access to assistive
technology. Voted to expand embryonic-stem-cell
research (a change from previous position).
■ HEALTHCARE: Rejected bill to expand
Medicare Part D enrollment, Health Care
Amendment to increase federal funding to
ensure accessible and affordable coverage for
all; vetoed Medicare prescription-drug benefits.
D SEN. BARACK OBAMA OF ILLINOIS
■ IMMIGRATION: Supports electronic verification to ensure workers are legal; voted for 700-
mile fence along Mexican border. Voted to
establish a guest-worker program that provides
a path to citizenship and to allow undocumented workers to participate in Social Security.
(Barack Obama on immigration: BarackObama.com)
■ AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: Strong supporter of
affirmative action. Was very pleased with
Supreme Court decision on University of
Michigan. Has criticized Bush administration for
its anti-affirmative-action stance.
■ GLBT ISSUES: Opposes gay marriage, supports civil unions (“Larry King Live”). Says he
believes society is not yet ready for gay marriage. Wants “don’t ask, don’t tell” repealed.
(Barack Obama on the Issues; BarackObama.com)
■ PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Supports federal funding of research with embryonic stem
cells. (Press Release, “Stem Cell Research Bill,” June 16,
■ HEALTHCARE: Supports universal healthcare;
has proposed a plan that covers every child in
America, allows those near retirement to buy
into Medicare, and ensures coverage for those
losing jobs through no fault of their own.
( BarackObama.com; Annual 2006 Take Back America
Conference, June 14, 2006)
■ EDUCATION: Has been critical of Bush administration’s lack of funding for No Child Left
Behind; says that while the goals of accountability, measurable standards, and the need to
improve public-school education are laudable,
the execution and design have been “
problematic.” Contends that schools that don’t meet
the act’s standards are labeled failures regardless of where they started and how much
progress they have made. (West Frankfort Daily
American, Oct. 17, 2005)