Home 2014 Races Video: First Virginia 8th CD Democratic “Forum” of 2014

Video: First Virginia 8th CD Democratic “Forum” of 2014


Here’s video from yesterday’s 8th CD Democratic debate (aka, “forum”) at Mt. Vernon High School. FYI, I had to save the battery power on my video camera so I didn’t get everything, but I did get a lot. Jim Southworth of Fairfax County Public Access TV was videotaping and should have the rest. Also, I’m not going to attempt to put these in strict chronological order. Anyway, here’s the first video; I’ll be uploading the rest in the comments section of this post. Thanks.

P.S. Also note that in the interest of saving video and battery power, I sometimes skipped the candidates who I believe have absolutely zero chance of winning (e.g., Derek Hyra). Jim Southworth’s video should be of the complete debate.

1. Name the top three foreign policy issues facing our nation and the world today.

*Levine – Energy security; aggression from foreign leaders like Putin, Iran; genocide in places like Syria, where he’d put a no-fly zone into place.

*Herring – She speaks barely above a whisper, with absolutely no confidence, struggles badly in trying to answer this straightforward question (which she should have been prepared for, but apparently wasn’t). Bottom line: it’s clear that Charniele Herring’s’s wayyyyy out of her league when it comes to foreign policy. This is very close to diqualifying in and of itself for someone running for Congress, which deals with crucial foreign policy questions all the time.

*Shuttleworth: Show restraint in foreign policy, be “much more non-interventionist…much more on the sideline.”

*Bill Euille: Security, terrorism, energy.

*Don Beyer: We can’t allow a nuclear Iran; we must avoid a 2nd Cold War with Russia; climate change is the greatest weapon of mass destruction.

*Satish Korpe: Rogue states, Russia, not sure what his third point was exactly, but he did say we need an “old-fashioned carrot-and-stick policy.”

*Lavern Chatman: Says she met with the “Truman Group” on “just this issue” (I’m sure she meant the Truman National Security Project, which “recruits, trains, and positions progressives across America to lead on national security,” not the Truman Group, which “provides high quality psychological care to North American and Western European expatriates living overseas”). Cybersecurity and…nothing else mentioned. She’s clearly far out of her league on foreign policy.

*Patrick Hope: Climate change; Putin’s invasion of Crimea (“we need to solve that problem”); do more nation building at home and less overseas.

*Adam Ebbin: He squeezed in more than 3 items — Russia, nuclear Iran, Syrian regime and their atrocities; climate change; cybsersecurity; threats to democracy anywhere, but there are limits to American military intervention so focus on diplomacy before the fact and sanctions during or after the fact.

  • if health and environmental issues are addressed. The problem is, there’s no way the health or environmental issues of the Canadian tar sands, which Keystone XL will facilitate, can really be addressed, as the oil is inherently nasty, dirty, dangerous stuff that will contribute to climate change. Not that I’m supporting Euille anyway, in large part due to his fundraiser with McDonnell-endorsing and Deeds-stutter-mocking Sheila Johnson, but this answer also is NOT good.

  • This was one of the “lightning” round questions, by the way, and there were some funny variants on the answer “yes” (e.g., Shuttleworth said 100% followed by Euille who said 1,000% and got a big laugh from the audience).

  • Korpe: Hasn’t studied the issue, but “all the people have the right to choose their freedom.”

    Chatman: It’s a very “complex issue,” she’s “pro-Israel” and “stands with the President.”

    Hope: Supports a “two-state solution”

    Ebbin: Ditto

    Hyra: These groups both have rights to this land and we must make sure that they have equal access to it (that’s a very bad answer; nobody’s talking about “equal access” to “this land”, which would imply a ONE-state solution; everyone’s talking about some sort of division of the lands west of the Jordan River…)

    Levine: Has long supported a “two-state solution, Arab state and a Jewish state”

    Herring: Two-state solution

    Shuttleworth: Ditto

    Euille: Ditto

    Beyer: Two-state solution, but one negotiated by the Israelis and Palestinians, not “imposed by the United Nations”

  • Hyra: We’re one of the most violent countries in the world, we need to put a “great restriction on assault rifles,” “limit assault rifles to the military and the police”

    Levine: Background checks for the mentally ill, for those who commit domestic violence and violent injury, limiting ammunition clips to 10 bullets; require a license to own a gun. Why are Democrats giving up on background checks; the vast majority of Americans support this, he’ll “proudly get a zero on the NRA survey”)

    Herring: Believes she has a “D” or “F” from the NRA and “I’m actually proud of that grade.” Need to ban assault weapons, limit ammunition clips. Says Congress is dysfunctional but that a “profile in courage” could get something passed through Congress.

    Shuttleworth: Emphasizes his credibility as a fighter pilot on this issue. For gun safety.

    Euille: Proud to be one of the early signers to Mayors Against Illegal Guns initiative, strong advocate for gun control, supports a ban on assault weapons, limits on ammo clips, background checks, addressing mental illness.

    Beyer: Would work to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“The purpose of the act is to prevent firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for negligence when crimes have been committed with their products.”). Would work for total background checks. We give the NRA a power they don’t deserve and didn’t earn.

    Korpe: Background checks, close gun show loophole, ban “killing bullets” and substitute with “tranquilizing bullets” (huh?)

    Chatman: Worries her nephews could be the next Trayvon Martin. We give NRA too much credit. We need stronger gun laws.

    Hope: Talks about Sandy Hook and concern for his daughters. He’s seen how easy it is to purchase guns from a gun show without a background check; that needs to end. Assault weapons ban. “No responsible gun owner should be afraid of a background check”). Mental health.

    Ebbin: Passed legislation to require all schools and universities in Virginia to have an emergency plan. Mental health programs at community colleges. Assault weapons ban. Ban high-capacity magazines. Buying whatever you want at a gun show is as “easy as buying candy.”

  • totallynext

    Feedback from people is that while Hyra is an unknown in democratic circles he really was the surprise at the forum…

  • Should employers who provide health insurance be able to cite religious grounds to deny employees access to certain services.

    Answers: All said “no,” plus a “hell no” from Bill Euille and a couple of “absolutely not”s from Levine and Shuttleworth.

  • All said yes, except for Satish Korpe, who joked that he would say “no” just to get some extra time to talk more about this. LOL

  • Everyone said yes.

  • Outlined his bio, says he supports transit in Mt. Vernon, wants to be in Congress for a couple reasons: 1) be the voice for the “least amongst us”; 2) protecting the future for his daughters (e.g., equal pay, climate change).

  • Gives bio, said you’ll hear a lot of similar progressive slogans today, but just said “call me a liberal” and emphasized that he has a record of passing progressive legislation (e.g, repealing the hybrid fee). Told story about anti-LGBT rhetoric impact on pages, says he’ll be there for “everyone who has it tough.”

  • Explains why he’s called the “aggressive progressive,” says he doesn’t quit, cites legislation he wrote to protect victims of domestic violence and their children. Pushed for marriage equality. Noted that he worked for Barney Frank and worked to defeat President Bush’s “faith-based initiative.” “Never let them tell you that things are impossible.” Says he’s not a conventional politician, but will work to “achieve the impossible.”

  • Gives her bio, emphasizes that she grew up in Northern Virginia, lived in a shelter for 6 months. She understands the value of government programs like Pell Grants and Stafford loans. Brings a “unique and diverse voice to this race.” Says she led the fight against trans-vaginal ultrasound bill.

  • We’re each put on earth to build something larger than ourselves and to serve others. We must build a new American economy. Restore our middle class. Strengthen the Affordable Care Act. Will fight for federal employees, fight against NRA. Strong advocate for women’s reproductive rights. Will fight for national, progressive carbon tax to combat climate change. Path to citizenship. Marriage equality. “I’m a biological Democrat,” will “hit the ground running” with “proven leadership.”

  • Native of Northern Virginia, graduate of Mt. Vernon High School. “A leaders” who has been “in the trenches.” Working to make this community stronger. Time for a woman to defend access to health care and reproductive freedom. Equal pay for women and equal access to capital. Prevent gun violence, protect Social Security and Medicaid (I think she meant Medicare). Protect federal workers and small businesses against “Tea Party extremists.” “If we can put a community organizer in the White House, we can put a community leader in the U.S. House.”

  • Another funny moment: Shuttleworth says 10,000 percent, Euille cracks up laughing.

  • including path to citizenship. Ebbin adds we should stop deportations until Congress does its job. Levine says immigrants are the life blood of America.

  • Shuttleworth: Public funding of elections. Influence of money in politics is corrosive and should end.

    Euille: Need to change the way we finance campaigns.

    Beyer: Ban SuperPACs, make clear that corporations are not people, may need a constitutional amendment, need a different balance on Supreme Court.

  • Beyer adds that the tipped wage should be increased as well.

  • close to 100% of the time, just wishes he had been more involved in health care.

  • Nothing in the constitution that says corporations are people. Need constitutional amendment, public financing of campaigns.

  • 1. Ban fracking in GW National Forest (YES!)

    2. Fully implement Chesapeake Bay Act (e.g., on impervious surfaces) – YES!!!

    3. Fix combined sewer/overflow problem in Old Town Alexandria.

    4. Applaud AG Herring for standing up against states who would prevent us from fully implementing Chesapeake Bay Act. (Strongly agree)

  • Hope – Will fight for that.

    Ebbin – Need to address pollution not just in the water but in the air. Proposed 5 cent fee on plastic bags.

  • Supports Elizabeth’s Warren’s proposal to have student loan rates to be equivalent to what Wall Street banks pay.

  • Shuttleworth: Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol.

    Euille: Decriminalize marijuana. “Ban the box” in job applications.

    Beyer: Supports decriminalization of marijuana, says we’re responsible for horrendous death toll in Mexico (so true). We also need to address poverty, build up these communities so that drug use isn’t so prevalent.

  • Note that my video camera died right after Beyer’s closing statement. So…see Jim Southworth’s video when it’s available for the other closing statements.

  • Have to move as quickly as possible for real transit, including Metro down Route 1 corridor.

  • a good congressman.

  • Chatman: This disproportionately impacts minorities, we should decriminalize marijuana. Also need education and jobs.

    Hope: Strongly supports decriminalization of marijuana. People in jail don’t get treatment. Should have more drug courts.

    Ebbin: Co-sponsored legislation to decriminalize marijuana.

  • Foreign Policy:

    Best: Don Beyer and Mark Levine were definitely on top here, with a great deal of knowledge of foreign affairs clear in their answers.

    Worst: By far and away, Charniele Herring – this was an embarrassing “answer,” demonstrating essentially that she knows nothing about foreign policy, hasn’t thought about it for 5 minutes in her life, and can’t articulate it even when she SHOULD have been prepared for a debate which would clearly cover it. Major #FAIL both for her and for her campaign.

    Second worst: Lavern Chatman misstated the group she met with, also clearly wayyyyy out of her league when it comes to foreign policy.

    Keystone XL

    Worst: Bill Euille. His answer was both wrong AND made no sense.

    Gun Violence

    Best: Levine, Hope and Euille did very well on this question.

    Worst: Korpe rambled about “tranquilizing bullets.” Huh? Herring made no sense when she said Congress is dysfunctional but that “profiles in courage” will get gun legislation passed. That’s ridiculous, to be blunt; if we couldn’t get legislation passed after freaking SANDY HOOK then what makes her thing Congress will do something on this issue?!?

    Money in politics

    Best: Beyer was very strong on this, as were Shuttleworth, Hope and Ebbin.

    Worst: Euille kind of rambled, not sure what he was getting at here.

    Overall presentation

    Best: Don Beyer was forceful, clear and strong on the issues, as you’d expect from someone with his enormous experience. Mark Levine also does great in these types of forums, as you’d expect him to given his tremendous experience on TV and radio, as well as in Congress. Bruce Shuttleworth did very well, showed passion, energy and humor.

    Middling: Several of the candidates did fine, but didn’t show much passion, energy, humor, etc.

    Worst: Charniele Herring spoke very softly, almost in a whisper, showed little if any confidence or dynamism, no sense of humor, no energy. She also showed herself to be wayyy out of her league on foreign policy. It was very hard to understand Satish Korpe, who also at several points was clearly well out of his league (he also had the strangest moment in the debate with his comment about “tranquilizing bullets.”

    Overall Grades

    1. Don Beyer: A (Went in the front runner, came out essentially unscathed and even strengthened. He showed a lot of energy in the debate, forcefulness, passion, as well as knowledge on all the issues, both domestic and foreign policy. Bottom line – he’s VERY good at this.)

    2. Mark Levine: A- (Excellent command of the issues, but needs to demonstrate his involvement/connection to local issues as much as to national and international, where he clearly is super knowledgeable, capable, etc. One critique of the “aggressive progressive” – if you’re going to call out an opponent, just do so by name and not with the vague “one of my opponents”).

    3. Bruce Shuttleworth: B+ (Very strong debate, I told him afterward to his face that he did really well, and I meant it.)

    4. Adam Ebbin: B (Solid overall, nothing spectacular but no disasters, also showed flashes of dry humor. The question is how he’s going to distinguish himself in this field.)

    5. Patrick Hope: B- (Pretty solid, but clearly debates are not his strongest suit, as he’s not flashy but more a straight arrow, solid citizen type of guy. Also, Hope’s clearly not as comfortable with foreign policy as he is with his fortes – health care, prison reform, etc. More work needed on the foreign policy front!)

    6. Bill Euille: C (Generally strong on local issues, as one would expect, although no better than several other candidates on the stage really. Foreign policy is clearly not Euille’s forte, even if he mentioned a few countries he’s traveled to, and his Keystone XL answer was incoherent and wrong. He DID show an excellent sense of humor.)

    7. Derek Hyra: C (OK, decent sense of humor and good, conversational speaking style. Just nothing that jumped out at me one way or the other, particularly, other than his confusing answer on Palestine and his somewhat mangled language on gun violence – “great restriction on assault rifles?”)

    8. Lavern Chatman: C- (Good stylistically for the most part, just not much substance there beyond talking points and especially no substance on foreign policy. She got lucky that the moderator didn’t ask the candidates if they’d ever donated to or endorsed a Republican candidate, or whether they had any ethical or legal issues in their background. That would have been…er, interesting!)

    9. Satish Korpe: D (Could barely understand him, and when you COULD understand him he demonstrated that he’s not quite ready to compete at this level.)

    10. Charniele Herring: F (She was totally not ready for prime time on either style or substance – particularly on foreign policy, where she almost completely froze up and then mangled her answer. She really should rethink why she’s in this race and whether her future political prospects would be better served by dropping out ASAP.)

  • LAS

    I could understand why–in the interest of time and space– you might decide to skip a few of the candidates who you believe have a zero chance of winning. But why single out Derek Hyra? Surely he isn’t alone in that category?

    I thought you would have remarked that Hyra was the only one to mention Asia–and specifically China as a top foreign policy issue. Interesting and astute, no?  

  • pvogel

    May 7  is an importasnt  date  for    candidates  who  realize  they   are  not going to win, and in fact dont want to be embarrassed   to drop out  without   being  on the ballot.