Tonight's moderator, Ron Magers.
RON MAGERS: Good evening, and welcome to the first televised debate between the candidates for the U. S. Senate, from the state of Illinois. Tonight, the candidates will debate the issues so that you, the voters, may make a more informed decision when you vote on election day.
Tonight's debate is produced with the cooperation of the League of Women Voters of Illinois, the Asian American Institute, the Chicago Urban League, and the Mikva Challenge Grant Foundation.
To question our candidates tonight are WBEZ radio's political reporter, Carlos Hernandez-Gomez; ABC-7's political reporter, Andy Shaw; and Laura Washington, the Ida B. Wells Barnett Professor, DePaul University, and contributing columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.
The candidates for U. S. Senate are Democratic candidate Barack Obama, and Alan Keyes, the Republican candidate.
We sincerely welcome you both, and we thank you very much for this opportunity. I apologize for the raspiness of my voice tonight, but it is, after all, their voices that will count during this hour. Let us begin with those voices.
Opening statements. By a drawing held earlier, Mr. Obama is first and, Mr. Obama, a minute, thirty seconds.
BARACK OBAMA, ILLINOIS U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I want to thank Channel 7, and those who sponsored this wonderful debate tonight. I want to thank those of you who are watching this evening.
You know, I came to Chicago twenty years ago, to help communities that had been devastated by steel plants that had closed. I worked with churches and community residents to bring job training programs to the unemployed, and to bring economic development to hard-hit neighborhoods.
After law school, I worked as a civil rights attorney, helping to build affordable housing and community health centers, and for the last eight years, I've worked as a state senator, focused on the issues that are working, affecting working families all across the state of Illinois. I've provided tax relief to families that needed it, health care to those who didn't have it, and helped to reform a death penalty system badly in need of repair.
I accomplished these things by setting partisanship aside and seeking common ground. That's what you, the people of Illinois, have told me that you want--somebody who can reach out and find practical solutions to the problems that we face.
Now, my opponent in this race doesn't have a track record of service in Illinois. Instead, he talks about a moral crusade, and labels those who disagree with him as sinners. I don't think that kind of talk is helpful, in terms of providing the sort of solutions that all of us are looking for. I think government works best when we focus on common solutions to the problems that we face as Americans.
I'm running for the United States Senate to save our jobs, our health care, our pensions, and our dreams for college. And, working together, I'm absolutely certain we can accomplish all of these tasks.
MAGERS: Thank you, Mr. Obama. Mr. Keyes, your opening statement. A minute and a half.
ALAN KEYES ILLINOIS U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I think one of the things that shocked me most when I first got involved in this race, was a line I read in a letter that Senator Obama had sent to Jack Ryan about the issue of debates, in which he said that there was, at stake in the race, no great issue of principle, such as that which had divided Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in their famous debates here in Illinois.
That showed a decided and total lack of understanding of what is at stake for the people of this state and, indeed, of our nation in issues like abortion, in issues like the defense of traditional marriage. In point of fact, the most important principle of our nation's life--that we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator, not by human choice, with our unalienable rights--is at stake in this election, as it was in the great election that was the dividing line between Lincoln and Douglas in 1858.
I stand for the defense of innocent life. I stand for the defense of traditional marriage. I stand on the platform of those great principles that Martin Luther King fought for, and that Frederick Douglass espoused, as they fought against great injustices.
And I stand there not just for reasons of principle but because, for instance, in the black community in this country, the Number One taker of black life is abortion. More than AIDS, more than violence, more than heart disease, more than any of those causes, including accidents and so forth combined, abortion has claimed the lives of black people--more than twice as many, amounting to twenty-five percent reduction in the black population. This is the practical truth of the moral crisis that we're in.
MAGERS: Thank you, gentlemen. And now, I have the pleasure of asking the first question, and by a drawing earlier, Mr. Keyes, the first response is yours. A minute and a half.
The war in Iraq. Is it the right war at the right time, and where and how does it end?
KEYES: Well, the truth is, the question is raised as if we have a choice. We either fight the war against terror, or the terrorists kill us. We must fight that war by carrying the war to the enemy.
What President Bush did, in going into Iraq, was take a situation where there was a probability that we were going to be attacked with weapons of mass destruction developed by Saddam Hussein, handed off to the terrorist network that he was part of, for he had provided payments, for instance, to Hamas--they work with Al Qaeda in the training camps, and so forth--all of this, he understood.
What probability was there, when he got that information? Was it fifty percent? Forty percent? Thirty percent? Ten? Well, what probability would you like, that there is going to be a chemical or biological attack against Chicago, that a weapon of mass destruction will go off and destroy the Loop?
What G. W. Bush did was what any responsible president would have to do. He acted in order to reduce that probability to zero, because when you're dealing with the situation we face right now, that is the only chance you want the American people to take.
So I think that we had no choice, and we have no choice now but to confront the terrorists where they live, to attack them before they attack us, to disrupt their lines of supply, their financial lines of supply, their training camps, and to make it clear to state sponsors of terrorism--such as Saddam Hussein was--that we are not going to tolerate their activities, and that none of them are going to be left alone.
It has clearly had an effect. Libya has backed off. Syria is talking a better game. Others are taking the lesson of our resolve, and that lesson is, even now, saving Americans from terrible disaster. It was a necessary decision, and that's what counts.
MAGERS: Thank you very much. Mr. Obama?
OBAMA: The fact of the matter is, is that there were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. This has cost us billions of dollars, thousands of lives, and has in fact made us less secure, because it has frayed a set of international norms and rules and institutions that were in place, that could have helped us defeat terrorism.
Mr. Keyes referred to the notion that, somehow, by fighting this war in Iraq, we reduced the probability of attack to zero. That obviously cannot be the case, particularly when we have nuclear fuel that's lying around in the former Soviet Union, and we have not advanced bills in the Senate that would accelerate our securing that nuclear fuel. There are all sorts of holes in our homeland defense, that have not been attended to. We still have ports that are unsecure. We still have nuclear plants and chemical plants that are unsecure. The fact of the matter is, this has not been a well-fought, or well-thought-out war.
Now, I do believe that, at this point, unfortunately, it is everybody's war, not just George Bush's, and I've repeatedly said that we have to make it work, by internationalizing the reconstruction process, by making sure that we are training police officers and army officials within Iraq so that they can make certain to provide basic law and order, as we try to transition to democracy there. But the notion that, somehow, as Osama bin Laden runs around in the hills of Afghanistan or Pakistan, that we've eliminated the terrorist threat, I think is simply not the case.
MAGERS: Thank you. Mr. Keyes, you have thirty seconds to rebut.
KEYES: As is often the case, a willful misunderstanding of what I made clear. We reduced the probability of an attack from Saddam Hussein to zero. I think all of us can agree on that. The breathtaking naïveté of the assertion that there are no connections between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, when Saddam Hussein was providing payments to the families of suicide bombers sponsored by Hamas, when Hamas and Al Qaeda have intimate ties--I worked on the problem of terrorism on the National Security Council staff. Maybe that's why I understand it a little better than Senator Obama, and know that, in point of fact, those ties are real, and we can't afford to let them operate.
MAGERS: Thank you, and thirty seconds to rebut, Mr. Obama.
OBAMA: Well, the fact of the matter is, is that Mr. Keyes' information I don't think is better than Donald Rumsfeld's, or Paul Bremer's, or all the other analysts who've asserted that, in fact, there was no connection between those who perpetrated 9/11, and Iraq.
The fact of the matter is, is that this was an ideologically-driven war. We have an obligation to make it work on behalf of the enormous bravery of our troops and the sacrifices that they've made, and now we have a hotbed of terrorism in Iraq that we've got to solve, but this was not the kind of war that we had to fight to defeat terrorism.
MAGERS: And now, back to questioning from our panel. We begin with Mr. Hernandez-Gomez.
CARLOS HERNANDEZ-GOMEZ, CHICAGO PUBLIC RADIO CORRESPONDENT: Senator Obama, the city of Chicago is, in many respects, still a one-party political system. Mayor Daley has vast influence with the city council and, indeed, with many elected officials. If elected to the U. S. Senate, how will you maintain independence from Daley and his power base?
OBAMA: Well, the same way I have done for the last eight years, as a state senator. The fact of the matter is, is that if you look my track record, I don't come out of a world organization. I don't come out of a political organization. And when I announced I was running for this race, the general estimation was, "The guy's got no money. He's got no organization, and nobody can pronounce his name."
So, certainly, we were not made by any political organization, anywhere in the state. What we did was we built a grassroots movement, and the fact of the matter is that I've got a track record of independence as a community organizer, as a civil rights attorney. There have been times where I've been on the other side of legal issues with the mayor, and in Springfield, one of the things I'm most proud of is working with Paul Simon to develop the first campaign ethics reform legislation in twenty-five years, consistently voting against special interests legislation, even when it was sponsored by my own party.
So I think that I've displayed the sort of independence that people can feel confident about. It's very easy to talk about independence. It's a lot harder to practice it, and when you look at the work that I've done, day in and day out, whether it's on making sure that the consumers are protected from telephone rates that are too high, or rejecting sweetheart casino deals, or any of the other pieces of legislation that, all too often, are dominated by special interests in Springfield, then I think you can feel confident that in fact I'm gonna serve the people of Illinois, and no one else.
MAGERS: Though I suspect you may be independent from Mayor Daley, Mr. Keyes, you do have a minute and thirty seconds to use, sir.
KEYES: Well, I don't think independence from Mayor Daley is the only problem. I think we face a political machinery in the state of Illinois that has, sadly, been altogether too prone to politicians who are going to be the tools of special interests.
Senator Obama, for instance, receives more money from the trial lawyers than, I think, anybody else in America, practically, which may explain why tort reform and the skyrocketing rates of malpractice insurance have come in for short shrift from him, during his years in the senate.
These are the kind of ties that I'm utterly free of. A lot of you have probably noticed, I'm an independent Republican. I will speak the truth with integrity to the people of this state. I will act on behalf of what I deeply believe to be the common-sense, best interests of the people, whether I'm criticized by folks in my own party, or supported.
I don't take money from a large clique of special interests giving big donations. My money comes from common folks all over the state of Illinois, all around the country, who want only one thing from me, and that is that I should act with integrity, and act out of the fear of God, and according to my conscience.
And that's exactly what I do. And I think that it's one thing to talk about what is possible, and then when you turn sideways and disappear on controversial issues of great importance to the state, that's not a way of showing independence--it's a way of resolving that you will not take risks.
And risks will be necessary if we are to do things like address the trade crisis that has caused the destruction of manufacturing jobs in this state. We'll need somebody who has my background in international affairs and multilateral negotiations, but who also has the independence and guts to fight for the working people of this state.
MAGERS: Mr. Obama, thirty seconds.
OBAMA: Well, it's true that Mr. Keyes hasn't gotten much money from special interests in this state. He hasn't gotten much money from people in this state, generally. Seventy-five percent of his money comes from out of the state, so I don't think that he's in a position to make assessments about my independence or anybody else's independence, here in Illinois.
With respect to the trial lawyers, for example, I've repeatedly voted against the trial lawyers on a whole host of issues, including this session, passing, voting for a bill that ensured that we could deal with the malpractice crisis, sponsored by doctors.
MAGERS: Thank you very much. The next question goes to Mr. Keyes, and it comes from--
(Interruption: I think he gets--)
MAGERS: Oh, I'm sorry. Mr. Keyes, you do get thirty more seconds.
KEYES: I certainly do.
MAGERS: Thank you very much.
KEYES: I think one of the advantages of having a broad base of support is that nobody can pull your strings.
We have had a crisis dealing with the problem of skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates, in which Senator Obama has shown no leadership whatsoever, in which he has, in fact, taken a back seat while that crisis has continued to drive important specialists out of this state.
I think that's a practical problem of medical access, that then runs at cross purposes with other things--including, for instance, the fact that we've got slum landlords in the very city of Chicago being protected by a political machine, and he wouldn't even go take a look at the problem.
MAGERS: And now, Mr. Keyes, you will also get the next question, and it comes from Mr. Shaw.
ANDY SHAW, ABC-CHANNEL 7 REPORTER: Mr. Keyes, you shocked a lot of people a month ago when you said that law-abiding citizens trained in gun safety should be allowed to carry machine guns on the streets of cities like Chicago. Explain that, if you will.
KEYES: Well, actually, as you know, Andy, I never said that. I was asked a question about whether or not people should have access, under our Constitution and laws, to automatic weapons, and I referred the reporter to the factual situation--that, in fact, under our Constitution and laws, such access is allowed.
I will state boldly, though, that I am a supporter of the Second Amendment, and I believe strongly that law-abiding citizens should have their right to keep and bear arms left intact.
The gun control mentality is ruthlessly absurd. It suggests that you pass a law which will bind law-abiding citizens. They won't have access to weapons. Now, we know that criminals, by definition, are people who don't obey laws. Therefore, you can pass all the laws that you want. They will still have access to these weapons, just as they have access to illegal drugs and other things right now. That means you end up with a situation in which the law-abiding folks can't defend themselves, and the crooks have all the guns.
Happy enough, I guess, for Senator Obama, since he doesn't believe that homeowners should be able to defend themselves if their house is broken into. He voted against a bill that would have allowed that self-defense to be a plea against the charge that you were in illegal possession of a firearm.
But, no! That's not good enough. But he wants the crooks to get warning from the police, if they are breaking into a place where they know armed criminals are waiting, he wants to make sure that they give them fair warning, so I guess they can shoot the police to death.
I don't believe in arming the criminals and protecting the criminal, while leaving the law-abiding citizens disarmed, and telling our police that they must work under every disadvantage. That doesn't serve order. It doesn't serve law. And it doesn't make sense.
MAGERS: Mr. Obama.
OBAMA: Well, let's be clear. Mr. Keyes, for example, does not believe in common gun safety laws like the assault weapons bill. I have, as one of my guests today, the head of the Fraternal Order of Police. I'm proud of the support that I've received from that organization, in part, because they are concerned precisely about what Mr. Keyes referred to--getting shot by assault weapons, when they go in, in an attempt to do a drug bust.
Now, Mr. Keyes suggested that, somehow, because criminals break the law, that we shouldn't have laws in the first place. That defies logic. People break all sorts of laws, but we still have the laws in place.
And the fact of the matter is, is that Mr. Keyes does not believe in any limits, that I can tell, with respect to the possession of guns, including assault weapons that have only one purpose, and that is to kill people, unless you're seeing a lot of deer out there wearing bullet-proof vests, then there is no purpose for many of the guns.
I think it is a scandal that this president did not force a renewal of this assault weapons ban. If it had problems with it, then we should have closed those loopholes that might have made it not as effective as it should have been.
MAGERS: Thank you very much, Mr. Obama, and Mr. Keyes, you have thirty seconds to rebut.
KEYES: I think one of the great problems is that the Assault Weapons Ban deals with a fictional distinction. You have guns that are exactly the same guns as are banned, in function, that were banned because of the way they look. And you know, that's the whole truth of this policy: it's to make politicians look as if they are doing something, when in point of fact, they are doing nothing.
The answer to crime is not gun control, it is law enforcement and self-control. And when we remember that, we will see the rates of crime go down in Chicago, and everywhere else.
MAGERS: Mr. Obama, thirty seconds.
OBAMA: Well, I think it's true that we have to focus on self-control, and when young gang-bangers are out there shooting into crowds, there's a moral issue and a values issue that has to be addressed.
But I tell you what, it helps if they don't have an assault weapon with them when they shoot into that crowd. And I think that common sense gun safety laws aren't just supported by gun control politicians. They're supported by mothers who've been, seen their loved ones gunned down on the streets, and I think it's necessary that we address the problems that they see every day.
MAGERS: Ms. Washington, your question goes to Mr. Obama.
LAURA WASHINGTON, SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST: Senator Obama, I was, a friend of mine was at Red Sox-Yankees game the other night, and saw a lot of people wearing "Barack Obama" buttons. As a lifelong Cubs fan, that, I find that kinda disturbing.
WASHINGTON: But seriously, you have spent a significant amount of time in the campaign, campaigning outside the state of Illinois, for other candidates. What can you do to reassure Illinois voters that you're gonna spend time here, and that you're going to bring home the bacon to Illinois?
OBAMA: Well, because I've spent the last two years campaigning, and the last twenty years working, in this state, because I live here, and I'm raising my family here, and I've devoted my entire life to service to the people of Illinois.
Now, with respect to travel around the country, absolutely. I would say, in this month, we've probably been out of the state three days, and we expect to be out of the state for a fourth. So out of the thirty days in this month, we've been out of the state four days campaigning on behalf of Democrats, because I think Democrats have better ideas with respect to the issues of jobs, and health care, and transportation, and education, that all of us are so concerned about.
And one of the things that I hope to do when I get to Washington is to be able to move an agenda through. I've served in the minority party in the legislature, and the majority party in the legislature. I served under Democrats governors and Republican governors.
And although I'm very proud of the bipartisan work that I've accomplished when I was in the minority and I was under a Republican governor, the fact of the matter is, it's more fun being in the majority. You can get more stuff done. And, to the extent that I can lend my assistance to these other candidates so that we can promote some of the policies that we've talked about--making sure that we close tax loopholes to companies moving jobs overseas, and making them invest right here in the United States--then, I'm going to do everything I can to make that happen.
MAGERS: Mr. Keyes, a minute and a half.
KEYES: I must say, I think that the question is, at one level, based on a false premise, since what's obviously important is not Senator Obama's geographic location, or mine.
What's important is where we stand on the issues, and whether or not that in fact reflects the heart, the conscience, the best interests of the people of the state, whether we're being sincere with them.
Even in the last answer just now, about gang violence and shooting into a crowd, sounded great and very emotional. The only problem is that, in his voting record, when they went to do something about that gang violence by actually adding penalties that would pay especial attention to those crimes that were committed in the course of gang violence, and when they had legislation on the table that would be aimed at keeping people who were coming out of jail from consorting again with those who are part of gangs, Senator Obama voted against it.
And when you had a law that would penalize folks who, especially, who were going to discharge firearms within a certain number of feet of a school--again, aimed at trying to minimize that kind of gang violence--he voted against it.
He likes to go after the inanimate objects, as if they're the ones causing the problem. But, when you have legislation that intends to deal with the people who are, in fact, the source of the danger and the problem, he backs away, as if to tell us that we must worship the things, and forget the people.
But that's one of the problems with the view he takes toward everything. He believes we can control violence by controlling things.
I think we must educate the heart and soul of people, so that they will control themselves. That is the key.
MAGERS: Mr. Obama.
OBAMA: Well, the fact of the matter is, is that I've passed a hundred and fifty pieces of legislation, or voted on such legislation, that toughened penalties for violent criminals--everything from sex offenders to domestic abusers, to gang bangers.
So, on this stage, there's only one candidate who's actually ever dealt with criminals and toughened penalties. That's me. The other guy talks about it, and I think that's something that people are gonna be focused on, in this race.
MAGERS: Thirty seconds, Mr. Keyes.
KEYES: In point of fact, in the government, when I was part of the effort to fight against terrorists, I dealt with some of the folks who were probably the most hardened criminals on the face of the earth.
What I learned to understand, that Senator Obama seems to forget, when dealing with domestic crime and with international relations, is that you must go after the people who cause the problem, and that you must get to those people before they do harm to your citizens or to your country.
That, I think, is the key, if you are, in point of fact, going to have something that doesn't keep the problem around so you can keep claiming credit for addressing it, but instead goes to the heart of it and seeks to resolve it, by dealing with those individuals who pose a threat to the decency of their community, and to the viability of education in our schools. That is the key at home--
MAGERS: (talking over) Thank you, sir.
KEYES: --just as it is the key in international, in fighting international terror.
MAGERS: Next question also goes to Mr. Keyes, and it comes from Carlos Hernandez-Gomez.
HERNANDEZ-GOMEZ: Ambassador Keyes, you're a Roman Catholic who often touts your pro-life position as an opponent of abortion. You've also said there are certain circumstances in which the death penalty is essential. But the Pope has said, "The dignity of human life must never be taken." The Pope also says that the death penalty is both cruel and unnecessary.
Doesn't that mean you're not completely pro-life? How does your support of capital punishment, and opposition to abortion, conflict with your Roman Catholic faith?
KEYES: It doesn't conflict at all. As a matter of fact, everything that has come from the Pope and the Holy See has made it clear that abortion and capital punishment are at different levels of moral concern.
Abortion is intrinsically, objectively, wrong and sinful, whereas capital punishment is a matter of prudential judgment which is not, in and of itself, a violation of moral right. And that has been made clear in every pronouncement, including Cardinal Ratzinger's latest communication, including the interpretation of American bishops and cardinals. That distinction is fundamental. And it's one that folks in the media, and others, seem not to understand.
There are certain issues that objectively violate the most fundamental canons of moral decency, and abortion, for instance, is one of them--the taking of innocent life.
The question of whether or not you should apply capital punishment, in an instance where someone has been found to be guilty, is something that depends on circumstances, that depends on judgments about efficacy and balancing the results against what is, in fact, to be effected in capital punishment. And that is an area where Catholics, as others, have the right to debate, to disagree, and to exercise their judgment and common sense, which of course is what I do.
But if you take a position that effaces the distinction between innocent life and guilty life, then you not only violate a moral canon--you destroy the fundamental basis of the law, and that is the ultimate disrespect for human life.
MAGERS: Mr. Obama. A minute and a half.
OBAMA: Well, I believe that the death penalty is appropriate in certain circumstances. There are extraordinarily heinous crimes--terrorism, the harm of children--in which it may be appropriate. Obviously, we've had some problems in this state in the application of the death penalty, and that's why a moratorium was put in place, and that's why I was so proud to be one of the leaders in making sure that we overhauled a death penalty system that was broken. For example, passing the first in the nation, videotaping of interrogations and confessions in capital cases.
We have to have this ultimate sanction for certain circumstances in which the entire community says, "This is beyond the pale." And I think it's important that we preserve that. But I also think that it's gotta be fair and uniformly applied, and that's something that has not always happened in this state, and I'm glad that we've made some improvements on this score.
Now, I agree with, actually, Mr. Keyes that the issue of abortion and the death penalty are separate questions. It's unfortunate that, I think, whereas, with respect to the death penalty, Mr. Keyes respects the possibility that other people may have a differing point of view, that in this area, he has labeled them everything from "terrorists," to people promoting a "slaveholder position," to suggesting that they are consistent with Nazism.
I think that kind of rhetoric, obviously, is not particularly helpful in us resolving what are very difficult and emotional subjects.
MAGERS: Mr. Keyes, thirty seconds.
KEYES: Well, it's obvious that Senator Obama has read the newspapers too much.
In point of fact, I don't call people names. I make arguments.
And in point of fact, it is the slaveholders' position. The slaveholders took the view that black people were not developed enough to be treated as human beings, and therefore, could be bought and sold like animals.
People looking at the babe in the womb take the view that that child is not developed enough to be treated as a human being, and therefore can be killed at will.
I think that's the same position, in principle, and it violates the fundamental principle of our way of life--that we are not developed nor born, but created equal, and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.
MAGERS: Mr. Obama.
OBAMA: Well, Mr. Keyes, I've been reading the papers and watching the television, and I've been seeing you call folks names, so just one point that I want to make with respect to this issue of the slaveholder's position.
Essentially, what Mr. Keyes does is equates a woman who's exercising her right to choose, in extraordinarily painful circumstances, with a slaveholder, and I think it's that kind of overblown rhetoric that has left Illinoisans not particularly pleased with his campaign.
MAGERS: Thank you, gentlemen. We will shift gears now. Now it is time for each of you to have the opportunity to ask a question of the other. By a drawing held earlier, Mr. Keyes, it is your question first for Mr. Obama, who will have a minute, thirty seconds to respond, and then, Mr. Keyes, you will have forty-five seconds to rebut. So, Mr. Keyes, we will begin with your question.
KEYES: Well, I had noticed that, in your voting, you had voted, at one point, that sex education should begin in kindergarten, and you justified it by saying that it would be "age-appropriate" sex education.
But then on another vote, when they wanted to put internet filters on computers for the schools and in the libraries, you voted to oppose that, which made me wonder just exactly what you think is "age-appropriate."
For instance, do you think that, in the first and second grade, we ought to be teaching from books like Heather Has Two Mommies, where we will be presenting, whether or not parents agree with it, a lifestyle that many folks in the state of Illinois believe is not advisable? Is that the kind of sex education you mean?
OBAMA: Actually, that wasn't what I had in mind.
We have a existing law that mandates sex education in the schools. We want to make sure that it's medically accurate and age-appropriate.
Now, I'll give you an example, because I have a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old daughter, and one of the things my wife and I talked to our daughter about is the possibility of somebody touching them inappropriately, and what that might mean.
And that was included specifically in the law, so that kindergarteners are able to exercise some possible protection against abuse, because I have family members as well as friends who suffered abuse at that age. So, that's the kind of stuff that I was talking about in that piece of legislation.
With respect to internet filters, I've voted for them, with respect to libraries, where I think that young people are not properly monitored. In the school setting, there was information that, potentially, they could not access, such as information about breast cancer, and the filters were not working effectively, which is why there was a broad opposition from a lot of quarters, and not just from me.
MAGERS: Mr. Keyes, forty-five seconds.
KEYES: The truth of the matter is, I think that illustrates another fundamental difference between us.
I think it's perfectly appropriate for parents to be talking to their children at these tender young ages, in a way that reflects their faith, and their values, and their sense of the context in which these things occur, as understood according to their moral identity and religious culture.
That's why I think it's extremely dangerous to be touching these subjects at such tender ages in a school environment, rather than leaving it in the hands of parents--but then, I believe in school choice.
I believe in empowering parents with the right to choose the environment in which their children will be educated, rather than usurping their role with the role of a bureaucratically-dominated educational system.
MAGERS: Mr. Obama, you now have a question for Mr. Keyes.
OBAMA: Well, Mr. Keyes, you've talked a lot about, in this campaign, about empowering people in the areas of health care, education, and so forth, yet you've publicly endorsed the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, which gives individual voters rather than state legislatures the power to choose their United States Senator.
You know, if your proposal was adopted, presumably all the viewers who are watching here tonight wouldn't be watching, because they wouldn't have any say-so in this election. And, I guess I'm interested in how you reconcile your supposed concern about empowering people with your willingness to disenfranchise them in this race.
KEYES: Well, you know, I think that the question actually illustrates the ignorance that I've noticed of your understanding of the American Constitution, and its background.
Senators were originally chosen, under our Constitution, by the state legislature--for the simple reason that the Senate was supposed to represent the state governments, not geographic entities, but the governments that are empowered to take care of the affairs of the states, as sovereign entities that, under our Constitution, retained the residual powers of government not delegated to the federal government.
In point of fact, the notion that this somehow disenfranchises people--our laws, in the state of Illinois, are passed by the state legislature. In the passage of those laws, are the people of this state "disenfranchised"?
Of course they're not. When the legislature makes a decision, puts a criminal law on the books, it is "The People v. So-and-So" when that law is violated, because the legislature is presumed to represent the people. That is the meaning of our Constitutional system.
But what has happened under the federal aegis, since we adopted the Seventeenth Amendment, isn't that people are enfranchised.
It's that more and more important issues--including, under certain education laws now, things vital to the community like education--are being more and more decided by distant bureaucrats, by people at a level of government not as responsive as the state and local level. That's why we should protect the prerogatives of the state governments that are closer to our people.
MAGERS: Thank you. Mr. Obama, forty-five seconds.
OBAMA: Listen, I love my colleagues in the state legislature, but I think you should be voting for your United States Senator, not my colleagues. You know, I have a little understanding of the Constitution, since I teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago, and I understand that, in fact, that was the original way that the Constitution was framed.
It also prohibited anybody other than white, male property owners from voting. That's why we had amendments, so that black people and Asians and women could vote. It strikes me a funny way to empower people, to take their vote away.
MAGERS: Now back to questions from the panel. Mr. Obama, you have a question from Mr. Shaw.
SHAW: Senator Obama, you talked about your votes on behalf of public safety and to protect police officers, so let me follow up on something Mr. Keyes mentioned. Mandatory death sentences for gang members who kill cops or jail guards, you voted "no." The right to let cops go into dangerous places with search warrants without knocking on the door, you voted "no" on that one.
Explain, if you will.
On the first bill, it was unnecessary, which is why it was vetoed by the governor. This was a bill that said that gang members, by virtue of furthering gang activity, will be death penalty-eligible for a whole host of crimes. Here's the only catch. It turned out that all these crimes were already death penalty-eligible.
So, it was entirely unnecessary and potentially unconstitutional, because it said, for example, that I could kill a police officer, but because I was a gang member, I would be potentially treated differently than a gang member who was killing a police officer. I think both of them should be death penalty-eligible, and that's the reason that the bill was unnecessary and constitutionally suspect.
With respect for the potential for police officers not to knock when they go in, Mr. Keyes, I'm sure, appreciates the importance of the Fourth Amendment and the issue of search and seizures, and it strikes me that it is important for us to have some parameters with respect to how we enforce our laws, just because that's how we protect our civil liberties.
And, although these are oftentimes tough votes, part of my job is to make sure that I'm voting my conscience, and if a poorly-drafted piece of legislation is put before me, that I vote against it, even if I know that I'm going to take some political heat in the future.
MAGERS: Mr. Keyes, a minute and a half.
KEYES: I think it's kind of odd--I'm willing to wager, we could here, that Senator Obama would not think it superfluous to have what's called "hate crimes legislation" that adds a special animus to certain acts of violence, already penalized under the law, but, in order to convey against those particular acts a certain special category of opprobrium from the society.
Whether one supports that idea or not, it is clear that you don't look upon it as superfluous, because the law provides an extra message that is aimed at discouraging certain particularly harmful things to the society and the community. And that, of course, was the purpose.
If you have communities that are particularly threatened by gang violence, and you want to send a particular message to those who are drawn into that process of violence through their association with gangs, to make it less attractive, then you would use the law to send that message. And, as with hate crimes legislation, it's not superfluous. It is, in fact, one of the functions of the law, and by using that function, you are also sending--in the case of the police officers in dangerous places, it is always the case that these rights are subject to prudential judgments, and that police officers can be put under the burden of making reasonable judgments about what is or is not necessary to safeguard their lives.
MAGERS: (talking over) Thank you, sir.
KEYES: He didn't want to do that, even though it's necessary.
MAGERS: Thank you. Mr. Obama?
OBAMA: Well, I think there is a reason why, for example, I support hate crimes legislation, unlike, I think, Mr. Keyes, but that, I think that, this situation was different. And it's a very simple difference. It was the death penalty. You can't afford to make mistakes, and you have to apply absolute uniformity if you're gonna have a death penalty system in place.
And I should just note, again, that there's a reason why the Fraternal Order of Police, all across the state, has endorsed me--
MAGERS: (talking over) Thank you, sir.
OBAMA: --in this election.
MAGERS: Mr. Keyes? Thirty seconds.
KEYES: Well, I think one of the problems here is that I think it's actually singling out the innocent victims and singling out the communities that are in fact harmed especially by gang violence, to say that we don't want to send a special message to those who gain their sense of involvement and their satisfaction in belonging to a group, from groups, that do violence to the community. I think this is one of those areas where we want to send a special message, and I think--
MAGERS: (talking over) Out of time. Thank you, sir.
KEYES: --a lot of folks don't understand why Senator Obama doesn't.
MAGERS: Thank you very much. Next question to Mr. Keyes, from Ms. Washington.
WASHINGTON: Ambassador Keyes, you've criticized gays and lesbians throughout much of your political career. You called homosexuality an abomination. In response to a reporter's question, you said that Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter was a selfish hedonist, and you said that the children raised by gay couples could be the victims of incest.
You mentioned earlier the importance of talking to your children. As a role model for parents, for every parent out there, and as a loving father, what would you say to your child if one of your children was to come to you and to say that he or she was a homosexual?
KEYES: Well, in the first instance, you have gone through a list of things that, like most of the people in the media, makes statements that I didn't make.
I do not say that homosexual relations is an abomination, the Bible says so. And many people in this state believe the Bible when it says so.
And for others to imply that that belief shall now be subject to penalties of law means that we are bringing freedom of religion in this society to an end, and beginning the persecution of our Christian citizens under the law, for believing in what the Scripture tells them is true. That's Step Number One.
Second, I have not called people names. I simply describe a situation. Marriage--traditional marriage--is based upon heterosexual relations, because they are connected to procreation. In every society and civilization, marriage is connected to the business of regulating the consequences of procreation, understanding what shall be the authority of the parents, their responsibility to their children, children's responsibility to their parents, inheritance laws.
Where procreation is, in principle, impossible, marriage is irrelevant. And that is the fundamental argument, in a civic sense, against something like homosexual marriage. It is irrelevant. It is not needed, and the idea . . .
WASHINGTON: (attempts interruption)
KEYES: The idea that one should have legislation that is regulating private friendships for no reason at all strikes me as a fundamental degrading of those private friendships.
MAGERS: Thank you. Mr. Obama.
OBAMA: Well, to answer your question, Laura, I would love that child, and seek to understand them and support them in any way that I could.
This is obviously an issue that Mr. Keyes has based, in premise, a lot of his campaign on. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, but I also detest the sort of bashing and vilifying of gays and lesbians, because I think it's unduly divisive. It's unnecessary.
Most gays and lesbians are simply seeking basic recognition of their rights, so that they're not discriminated against in employment, that they're not discriminated against with respect to renting a house, that they are able to visit their partner in a hospital, that they can transfer property. Those, I think, are--in the words of Vice President Cheney--rights for everybody, not just for some people. And it strikes me that the overheated rhetoric that Mr. Keyes engaged in the other, just this week, suggesting that, somehow, there was a connection between gays and lesbians adopting, and incest, because the child would not know their biological parent--logic that would obviously apply to heterosexual adoptive parents as well--is, I think, the kind of unfortunate language that . . .
MAGERS: (talking over) Time is up, thank you. Mr. Keyes, thirty seconds.
KEYES: That's, again, inaccuracy, because I was speaking not of adoption, but of the production of a child by one of those who are involved in a homosexual relationship--done now in such a way as to mask the identity of the non-, of the person of the other sex, so that you couldn't know who it was, so that no one has the information necessary to avoid incest, and that we would institutionalize that if we accept gay marriage as a basis for marriage. And to institutionalize that, it seems to me, sets us on a road--
MAGERS: Time is up.
KEYES: --toward our social self-destruction.
MAGERS: Thank you. Mr. Obama, thirty seconds.
OBAMA: Well, in this regard, I think Mr. Keyes is consistent. He opposes, for example, in-vitro fertilization, which allows infertile couples to have a child that they love. He is opposed to stem cell research, that has the potential to provide enormous benefits for debilitating diseases that are experienced by families all across this country. I think this is a situation where ideology gets in the way of science and good judgment.
MAGERS: A question for Mr. Obama, from Carlos Hernandes-Gomez.
HERNANDES-GOMEZ: Senator Obama, you say you're a Christian, but Ambassador Keyes said that your record runs counter to Jesus' teachings. What's your reaction to your opponent's assertion that your own Lord and Savior wouldn't even vote for you?
OBAMA: (laughs) Well, you know, my first reaction was, I actually wanted to find out who Mr. Keyes' pollster was, because if I had the opportunity to talk to Jesus Christ, I'd be asking something much more important than this senate race. I'd want to know whether I was going up, or down--
OBAMA: --there are all sorts of questions, I think, that I'd be interested in.
Look, I'm very proud of my Christianity, and it sustains me and it's part of what motivates me to get involved in public service. As I said before, I started in this town, in Chicago, organizing with churches, and the enormous faith and resilience and courage that was shown by persons of faith made all the difference in the world, in terms of setting up after-school programs for youth, or making sure that we have affordable housing in many communities that are having tough times all across this state.
But, what I don't think is appropriate, as a public servant, is for me to assume my faith is absolute and to, therefore, presume that people who are of different faiths, and have different perspectives, are somehow evil, or wrong, or that I can't have a dialogue with them and arrive at common ground.
MAGERS: Thank you very much. Mr. Keyes?
KEYES: But of course, the question involved here wasn't people of different faiths, but people who profess the same faith, and that faith is faith in Jesus Christ. And the question, I think, that I would pose to the Lord is not whether I'm "going up" or "going down." I want to know where He stands, so that I may follow Him.
I want to know where He stands with respect to the will of the Father, to Whom He looks. And on these questions, like abortion, He says the taking of innocent life is an abomination.
On these questions, like traditional marriage, He says He created us male and female, and that the wrong use of the body in this way is, again, as the Scripture says, an abomination. He defined marriage not as the union of man and man, or woman and woman, but as man and woman, and "the two become one flesh"--something that is possible only in the course of procreation.
So, when I look at where Christ stands, and I look at where Senator Obama stands, based upon that record of Christ's understanding which we acknowledge as Christians to be the true record, I say, "Well, Christ is over here. Senator Obama's over there. The two don't look the same."
And that means that I'm not thinking about Alan Keyes. I am thinking about the Lord.
And to say I don't have the right to do that means that you're trying to suggest that my faith-shaped conscience has no place in our politics. And yet, if I go into the voting booth or into public life without my faith-shaped conscience, then I have no conscience.
For, the Lord said I must love Him with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. There's nothing left over. Without faith, there's just a faith-shaped void where the conscience ought to be.
And I challenge all the voters of this state who profess to believe in Christ: "How can you vote from such a faith-shaped void?" Without the Lord, your vote will not be based upon that faith which ought to shape your life. And for anyone to suggest that you leave it behind--
MAGERS: (talking over) Thank you, sir.
KEYES: --at the door of the voting booth or public service, suggests something utterly incompatible with what the Lord ourself told us, Himself, rather, told us--
MAGERS: (talking over) Thank you, sir.
KEYES: --about the meaning of life.
MAGERS: Senator Obama, you have thirty seconds.
OBAMA: I don't need Mr. Keyes lecturing me about Christianity. That's why I have a pastor. That's why I have my Bible. That's why I have my own prayer. And I don't think that any of you are particularly interested in having Mr. Keyes lecture you about your faith.
What you're interested in is solving problems like jobs, and health care, and education. I'm not running to be the minister of Illinois. I'm running to be its United States Senator.
MAGERS: Mr. Keyes, thirty seconds.
KEYES: I think that answer is typical.
When it really comes down to it, though Senator Obama professes faith when it's convenient to get votes, at the hard points where that faith must be followed and explained to folks, and stood up for and witnessed to as folks who were martyrs in the early church said, he then pleads separation of church and state, something found nowhere in the Constitution, and certainly found nowhere in the Scripture as such.
So, I've gotta tell you, I think that this is a typical example that ought to be examined carefully by discerning people of Christian conscience.
MAGERS: (talking over) Thank you.
Next question goes to Mr. Keyes, from Mr. Shaw.
SHAW: Mr. Keyes, according to published reports, you made more than six hundred thousand dollars last year speaking around the country, a testament to your powerful speaking voice and the strength of your ideas, no doubt.
But along the way, you also have a hundred and eighteen thousand dollar bill from the Federal Election Commission, unpaid, from the last campaign, penalties and reimbursement to people. You had three hundred thousand dollars left over in debt, in 2000, and the state of Maryland's been trying to collect unpaid taxes from you for years.
How do you reconcile such a significant income with this tattered financial picture?
KEYES: Andy, I think that that's a question that's typical of the kind of scurrilous unfairness that the media has been guilty of.
He cites several things there. He puts my personal income together with campaign problems, as if the two are the same, when we know that they're not.
He also suggests unpaid taxes to Maryland. They amounted to something like three hundred and some-odd dollars and they have been taken care of, but he doesn't mention that, as if it's some big deal, and he wants people to be prejudiced against me on account of it.
I'm not sure that that's a proper question.
And when you look at the resolution of the campaigns that almost every--matter of fact, my people tell me every presidential campaign makes resolutions like this with the FEC. And over the thirteen-odd million dollars that were involved in my presidential campaign, our settlement was relatively small and innocuous, as compared to others that have been on record over the course of the years.
So, I think that this effort to try to take things that are perfectly normal and blow them up in a way that's prejudicial shows us, at the end of the day, doesn't it, that the so-called objectivity of the media is not in evidence here, any more than it's been in evidence in the newspaper articles and other things that have distorted and misrepresented things that I have said, in order to try to create an unfavorable impression.
But I think the people of this state are smart enough to make their judgments in spite of that bias.
MAGERS: Thank you. Time is up. Mr. Obama?
OBAMA: Well, you know, I can't comment on Mr. Keyes' personal situation. I'm much more concerned about the tax scheme that he's promoting in this campaign, which is to eliminate the federal income tax, and initiate a 23-cent-on-every-dollar-purchased sales tax, above and beyond whatever sales taxes are already in place, by local and state governments.
This, by every estimate, is one of the most, potentially, regressive tax systems that we could have. Ninety percent of Americans would see increases in their taxes, as a consequence of this approach.
It would be terrific for people making millions of dollars, who disproportionately pay income tax. And one of the things that I've been, you know, trying to figure out is how someone who is concerned about, and professes concern about, a whole host of issues here in Illinois, whether it's education, or building roads, or bridges, or locks and dams, would suggest that we shift away from a progressive tax system to a system in which working people and the middle class would largely shoulder the burden.
MAGERS: Mr. Keyes, thirty seconds.
KEYES: Well, in point of fact, again, that shows a series of misstatements and misconstructions, starting with the notion that you would be paying on top of the current income tax. It would be gone. That would be a net gain for a lot of taxpayers, right there.
You would also see an enormous expansion of capitalization of the economy, expansion of jobs and productivity, and the most important thing is that the individual in their spending patterns would determine when they paid the tax.
Every Fair Tax proposal also includes measures to make sure that the poor and those willing to live--
MAGERS: (talking over) Time's up.
KEYES: --with frugality will not be paying the tax.
MAGERS: Thank you. Mr. Obama, thirty seconds.
OBAMA: Well, Mr. Keyes, you said that at the last debate we had, so I had a University of Chicago economist, Mr. Goldsby, who's here today, figure out, after you had all the exemptions in place, in fact, what the sales tax would be. It'd be around fifty cents to seventy cents on the dollar, on every purchase, if you made some of the exemptions that you suggest. And I didn't say that this was on top of the federal income tax. I said it was gonna be on top of the state and local sales taxes that already exist.
MAGERS: (talking over) Time is up.
OBAMA: It would be extraordinarily regressive.
MAGERS: Thank you. Ms. Washington, you have a question for Mr. Obama.
WASHINGTON: Senator Obama, two African Americans are vying to become the next Senator from Illinois, and Illinois will send its second African American Senator to Washington.
Some observers think that this is a great thing, that because of that, race has been taken off the table in this campaign. Do you agree or disagree with that, and does race still matter?
OBAMA: Well, look, I think everybody who lives in the United States knows that race still matters. It matters powerfully. I think that we still suffer from the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow, and this has been the single biggest blight on the history of this nation. And all of us have to work together, in order to repair it.
But I do think that the fact that Mr. Keyes and I can have a vigorous debate, not just about racial issues but about all the issues that face Americans, and that we appeal not only to African American voters but to voters of every color and every ethnic group is a sign of progress, and it's a sign of hopefulness.
One of the things I've been struck by, as I travel across the state of Illinois, is the core decency of the American people. I think that they want a better America, and they want to see how we can improve the prospects for our children.
And that's part of the reason why, when I talk about the issues that are of importance, what I'm constantly focusing on is our children.
How can we provide early childhood education? How can we make certain that we have trained teachers in the classroom, that can provide maximum opportunity for all kids, because that's, I think, the real promise of America as we move forward.
MAGERS: Mr. Keyes, a minute and a half.
KEYES: I think one of the great problems is that, of course, race is involved in this in one way, because the heritage people that have has a bearing on who they are, on what they consider to be important.
It's one of the reasons, for instance, I will admit, why I think abortion is so important. It has a disproportionate and horrifying impact on the black community.
Did you know that something like thirteen million black babies have been killed since Roe v. Wade, as a result of this holocaust of abortion? Did you know that the black population today is something like twenty-five percent less than it would otherwise be, because of abortion? Did you know that black women are disproportionately likely to have abortions, that more black babies are being aborted today than are being born, and that, as you project these kinds of tendencies into the future, the black population becomes a negligible factor in American politics and other things, over the course of the twenty-first century?
I look back on black Americans with a heritage of oppression and slavery that, unfortunately, is involved in this question as well, because seventy-eight percent of the abortion clinics that are provided by the most numerous provider of abortions in America, Planned Parenthood, are located in or near the black community. Blacks are thirteen percent of the population. They account for over a third of the abortions.
So I think that, on these important issues, we have to look for the--
MAGERS: (talking over) Time's up.
KEYES: --patterns that still target people on the basis of race--
MAGERS: (talking over) Thank you, sir.
KEYES: --and they're targeting people in the womb.
MAGERS: Mr. Obama, thirty seconds.
OBAMA: Well, you know, I guess Mr. Keyes started off making a point that, somehow, he is more authentically African American than I am. You know, I obviously find that offensive, but moving forward, I thought this was a question about race. Ended up talking about abortion.
I do think that there's probably disproportionate abortions in the African American community, because there are disproportionately poor women who don't have basic health services, including contraception that prevents unwanted pregnancies. That's something that we should work on.
MAGERS: Time is up. Thank you. Mr. Keyes, thirty seconds.
KEYES: Oh, I think it's one of the horrifying things about the advocates of abortion, that they take the objective condition of poverty, and use it to justify a situation in which you then herd and push people toward the killing of their children.
If you take those objective circumstances--often contributed to by oppression and discrimination, caused by others--and you take that as the excuse for a genocidal attack on a community, I think you are serving one of the worst of evils.
MAGERS: Gentlemen, our time has gone quickly. The time is up for questions, and now we go to closing statements, and according to a drawing we did earlier, we begin with Mr. Obama. You have two minutes, sir.
OBAMA: Well, I want to thank the sponsors, as well as Channel 7, for hosting this debate. I want to thank Ron and the panelists for their excellent questions.
You know, much of the discussion tonight has centered around hot-button issues. These are the issues that my opponent, Mr. Keyes, has based his campaign on, and that's his right. You know, one of the things I value about being an American is that we can debate the most gut-wrenching, emotional subjects imaginable, and still live together with civility and respect.
But I have to tell you, as I travel around the state, these aren't the questions that people are talking to me about.
What they're talking to me about is their fear of losing a job, or holding on to a job that pays a living wage. They're worried about skyrocketing healthcare costs, and whether they're gonna be bankrupt if they get sick.
They're concerned about saving for their child's college education, and whether they're gonna be able to retire with dignity and respect after a lifetime of labor.
Now, Mr. Keyes doesn't like talking about these questions, because he doesn't really think government has a role in solving them. So instead, he talks about morality.
Well, I think there's something immoral about somebody who's lost their job after twenty years, has no health care, are seeing their pension threatened. I think there's something immoral about young people who've got the grades and the drive to go to college, but just don't have the money.
There are millions of people all across this state that are having a tough time, and Washington's not listening to them, and neither is Mr. Keyes.
You know, the fact of the matter is, is that, this week, Congress passed a hundred and forty billion dollar giveaway to special interests, something John McCain called "a lobbyist's dream." In that same week, we found out that twenty-seven percent of Americans are low income.
That's immoral. That's un-American.
People don't believe that government can solve all their problems, but they know, with a slight change in priorities, that government can help.
MAGERS: (talking over) Time is up.
OBAMA: On November 2nd, please send me to Washington, so that I can--
MAGERS: Thank you, sir.
OBAMA: --provide that assistance.
MAGERS: Mr. Keyes, two minutes.
KEYES: I think that if we care about our freedom, we have to care about the moral foundations of our liberty--moral foundations that are relevant, by the way, to every practical problem we face.
In education, in health care, in our economic life, every study shows that if you allow, for instance, the breakdown of the family structure--the greatest contributing factor to poverty, to the gap in affordable housing, to the rising tide of crime and violence, to the inability, in fact, to deal with a lot of the problems that drive our young people into gangs, all are related to the breakdown of the family structure.
You know this. I know it. And yet, we don't want to talk about it. We just want to follow Barack Obama, throw some more money at the problem.
These problems become a catalyst for government spending. You know what a catalyst is--you keep doing the spending, but it doesn't affect the problem, because the root of our problem lies in the decay of our moral culture. And government has assaulted this culture with stands on abortion, with, now, an assault on the traditional family, with regulations in the social welfare programs that drove fathers out of the home and broke down the family structure.
He says, "This is not a concern of government." And yet government has, in fact, been deeply contributing to the damage that is being done to the moral culture of this country.
I think we're gonna go bankrupt if we keep paying for the consequences of moral decay, and refuse to address its causes.
That might be convenient for politicians, basing their power base on promise after promise to spend money on this one and that one. But I think, if we really care about the future, we don't want to keep burdening people with higher deficits from spending that is increasing, because the problems increase when you don't address their fundamental cause.
I believe deeply in self-government and liberty, but I don't think it's going to survive in America if we allow the continued, government-sponsored destruction of the moral identity of our people, and that is why we must give priority to addressing the underlying moral crisis that is the real cause of so many--
MAGERS: (talking over) Time's up.
KEYES: --of our difficulties.
MAGERS: Thank you both very much. This concludes our debate with the candidates for the U.S. Senate, Democrat Barack Obama, and Republican Alan Keyes. We thank both of you, very much.
We also thank our panel--Carlos Hernandez-Gomez, Andy Shaw, and Laura Washington. We would also like to thank our partners in tonight's debate, the League of Women Voters of Illinois, the Asian American Institute, the Chicago Urban League, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Mikva Challenge Grant Foundation.
Remember, none of this matters unless you vote. Please do. Good night.