Offering daily news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sound Transit to inaugurate University Link light rail service on Saturday, March 19th

Flanked by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and new Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced today at a media event on Capitol Hill that Sound Transit’s University Link light rail extension, which has been in the construction phase for the last few years, will have its public grand opening on Saturday, March 19th, 2016, at 10 AM in the morning.

“University Link opens March 19th, changing forever how we move around Seattle,” said Constantine in a news release distributed at the event. “With fast, frequent trains bypassing some of the region’s worst traffic, thousands of people will now be able to get to work, school and appointments on time, every time.”

University Link was originally scheduled to open in the autumn of 2016, but because construction went so smoothly, it is opening ahead of schedule and under budget. Much of the project’s cost was taken care of by the federal government, thanks to appropriations secured by United States Senator Patty Murray.

“As the Puget Sound region continues to grow, we need to make transportation investments that make our communities more livable, create jobs, improve access to education centers, and support our local small businesses,” Murray said. “That’s why I am so thrilled to see Sound Transit reach this milestone on this important project for commuters and communities, and it’s why I am going to keep fighting for local investments like these that help our economy grow from the middle out.”

University Link route map

University Link extends light rail north from Westlake to the University of Washington (Map: Sound Transit)

The 3.15 mile University Link extension adds two new stations to Puget Sound’s light rail spine.

One is on Capitol Hill, near Cal Anderson Park, with multiple station entrances. The other is adjacent to Husky Stadium and Hec Ed at the University of Washington.

University Link is completely underground, running in its own right of way, so the experience of riding it will be somewhat similar to a subway. No matter what the weather or the traffic is, it will be possible to move between Westlake Center and the University of Washington in seven to eight minutes.

That’s going to be huge.

Metro and Sound Transit plan a series of major changes to bus routes and schedules one week after University Link opens (on March 26th), to ensure that bus service better complements the newly extended light rail spine.

At today’s event on Capitol Hill, Constantine and Murray unveiled a special clock that is counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until U Link opens. There are many festivities planning for Opening Day, as Sound Transit explains:

We’re kicking off U Link service with a free community celebration that includes music, performance art, community booths and more.  From 9 AM to 5 PM on March 19, we’re hosting a tailgate party at University of Washington Station and a street festival at Capitol Hill Station – with light rail serving as your link to both. Stations open and train service begins at 10 AM. Subscribe to U Link Updates to get the latest details on our Launch Day lineup.

If you would like to be among the first to ride U Link on Opening Day, you can enter to win a special “Golden Ticket” from Sound Transit:

Here are the ways to enter and win (you must be 18 or older):

Follow @SoundTransit on Facebook, Twitter or InstagramTake a photo or video letting us know where you will Link in 2016. Share using #Ulink2016 @SoundTransit.

Listen to these radio stations: KEXP (90.3 FM); KUOW (94.9 FM); KNDD (107.7 FM) and KNHC (C 89.5 FM) for your chance to win two Golden Tickets.

Subscribe for U Link updates. Subscribers will also receive updates about special U Link Launch Day events and promotions.

Stop by any of these U District or Roosevelt businesses, spend $5 or more and fill out an “enter to win” Golden Ticket raffle card (begins January 29). Participating businesses include: Brooklyn Avenue Dental, Cedars of Lebanon, My Favorite Deli, Nasai Teriyaki, Neptune Music Company, Samir’s Mediterranean Grill, Sweet Alchemy (opens February), Ugly Mug Café, Health Mutt, Nature Nails, Pies and Pints, Roosevelt Vacuum, Subway (Roosevelt Square), Teddy’s, Thrive, Toronado, UPS Store on 65th.

Visit Rules & regulations for more details.

We will be bringing you full live coverage of University Link Opening Day on March 19th, as we did in 2009 when Central Link and Airport Link opened to the public.

The completion of University Link is a watershed moment for our region, one worth celebrating. Since the founding of Permanent Defense in February of 2002 (which predates NPI by about a year and a half), this organization has worked diligently to defend Sound Transit from the likes of Tim Eyman and ensure that our region gets the light rail spine it needs and deserves.

All of that work has been completely worth it. Today, Sound Transit is flying high and enjoys broad popular support. Thanks to the leadership of Joni Earl, who is now CEO Emeritus, Sound Transit is a model public agency that is firing on all cylinders, delivering projects on time or ahead of schedule, and under budget.

If ST had been shut down and disbanded as critics were demanding during the “dark days” of the late 1990s and early 2000s, we wouldn’t have Central Link and Airport Link, commuter rail, express bus service, streetcars in Tacoma and Seattle, or the enhancements to our park and ride system that Sound Transit has delivered.

It should not be forgotten that fourteen years ago, Tim Eyman launched I-776, an initiative that sought to destroy Sound Transit by eliminating one of its principal revenue sources (the motor vehicle excise tax). I-776 narrowly passed, but was partially invalidated by the courts, allowing ST to proceed with plans to construct light rail from from downtown Seattle to Tukwila.

ST overcame a tremendous amount of hostility and opposition to secure the necessary financing to move forward and break ground on Central Link.

More than twelve years after the shovels went into the ground in the Rainier Valley, Link’s big build-out continues. The construction has never stopped. Even when Central Link was done, crews were working on Airport Link. And even when Airport Link was done, crews were working on University Link and Angle Lake Link. Both of those extensions will open this year. And even when those are done, the work of extending light rail north, south, and east will go on. It has to…. our region’s congested corridors need light rail just as soon as we can get it built.

Voters can see that their investments in a regional transit system are paying off. This November, the people of this region will have the opportunity to build on past investments with Sound Transit 3, a proposal that ST’s staff and board are working on to further extend light rail, commuter rail, and bus service to more neighborhoods in urban Puget Sound, including NPI’s hometown of Redmond.

We strongly support the development of ST3 and will be working to pass it once it is submitted to the ballot by Sound Transit’s Board later this year. In the meantime, it will be wonderful to celebrate the opening of University Link on March 19th!

WAmend’s Initiative 735 certified to the 2016 Legislature, ballot, Secretary of State says

WAmend’s Initiative 735 — which would put Washington State on record in support of a federal constitutional amendment to end the legal fiction that corporations are people and money is speech — has been certified as an initiative to the 2016 Legislature, Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office announced this morning.

Wyman’s Communications Director David Ammons writes:

The state Elections Division completed a random sample of the 333,040 signatures submitted by sponsors, confirming that there were sufficient signatures. The invalidation rate, including duplicates and signatures from people not found on the voter rolls, was 18.44 percent. That is about the average rejection rate for Washington ballot measures in recent decades.

WAmend and partner Fix Democracy First turned in hundreds of thousands of signatures for I-735 a month ago after the completion of a lengthy signature drive. At the time, the WAmend coalition (which includes NPI) felt confident that enough signatures had been submitted to ensure the initiative would qualify, but it’s really nice to have received confirmation from the Secretary of State that I-735 has now passed its random sample check without any problems.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief: after all those months of hard work, we made it!

I-735 was qualified to the Legislature and the 2016 ballot using primarily volunteer signature gatherers, which is unusual in an era of big money in politics. The field effort was overseen by NPI Advisory Council member Steve Zemke, a veteran of numerous past initiative campaigns. Steve served as WAmend’s Field Director.

The Republican-controlled Senate is not expected to take up I-735, which means it will automatically go to the November 2016 ballot to be voted on by the people of Washington State. However, Democratic State Representative Noel Frame and Democratic State Senator Maralyn Chase have introduced bills in the Legislature that mirror I-735. These are HB 2848 and SB 6505. Neither has been scheduled for a hearing yet. HB 2848 will likely get a hearing in Sam Hunt’s State Government Committee within the next couple of weeks. Hunt is one of the bill’s cosponsors.

Republican Ed Orcutt tries to set up House vote on Tim Eyman’s desired amendment, fails

This morning, just prior to the House of Representatives’ adjournment for the day, Republican State Representative Ed Orcutt of Kalama attempted to fast-track a resolution that would amend the Washington State Constitution to require a two-thirds vote to raise or recover any revenue, as fervently desired and demanded by Mukilteo-based initiative profiteer Tim Eyman.

Rising during the fourth order of business, after the House had adopted 2SHB 1737, Orcutt (R-20th District) moved to suspend House rules and advance his HJR 4215 to second reading, which would mean bypassing the committee process altogether. Orcutt then proceeded to deliver a speech in favor of his motion, in which he recited several of Tim Eyman’s favorite talking points.

House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (D-47th District) rose in response, and urged a no vote, noting that the committee process is where bills and resolutions alike go to be discussed, amended, and refined. Initiatives like Tim Eyman’s unconstitutional I-1366, Sullivan noted, do not go through the Legislature’s deliberative committee process, which essentially serves as a filter to weed out legislation that is poorly crafted, not ready for primetime, or simply a bad idea to begin with.

The House then voted forty-eight to forty-nine not to adopt Orcutt’s motion.

“Having failed to receive the necessary two-thirds vote, your motion fails,” House Speaker Pro Tem Jim Moeller declared to Orcutt and the House as a whole.

Orcutt’s resolution was then referred to House Finance without objection.

The roll call vote hasn’t been posted, but it looks like it was a party-line vote. The House has fifty Democratic members, and one of them was excused at the time of the vote. The Republican caucus currently consists of forty-eight members.

No doubt Republicans planned this vote as a test to see if any Democrats would capitulate, and to compile attack fodder for the coming 2016 elections.

Kudos to the Democrats for sticking together and standing up to this nonsense. If our cherished tradition of majority rule is to survive, it must be defended.

Article II, Section 22 of our Constitution says that bills pass by majority vote. That means fifty of ninety-eight in the House and and twenty-five of forty-nine in the Senate must vote aye. No more, and no less.

This provision of our Constitution dates back to statehood. To sabotage it now would upset the balance of majority rule and minority rights that our Founders entrusted to us. It would be a terrible thing to do.

Shame on Ed Orcutt and his Republican colleagues for attempting to subvert majority rule. They should remember what happened last year in the Senate, when Republicans set themselves up for failure by unwisely changing Senate rules to require a two-thirds vote to advance certain revenue bills… only to find themselves impeded by their own rules change a few weeks later when they wanted to pass a transportation revenue bill. (Happily, Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen came to their rescue and struck down their two-thirds scheme.)

If Republicans ever get the majority back in the House, they’re going to want to be able to pass bills and budgets on their own, without Democrats being able to veto their every move. They should be more proactive with their imaginations and contemplate the shoe being on the other foot.

Majority rule is good for Democrats and Republicans alike. This truth is something that the elder statesmen of their party — people like Sam Reed, Ralph Munro, and Dan Evans — understand. Why don’t Orcutt and his colleagues get it?

Browse with confidence: Permanent Defense and Pacific NW Portal have gone HTTPS-only

Last spring, we embarked on an ambitious project to strengthen the security of the Northwest Progressive Institute’s network of websites by making them available only over HTTPS, beginning with this domain, nwprogressive.org, and all the publications housed under it, like the Cascadia Advocate.

Today, we are pleased to announce that we have done the same for two of our oldest projects as well: Permanent Defense and Pacific NW Portal. Both will be celebrating their anniversaries within the next few weeks.

Going HTTPS-only takes work. It involves setting up secure hosting, installing professionally-signed secure certificates, eliminating mixed-content warnings by preventing images, stylesheets, and images from being served over regular ‘ol HTTP, and finally, configuring our servers to seamlessly reroute HTTP requests to HTTPS.

But it’s definitely worth it.

See, when you connect to one of our websites over HTTPS, your session is encrypted. That makes eavesdropping by a third party much more difficult. If you happen to leave a comment or submit a form while visiting one of our sites, the contents of that communication can be scrambled while in transit to our server.

Wikipedia explains:

In its popular deployment on the internet, HTTPS provides authentication of the website and associated web server with which one is communicating, which protects against man-in-the-middle attacks. Additionally, it provides bidirectional encryption of communications between a client and server, which protects against eavesdropping and tampering with and/or forging the contents of the communication. In practice, this provides a reasonable guarantee that one is communicating with precisely the website that one intended to communicate with (as opposed to an impostor), as well as ensuring that the contents of communications between the user and site cannot be read or forged by any third party.

HTTPS cannot hide the address of a website a user is connecting to, or mask the ports being used, due to the nature of the TCP/IP protocols the Internet uses. However, request URLs (specific pages visited by the user), query parameters, headers, and cookies can all be encrypted using HTTPS.

Historically, setting up and operating HTTPS-only websites was expensive, and required the purchase of unique IPs and pricey professionally-signed certificates. But with the advent of Server Name Indication (SNI) and the availability of free professionally-signed certificates from Let’s Encrypt and Amazon Trust Services, it’s easier than it ever has been to go HTTPS-only.

Again, Permanent Defense and Pacific NW Portal are now configured to work only over HTTPS. If you try to connect to either insecurely, your connection will be automatically and seamlessly upgraded to Transport Layer Security by our servers.

Unfortunately, old and crumbly browsers like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6/7/8 do not understand how to communicate with hosts using Server Name Indication, and also don’t know to trust certificates authenticated by Let’s Encrypt or Amazon Trust Services, which are new Certificate Authorities (CAs).

We are confident that Pacific NW Portal and Permanent Defense will load correctly, without certificate warnings or other problems, on the following:

  • Mozilla’s Firefox (on any platform, any recent version)
  • Debian Iceweasel (Firefox derivative) on Debian 6 and higher
  • Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 and above, on Windows Vista, 7, 8, or 10
  • Microsoft’s Edge (the browser that replaced IE on Windows 10)
  • Apple’s Safari on Mac OS X and iOS (any recent version)
  • Google’s Chrome or open source Chromium (any recent version)
  • Stock browser on Android 4.x (Ice Cream Sandwich) and higher
  • Silk browser on Amazon FireOS, Kindle v3.4.1
  • PlayStation 3

Also see Let’s Encrypt’s fairly comprehensive list of supported platforms.

If you’re still using Windows XP (seriously!? Please plan to upgrade as soon as possible!), you will run into problems connecting to our sites unless you are using Mozilla Firefox. You will also run into problems using…

  • An old version of Android, like Gingerbread (no SNI support)
  • An old version of iOS (no SNI support)
  • BlackBerry 10 (will throw cert error, doesn’t recognize root certificates used by Let’s Encrypt or Amazon Trust Services) and BlackBerry OS 6 or 7
  • Opera or Nokia browsers for Symbian (no SNI support)
  • Nintento 3DS
  • rekonq on GNU/Linux distributions (will throw cert errors)
  • …. Any other OS/browser combination that’s super old

We’ll be getting in touch with BlackBerry tomorrow to ask them to fix the certificate recognition problems on devices running BlackBerry 10, like the Classic, Z30, and Passport. If you use a BB10 device, you can still reach Pacific NW Portal and Permanent Defense — you just have to bypass the scary-looking warning.

When I say “old”, I’m generally referring to any mobile browser that came out more than four years ago, and any desktop browser/operating system combination that is older than ten years. If you’re on something ancient, you really owe it to yourself to upgrade. You don’t have to throw out your old hardware to do this. Even decent computers from the late 1990s are capable of running modern software.

Enjoy the upgraded security on our network!

Tim Eyman can expect state Supreme Court to uphold ruling striking down Initiative 1366

Yesterday, to the surprise of almost nobody except for Tim Eyman, King County Superior Court Judge William Downing struck down Initiative 1366, the unconstitutional atrocity that Eyman qualified for the ballot last year with the backing of hedge fund managers and real estate developers.

I-1366 was an attempt by Eyman to coerce Democratic legislators into voting against their values and passing an amendment reinstating a scheme to require a two-thirds vote to raise or recover any revenue, which would allow a submajority of as few as seventeen senators (12% of the Legislature overall) to block any attempt to reform our tax code, no matter how simple or technical.

What became I-1366 was conceived in late 2013, at a time when we were fighting Eyman’s self-serving I-517 on the ballot. (We won, and I-517 was overwhelmingly defeated by voters). Eyman tried to qualify it in 2014 as I-1325, but he failed due to lack of support from wealthy benefactors. Last year, he tried again, having secured commitments from some extremely rich people to underwrite his signature drive. He bought his way onto the ballot with I-1366, which passed narrowly with the support of just 19% of Washington’s four million registered voters.

Allies of NPI challenged I-1366 in court as soon as the 2015 general election was certified. Yesterday, Judge William Downing handed down his verdict. The Associated Press call it “an overwhelming win for Eyman’s opponents, who prevailed on their major arguments”. Eyman, who had repeatedly and brashly predicted victory in a series of emails leading up the publication of the ruling, was stunned.

A KING5 camera crew was present in the state capitol’s John A. Cherberg Building with Eyman when he got the news, and they sensibly pointed their camera at Eyman to capture his reaction as he digested the ruling, which was priceless.

Eyman in disblief over I-1366 court decision

Tim Eyman can’t believe the verdict in Lee v. State (Courtesy of KING5)

Had Eyman not deluded himself into thinking that I-1366 would pass constitutional muster — aided by his attorney of choice, Richard M. Stephens of Klinge & Stephens LLP — he would have known what to expect.

(At Eyman’s request, Stephens analyzed the text of I-1366 and assured him in a July 2015 letter, “If Initiative 1366 is approved by the voters, we firmly believe a challenge to the initiative’s legality has no support in existing law.”)

We have been saying for two years straight that what became I-1366 was unconstitutional. We drew that conclusion from a plain reading of the initiative’s text and the Washington State Constitution. Our conclusion was reinforced by talking with experts who teach or have familiarity with constitutional law.

Here’s what I said the day that Eyman unveiled I-1325, the predecessor to I-1366:

“Tim Eyman’s latest initiative is unconstitutional, just as his I-601 clones were,” said NPI founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve, who has organized opposition to Eyman’s destructive initiatives for nearly twelve years.

“And that’s no accident. Eyman is just as interested in undermining and weakening our plan of government as he is in eviscerating the vital public services we all rely on. He’s a menace.”

It is important to understand Washington’s Constitution cannot be amended by initiative. Article XXIII makes very clear all amendments must originate in the Legislature. Nor can initiatives be used to restrict the lawmaking power of future Legislatures. I-1366 tried to do both of these things. That’s even how Eyman advertised the measure, by the way… his materials falsely referred to I-1325 and I-1366 as the “2/3rds Constitutional Amendment Initiative”.

But there’s no such thing as a constitutional amendment initiative. Initiatives are proposed statutes. Constitutional amendments are proposed changes to our plan of government. Amendments have to start in the Legislature, period, and receive a two-thirds vote to pass. Initiatives, like bills, pass by majority vote… although the threshold for bills in the Legislature is an absolute majority, per the Constitution, whereas for initiatives, it is only a majority of those turning out in the election.

In addition, I-1366 ran afoul of the Constitution’s single subject rule, a defect that has resulted in the overturning of other Eyman initiatives, like I-695 and I-722.

Pacifica Law Group thus had a relatively straightforward case rooted in ample precedent to make on behalf of the plaintiffs in Lee v. State.

It was Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office and Eyman’s attorney who had to rely on dubious, unsupportable arguments in order to mount a defense of I-1366.

Their efforts certainly met with Eyman’s approval. In a January 11th email touting the brief filed by Assistant Attorney General Callie Castillo (assigned the thankless job of defending I-1366), Eyman boasted, “The AG’s office made mincemeat out of 1366 opponents. They methodically and meticulously defended I-1366 and completely decimated every single one of opponents’ arguments.”

Eyman was so happy with the brief that he excerpted over two thousand words of it. He may have been delighted with it, but we weren’t impressed at all.

In the end, it was Judge Downing who served up the mincemeat, ruling:

It is solely the province of the legislative branch of our representative government to “propose” an amendment to the state constitution. The intended process — one that is constitutionally mandated — is one that facilitates a calm deliberation and independent weighing of alternatives before a proposed amendment is submitted for public review. That process is derailed by the pressure-wielding mechanism in this initiative which exceeds the scope of the initiative power.

Prior to receiving Judge Downing’s ruling, Eyman had expressed confidence that Downing would decide in his favor. Remarkably, Eyman even sent out an email to the press following oral arguments claiming that he had Downing figured out:

Some judges are poker players who keep their cards close to their vest; Judge William Downing didn’t go with that approach today.  He signaled early and often that he wasn’t buying what 1366’s opponents were selling. […] Issues of standing, judiciability, severability, and other issues were thoroughly addressed in the briefs and during oral argument.  The judge was engaged throughout.

The next day, Eyman backtracked a bit, but still expressed confidence he’d win, only to be shocked the next day when the decision went against him in every possible way. It wasn’t long, though, before Eyman began dismissing Downing’s decision and predicting victory on appeal (as we anticipated he would).

In an interview with KING5, Eyman said:

I was really shocked by it… I really was. And I was probably the only one who was surprised. Everybody else had this conventional wisdom, ‘Well, it’s a King County judge. Of course he’s going to strike the thing down.’ Everyone thought that.

Wrong again, Tim. Our basis for believing that I-1366 would be struck down had nothing to do with the venue were the case was filed. Rather, it was our firm belief that I-1366 was unconstitutional every way from Sunday. I-1366 had so many problems that it would have been greatly troubling had any Superior Court judge anywhere in the state dismissed the legal challenge filed against it.

Eyman also told KING5:

I read the legal briefs and I sat through the oral arguments. I mean, I really thought there was no way you could come to any other conclusion. But this judge just said, you know, I’m going to go in my direction. That might play in King County but it doesn’t play statewide and the voters of this state said ‘This is what we want’ and I don’t think that there’s any doubt that this is what the voters understood when they voted for the initiative.

It’s irrelevant how this decision plays in King County, or anywhere else. As a Superior Court judge, William Downing has a duty to uphold the Constitution of the State of Washington. His ruling is based on the law, not on political considerations.

I’ll also point out again that I-1366 passed last November with the support of just 19% of registered voters. Most Washingtonians didn’t return a ballot at all, and so did not weigh in on I-1366. Of those who did participate, nearly half voted no. Eyman can’t claim that passage of I-1366 is what most voters wanted, because 80%+ of the state’s registered voters did not support I-1366.

In an email to his followers today, Eyman took another shot at Judge Downing.

Reason to be optimistic:  This same judge struck down a King County initiative that reduced the size of the King County Council because he said the people didn’t have the power to change the King County Constitution (their charter). The state supreme court unanimously overturned his narrow view of the people’s rights and upheld the initiative.

Here, Eyman is referring to a 2003 ruling by Judge Downing on a preelection scope challenge to Initiative 18, the King County Corrections Guild’s scheme to shrink the King County Council from thirteen to nine members. Downing found that I-18 exceeded the scope of King County’s initiative power and set it aside. His decision was overturned on appeal by the Washington State Supreme Court, which placed I-18 on the ballot for voters’ consideration (it later passed).

This case bears few similarities to that one.

Lee v. State is a substantive, post-election legal challenge to a blatantly unconstitutional statewide initiative. Unless the Supreme Court wishes to break with precedent and upend a mountain of case law (which we doubt), it is going to find I-1366 unconstitutional. Tim Eyman can expect another judgment going against him by our state’s highest court a few months from now. But hey, if he wants to delude himself into thinking he’s going to win on appeal, he can go right ahead.

Tickets to NPI’s 2016 Spring Fundraising Gala (Friday, April 1st) are now on sale!

As of this Friday, January 22nd, we will be three weeks into 2016, and just ten weeks away from our eighth Spring Fundraising Gala, scheduled to take place on Friday, April 1st, 2016 (April Fools’ Day). With the big night rapidly drawing near, we’re pleased to announce that early-bird ticket sales for this year’s gala have now begun. Purchase now to save 17%-25% off the regular price!

There are three ticket rates:

  • Individual ($75, temporarily discounted to $60; admits one person.)
  • Household ($120, temporarily discounted to $100; admits a family.)
  • Living Lightly ($25, temporarily discounted to $20; this rate is for students and activists on limited incomes.)

A household ticket admits all the members of an immediate family and is a good value if you plan to attend with your spouse or children. (The gala is a family-friendly event, and young people of all ages are welcome!).

Buy a ticket to the gala

$100 (early-bird)

$60 (early-bird)

$20 (early-bird)

Our gala is the biggest event that we put on every year, and it is by far the best opportunity to meet the NPI team in person and learn about what we do.

Supporters at NPI's 2012 Spring Fundraising Gala on Mercer Island (Photo by Lincoln Potter/Samaya LLC)

Supporters at NPI’s 2012 Spring Fundraising Gala on Mercer Island (Photo by Lincoln Potter/Samaya LLC)

Loyal supporters know we go to great lengths to make this event festive and informative. Our goal is for all of our guests to be able to spend a memorable evening with family, friends, and fellow activists, and support NPI’s vital work (including publications like the Cascadia Advocate!) at the same time.

Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl

Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl speaks at NPI’s 2013 Spring Fundraising Gala. (Photo: Lincoln Potter/Samaya LLC for NPI)

In recent years, we’ve been honored to have leaders like Attorney General Bob Ferguson, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl, U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer, Suzan DelBene, and Denny Heck, State Representative Chris Reykdal, and former U.S. Deputy Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Ron Sims as part of our speaking program.

We will be announcing our 2016 speakers soon. Until then, you can buy a ticket at our special early-bird rates.

Here’s what else you can expect at our 2016 Spring Fundraising Gala:

  • A full dinner buffet with vegetarian and vegan choices
  • Beer and wine selections from our cash bar
  • Opportunities to mingle with fellow activists and elected leaders
  • A chance to win a scrumptious dessert for your table at our second annual Dessert Dash, organized by our Host Committee
  • A family-friendly atmosphere

If you’d like to RSVP for the gala on Facebook, you can do so here.

Students who want to volunteer to help put on the event can get in the door free. If you’re interested in volunteering, please get in touch with us.

We hope you’ll help us make our biggest event of the year a success by buying your ticket and committing to attend. See you on April 1st!

CarbonWA’s I-732 barely survives random sample check, Secretary of State reports

CarbonWA’s Initiative 732, a supposedly “revenue neutral” proposal to levy a statewide tax on carbon emissions while lowering Washington’s sales and B&O taxes, has narrowly qualified as an initiative to the 2016 Legislature following a random sample check, says the chief spokesman for Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

In an early evening press release, Wyman’s Communications Director David Ammons explained why I-732 nearly failed its random sample check despite having been submitted with a large cushion of extra signatures. He wrote:

It was a close call, though, despite sponsors turning in 363,126 signatures, nearly 120,000 more than the bare number of valid voter signatures required (246,372).

That’s because there an unusually high error rate was discovered when election crews checked a 3 percent random sample of 11,061 signatures.  The error rate was 27.59 percent, well above the historic average of 18 percent. That was due primarily to duplicate signatures, but also reflected invalid signatures, primarily those of people not found on the Washington voter rolls.

In fact, if a few more duplicate signatures had turned up in the random check, the Elections Division would have had to check all 363,126 signatures. Initiatives cannot be rejected the random sample method.

As it was, the signature check projects that sponsors brought in only a slim cushion of 16,568 signatures, or 262,940.

The error rate was the highest in at least 25 years.

I can’t say we’re surprised. When you hire associates of Tim Eyman to run your signature drive, as CarbonWA did, you can expect to run into problems.

PDC data shows CarbonWA paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Brent Johnson’s Your Choice Petitions, LLC to collect signatures for I-732.

What many people don’t know is that Brent Johnson is a prime subcontractor for Tim Eyman’s pals Roy Ruffino and Eddie Agazarm, who run the troubled signature gathering outfit Citizen Solutions. Citizen Solutions has gotten into trouble with Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries for failing to properly comply with the state’s worker protection laws, as we have previously reported.

Johnson’s crews helped get Tim Eyman’s I-1366 on the ballot earlier in 2015, and Eyman & Co. will no doubt be relying on Johnson again to help with the new initiative Eyman that has planned for this year.

Progressive campaigns ought to know better than to do business with shady signature gathering outfits that enable the likes of Tim Eyman’s initiative factory. Unfortunately, CarbonWA went into business with the wrong people. By hiring Brent Johnson, they not only risked the success of their own signature drive, they helped sustain a business that provides support to Tim Eyman’s initiative factory.

Though I-732 has qualified, it faces uncertain prospects. Nonpartisan legislative staff have calculated that the initiative isn’t really revenue neutral, a conclusion CarbonWA’s proponents heatedly dispute.

The polling that’s been done to date has shown extremely poor support for I-732 (the ballot title starts out with around 39%, according to one poll).

I-732 proponents concede that the ballot title is an Achilles’ heel, but believe that the initiative can muster enough support to win nonetheless.

We think that optimism is misplaced. NPI has worked for and against Washington State ballot measures every year since its inception, and we know a weak, flawed proposal when we see one. All opponents will have to do to win is fertilize the existing seeds of doubt, and I-732 will go down to defeat.

And there will be a campaign, because Senate Republicans like Doug Ericksen have no intention of giving I-732’s proponents a victory in the Legislature.

Tim Eyman backtracks on brash predictions of victory in Initiative 1366 legal challenge

Sometime tomorrow, King County Superior Court Judge William Downing is expected to issue a ruling in the case of Tony Lee, et al. v. State of Washington, et al., the legal challenge to Tim Eyman’s incredibly destructive Initiative 1366. Downing heard oral arguments from lawyers representing the plaintiffs and defendants yesterday morning, and promised he’d have a decision by Thursday.

Before and after the hearing, Eyman was in full-blown spin mode, brashly predicting total victory in a series of emails dating back to last week. For instance, on Wednesday, January 13th, Eyman sent out an email in which he said:

On Tuesday of next week is oral arguments in opponents’ sore-loser lawsuit against 1366. It’s in King County Superior Court. Here’s a bold prediction: I-1366 is gonna survive the courts. You heard that right, we’re confident the lower court and supreme court are going to dismiss our opponents’ lawsuit. Why? Our initiative and our legal defense of it (and the Attorney General’s) has been stellar while our opponents’ legal arguments are silly and nonsensical. We’re as skeptical of judges as the next guy, but knowing everything there is to know about this case, we firmly believe it’s gonna go our way on this one. We’ll keep you an updated report after Tuesday’s hearing.

Yesterday, Eyman sent out an email to the press doubling down on his prediction:

I am exploding with optimism. I walked into court confident that 1366 would survive. But I was fully prepared to feel differently depending on the hearing. But now that it’s over, I feel even more confident that the courts will dismiss opponents’ sore loser lawsuit against I-1366.

He didn’t stop there.

Some judges are poker players who keep their cards close to their vest; Judge William Downing didn’t go with that approach today.  He signaled early and often that he wasn’t buying what 1366’s opponents were selling. Plaintiffs’ attorney repeatedly struggled to maintain his twisted, Alice-in-Wonderland characterization of I-1366 when questioned by the judge.

And when it was our turn, Callie Castillo with the attorney general’s office, consistent with her brilliant legal brief, presented oral arguments that were powerful and persuasive that decimated every argument made by opponents. Our attorney’s oral arguments were equally compelling and he annihilated the other side’s points.

Issues of standing, judiciability, severability, and other issues were thoroughly addressed in the briefs and during oral argument.  The judge was engaged throughout.

I was also in the courtroom for yesterday’s hearing, and I disagree that Judge Downing tipped his hand as to how he would rule. The judge asked several thoughtful, measured questions of each attorney who presented. Mostly, he listened intently, as you can see from this photograph that we published on In Brief:

Judge William Downing

Judge William Downing listens to oral arguments in Lee v. State (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Our belief is that this case will come down to the briefs… because that’s what usually happens. In fact, judges have been known to say that over ninety percent of cases are decided on the briefs. Oral arguments provide an opportunity for jurists to interact with attorneys, but they’re rarely decisive to the outcome of a case.

Thoughtful judges like William Downing will frequently utilize oral arguments to play devil’s advocate, challenging the attorneys who are appearing before them to see how they respond. Our judicial system is adversarial in nature, so this tried-and-true approach of eliciting information makes a lot of sense.

I walked out of the courtroom yesterday feeling really good about our legal challenge. Unlike Eyman, I’m not someone who likes to make brash predictions. I feel we have a strong case. But I don’t pretend to have a crystal ball. We’ll see what happens. If the ruling goes in our favor, I imagine Eyman will waste no time calling it a “goofy” decision and proceeding to predict victory at the appellate level.

Judge Downing, incidentally, has historically been one of the most highly-rated jurists on the Superior Court bench, which I find encouraging.

Downing is the judge who ruled that marriage equality should be the law of the land in Washington State in the summer of 2004, when Karl Rove was still running George W. Bush’s political operation, working with fundamentalist conservatives around the country (theocons) to force votes on schemes intended to codify discrimination against LGBT couples into state constitutions.

I should also mention that Pacifica Law Group’s Paul Lawrence, who heads the team representing the plaintiffs, is a very experienced litigator. He’s successfully challenged many initiatives in court before, including some of Tim Eyman’s. He is the lawyer who successfully argued League of Education Voters (decided 2013) and League of Women Voters (decided last year). Considering his track record and the strength of the case, Eyman ought to be nervous, not brimming with bravado.

It should be noted that Eyman’s track record in the courts is simply awful. The list of Eyman initiatives partially or wholly invalidated by the courts includes I-695, I-722, I-747, I-776, I-960, I-1053, and I-1185. That list encompasses most of the Eyman initiatives that voters have passed since he got into politics.

Eyman, of course, has never cared about writing sound law, which is why so many of his schemes have been struck down by Washington’s courts.

Today, Eyman sent out another email in which he backtracked a bit from his brash prediction, admitting he can’t see into the future and doesn’t know what’ll happen.

What’s my prediction? These things are always a Rorschach Test — you see what you wanna see. After the hearing, opponents said they thought this King County judge will strike down 1366.

I said: “I came in really confident based on all the legal briefs and I’m walking out even more confident now. I think the judge ‘gets it’ as far as what the initiative’s all about. I think he gets the fact that you can easily interpret this initiative as a totally valid exercise of the people’s rights.”

Truth is nobody knows. And whichever side loses will immediately file an expedited appeal to the state supreme court.

We think the arguments that Eyman and the state are making in defense of I-1366 are ridiculous and disingenuous. For us, they don’t pass the laugh test. I-1366 is unconstitutional in multiple ways, as plaintiffs’ brief explains:

[First Defect]:

The fundamental and overriding purpose of I-1366, as evidenced by its text, its title and its advertising, is to invoke the process to amend the Constitution to require a two-thirds legislative supermajority or a public vote for approval of any measure that “raises taxes” and legislative approval for state fee increases. See Exhibit A. It is well-established that the Constitution cannot be amended, revised or altered by initiative or referendum. As such, I-1366 is beyond the scope of the legislative power reserved to the people under Article II and is therefore invalid.

[Second Defect]:

For the same reasons, I-1366 is also unconstitutional because it violates the terms of Article XXIII. Article XXIII sets forth the sole method of amending the state Constitution. The Article XXIII amendment process is “manifestly distinct” from that involved in the enactment of ordinary bills or laws and involves two distinct phases. First, an amendment must be proposed in either house of the legislature and approved by two-thirds of each house. Then, it must be submitted to and approved and ratified by a majority of Washington voters. Amendment of the Washington Constitution is not a “legislative act” exercising the power to pass ordinary bills and laws under Article II of the Constitution.

Though Article XXIII expressly provides that amendments should be proposed by either house of the legislature, here, the people have usurped this power by proposing the amendment via the initiative process. I-1366 expressly dictates the terms of the intended supermajority amendment, including the definition of what it means to “raise taxes” and require legislative approval for state fee increases. Because I-1366 did not follow the process for amendment set forth in Article XXIII, it is unconstitutional and invalid.

[Third Defect]:

I-1366 is also unconstitutional under Article II, Sec. 19 because it contains multiple subjects in both the body of the Initiative and its title, including but not limited to a reduction in the state sales tax and an amendment to the state constitution that contains two subjects of its own: a supermajority requirement for tax increases and a simple majority requirement for fee increases.

[Fourth Defect]:

I-1366 is also unconstitutional because it abridges the power of the 2016 legislature to act. The Initiative requires the legislature to choose between an unsupportable sales tax reduction and the unconstitutional submission of a supermajority amendment that will forever empower a superminority to exercise control over all future taxation decisions. The 2016 legislature is thus not free to exercise its plenary law¬making power or its plenary power to consider and propose constitutional amendments; rather it is forced to choose between two undesirable options. As a result, I-1366 is an unconstitutional limitation on the plenary power of the 2016 legislature.

The truth is, Tim Eyman’s I-1366 was conceived as a hostage-taking initiative. The threat of $8 billion in lost revenue over the next six years is the leverage Eyman is using to attempt to coerce the Legislature into invoking its power to propose a constitutional amendment to say that any bill to raise or recover revenue needs a two-thirds vote to pass. (Effectively, this would give a small submajority permanent veto power over any future tax reform proposal in the Legislature.)

During the campaign, Eyman described I-1366 as a revote on the idea of requiring a two-thirds vote to raise revenue, in violation of Article II, Section 22. That, of course, was a lie — the Supreme Court had already ruled that his I-601 clones, like I-601 before it, were unconstitutional. But now that I-1366 is in legal jeopardy, Eyman’s attorney is arguing that I-1366 was just a sales tax reduction initiative.

How convenient.

At the same time Eyman’s attorney is trying to paint I-1366 a valid exercise of the initiative power, Eyman has been sending off more emails further threatening state lawmakers — and Democrats in particular. Here’s Eyman again yesterday:

If the 2016 legislature refuses to refer a constitutional amendment to the 2016 ballot, we’ve already raised $1.2 million for a 7th tax-limiting initiative. It’s called “Tougher to Raise Taxes” and it puts a one year time limit on tax increases and requires legislative approval for fee increases. In other words, it prohibits auto-pilot, forever tax increases and prohibits state agencies from unilaterally imposing higher fees.  Polling shows it’ll pass easily and it’ll make tax and fee increases tougher anyway. And the petition we’ll be using highlights the Democrat [sic] legislators from districts that overwhelmingly support [Eyman’s past I-601 clones]. But if the 2016 Legislature refers the constitutional amendment to the 2016 ballot, we won’t do the initiative (and won’t collect signatures using our petition).

Emphasis is mine.

Apparently, Eyman figured he would just double down on his extortion tactics, since his efforts to date to intimidate Democratic lawmakers into capitulating to his demands have been a failure. Elected Democrats tell NPI they’re unimpressed with Eyman’s blustering. They see him for the militant extremist he is, and they have no intention of giving him or his wealthy benefactors what they want.

The team at NPI, meanwhile, is already laying the groundwork to fight Eyman at the ballot again. Last year’s campaign against I-1366 was a big improvement on the campaigns that opposed the last two initiatives Eyman got past the voters, but it wasn’t good enough. We need to do better this year. We’re fully committed to ensuring Eyman’s newest bad idea gets the vigorous opposition it deserves in the months to come, while also helping progressive groups like WAmend go on offense.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: We have a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and like we do every year in honor of Dr. King’s memory, I’m posting an excerpt from his Letter From Birmingham Jail.

In these passages, Dr. King is explaining that not all laws are created equal. Laws are made by humans, and humans unfortunately have a long history of discriminating against each other. King says that we have a moral responsibility to obey just laws, and a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. That’s how we expand freedom.

(Note that typos are contained in the original manuscript.)

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern.

Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws.

One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.

All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.

Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I it” relationship for an “I thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things.

Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness?

Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state’s segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Take a few minutes today to read the whole thing.

Liveblogging the fourth 2016 Democratic presidential debate from the great Northwest

Good evening, and welcome to NPI’s live coverage of the fourth Democratic presidential debate of the 2016 cycle. NPI Treasurer Essie Hicks and I will be watching the debate and sharing impressions of the debate as it progresses. The debate is being broadcast by NBC and its affiliates.

Courtesy of NBC, here’s where you can watch:

  • On TV: NBC affiliates like KING5 (Seattle) will be carrying the debate. It will also be rebroadcast later on MSNBC.
  • Online: NBC and YouTube will livestream the debate.
  • On the radio: Sirius XM’s Today Show channel will carry the debate live. It will not be aired on terrestrial radio, however.

There are three candidates left seeking the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. They are former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

Democratic candidates at the fourth debate

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Martin O’Malley prior to the fourth 2016 Democratic presidential debate

Let’s get started with our live coverage!

UPDATE, 5:36 PM (Andrew): We are presently about twenty-five minutes away from the advertised start time.

UPDATE, 5:59 PM (Andrew): We’re just a few minutes away from starting…

UPDATE, 6:01 PM (Andrew): NBC introduction is playing

UPDATE, 6:02 PM (Andrew): NBC’s Lester Holt, a respected newsman, is here to welcome everyone.

UPDATE, 6:03 PM (Andrew): Off we go!

UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Andrew): In her opening statement, Clinton thanks the Congressional Black Caucus Institute for co-hosting the debate on the eve of MLK Day.

UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Andrew): “We need a President who can do all aspects of the job… I hope to earn your support to be the nominee,” Clinton says with a smile.

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Andrew): Sanders uses his opening to reinforce his campaign themes, wasting little time reminding everyone that the system is rigged in favor of the millionaires and billionaires.

UPDATE, 6:07 PM (Andrew): O’Malley’s turn now. “We have urgent work to do, and the voices of anger and division that we’ve heard coming out of the Republican presidential podiums are pretty loud,” he says.

UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Andrew): Our campaign is about thinking big, Sanders declares. We should have healthcare for every man, woman, and child, he says, and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. We need a government that works for all of us.

UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Andrew): Clinton says she would present plans to Congress plans to create more jobs, increase the minimum wage, and require equal pay for equal work.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): O’Malley echoes Clinton’s economic security priorities, but adds collective bargaining rights into the mix.

UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Andrew): Uniquely, O’Malley also emphasized tackling the climate crisis and creating a new agenda for America’s cities.

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Andrew): Clinton goes on the attack after Sanders defends his record on gun responsibility.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): “There is no other industry in America that was given the total pass that the gun lobby was,” Clinton says.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): O’Malley asserts that both Clinton and Sanders “have been inconsistent on this issue.”

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Andrew): “I’ve never met a self-respecting deer hunter that needed an AR-15 to down a deer,” O’Malley says, completing one of his strongest answers in the debates thus far.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Andrew): Candidates now talking about combating systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): “Who in America is satisfied that we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth?” Sanders asks, not waiting for Holt to ask him a question after Secretary Clinton concluded her thoughts.

UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Andrew): Sanders stresses his ascendancy in Democratic presidential polls after being asked about Clinton’s lead with minority voters.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): Nice to see NBC is taking questions through YouTube early on.

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Andrew): “We have got to de-militiarize our police departments so they don’t look like occupying armies,” Sanders says, when asked about police reform.

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Essie): Sanders says that police officers must be prosecuted if they break the law, community policing should be encouraged, and police departments should reflect the communities they serve.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Essie): Sanders emphasized the de-militarization of the police.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Essie): Clinton says that Emergency Medical personnel should have antidotes to heroin overdose.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): We need a revolution in this country in terms of mental health treatment, Sanders says.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): Time for our first commercial break!

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Essie): Sanders emphasizes universal healthcare, and including mental health. He says that much of the responsibility should fall on the pharmaceutical companies.

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Andrew): We’re back, and we’re talking about Medicare For All.

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Andrew): Clinton asked if her attacks on Sanders’ healthcare plan are fair (they’re not).

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Essie): “Is it really fair to say that Sanders wants to kill Obamacare?” Clinton says we have a path but the Republicans can repeal his solutions. Sanders says that Clinton didn’t answer the question.

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Essie): Sanders says that healthcare is a right and should be available to everyone.

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Essie): Sanders says that 29 million people still have no healthcare and are paying too much for prescriptions.

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Andrew): “I’m on the committee” that wrote the Patient Protection Act,” Sanders says, noting he helped make it better. But we shouldn’t be resting on our laurels. Not everyone has coverage.

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Essie): Sanders says his vision is to lower costs for everyone. Clinton says that she doesn’t know which plan he is referring to and that the ACA act is working.

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Andrew): The Patient Protection Act would have been a greater accomplishment had it contained a public option, @HillaryClinton.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): We shouldn’t be afraid of having contentious debates.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): “The vision from FDR and Truman was healthcare for all people,” Sanders says.

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Essie): Clinton says that the contentious debate is too risky to tear it up and start over. We should build on what we have. Sanders says he does not want to tear up the ACA, but build on it by expanding Medicare to all.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Essie): Clinton says that a whole new debate on healthcare would set us back, that Republicans will continue to attack it. Thank goodness Obama vetoed it.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Andrew): Clinton’s “contentious debate” talking point is ridiculous and repetitive.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Essie): Sanders says the real point is that our campaign finance structure. Pharmaceutical companies give too much money to politicians. He says that politicians need to stand up for what is right for the American People.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Andrew): We could have gotten the votes for the public option, but we didn’t try hard enough.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Essie): Clinton says that she is accustomed to standing up to health insurance companies. She says this has been the fight of the Democrats for decades and that we should build on what is working, and get individual costs down.

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Essie): How will you bring the country together? President Obama’s comment on his inability to bring people together was his biggest failing. Clinton says she will meet with anyone anywhere to find common ground.

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Andrew): Clinton touts her record of bipartisanship when asked how she would unify the country, highlighting her work on New START and several other pieces of legislation.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Essie): Sanders says that a few years ago we found out that veterans were not getting what they needed, he worked with John McCain. He says the real issue is that Congress is owned by Big Money and refuses to do what the people want to do. We need to raise the minimum wage, equal pay for women, and the needs of the people need to be thought of first.

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Andrew): “We’ve got to make Congress responsive to the needs of the people,” Sanders says.

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Andrew): Bernie will not be interrupted!

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Essie): To a question of his “Democratic-Socialist” label, Sanders says that small donors need to be what candidates should have to work for.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): O’Malley saw an opening and jumped in.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Essie): Sanders says we have to deal with the handful of billionaires who control this country.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Andrew): Great question about getting young voters engaged.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Essie): To a question about engaging young people: Clinton says, this election is about the future and it is a great urgency for young people. She says that student debt is a problem, and community college should be free, and tuition should be debt free. She says that young people value their civil liberties, and that people of all ages need to work together.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Essie): Clinton says that Sanders young supporters are passionate, but she will continue to work to engage them.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): “I think this is an election where we have to pull young people and old people together,” Clinton says. Asked why Sanders has so many young supporters, Clinton smiled, demurred, and said she would continue working to gain as many supporters as she could.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): We’re taking another break.

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Andrew): O’Malley has been having a really good debate so far. Clinton and Sanders have been, for the most part, solid. They’ve gone after each other on their gun safety and healthcare positions, but otherwise, have mostly sounded notes of agreement.

UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he does not take money from big banks. He says that the Glass-Stegal legislation needs to come back. He says that the trust-busters need to come back. They should not be too big to fail.

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Essie): Clinton says that the criticism toward President Obama for taking Wall Street. Clinton defends the President. She says the Dodd-Frank bill was the most important bill since the 1930’s.

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Andrew): “Can you really reform Wall Street when they are spending millions of millions of dollars on campaign contributions?” asks Bernie Sanders.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Essie): Sanders says, “Can you really reform Wall Street when they provide speaker fees to individuals, and give millions to campaigns.” Sanders says that he will rely on the middle class for his campaign contributions.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): Martin O’Malley takes advantage of his live mic to say “That’s not true” and “Oh, come on” when Clinton claims her Wall Street reform plan is the smartest and toughest.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Essie): Clinton says that his comments toward the President are confusing. She says that Wall Street is running ads against her right now, and she is the one they don’t want.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that that there is a difference between all three of them, and says that she would not go as far as he would to protect the American people from Wall Street. He says what she says is just not true.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Andrew): “I support reinstituting a modern version of Glass-Steagall,” O’Malley says, going on to criticize Clinton’s Wall Street reform plans as inadequate.

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Andrew): Some crosstalk between Hillary and Bernie.

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Essie): All three of them are arguing over each other to contest who would be the toughest on Wall Street.

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Essie): Sanders says Clinton has received over 600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Essie): Clinton says that in 2000 Sanders is the only one on the stage to vote to de-regulate the system and ultimately caused the collapse of the financial system.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Andrew): Quite the feisty exchange over Wall Street reform…

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Essie): Clinton says at least we are having a debate about this, because Republicans want to de-regulate.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Essie): Sanders has been asked how he will pay for all of the programs that he wants. Sanders says that our infrastructure needs to be rebuilt by keeping investments and taxes on investments here in the States. Sanders says that a tax on Wall Street speculation. Its time for Wall Street to bail out the middle class.

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Andrew): “I want to raise incomes, not taxes,” Clinton says, adopting some conservative framing.

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Essie): Clinton says that she has documented how she would pay for everything she wants to do, and that her website has that documentation. She has says that she wants to raise incomes not taxes, and that paid family leave, student debt, and that the financial services industry should pay for it. She says that the middle class should not.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): Sanders: Do away with private health insurance, slightly raise taxes… it’s a pretty good deal.

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Essie): Will you raise taxes on the middle class? Sanders says that the criticism for this comes from Clinton. He says that what we have to acknowledge that we have to do away with middle class family’s necessity to pay for health care costs. That will save a family ,000.00 a month. Private health insurance premiums will go away. The modest tax increase would be far less.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that he is the only one on the stage that has done these things. Sanders says that he was mayor for 8 years, and that’s not true.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Andrew): We can make the investments we need to make by raising taxes on the wealthy, O’Malley says.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Andrew): Ah, good. A question about fighting the climate crisis.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Andrew): Sanders blasts the Republican Party for denying climate science.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Essie): Sanders talks about the climate change issue is real and is causing major issues and if bold action is not taken, major issues will result. He says that the Republican Party is so owned by the fossil fuel industry they will not work on the issue. The energy system needs to be changed and his legislation on the issue is the most comprehensive.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that we need to be on a 100% electric grid based on solar and green energy.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Essie): Iran, ISIS enemy crisis is up next.

UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Andrew): O’Malley challenges Clinton and Sanders to join him in committing to a 100% renewable energy grid by 2050. Clinton wanted to respond, but NBC went to commercial.

UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Essie): Commentators call the next set of questions: “The Commander in Chief Test”

UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Andrew): We’re back and talking foreign policy.

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Essie): Sanders says we need to move aggressively to adjust the behavior of Iran. He says that managing to reach an agreement with Iran is  positive. He says that relationship should continue to become positive and we should move to warm relationships with them.

UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Essie): Clinton says she helped to work on the sanctions with Iran, and they have so far been following agreements. She says that we have to be very careful, their bad behavior in the region should be addressed.

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Essie): Clinton says that ground forces in Syria should not be a solution. Iraq army and Sunni fighters and Kurdish fighters should be mobilized and supply chain for money and online space should be interrupted. She says that the air forces should be used.

UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Essie): Sanders says that we need to learn the lesson of Iraq, and the quagmire of Syria should be avoided. We should learn from King Abdullah, who said that this is a war for the soul of Islam and that Muslim troops should be on the ground. Not American troops in perpetual warfare.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that we need a proactive security strategy. He complements the Democrats on the stage for not using the bravado of the Republican party.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Andrew): Excellent point by O’Malley about remembering the real and sobering human costs of war.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Andrew): It’s easy to get rid of a two-bit dictator like Saddam Hussein, but there wasn’t thought given to what needed to happen next when we invaded Iraq, Sanders notes.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he led the opposition to the war in Iraq. He says that there was not a lot of thought about what happens after removing a dictator. Sanders says that we need to train and support the Muslim nations in the region. He says the wealthy countries need to start putting some “skin in the game” and stop depending on America.

UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Essie): Should the President have stuck to his “red line” on chemical weapons. Clinton says that we were able to get the chemical weapons out and the issue resulted in a positive outcome. She says that the surrounding States could have been terribly affected. She says that as a commander in chief has to critically think about the outcome of actions. The US had a very big interest in keeping the stability of the region.

UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Essie): Sanders says our first priority should be on getting rid of ISIS, and that all of the interests need to be brought together in order to make it happen.

UPDATE, 7:29 PM (Andrew): O’Malley jumps in and makes a crucial point about a lack of human intelligence. The U.S. intelligence community is addicted to signals intelligence, and it’s definitely a problem.

UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Andrew): Well, this is a first… a strong technology question!

UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Andrew): O’Malley says the government should need a warrant, whether that’s to come through the front door or a back door.

UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that the Federal Gov should have to get a warrant weather they go through a front or back door. We need security, but our privacy should not be infringed upon. We need a public advocate to help with the Patriot Act.

UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Andrew): We need a body of law that protects Americans in the digital age, O’Malley says, concluding a strong answer in which he called for curtailing privacy abuses and one-sided secret courts.

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he voted against the Patriot Act, and that we have to worry about the private information that the private companies have regarding the American public. Sanders says that we have to have Silicon Valley help with ISIS without violating the civil liberties of the American people.

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Andrew): Sorry, Secretary Clinton, but we have to go to break…

UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Andrew): Lester Holt is the best moderator we’ve seen in the Democratic debates thus far.

UPDATE, 7:39 PM (Andrew): NBC has also done a really good job putting questions together for this debate.

UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Andrew): Clinton slams the Republican presidential candidates for their bigoted comments against Muslims.

UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Essie): Clinton says that we need better intelligence and our country needs to be unified. We need to work with Muslim Americans.

UPDATE, 7:41 PM (Essie): O’Malley speaks against the vilification of American Muslims.

UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Andrew): Sanders makes a good point — much of our military budget goes towards conventional forces and weapons.

UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Essie): Sanders says that we have a military budget that continues to fight the old cold war. Little of it goes to fighting ISIS. We need to make fundamental changes to the priorities.

UPDATE, 7:43 PM (Essie): Clinton on the “kitchen table” role of Bill Clinton on the economic advisory role. She says that Bill will be a good will emissary to get more ideas on how to address the economic issues.

UPDATE, 7:44 PM (Essie): Sanders says that if Clinton’s advisory body on economics is stacked with Wall Street people they are not going to help very much.

UPDATE, 7:46 PM (Essie): Sanders says to a question related the transgressions on Bill Clinton: He says that he is annoyed by the question because it is not relevant to the issues facing the American people.

UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Andrew): O’Malley cites several issues that didn’t get talked about in depth tonight, like immigration reform and what’s happening to Puerto Rico.

UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that he wishes we had discussed immigration issues had been covered more. He says that the belief that we are on the threshold of a new era of American progress.

UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Andrew): Clinton says she’s outraged by what is happening in Flint, Michigan. Was hoping this would be mentioned.

UPDATE, 7:52 PM (Andrew): #ArrestGovSnyder

UPDATE, 7:52 PM (Essie): Clinton says she is outraged by what is happening in Flint Michigan. She criticized the Governor for not acting on the issue. She says that it is outrageous that she wants to be a President who acts on our issues at home.

UPDATE, 7:53 PM (Andrew): Sanders: We have got to get rid of Super PACs and Citizens United… we need a political revolution to revitalize American democracy.

UPDATE, 7:54 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he calls for the resignation of the Governor. Sanders says that he wants to see the super PACs gone and Citizens United repealed. He says that he wants more young people involved in the political process. The wealthy should not be in charge of American policy.

UPDATE, 7:55 PM (Andrew): And with that, we’re done. It was a spirited, lively, and enjoyable debate with the only real adults in the presidential race.

UPDATE, 7:57 PM (Essie): Another great debate. I trust the people on this stage to lead the American people more than any of the Republican candidates. They are far more thoughtful, and caring of the people in this country. Republicans are focused on driving voters by fear.

Live analysis: President Obama delivers final State of the Union Address to Congress

Good evening, and welcome to our live coverage of President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address. The speech is being broadcast by all major broadcast and cable news networks, and you can also watch it at WhiteHouse.gov.

President Obama is currently making his way to the U.S. Capitol via motorcade, and the speech is scheduled to begin in just a few moments’ time (6 PM Pacific, 9 PM Eastern). Once it begins, we will start bringing you live analysis and commentary, focusing particularly on the framing of the speech.

We will begin…

UPDATE, 12:30 PM (Andrew): We’ll be getting started two hours from now.

UPDATE, 1:00 PM (Andrew): Now just an hour and a half away.

UPDATE, 2:45 PM (Andrew): In place at KCTS’ studios. Big thanks to the network for letting NPI be here to cover this debate. Hurray for PBS and public broadcasting!

UPDATE, 3:03 PM (Andrew): Co moderators Kim Abel and Enrique Cerna are going over the ground rules and introducing the candidates.

UPDATE, 3:07 PM (Andrew): Senator Cantwell is first to give an opening statement. She’s emphasizing some of the accomplishments of her second term, including her role in reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank and getting funding increased for community colleges.

UPDATE, 3:09 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner’s opening statement was largely about family. He described his candidacy as a team effort between himself and his wife, and used the plural “we” instead of “I” when talking about his candidacy.

UPDATE, 3:12 PM (Andrew): First question is about the so-called fiscal cliff. Baumgartner opens first, and immediately goes on the attack with a cheap shot, pointing out that when Senator Cantwell took office, the nation had a surplus (which the Bush administration gave away to the wealthy).

UPDATE, 3:14 PM (Andrew): Senator Cantwell’s response to the fiscal cliff prompted Baumgartner hold up his challenge sign. Baumgartner attacked Cantwell for supporting the Bush administration’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Cantwell quickly parried back, using up two of her own challenges to rebut Baumgartner’s comments.

UPDATE, 3:15 PM (Andrew): Second question is about Afghanistan. Senator Cantwell says she wants to bring our troops home. Baumgartner asserts that the planned withdrawal from Afgahnistan will not actually bring all of our troops home.

UPDATE, 3:16 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner: “Senator Cantwell has consistently been in support of poorly planned wars.”

UPDATE, 3:16 PM (Andrew): Third question is about the Patient Protection Act. “If you would repeal the Act, what would you put in its place?

UPDATE, 3:18 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner: “I look at the situation and say we need to develop market forces to give him a product he can afford.” Says “tort reform” is needed to reform healthcare. (“Tort reform” is really about preventing public protection attorneys from being able to hold corporations accountable when they don’t serve their customers).

UPDATE, 3:20 PM (Andrew): Cantwell dismisses Baumgartner’s call for allowing people to buy insurance across state lines, says she never saw so many letters from people and organizations from Washington State opposed to that idea. Says Patient Protection Act is working – we need to strengthen it.

UPDATE, 3:21 PM (Andrew): Cantwell and Baumgartner just used up their last challenges arguing about healthcare reform.

UPDATE, 3:22 PM (Andrew): Next question is about the DREAM Act. Cantwell says she supports it, says state really needs the DREAM Act as well as comprehensive immigration reform. “The conservative elements of the Republican Party” didn’t want to address immigration reform, she says.

UPDATE, 3:22 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner begins his response by characterizing Senator Cantwell’s tenure in the Senate as “twelve years of failure”. What a petty attack.

UPDATE, 3:24 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner on immigration: “We have to look at this in a holistic way.”

UPDATE, 3:24 PM (Andrew): Hallelujah – next question is about the climate crisis. Enrique Cerna wants to know what is each candidate’s strategy for dealing with the climate crisis.

UPDATE, 3:29 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner not convinced that the climate crisis is caused by humans, but says we should address the likely consequences nonetheless. Doesn’t provide much in the way of specifics.

UPDATE, 3:30 PM (Andrew): Cantwell: “I worked in a bipartisan fashion with my colleague, Senator Collins” on a proposal to begin addressing the climate crisis. “This is an important issue for us… I want us to diversify off of fossil fuels. I don’t want to drill off the coast of Washington, and I don’t want to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge… two things I think my opponent supports.”

UPDATE, 3:30 PM (Andrew): Next question is about the influence of money in politics. What do you think is the proper role of corporations in American elections?

UPDATE, 3:30 PM (Andrew): Cantwell: Certainly supports transparency in elections. Says she supports McCain-Feingold. At a minimum, we need to correct [Citizens United], she says.

UPDATE, 3:30 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner: “I think money in politics causes a big problem… Obviously I’m at a big disadvantage in this race. If I could wave a magic want, I’d eliminate television advertising.” Would “absolutely support” greater transparency.

UPDATE, 3:31 PM (Andrew): Next question is about the federal budget. Baumgartner says we need a balanced budget. Cantwell says she wants to defend Social Security and Medicare no matter what. Let the Bush tax cuts expire, she says. Let’s get it done.

UPDATE, 3:32 PM (Andrew): Next question is about Syria and Iran. Kim Abel asks: What is your approach to these two situations?

UPDATE, 3:32 PM (Andrew): Cantwell: “Syria is a very complex situation… The key thing for us right now is to put pressure on China and Russia to get the Assad regime out of power, and not back down.”

UPDATE, 3:33 PM (Andrew): Cantwell cites her work with Lisa Murkowski to impose tough sanctions on Iran. “I believe we’re starting to see Iran change because of that pressure on economy.”

UPDATE, 3:34 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner begins answer to Syria/Iran question by taking another cheap shot at Cantwell. As if it is her fault that the Bush administration didn’t pay for their foreign invasions and occupations.

UPDATE, 3:35 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner: “I think this is [an area] where I would provide a lot of value in the U.S. Senate.”

UPDATE, 3:35 PM (Andrew): Next question: What is the role of the federal government ensuring a quality education for children?

UPDATE, 3:36 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner: “The federal government should set high standards and should test… Unlike Senator Cantwell, I support charter schools. I won’t be a tool of the teachers’ unions in the U.S. Senate.”

UPDATE, 3:37 PM (Andrew): Cantwell: “I don’t want a Ryan budget.” Cites her support for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiatives. “I am not going to support ideas like the Ryan budget that would cut Pell Grants… We need to make college more affordable.”

UPDATE, 3:38 PM (Andrew): Next question is about funding for PBS. “Tell us now… Where do you stand on funding for public broadcasting?”

UPDATE, 3:39 PM (Andrew): Cantwell: “I really appreciate” public television. Implies she’ll strongly support continued funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

UPDATE, 3:41 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner says “I really like Frontline” … then veers off a tangent and doesn’t answer the question about PBS funding.

UPDATE, 3:42 PM (Andrew): Next question is about tribal gaming near Spokane. ‘Where do you stand on this proposed casino by the Spokane tribes?” Baumgartner opposes expansion, says it’s right next to Fairchild Air Force Base and could jeopardize base expansion.

UPDATE, 3:44 PM (Andrew): Cantwell: “It’s very important that they [the tribe] go through the process.” Concludes her answer on that question and then circles back to Afghanistan.

UPDATE, 3:44 PM (Andrew): Next question is about coal terminals in the Pacific Northwest. Why is it okay for us to export coal when we’ve stopped burning it?

UPDATE, 3:46 PM (Andrew): Cantwell: “Working together on clean energy solutions [with Asian countries] would be a great idea.” Says she’ll be involved as process plays out for determining if the terminals make sense.

UPDATE, 3:47 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner: “I have a lot of concerns about coal trains.” Cites health effects of coal dust and potential impact on mobility for emergency vehicles in places like Spokane.

UPDATE, 3:47 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner does not sound like a conservative Republican in this debate. He sounds more like a Ron Paul libertarian.

UPDATE, 3:48 PM (Andrew): Next question is about the practice of Border Patrol agents pulling people over. Baumgartner: “We should teach more police officers Spanish… Everybody should learn a foreign language.”

UPDATE, 3:49 PM (Andrew): Cantwell: “This is a very important issue… it’s about balancing privacy rights and security.”

UPDATE, 3:50 PM (Andrew): Cantwell: “I intervened on the Peninsula to ensure that the Border Patrol was working with local law enforcement.”

UPDATE, 3:50 PM (Andrew): Moving now to closing statements.

UPDATE, 3:51 PM (Andrew): Cantwell thanks audience, KCTS9, and Baumgartner. “This election… reminds me how much jobs and the economy are important here.” Reflects on her record and work to support businesses small and large in Washington State.

UPDATE, 3:57 PM (Andrew): Baumgartner has just delivered his closing statement. He has both said and implied during his comments this afternoon that Senator Cantwell isn’t an effective representative for Washington State, but other than repeatedly describing Irag and Afghanistan as “Senator Cantwell’s wars” (a ludicrous attack if we ever heard one), he has offered no specific criticisms of her record. And that’s it – we’re done! The candidates have shaken hands and the lights have come on. Audience members are getting up from their seats. So long from Seattle Center!

UPDATE, 5:44 PM (Andrew): Fifteen minutes to go before the candidates take the stage in New York. C-SPAN is currently showing the pre-debate festivities; the moderator, Candy Crowley, is due to be introduced in a few minutes.

UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Andrew): Romney gets first stab at the first question. “We have to make sure it’s easier for kids to afford college,” he says. How?

UPDATE, 6:05 PM (Andrew): “I want to make sure we keep our Pell Grant program growing…” By adopting Ryan’s budget?

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Andrew): President Obama, answering Jeremy’s question: “When Governor Romney said we should let Detroit go bankrupt, I bet on American workers.” Nice!

UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Andrew): President Obama: “We’ve worked hard to ensure student loans are available for folks like you.” Obama administration made sure federal government is lending directly to students instead of helping banks make money.

UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Andrew): Crowley asks the candidates: What can be done to help those who have been unemployed for a long time?

UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Andrew): Romney cites his magical five point plan as evidence he deserves people’s votes.

UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Andrew): Romney turns to address Obama: “You took Detroit bankrupt.”

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): Obama: “What Governor Romney said just isn’t true… Don’t take my word for it.”

UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Andrew): Obama zings Romney: There is no five point plan, just a one point plan to allow the wealthy to play by a different set of rules than middle and low income families.

UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Andrew): Romney tries to interrupt Crowley and fails. She’s no Lehrer…

UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Andrew): Next question is about gas prices.

UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Andrew): Obama: “We’ve doubled clean energy production.” Also cites victory on getting automakers to agree on higher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles.

UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Andrew): Obama: Romney’s plan is to let the oil companies write energy policy. Like Dick Cheney and Dubya did.

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Andrew): Romney claims oil production is down on federal land. Why is that a bad thing?

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): Mitt Romney just indicated he couldn’t care less about protecting endangered species.

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Andrew): Shorter Romney: Let’s drill more wells and blow up more mountains!

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Andrew): Obama zings Romney again, reminds us that Romney once stood in front of a coal plant in Massachusetts and said coal kills. Nice!

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): Obama interrupts Romney: Not true, Governor! They’re both standing now, arguing.

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): Romney not looking so hot…

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): A little moderation, Candy?

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Andrew): Thanks for that, Mitt Cheney… or should I say Dick Romney…

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Andrew): ZING! Obama: It’s conceivable gas prices could go down, if Romney’s policies cause the economy to go into freefall.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): Obama attacks Romney for saying that wind-related jobs are “imaginary”. He’s on a roll.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): Mitt, stop acting like a jerk.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Andrew): Obama: “Candy, I’m used to being interrupted.”

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Andrew): Romney: “I want to simplify the tax code.” How, Governor? What’s your plan?

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Andrew): Overheard on Twitter: Candy needs a gavel…

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Andrew): Romney: “I will not, under any circumstances, reduce the share that’s being paid by high income taxpayers.” Sorry, Governor, we don’t believe you.

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Andrew): Obama: “Four years ago, I said I would cut taxes for middle class families, and that’s what I’ve done.”

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Andrew): Obama: “If we’re serious about reducing the deficit… we’ve gotta make sure the wealthy do a little bit more [for our country].”

UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Andrew): Obama: “Governor Romney has a different philosophy… I fundamentally disagree. I think what grows the economy is small businesses getting a tax credit for hiring veterans.”

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Andrew): Crowley, with the understatement of the night, to Romney: “Governor, I’m sure you’ve got a reply there.”

UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Andrew): Romney’s five-point plan is unrealistic.

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Andrew): Obama is really hitting Romney hard right now. Romney’s just standing there taking it.

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Andrew): This is getting good!

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Andrew): Obama: “The math doesn’t add up.”

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): Romney, on his numbers: “Of course they add up.” Obama smiles…

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Andrew): Romney claims: “I know what it takes to balance budgets. I’ve done I all my life.”

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Andrew): Crowley: “I will get run out of town” [if I don’t take control].”

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Andrew): YES! Question about equal pay for equal work.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Andrew): Obama: “The first bill I signed was something called Lily Ledbetter.”

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Andrew): Obama tells Fenton, audience that his administration has made Pell grants accessible to more youth. And indeed he has.

UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Andrew): Romney describes paycheck fairness as “important topic.”

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Andrew): Did Romney just say binders full of women? That’s not going to replay well…

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Andrew): Mitt, your time is up.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Andrew): If Mitt Romney is such a good debater, why can’t he keep his answers within the time limits? He’s gone over by like thirty seconds again.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): Obama: “That’s not the advocacy women need… There are millions of women across America who rely on Planned Parenthood.”

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): Strong finish by President Obama on that answer.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Andrew): Next question for Romney: “What is the biggest difference between you and George W. Bush?”

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Andrew): Romney lamely tries to spin his opposition to access to contraceptives…

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): Multimillionaire and vulture capitalist Romney claims he’ll be a champion for the little guy: “Our party has been focused on big business for too long.”

UPDATE, 6:49 PM (Andrew): Obama: “Governor Romney invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing jobs to China.”

UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Andrew): Obama cites some of the promises he’s kept. Occupation of Iraq ended, Patient Protection Act enacted. Restraints on Wall Street put into place. Auto industry pulled back from the brink.

UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Andrew): Obama: “The commitments I’ve made, I’ve kept. The ones I haven’t… it’s not for a lack of trying.”

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Andrew): Obama: The choice in this election is whose promises are going to help you.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): Mitt, the reason more people are on food stamps is because of income equality and a rise in poverty. Problems greatly exacerbated as a result of George W. Bush’s policies.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Andrew): Question about immigration from Lorraine.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Andrew): Romney trying to humanize himself…

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Andrew): Romney trying to make it sound like he supports the DREAM Act.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Andrew): Obama: “I’ve done everything I can on my own to fix the system.” Notes he hasn’t gotten cooperation from Congress.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Andrew): Obama notes that Romney promised to veto the DREAM Act. Also points out Romney praised Arizona’s draconian immigration law.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): Hey Mitt: Presidents *don’t* file legislation!

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): Romney is really stumbling with this rebuttal.

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Andrew): Burst of crosstalk… President Obama is tired of Romney’s nonsense…

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Andrew): Obama gets a dig in at Romney on his pension: “It’s not as big as yours.”

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Andrew): Next question is about Libya.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Andrew): Obama is explaining how he reacted to the attack on America’s consulate in Benghazi.

UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Andrew): Obama: “I’m the one who has the greet the coffins when they come home.”

UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Andrew): Obama: “Please proceed, Governor.” The President has had enough.

UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Andrew): Audience members are clapping!

UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Andrew): Candy moving the debate along…

UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Andrew): Nina Gonzalez: What has your administration done to limit the availability of assault weapons?

UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Andrew): Obama: We have to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. More enforcement needed.

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Andrew): Obama suggests we should reintroduce a ban on assault weapons. The NRA is going to pick up on that, no doubt.

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Andrew): Shorter Romney: Not interested in getting semiautomatic weapons off our streets.

UPDATE, 7:21 PM (Andrew): Romney brings up “Fast and Furious”. Knew that was coming…

UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Andrew): Crowley asks why Romney no longer supports an assault weapons ban.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Andrew): Obama: Romney changed his position on the value of assault weapons ban because he wanted the NRA’s endorsement. Zing!

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Andrew): Carol Goldberg asks Mitt Romney, an outsourcing pioneer, about insourcing… bringing jobs back home to the United States.

UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Andrew): Romney trots out his favorite catchphrase… “trickle-down government.”

UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Andrew): Romney claims he’ll be strict with those we trade with. Yeah, right.

UPDATE, 7:29 PM (Andrew): Mitt, where’s the evidence to support the claim that businesses aren’t hiring because of the Patient Protection Act?

UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Andrew): Obama says he’d close loopholes that reward outsourcing. Romney’s policies would create jobs overseas,

UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Andrew): Crowley asks Romney: How do we bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.A.?

UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Andrew): Crowley goes to President Obama.

UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Andrew): Obama shouldn’t have said that some jobs won’t come back. That didn’t do anything for him. The Republicans will put that phrase into television ads.

UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Andrew): Romney lamely chants, government does not create jobs.

UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Andrew): Softball question for Mitt, and he recognizes it.

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Andrew): Mitt: “I care about a hundred percent of the American people.” Hope the President gets rebuttal time…

UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Andrew): Romney has started giving his closing statement a few minutes too early.

UPDATE, 7:37 PM (Andrew): The debate is running over. Good thing the major news networks scheduled post-debate “analysis” till 8 PM.

UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Andrew): Obama hammers Romney for his forty-seven percent comments.

UPDATE, 7:39 PM (Andrew): WOW, what a finish by President Obama! No closing statements, Obama finishes by asking for viewers’ votes.

UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Andrew): This debate goes to President Obama. He was superb. Absolutely superb.

UPDATE, 8:02 PM (Andrew): No opening statements for this debate. We’re going straight to questions. Jim Brunner of the Seattle Times is going first. What could you do to hold down tuition increases?

UPDATE, 8:07 PM (Andrew): Brunner has a follow-up. He asks the candidates if they can put more money into education if revenue assumptions don’t pan out.

UPDATE, 8:09 PM (Andrew): Gubernatorial candidates now talking about state and local property tax levies (which primarily fund schools).

UPDATE, 8:11 PM (Andrew): McKenna: Inslee has no plan for complying with the McCleary decisions.

UPDATE, 8:12 PM (Andrew): Inslee keeps saying we’ll generate revenue by putting people to work. You need to be more specific, Jay.

UPDATE, 8:13 PM (Andrew): Some crosstalk between Inslee and McKenna…

UPDATE, 8:13 PM (Patrick): McKenna says Inslee hasn’t read the property tax swap proposal to fund schools and then says the details haven’t been worked out yet.

UPDATE, 8:14 PM (Andrew): Oh, great. Susannah Frame is asking about “Waste on the Water”, KING5’s overhyped series of special reports alleging corruption and mismanagement at Washington State Ferries.

UPDATE, 8:16 PM (Patrick): Lean management may be good, but doesn’t precisely inspire passion. Washington State Ferries is important, but a large part of the state doesn’t border the water or regularly use the ferries.

UPDATE, 8:17 PM (Andrew): McKenna: The ferry system is part of the transportation system. Ferry farebox recovery is pretty high.

UPDATE, 8:18 PM (Andrew): McKenna says he’d fire David Moseley, who currently runs WSDOT, but makes it clear he expects David to resign first if he wins.

UPDATE, 8:19 PM (Andrew): Jim Brunner asks about closing tax loopholes. Can you name specific exemptions you would consider closing, and how much would it raise?

UPDATE, 8:20 PM (Andrew): Inslee has some examples of unnecessary and outdated tax loopholes ready. Way to go, Jay!

UPDATE, 8:20 PM (Patrick): Inslee is talking about closing unneeded tax loopholes. It is a continuing disappointment that neither candidate has a plan for raising revenue revenue, but Inslee definitely distinguished himself from McKenna in taking a stance to remove exemptions which do not serve the public interest.

UPDATE, 8:22 PM (Andrew): McKenna’s example isn’t really a tax loophole. He’s talking about out-of-state retailers being able to sell Washingtonians goods without having to collect sales tax. Many of those retailers have no presence in Washington – the state can’t fix that problem itself.

UPDATE, 8:24 PM (Andrew): Robert Mak asks about Jay Inslee about his proposed office of economic competitiveness.

UPDATE, 8:26 PM (Andrew): Rob, if it is so expensive and difficult to do business here, why are we considered one of the best states to do business? Been ranked in the top ten by Forbes for many years running!

UPDATE, 8:26 PM (Andrew): McKenna has a pensive look on the split screen.

UPDATE, 8:28 PM (Andrew): The questions tonight from the KING5/Seattle Times panel have been pretty good so far.

UPDATE, 8:29 PM (Andrew): Jay, you mean uncommon sense. Common sense does not exist. If it did, we would not talk about needing it.

UPDATE, 8:29 PM (Andrew): Oh no, they’re letting the candidates ask questions of each other…

UPDATE, 8:30 PM (Andrew): Rob McKenna’s question was ridiculous: Why do you think newspapers are endorsing me instead of you?

UPDATE, 8:30 PM (Patrick): Inslee is defending his proposal to help companies in the renewable energy sector, rebutting the oft-stated line by McKenna that he’s “picking winners and losers”. Inslee’s response is it would help out businesses that need it, and spur innovation.

UPDATE, 8:31 PM (Andrew): Jay is explaining that he has taken stances that weren’t necessarily popular with newspaper editorial boards at the time, but in hindsight proved to be spot-on.

UPDATE, 8:34 PM (Andrew): Inslee asks McKenna about his support for women’s reproductive rights.

UPDATE, 8:36 PM (Andrew): Rob, there’s no need to be petty. You are part of the political establishment in this state, just as Jay Inslee is. You have been AG for eight years.

UPDATE, 8:37 PM (Andrew): Jean Enersen moves the debate along.

UPDATE, 8:38 PM (Andrew): Ah good, a question about an issue that does not normally get covered. What would you do to maintain and improve access to water and address the state’s need for guest workers?

UPDATE, 8:39 PM (Andrew): Inslee says he understands the issues facing eastern Washington. And he would know… he used to represent places like Yakima, Chelan, and Selah.

UPDATE, 8:39 PM (Patrick): Inslee is talking about the need for bipartisanship on immigration, but cites the intractability of Republicans in trying to pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive reform.

UPDATE, 8:40 PM (Andrew): McKenna’s retort: I have represented the entire state as Attorney General. (But he has not represented the entire state or even large swaths of it as a lawmaker).

UPDATE, 8:41 PM (Patrick): Inslee is talking about how changing the requirements for providing driver’s licenses would be counterproductive and costly. McKenna clearly disagrees, and says he supports putting more barriers in place for people who are undocumented.

UPDATE, 8:42 PM (Andrew): Inslee: We should not prevent immigrants not here legally from obtaining driver’s licenses.

UPDATE, 8:42 PM (Andrew): McKenna: Give undocumented immigrants permits to drive instead of licenses to drive.

UPDATE, 8:43 PM (Andrew): Question from Chris Ingalls: Does DSHS need an overhaul? What changes would you make?

UPDATE, 8:44 PM (Andrew): McKenna: DSHS needs new leadership.

UPDATE, 8:45 PM (Patrick): What can we do to strengthen and streamline our social safety net? That’s the topic the candidates are discussing now. Inslee is not surprisingly touting ‘lean management’ again. He’s suggesting private contractors could play a bigger role. Of course, the reason we have public services is because the private sector doesn’t excel at everything, contrary to what Republicans often claim. It is wrong to claim that everything worth doing can be done as a for-profit enterprise.

UPDATE, 8:47 PM (Andrew): McKenna calls Inslee’s last answer “spectacularly uninformed”.

UPDATE, 8:47 PM (Andrew): Next question is about tolls – potential tolling on I-90 and other roadways.

UPDATE, 8:49 PM (Andrew): McKenna: We will need tolls on the new Columbia River Crossing. HOT lanes are an option. Suggests I-90 express lanes could be turned into HOT lanes.

UPDATE, 8:50 PM (Andrew): Inslee: I will assemble transportation package to improve freight mobility and alternatives to driving. Says we should have light rail and public transportation. I fully support East Link light rail.

UPDATE, 8:51 PM (Andrew): Neither candidate has said if they support tolling I-90.

UPDATE, 8:51 PM (Patrick): The panelists are following up on the question of light rail, and just asked McKenna if he supports it. He says he does, but he is making it seem like building light rail is harder to accomplish than it actually is.

UPDATE, 8:51 PM (Andrew): McKenna: East Link technical problems are Sound Transit’s to solve. He implies he won’t interfere with the project. Riight.

UPDATE, 8:52 PM (Andrew): Inslee: We move forward on transportation, job creation, healthcare reform.

UPDATE, 8:53 PM (Andrew): Last question is about education, from Robert Mak. Do you have a plan to find money for schools if the economy does not bounce back? Good question.

UPDATE, 8:53 PM (Andrew): Inslee says we can find savings by implementing healthcare reform.

UPDATE, 8:53 PM (Patrick): As Andrew noted, the panelists are trying to pin down both candidates on whether they have a fallback position in the event economic growth doesn’t generate revenue to pay for existing services. but instead relying upon the economy to improve. Inslee talked about saving money on healthcare costs  through the Affordable Care Act,. McKenna implies that he’s going to cut the social safety net if he has no other choice… in other words, he’ll rob Peter to pay Paul.

UPDATE, 8:54 PM (Andrew): McKenna clearly cannot wait to give his answer. Takes a deep breath.

UPDATE, 8:55 PM (Andrew): Rob, exactly what do you mean when you say we should prioritize funding for schools? Give us more than lip service to education.

UPDATE, 8:56 PM (Patrick): Inslee just corrected McKenna and stated that education funding actually went up 22% while he was in the Legislature before moving on to the rest of his closing statement. He’s trying to strike an upbeat tone.

UPDATE, 8:56 PM (Andrew): Inslee giving his closing statement. Cites his background. “We can be greater, I ask for the honor of your vote.”

UPDATE, 8:57 PM (Andrew): McKenna: Do you think we’ll be better off four years from now if we put the same people back in? Um, Rob, you’ve been part of the executive department of Washington for eight years. You are not an outsider.

UPDATE, 8:57 PM (Patrick): Rob McKenna is telling the camera that Washingtonians will be worse off under Jay Inslee, and referenced his endorsements again. He asks viewers “to join us”. That’s not the most original or positive note to end on. McKenna hasn’t really explained what he brings to our state capital that makes him the more qualified or prepared than Inslee to serve as the state’s chief executive. Yes, he’s been attorney general, but he thinks far more highly of himself than many of his constituents do.

UPDATE, 8:58 PM (Andrew): Oops. KING5 broadcast cut out before Jean Enersen was finished.

UPDATE, 8:59 PM (Andrew): Okay, we are done!

UPDATE, 2:25 PM (Andrew): It’s on in three and a half hours: The final nationally televised showdown between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

UPDATE, 2:28 PM (Andrew): If the last debate is any indication, we may see the President incorporate lines he uses tonight in future revisions of his stump speech. The “sketchy deal” line from the last debate got used in a rally in Fairfax last week: “Virginia, you’ve heard of the New Deal, you’ve heard of the Square Deal, the Fair Deal.  Mitt Romney is trying to give you a Sketchy Deal.”

UPDATE, 6:00 PM (Andrew): We are about to get started!

UPDATE, 6:02 PM (Andrew): And here come the candidates!

UPDATE, 6:03 PM (Andrew):

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Andrew): Obama: “Here’s one thing I’ve learned as Commander-in-Chief: You’ve got to be clear!”

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): Obama talking about doing some nation-building at home. We agree!

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Andrew): Obama: We’ve made sure the Assad regime in Syria isolated.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): Obama: “I am confident Assad’s days are numbered.” Says we have to think carefully so we can avoid doing something foolish… like arming the rebels with heavy weapons,

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): Romney: “We do need to make sure they [the rebels] don’t get arms that get into the wrong hands.” Exactly what the President just talked about.

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): Romney doesn’t appear to be saying he’d do anything different than what the Obama administration is already doing.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): Romney: “I want to make sure they get armed… but i don’t want to see military involvement on the part of our troops.”

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Andrew): Romney is just repeating himself. Obama dismisses his rival: “He doesn’t have different ideas.”

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Andrew): Obama: No regrets about saying Mubarak had to go.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Andrew): Obama: We’ve been organizing entrepreneurship conferences to help young Egyptians realize their potential.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): Mitt, don’t you mean voices of freedom?

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Andrew): Let’s see, who was responsible for driving up the debt with two unpaid occupations and massive tax cuts for the wealthy? Oh yeah… Mitt’s Grand Old Party!

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Andrew): Romney: ‘In order to fulfill our role in the world, America must be strong. America must lead.” Those are platitudes, Mitt! You just don’t have specifics to offer, do you?

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Patrick): Mantle of leadership we didn’t ask for, Mr. Romney? The U.S. has been meddling in other nations’ affairs for centuries.

UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Patrick): American influence isn’t as strong as it was four years ago? A major reason our standing in the world has improved is because Obama was elected.

UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Andrew): Obama: Romney’s plan doesn’t reduce the deficit. Understatement of the night!

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Andrew): YES! Obama finally mentions the name of his predecessor. It’s good to remind people what this country went through during the Bush error.

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Patrick): American influence means more than military might. We also have other ways to get what we want. It’s called diplomacy. Discussion, negotiation, and compromise.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): Romney claims we’re on “a borrowing and spending binge.” He claims he’ll end it. But he can’t avoid deficit spending and keep his campaign promises.

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Andrew): Obama knocks Romney for including big businesses in his definition of small businesses.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Patrick): Obama talking about science, math, and small class sizes. Clearly a better plan than Romney. We’re getting back to foreign policy. Good.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Patrick): Obama talks about taking care of our friends and letting a rising tide lift all boats. Domestic policy is starting to bleed into this debate. As Andrew just noted, Obama made a point of reminding viewers that Romney called Bush a good steward of the economy.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Andrew): Obama gets a few words in as Romney tries to take credit for his predecessor’s work on education in Massachusetts.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Andrew): Schieffer asks Romney where he’s going to get the money for a bigger, mightier military.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Andrew): Shorter Romney: More bombs and destroyers, less healthcare for Americans.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Andrew): “But that was ten years before you took office”. Obama hit Romney for taking credit for something he didn’t do. Not the first time.

UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Patrick): We don’t get to good, livable wage jobs without unions. A lesson Romney needs to learn.

UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Andrew): Obama: “Keep in mind that our military spending has gone up every year that I’ve been in office. We spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined.” President is on a roll with this response.

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Patrick): The Patient Protection Act isn’t something we can afford? What about the 22,000 people who die in the U.S. because of lack of medical care? They definitely can’t pay for anything anymore.

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Andrew): Obama: “The math simply doesn’t work.”

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Andrew): Seriously? Romney is complaining that the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of aircraft are old.

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Patrick): Romney doesn’t understand that the world has changed. Conventional weapons and tactics are outdated. A sensible, modern national defense strategy requires a leaner, smarter military.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): Obama: “Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets… The question is not a game of Battleship. It’s about capabilities.”

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): Obama, to Romney: “We’ve visited the website quite a bit, and it still doesn’t work.” ZING!

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Patrick): Obama mentions the fact that the military would be given new weapons by Romney that they are not even asking for. But then again,the Republicans hasn’t really been driven by anything that was a necessity.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Andrew): Obama: “If Israel is attacked, we will stand by Israel.”

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Andrew): Obama: “When I send young men and women into harm’s way, I do so as a last resort.”

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): Romney: Our mission is to “dissuade Iran from getting a nuclear weapon through peaceful and diplomatic means.”

UPDATE, 6:49 PM (Andrew): Romney says he wants to tighten sanctions. But as usual, doesn’t elaborate.

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Andrew): Obama: The work we’re doing is meticulous. It takes time. It’s difficult.

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Patrick): Obama talks about the need for cooperation. The United States can no longer take action unilaterally, which is good. We’re not the only country on this planet.

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Patrick): Surprising that Romney doesn’t want companies to do business with Iran, considering the Koch brothers, some of his biggest campaign supporters, don’t appear to agree with that stance.

UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Andrew): Romney: “I think they [Iran] saw weakness where they should have seen strength.” Attributes the “weakness” to Obama saying that he would be willing to sit down with adversaries.

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Patrick): Obama calls Romney again for mouthing fibs. And then hits Romney for investing in a Chinese company which did business with Iran. I guess the Koch brothers aren’t the only ones.

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Andrew): Obama: “I’ll let the American people decide who’s going to be more effective… [at] imposing crippling sanctions.” Pretty hard-hitting rebuttal!

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): Obama: “Iran is at its weakest point – economically, strategically, militarily” than it has been in many years.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): Romney attacks Obama for “skipping Israel” when he traveled to the Middle East his first year in office.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Andrew): Obama scolds Romney for trying to score points by using Israel as a wedge issue. Describes his trip to Israel as a presidential candidate. Obama: I didn’t take donors with me when I went to Israel. Or hold fundraisers.

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Andrew): Romney: “I look around the world… I don’t see our influence growing.”

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Andrew): The company Romney used to run looks around the world, too… for good locations to outsource American jobs.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Patrick): Centrifuges aren’t used exclusively for making nuclear weapons. If the world is united against Iran, the Iranians may see nuclear development as an even more appealing strategy.

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Andrew): Moving on Afghanistan… Romney tried to get more time for himself first, as usual…

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Andrew): Romney: “When I’m president, we’ll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014.”

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Andrew): Romney: “A Pakistan that falls apart would be an extraordinary danger… The aid we provide to Pakistan is going to have to be conditional, on certain goals being met.”

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Patrick): Good that Obama is talking about returning servicemembers. People don’t disappear when they become veterans. They need jobs, medical care, and moral support.

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Patrick): Look at that: A moderator who moderates. Schieffer, Raddatz, and Crowley are all doing what Lehrer failed to do: keep the debate moving and maintain order. This is what the audience wants.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Andrew): Schieffer asks: Is it time for us to divorce Pakistan?

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Andrew): Romney: “If it [Pakistan] becomes a failed state… there are nuclear weapons there.” Really? Thanks so much for telling us.

UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Andrew): Schieffer: Governor, what is your position on the use of drones?

UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Andrew): Romney goes on record saying he supports increasing usage and deployment of drones (like the Predator, an unmanned aircraft used to target people the U.S. government doesn’t like, such as suspected al Qaeda operatives.

UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Andrew): What’s the greatest future threat to U.S. national security?

UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Andrew): Obama: Terrorism remains a grave threat. China doesn’t have to be an adversary; it can be a partner if it plays by the rules.

UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Patrick): Democracy isn’t pretty. Other countries don’t always elect the people we want them to. But respecting their rights will foster adherence to the rule of law, and will help us in the long run.

UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Andrew): Obama: Unfortunately, Romney’s proposals would decrease investment in vital public services that help spur research, development, and innovation.

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Andrew): Romney is using the same language as Obama for his answer… “Adversary” vs. “partner”, “played by the same rules”. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

UPDATE, 7:21 PM (Patrick): Romney’s not looking too kindly at Obama for pointing out that he profited from shipping jobs overseas. Obama talking about investing in research, too. R&D is how we get ahead, and it’s good that Obama recognizes it.

UPDATE, 7:21 PM (Andrew): Obama: “I’ve made a different bet… on American workers. If we’d taken your advice, we’d be buying cars from China instead of selling cars to China.”

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Andrew): Obama: The private sector just doesn’t do basic research. They never have. The President is correct. Major scientific and medical breakthoughs have been accomplished because we, the taxpayers, wisely invested our tax dollars in public services like the National Institutes of Health.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Andrew): Governor, there was no private capital available to save Detroit. That’s why Uncle Sam stepped in.

UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Patrick): When did Romney ever want to invest in universities?

UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Andrew): Romney doesn’t want to be interrupted while he spews his platitudes. Obama is running out of his patience.

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Andrew): Obama: “Governor, you keep trying to airbrush history.”

UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Patrick): Romney might be a son of Detroit, but he was definitely willing to let it go under.

UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Andrew): Romney isn’t ending the night without trying to score some points.

UPDATE, 7:29 PM (Andrew): Romney: “I love teachers.” Schieffer: “I think we all love teachers.”

UPDATE, 7:30 PM (Patrick): Obama’s mentioning veterans when Romney hasn’t. We definitely to invest more in infrastructure and our economy here, and Obama painted a future full of promise. Romney’s trying to do the same, but underlying it is a cloying feeling of resentment and fear.

UPDATE, 7:30 PM (Andrew): Obama delivering his closing statement. He’s condemning Romney’s plans and outlining his objectives.

UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Andrew): Obama: “After a decade of war, I think we know we need to do some nation-building here at home.”

UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Andrew): Obama, speaking to viewers listening at home: If you reelect me, I’ll fight for your families.

UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Andrew): Romney again claims he’ll “get us on track” towards “a balanced budget”. And again, doesn’t explain how.

UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Andrew): Romney has some nerve saying we need a president who will work across the aisle. Obama has been rebuffed pretty much every time he’s tried.

UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Andrew): Romney: “I’d like to be that leader, with your support… I’ll lead you in an open and honest way.”

UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Andrew): Schieffer: “Go vote. It’ll make you feel big and strong.”

UPDATE, 4:11 PM (Andrew): We’re now hearing from a representative of the Lummi Nation who says it is “not acceptable” to his tribe for traditional burial grounds to be despoiled by industrial development.

UPDATE, 4:14 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is the chairman of the Tulalip tribes. He’s making his opposition to coal exports plainly clear. “Tulalip will not tolerate impacts to the health of our tribal members… These projects pose significant threats to our environment.” “We ask you not permit any project that significantly impacts our way of life.”

UPDATE, 4:16 PM (Andrew): Our last Native speaker comes from the Swinomish tribe. She’s echoing the sentiments of the previous speakers. “The Swinomish people want to ensure that we all live healthy lives,” she told the agency representatives.

UPDATE, 4:20 PM (Andrew): The Raging Grannies are the first to testify. And naturally, they’re testifying in the form of a song.

UPDATE, 4:23 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is an environmental engineer. Her comments are very on point. “I ask that you evaluate the impact of burning all of the coal that would be transported through all of the export terminals.” Specifically, she urged the agency representatives to think about the consequences for ocean acidification and endangered species. She concluded by saying,” We say no to coal exports… period.”

UPDATE, 4:26 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker, Sharon Levine, says, “We should not be encouraging Asia to use fossil fuels.” She urged agency representatives to consider “cumulative impacts”. “We really need to be thinking about things like coal train derailments,” she declared.

UPDATE, 4:26 PM (Andrew): And now, State Representative Reuven Carlyle is up!

UPDATE, 4:28 PM (Andrew): Carlyle is telling the agency representatives that the EIS must be “data-driven” and “thorough”. “We are one state,” he reminded the panel. “A comprehensive, cumulative impacts statement is vital.”

UPDATE, 4:31 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is a twelve-year old student from Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood – Rachel Hall. “Within my lifetime, I’m no longer going to be able to ski at Snoqualmie Pass because of global warming,” she says. “My generation will pay a high price for the global warming that you do.” Lots and lots of signs in the air! “If you make coal more available, more people will burn it,” she notes. Huge cheers and applause break out after moderator makes an exception to the noise rule for “people under eighteen.”

UPDATE, 4:33 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is one of Tacoma’s city councilmembers. “I am here this evening concerned about coal train impacts on my city and cities like mine,” he says. He’s outlining several areas of concern he wants the agency representatives to look at. For example:

  • Concern about at-grade crossings in Tacoma;
  • Concern about how this negates activity with climate action plan;
  • Concern about impact on property values.

UPDATE, 4:36 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is from Montana. The room has gone extra quiet because everyone is listening intently. “I’ve worked in a coal mine and I’ve seen how things are done. How the Earth is dug up,” he told the agency representatives. “From our river, all the way to your ocean… the water will be poisoned… You can’t drink that water, where I work.”  

UPDATE, 4:40 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is a farmer who has come some distance to speak. “I understand the need to burn coal for electricity… but I also understand that coal is a finite resource,” he said early on in his prepared remarks. He went on to condemn the Corps of Engineers for not holding scoping meetings in Wyoming and Montana. “I can’t understand why I should need to travel over a thousand miles to comment on a project that affects my livelihood,” he told the agency representatives.

UPDATE, 4:43 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker comes to us from the Edmonds City Council. She’s asking the agencies to consider the impacts that coal trains would have on Edmonds ferry traffic and the beaches of Edmonds.

UPDATE, 4:45 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is a twenty-two year old transplant from Minnesota who works at the Bonneville Power Administration and moved here because he wanted to enjoy the Pacific Northwest’s quality of life. “I would love [for the co-lead agencies] to see the external costs,” he told the representatives.

UPDATE, 4:49 PM (Andrew): We finally have a speaker in green shirt. (People wearing green shirts are here to support the proposed terminal project). “We need these facilities to preserve port and rail jobs,” he told the agency representative. “Coal is not a pollutant when burned…. except when burned,” he quickly added, catching himself, as people began to laugh. Lots and lots of thumbs down.

UPDATE, 4:52 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is Seattle small business owner Mike Dash. He wants the agencies to look at permafrost melting, because that could result in a very large increase in carbon dioxide emissions. He says he wants four things to be included in the EIS:

  • How much of a margin of safety do we have in terms of where we are now and the melting of the permafrost?
  • How would the proposed terminal at Cherry Point impact permafrost melting?
  • What’s the cost of building seawalls to protect us against superstorms?
  • Would external costs be covered by the builders of the terminal?

UPDATE, 4:53 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker wants the co-lead agencies to look hard at the impact of coal trains on wildlife sanctuaries.

UPDATE, 4:59 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker has to be one of the youngest people here. Not sure how old he is, but boy, can he speak. (Sorry for the pun). This is one of the most inspiring bits of testimony I’ve ever heard at a public hearing. “This plan proposes tons and tons of coal going through many neighborhoods… next to train tracks,” he says. “My question is: What would the health impacts be on people – especially children living near the train tracks?” He concluded by saluting the red-shirted masses for turning out to oppose the project.  

UPDATE, 5:00 PM (Andrew): We’re now hearing from the editor of CoalTrainFacts.org. She’s pointing out that we all inhabit the same planet Earth. What happens on the other side of the world affects us: “Coal burnt in Asia hurts people there and blows pollutants back here.”

UPDATE, 5:03 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is a Native American. “I do not support any coal development of any kind,” he told the co-lead agencies. “It’s destroying, and has destroyed, our environment, and wildlife.”

UPDATE, 5:06 PM (Andrew): We’re now hearing from a Sumner community leader concerned about economic impacts on her city. She memorably prefaced her remarks against the project by saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

UPDATE, 5:10 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker has some harsh words for the fossil fuels industry: “Any activity based on coal ought to be considered a criminal activity at this time in our history.”

UPDATE, 5:14 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is a rancher from southeastern Montana who is “vehemently opposed” to allowing corporations to extract coal from the Rocky Mountain West and export it overseas to be burned in China. He complained about the two-minute time limit and expressed the worry that the Corps is treating the hearings it is doing as merely a formality. As he departed the stage, many people shouted their enthusiastic agreement, in violation of the rules.

UPDATE, 5:17 PM (Andrew): Now we’re hearing from the leader of the Cascade Chapter of the Sierra Club, who says we should be working on developing high speed passenger rail, supporting sustainable agriculture, and investing in renewable energy instead of exporting coal to China.

UPDATE, 5:18 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is challenging one of the talking points of coal port proponents. “They say this will create jobs, but it could destroy jobs,” he told the agency representatives.

UPDATE, 5:21 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is from the Association of Washington Business, which is an affiliate of the Chamber of Commerce. He is only the second person to have spoken in this room in favor of the project. “Opponents are asking you to go beyond the legal requirements,” he told the agencies. He added: “We call on the Corps of Engineers, Washington Department of Ecology, and Whatcom County to apply federal laws fairly and promptly.”

UPDATE, 5:24 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is the mayor of Lynden, who has endorsed the Gateway Pacific Terminal (as have several other mayors in Whatcom County). “We are a nation of laws. Permitting agencies should not interfere with lawful commerce,” he told the agency representatives. Plenty of people waved red herring placards or stood up with their thumbs held down. Hissing also broke out, in violation of the rules.

UPDATE, 5:30 PM (Andrew): We’re now hearing from Michael Ramos of the Church Council of Greater Seattle. “With the Scriptures, we have to say: Before us we have life and death. Choose life!”

UPDATE, 5:38 PM (Andrew): Now that’s a concise ending – from our last speaker: “Coal is dead!”

UPDATE, 5:41 PM (Andrew): We can hear singing coming from the adjoining room. Sounds someone with a lot of talent from one of our Northwest tribes.

UPDATE, 5:41 PM (Andrew): We are now about halfway through the hearing.

UPDATE, 5:43 PM (Andrew): Our current speaker is telling the panel that the Pacific jetstream will blow harmful emissions from China’s coal-burning power plants back to our skies in the span of just a couple of weeks. “This a monumentally stupid thing to do,” he says. “I say hell no to rapacious greed.”

UPDATE, 5:44 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker says it’s time to expand and update our passenger rail system instead of using our railroads to ship coal overseas to China.

UPDATE, 5:46 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is another young person – a fifth grader, to be specific – who humorously says she’s been “dragged to meetings” to learn more about coal. She wants the panel to think carefully about all of the environmental consequences of this project.

UPDATE, 5:48 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is a project proponent. “It’s clear there is a market for the product and a profit to be made…. The economic advantages of moving the project forward are enormous.” He concludes: “Let’s build the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point… Let’s move forward for prosperity.”

UPDATE, 5:51 PM (Andrew): We just heard from another eloquent speaker from the Northern Cheyenne tribe. Really glad to have people with us from Montana and Wyoming who would be affected by this.

UPDATE, 5:54 PM (Andrew): Another Lummi speaker is up now. “I grew up as a commercial fisherman,” he says. “We’re already suffering from the chemicals that are being leached into the waters by the aluminium smelters that are up there.” “You should see those tankers that pollute our waters,” he says.  

UPDATE, 5:56 PM (Andrew): Dave Myers is now speaking on behalf of the building and construction trades. He’s in favor of exporting coal to China. Some sound bites:

  • “It’s only appropriate to evaluate the Gateway Pacific Terminal on its own merits.”
  • “I’m confident the studies will show limited impacts on the environment.”
  • “This project will bring real construction and family wage jobs to Washington State… We need to embrace opportunities like this.”
  • “I believe we can be smart and responsible when using coal.”

UPDATE, 6:01 PM (Andrew): One more hour to go!

UPDATE, 6:03 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is someone who has done thirty years of environmental work. She wants the agency representatives to look at the infrastructure that would be required to support the coal trains.

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Andrew): We’re now hearing from Grace Ann Bird, a Nisqually tribal member. “I live within a few miles of the Burlington Northern train tracks that are proposed to carry uncovered coal trains,” she says. She’s concerned about coal trains negatively impacting tribal fishing grounds

UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Andrew): Lee Nugent from the Seattle building trades is now at the podium, speaking in favor of the project. “Everybody’s heard every concern from both sides of this,” he says. “What we haven’t addressed is why China’s using all of our coal… China is burning our coal is because we keep buying their products.” “If coal is going to be used, we should try to put environmental standards on it,” he concludes.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is a young woman who is soon to be a mother who works on a farm and raises poultry. She doesn’t want the meat she sells to be contaminated as a result of toxic dust from coal trains.

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Andrew): “What kind of people are we?” our next speaker is asking. She wonders “what kind of collective craziness” would allow a project like this to go forward. “Now is our last chance to get the future right,” she adds.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Andrew): Our current speaker is playing an audio clip of train noise (from a freight train) recorded up in Whatcom County. It’s not a pleasant sound.

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): We’re now hearing about some of the potential consequences to our ecosystems that would result from allowing this project to be built.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is a Lummi Island resident. “There are too many significant adverse impacts to mention in two minutes,” he says. But he urges the agency representatives to thoroughly analyze the cultural impact of the project on the Lummi people. He also gives Sightline Institute a shout-out.

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Andrew): Wow, another young speaker thoughtfully urging that we really think through the consequences of this. An eleven year-old this time. I’m really surprised and impressed by the number of youth who have stepped up to the podium at today’s hearing. Bravo to these kids for becoming activists so early in their lives.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker suggests China’s appetite for coal won’t last for very long, and that consequently, a coal terminal would be a waste of money.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is a former Seattle University dean. “I would like you to consider that you are co-creators with God of Earth’s future,” she says. “Our faith tells us that we are special creatures created by God and that we have these great responsibilities.”

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker was trained by Al Gore to deliver his “An Inconvenient Truth” presentation on the climate crisis. He’s reading off some seventh graders’ reactions to the coal terminal project.

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is someone who says she moved to the Pacific Northwest because of its magnificent coast. “Washington is the only state with a marine recreational trail,” she notes. “As you move forward with the scoping, you must consider impacts to shoreline recreation.”

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker says it is “beyond unthinkable” that in 2012, we are considering increasing our dependence on fossil fuels instead of powering past coal, oil, and natural gas.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is an oceanographer and retired EPA water quality specialist. “I think that you have heard today a broad number of people speaking about effects that go all of the way from Montana and Wyoming to China… “I hope you have noted that these are all interconnected effects.”

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): Well-known environmental attorney Peter Goldman is now addressing the agency representatives, urging them to do due diligence in preparing the environmental impact statement.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker says he is prepared to physically impede coal trains if need be. He uses the last forty seconds of his time to repeatedly say, “We won’t do this!”

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker wants the co-lead agencies to consider if the ventilation in the Great Northern railway tunnel is activate. He’s also concerned about potential negative impacts on historic buildings.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): The meeting has been so efficiently run that we have time to hear from additional speakers (which is a good thing).

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is both passionate and spiritual. “Our planet cannot speak,” she says. “Our children, not yet born, cannot speak. I ask that you look into the future fifty years.”

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker wonders whether the railroads operating the coal trains that would be bringing coal to the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal would be required to cover the trains.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Andrew): An observation: Having people signify disagreement by waving their hands or signs really seems to work. It allows the moderator to move quickly between one speaker and the next, and it ensures the speakers themselves get more time to say what they want to say.

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Andrew): Our next speaker is from Nathan Hale High School. “My generation is faced with the realtiy of climate change as our future,” he says. “That science they show us in biology tells us we’re rapidly approaching the point of no return.”

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Andrew): So that Nathan Hale student was our last speaker. Great way to end the hearing. She was really eloquent. “When we get to the point of no return, money won’t matter. Survival will.” Great thought!

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Andrew): The hearing is adjourned. Everyone is heading their separate ways, Thanks for reading our live coverage! If you’d like to watch this hearing later on, you can do so on TVW or the Seattle Channel. They were here taping the proceedings.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): We’re currently listening to Rodney Tom defend his power grab in his introductory/opening remarks.

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): It’s Ross Hunter’s turn to speak. He’s is reminding everyone to pick up a copy of his budget handout. (Ross always comes prepared to a town hall with meeting materials!)

UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Andrew): Ross Hunter: The Supreme Court’s McCleary decision can (and should) be viewed as an opportunity – not a problem.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Andrew): Ross Hunter: “I’m uninterested in voting for a transportation solution if it distracts us from the operating [budget].”

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Andrew): People have been showing up at a steady pace, and the Bellevue City Council chambers are now almost full. Several people are standing in the back.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): First question goes to Nancy Rising. She wants to know where each of the 48th’s lawmakers stand on Initiative 522 (labeling of genetically modified foods).

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Andrew): Ross Hunter indicated he doesn’t have a problem with I-522. Cyrus is unsure what his position is (he believes if food is dangerous, it should be banned), but says he doesn’t have “a catch-all answer”. He plans to keep an open mind. Rodney is being evasive in his answer so far…. he’s talking about junk food and healthcare, not food labeling.

UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Andrew): Nancy asked a second question, directed at Rodney Tom, about the committee structure the Republicans came up with. She wanted to know why Republicans gave themselves control of the most important committees. Rodney tried to argue that all of the committees are important. A number of people snickered and chuckled as he gave his answer.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Andrew): Rodney Tom: “We’ve got a lot of things in society we’ve got to rebalance’.

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Andrew): Audience member just denounced Rodney Tom for plotting with Republicans behind closed doors to take over the Senate. Tom is trying to argue that his positions line up with his constituents, citing the outcome of ballot measures in 2012.

UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Andrew): Rodney Tom doesn’t seem to understand what leadership is. Leadership is about leading people to new positions, not following polls and merely implementing what people might vote for.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Andrew): Rodney Tom says he’s planning to attend the 48th District Democrats’ reorganization meeting tomorrow night, and suggests unhappy Democrats can vent about his power grab there.

UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Andrew): John King asked about Citizens United. Rodney Tom says he still thinks the decision is awful, but he doesn’t want to “give anyone false hope”. Thinks we need action at federal level first.

UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Andrew): Cyrus Habib says that we have to undo more than just the Corporations United decision. Before that ruling, we had the “corporations are people” decision (Pembina Consolidated Silver Mining Co. v. Pennsylvania) and the “money is speech” decision (Buckley v. Valeo).

UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Andrew): Ross Hunter is explaining to the audience that federal tax obligations are the lowest they’ve ever been in his lifetime.

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Andrew): Ross Hunter: “Saying that we’re going to stick with today’s tax code… is an artificial constraint.”

UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Andrew): Ross Hunter: “We can fight about all kinds of stuff, and we should, because it makes us smarter.” Talking budget: “I’ve been trying to produce a budget without additional revenue, and I’ve been unsuccessful so far.”

UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Andrew): Rodney Tom keeps citing Tim Eyman’s I-1185 as justification for his position on revenue.

UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Andrew): Ross and Rodney do a good job of sounding pragmatic. But for over a decade, they’ve been part of a Legislature that has voted repeatedly to backfill, postpone, and procrastinate, rather than addressing the root causes of our biggest problems.

UPDATE, 7:44 PM (Andrew): We’re still talking about the budget and economic security, and more specifically, about creating a good business climate. It should be pointed out that austerity measures do not lead to job growth. Austerity measures actually constitute contractionary fiscal policy and lead to reductions in real GDP.

UPDATE, 7:46 PM (Andrew): Cyrus notes that our ports and manufacturing sector are a very important part of our local economy. First time we’ve heard the word “port” tonight.

UPDATE, 7:55 PM (Andrew): One really positive element of this town hall: People asking questions have been able to react (for instance, ask a follow-up question) after Ross, Cyrus, and Rodney have attempted to answer their questions.

UPDATE, 7:59 PM (Andrew): Ross Hunter says the business and occupation tax is awful, in response to a question from Sonya Rossman. We agree. So why have we never had a serious, meaningful conversation about replacing it with a VAT (value added tax) or corporate income tax?

UPDATE, 6:00 PM (Andrew): The First Lady is in the house!

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Andrew): Still awaiting the arrival of the President…

UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Andrew): President Obama has just entered the House chamber and is greeting members of Congress as he makes his way to the podium. But you probably know that, since you’re watching, too!

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Andrew): Michelle Obama looks great tonight!

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): Loud, sustained applause after the President declares, “After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.”

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): President Obama: “Corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs – but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.” Thank you, Mr. President, for pointing that out.

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Patrick): Obama starts with overtures to cooperation and talks about all of the positive change that has happened “together”. Trying to highlight all the policies accomplished despite Republican obstructionism?

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Patrick): Obama says Medicare cuts would be even worse than cutting defense, then says “modest reforms” are needed. Not sure where he is going, but this might get some backlash.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Andrew): President Obama: “We’ll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors. We’ll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn’t be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital – they should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive.”

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Patrick): Tackling the prescription drug companies. See how he needed them to pass the Affordable Care Act, they must be feeling like they’re getting the short shrift.

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Andrew): President Obama just went off-script to strengthen his point about protecting our essential public services. Nicely done, Mr. President!

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Patrick): Once again, the Buffet Rule. I can’t wait until it happens so we can stop hearing about it.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Patrick): Obama using the word “entitlement reform” is a conscious choice. Why not “earned benefits”?

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Andrew): Democrats enthusiastically applaud after President Obama says:

Let’s agree, right here, right now, to keep the people’s government open, pay our bills on time, and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America.  The American people have worked too hard, for too long, rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another.

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Patrick): Mentioning all the manufacturers bringing jobs back, including Apple. Hopefully they don’t build a Foxconn.

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Andrew): The President’s proposal to create manufacturing hubs got a pretty enthusiastic response. As it should. Let’s keep it Made in America.

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Andrew): It’s not a good thing that we’re producing more oil than we have in fifteen years.

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Patrick): Obama is talking about stopping some of the research cuts in the delayed sequester. Combined with talking about the “manufactured crisis” earlier, it seems he’s trying to end at least some of the cuts once and for all.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): President Obama: “Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend.  But the fact is, the twelve hottest years on record have all come in the last fifteen.”

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Patrick): The President is proposing to revive cap-and-trade. If it doesn’t work at the federal level, we can push it at the regional level.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Andrew): President Obama: “We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.”

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Patrick): Cutting energy waste, because unfortunately, people don’t like being told to put on a sweater.

UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Andrew): Chuckles echoed through the House chamber after President Obama chided Congress with this quip: “I know that you want these job-creating projects in your districts.  I’ve seen you all at the ribbon-cuttings.”

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Patrick): America’s infrastructure doesn’t grade well. My question is, though, will this “Partnership to Rebuild America” require private capital to pay the prevailing wage?

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): Investing in early learning definitely does pay huge dividends. We know this. We’ve done the research. It’s one of the best things we can do for our youth.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Patrick): The President is proposing high quality preschool across the country. I wondering if he’ll start using the words “P-20” (a phrase that shows the continuum of education from preschool through college) soon.

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Andrew): President Obama didn’t mention the ugly side of our natural gas boom. Fracking has had a negative impact on aquifers all over the country, as Josh Fox documented in Gasland. It has led to increased ground and water pollution. We should be installing solar panels and deploying wind turbines, not drilling new wells.

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Patrick): “[M]ost young people will need some higher education”? More like, most young people need higher education.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): Cooperation trumps competition. We need to work on improving all of our schools, not pit them against each other for funding, a la “Race to the Top”.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Patrick): The affordability problem doesn’t lie with the colleges, but with the state. The cost of education has stayed steady in Washington state, adjusted for inflation. The problem is reduced funding support.

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Andrew): President Obama just called specifically on the House Republicans to pass the Violence Against Women Act (which the Senate approved today).

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Andrew): Taxes are not an affliction. When are Democrats going to quit using the phrase “tax relief”?

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Patrick): Let’s hope we get immigration reform which actually allows real access to citizenship, otherwise Obama will be worse on immigration than Bush

UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Patrick): It looks like Obama is listening to our former Governor and Oregon’s current.

UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Andrew): Raising the minimum wage to an hour is a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, House Republicans won’t be on board. But the President is entirely justified in calling on Congress to pass legislation allowing the minimum wage to automatically be adjusted upwards to account for increases in the cost of living.

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Patrick): This stigma for single-parent households isn’t good. From personal experience, good children aren’t just raised by traditional family structures.

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Andrew): President Obama: “Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue.” Thank goodness! It’s time for us to be out of Afghanistan.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Andrew): Never heard anything like this from Dubya: “I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way.  So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage with Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Andrew): Any new legislation on cybersecurity needs to respect Internet freedom and ensure Americans’ digital liberties – not inhibit them. We need a digital bill of rights.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Patrick): Interesting to note, unions picketed a fundraiser for Obama over the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Andrew): We are opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership based on what we know about it. We need fair trade agreements drafted in the open, not trade pacts written by diplomats and lobbyists in back rooms with no public input.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Patrick): The President might need to deal with a perception problem if he’s going to work with the rest of the world to help end global poverty.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Patrick): Not all human rights are civil and political. We also need to work on economic, social, and cultural rights, especially in our own country.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): President Obama: “We will ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight.  We will draw upon the courage and skills of our sisters and daughters, because women have proven under fire that they are ready for combat.”

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Andrew): Nice shout out for First lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden. They have been doing great work for our military families.

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Andrew): President Obama: “[T]onight, I’m announcing a non-partisan commission to improve the voting experience in America.  And I’m asking two long-time experts in the field, who’ve recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Governor Romney’s campaign, to lead it.  We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it. And so does our democracy.”

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Patrick): The denial of the right to vote isn’t just about time. This commission also needs to look at recognizing the voting rights of citizens after they have served their time and paid their debt to society.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Andrew):

President Obama, making the case for legislation to strengthen gun safety: “Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress.  If you want to vote no, that’s your choice.  But these proposals deserve a vote.  Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.”

UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Andrew): YES! They deserve a vote! Say it, Mr. President! We’re behind you!

UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Patrick): Boehner doesn’t look happy about bringing gun control legislation to a vote. Maybe it will actually happen.

UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Andrew): Great closing passage: “We are citizens. It’s a word that doesn’t just describe our nationality or legal status. It describes the way we’re made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations; that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others; and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all, as citizens of these United States, to be the authors of the next great chapter in our American story.”

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Patrick): The President talking about American citizenship as an essential part of us doesn’t work very well with his talk about immigration reform earlier. The struggles of our immigrant brothers and sisters is as American as those who were born here. And some pay more taxes, definitely more than some of our corporations.

UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Patrick): I’m definitely pleased by this speech. While not as progressive (always) as is to be hoped, as a country we will definitely be moving forward if we get even a few of these proposals through Congress.

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Patrick): We have arrived at the forum, as the crowd and the candidates file in. It’s good to see that the conservative candidates have shown their faces, as they’ve decided not to attend two previous forums which they decided was not friendly enough territory.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Patrick): The moderators are going through the ground rules for the forum, and a brief description of what the council does.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Patrick): The first round of candidates are speaking, which are Barry Buchanan and Kathy Kershner, both running for Council District 1. Kathy started by talking about her bout with cancer, the business environment, and Western Washington University.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Patrick): Kathy’s done with her introduction, and Barry Buchanan started into his family’s long history in the area, his work in the military, and how he wants to protect water quality, farmland, and the environment.

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Patrick): The first question is about the Growth Management Act, and how the candidates would prioritize development, Whatcom County is one of the only counties left in the state to not be in compliance with the act, and Barry Buchanan supports its implementation.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Patrick): Kathy Kershner opposes the Growth Management Act citing a “board in Olympia” that doesn’t know Whatcom County. She’s making them out to be “the Other”, not their role in maintaining smart growth.

UPDATE, 6:49 PM (Patrick): Topics moved quickly from water rights to the proposed jail development, and Barry Buchanan believes we need to prioritize mental health and diversion techniques, to end a cycle of mass incarceration.

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Patrick): Kershner cites the disrepair of the current jail, and wanting to cut costs to save money on the jail, also saying that people in the county need “jobs, not jail”.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Patrick): After a few fluff questions, it was asked what criteria the candidate would use to review the permit of the coal terminal. Kathy was noncommittal, using vague terminology.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Patrick): Barry Buchanan answered the question to say he would look at environmental impacts and environmental standards. Definitely  a environmental candidate.

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Patrick): A question was asked about where the candidates are getting their money. Kathy said that she didn’t get any outside money “that she knew of”, and Barry spoke on contributions by labor groups, environmental groups, and citizens that were excited to make a change on the council.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Patrick): We’re nearing the end of questioning the first round of candidates, and both Barry and Kathu gave their closing statements. Kathy delivered her statements with little emotion, and seemed very scripted. Barry, on the other hand, circled around to his family history, and restated his commitment to preserving the environment.

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Patrick): Ken Mann and Ben Elenbaas are now up. Ken’s persona, as a former radio host, engineer, and financial manager, and now a green refurbishment consultant, is very charming and smart, and Ben comes across as a very plodding speaker, an earthy, next-door neighbor quality. I suspect he barbecues on the weekend.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Patrick): In his introductory statement Ben spoke about his distaste for either-or questions, and Ken spoke about his defense of the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, and his vote for protecting Lake Whatcom.

UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Patrick): Questioning once again went to the Growth Management Act. Ken Mann spoke about many of its deficiencies, and Ben Elenbaas explained his belief that the Growth Management Board was biased against rural living.

UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Patrick): Ben Elenbaas talked about certainty being necessary to bring businesses into the county. Ken pivoted smoothly and talked about how current conservative members of the council were hypocritical on that point, having passed an emergency moratorium on certain forms of renewable energy some time ago, implying that the goals of conservatives to provide certainty and predictability to businesses may only be for the types of businesses that they like.

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Patrick): A question was asked about what the candidates would ask their question. Ken stated a previous answer of Ben’s about how busy he is, asking how he would serve as councilmember. Ben’s answer was flat, staying mostly that we would “make time”.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Patrick): Ben accused Ken of saying different things in the north part of the county than in the south part (Bellingham in the south, smaller towns in the north), and brought up slaughterhouses, a very heated local issue. Ken refuted Elenbaas’ statement that he was speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Patrick): Both candidates agreed that elections financing should be public. Go figure.

UPDATE, 7:30 PM (Patrick): On a question about private vs. public ownership, Ben Elenbaas spoke again about his family’s presence in the county, and spoke vaguely on stewardship of the land. Ken asked for the question be restated, agreed with Ben that land needs to be taken care of, but pivoted to speak on stormwater runoff, incineration, and how actions that owners take on their own property can affect other people.

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Patrick): On closing statements, Elenbaas repeated his slogan, advertised his farm, and re-emphasized his local credentials. Ken spoke on the importance of local issues and his work currently as a councilmember.

UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Patrick): Carl Weimer and Michelle Luke, running for Council District 3. Michelle ran  against Carl four years ago and lost, and was the subject of much conversation back then when she was asked how she was qualified for the job and could not respond, instead sitting in silence.

UPDATE, 7:41 PM (Patrick): Carl expressed his support for the Growth Management Act in helping smart growth and maintaining quality-of-life. Michelle Luke explained her thoughts that she believes the Act has been improperly interpreted in the County.

UPDATE, 7:45 PM (Patrick): When talking about permitting the coal terminal Michelle stumbled and said she would look at the documents. Carl spoke on how he believes in climate change, ocean acidification, and the effect the project would have on marine population and how that knowledge would help make his decision. He’s definitely the environmental candidate in this race.

UPDATE, 7:47 PM (Patrick): When asked about the slaughterhouse ordinance which just passed the County Council, Carl spoke on how much of a mess the ordinance was when it came from the Planning Commission, which his opponent chairs, forcing Michelle to spend her time defending her work on the ordinance.

UPDATE, 7:49 PM (Patrick): Carl’s definitely taking the lead in this race, slamming Michelle again and again with the unsatisfactory work of the Planning Commission.

UPDATE, 7:52 PM (Patrick): Michelle calls planning codes outdated and insufficient to protect farmland. Carl expanded on the topic, and moved to saying that farmland shouldn’t be used to build housing, and that farmers need dedicated water rights.

UPDATE, 8:02 PM (Patrick): Michelle and Carl launch into their closing statements. Michelle thanks the League of Women Voters and say they know where she stands. I hope they do, because I sure don’t, especially on the specifics. Carl ended with passion and excitement, animated in his actions and his voice. Next up are the final candidates in forum, Rud Browne and Bill Knutzen for the At-Large position.

UPDATE, 8:04 PM (Patrick): Bill Knutzen introduced himself first, speaking about agriculture, jobs, and his foster children. He also made sure to make a joke about his opponent’s name.

UPDATE, 8:08 PM (Patrick): Rud made comparisons between himself and his opponent, stating how he became a US citizen by choice, migrating from Australia and being part of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He also made comparisons between his business and his opponent’s, stating the hundreds of employees and multiple awards his company has.

UPDATE, 8:09 PM (Patrick): Bill Knutzen called zoning changes “stealing”, and talked about the faces behind the changes. I’m worried about the logical extensions of that statement.

UPDATE, 8:10 PM (Patrick): Rud Browne dispelled the myth of the Growth Management Act as a big, bad entity, stating it’s role in protecting all property owners and citizens in the area.

UPDATE, 8:13 PM (Patrick): When asked about how as a councilmember they would help with poverty alleviation. Rud spoke on his work as CEO and his charity work, and Bill Knutzen explained his work getting Comcast to provide internet access to low-income individuals and his church work.

UPDATE, 8:16 PM (Patrick): When asked about racial profiling in the county, Bill Knutzen denied it was going on. Rud Browne spoke to the issue where Customs and Border Enforcement have been called on as interpreters by the police, and then asking for the documentation of the very same people who were calling for help.

UPDATE, 8:20 PM (Patrick): When asked about the coal terminal, Bill talked about using the information given to him and serving in the role of the quasi-judicial body that the Council must adhere to in making the permitting decision. Rud Browne made an oath that he would do nothing that would make the permit be decided in court, instead of by the Council.

UPDATE, 8:23 PM (Patrick): Bill Knutzen wants to prioritize budgets instead of raising taxes, includes parks among “frivolous” things the county spends on. Rud talked about making sure children are educated and fed.

UPDATE, 8:30 PM (Patrick): Already at closing statements, and Bill Knutzen stumbles a bit, but regains his footing by saying that decisions need to be made locally in Whatcom County. Rud Browne spoke about how welcoming the community is, before re-emphasizing his business experience and his qualifications in creating jobs.

UPDATE, 8:47 PM (Patrick): The forum is over, and a few last thoughts: the conservative candidates are trying to burnish their local credentials to make the outsider the Growth Management Board and not the coal companies which have been donating to their campaigns. The forum was filmed to be put on local access television, and I’ll it up when it goes online. Good night folks!

UPDATE, 3:29 PM (Andrew): Tonight, we’ll be covering the last stop on Senate Republicans and @TomRodney’s transportation “listening tour”. Hearing starts at 6 PM.

UPDATE, 3:47 PM (Patrick): Tonight, we’ll be covering the last stop on Senate Republicans and @TomRodney’s transportation “listening tour”. Hearing starts at 6 PM.

UPDATE, 5:33 PM (Andrew): CNN is currently airing its preshow. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz spoke to the crowd in Las Vegas and introduced a video message from President Barack Obama, who exhorted Democrats to work hard to elect a Democrat to the White House in 2016.

UPDATE, 5:40 PM (Andrew): Here we go! Anderson Cooper is introducing the moderators.

UPDATE, 5:42 PM (Andrew): Finally, all the CNN self-promotional nonsense is over…. time for the singing of the National Anthem.

UPDATE, 5:45 PM (Andrew): CNN is squeezing in one last commercial break before actually beginning the debate.

UPDATE, 5:48 PM (Andrew): We’re back, finally. CNN’s Anderson Cooper is explaining the ground rules.

UPDATE, 5:50 PM (Andrew): Former Rhode Island Governor and ex-Republican Lincoln Chafee gets to make his introduction first. He’s touting his experience as a mayor, senator, and governor. “I believe in prosperity through peace,” he says.

UPDATE, 5:52 PM (Andrew): Former U.S. Senator James Webb, who represented Virginia for six years in Congress, is the second candidate to speak. He’s stressing his non-political experience, including his service as a military leader in Pentagon.

UPDATE, 5:53 PM (Andrew): Martin O’Malley is the third candidate to speak. “After fifteen years of executive experience, I have learned how to be an effective leader,” he says, summarizing his accomplishments as Governor of Maryland.

UPDATE, 5:54 PM (Andrew): “Our economy isn’t money, it’s people,” O’Malley says, making a cogent point.

UPDATE, 5:56 PM (Andrew): And now, Senator Bernie Sanders is up. He wasted no time in pointing out that our country is suffering from income inequality and the influence of big money in elections.

UPDATE, 5:56 PM (Andrew): “We have a moral responsibility to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels,” Sanders says.

UPDATE, 6:02 PM (Andrew): Last but certainly not least, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As expected, she introduced herself as a grandmother and an advocate for higher wages for America’s workers. She used her time effectively to talk about her campaign platform and values.

UPDATE, 6:02 PM (Andrew): First question goes to Hillary Clinton — it’s a hostile question that boils down to, does Clinton change her political identity based on who she’s talking to?

UPDATE, 6:03 PM (Andrew): “I’m a progressive who likes to get things done,” Clinton says, when asked a follow-up, “Are you a progressive or are you a moderate?”

UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Andrew): Cooper turns to Bernie Sanders next, and asks how he expects to get elected given that he calls himself a democratic socialist.

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Andrew): Cooper’s follow-up is a joke: Do Sanders’ views give Republicans ammunition for attack ads? Sanders pivots to talking about voter turnout, and notes that Republicans win when people don’t vote.

UPDATE, 6:07 PM (Andrew): Clinton and Sanders agree: our small and medium size businesses are the backbone of our economy.

UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Andrew): Turning his attention to Lincoln Chafee, Cooper asks why Chafee has changed parties. The former governor responded by describing himself as a “block of granite” on the issues.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): Martin O’Malley is the next candidate to be challenged. Cooper asks why Americans should trust him to run the country given the problems that the city of Baltimore, which he previously led, has had.

UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Andrew): O’Malley says under his tenure as Mayor of Baltimore, policing improved and peace was restored in troubled neighborhoods. “We saved a lot of lives,” O’Malley says.

UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Andrew): Cooper asks Webb about his past statements condemning affirmative action.

UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Andrew): “I have always supported affirmative action for African-Americans,” Webb says.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): Anderson Cooper moves on to the issue of gun violence, and asks Sanders whether he wants to shield gun companies from legal responsibility for mass shootings? Sanders replies: Of course not.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): “Is Bernie Sanders tough enough on guns,” Cooper asks Hillary Clinton. “No,” she says.

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Andrew): Sanders responds to Clinton’s criticism, saying all the shouting in the world won’t stop gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): O’Malley’s turn. He notes he’s actually toughened gun responsibility laws as Governor of Maryland. Clinton nods as O’Malley decries the influence of the National Rifle Association.

UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Andrew): As Sanders and O’Malley get into a back and forth over gun responsibility, Hillary Clinton smiles broadly, positioned in between.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Andrew): Anderson Cooper shift gears to foreign policy, asking what the candidates’ response to Vladimir Putin would be.

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Andrew): “When you’re talking about Syria, you’re talking about a quagmire within a quagmire,” notes Bernie Sanders.

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Andrew): Sanders calls Iraq “the worst foreign policy blunder in American history.”

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Andrew): Clinton admirably fielded a question about whether her judgment can be trusted, noting that President Obama chose her to be his first Secretary of State.

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Andrew): Martin O’Malley says people remain angry about Iraq because they feel that Congress was railroaded into making a terrible decision based on war hype and polls.

UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Andrew): Clinton cheekily thanks O’Malley for his endorsement in 2008 and then proceeds to defend her position in favor of a no-fly zone in Syria.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Andrew): Webb says he is the candidate who is most qualified to be Commander-in-Chief.

UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Andrew): Sanders: “I am prepared to take this country into war if necessary.”

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Andrew): CNN heads to its first mid-debate commercial break.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): Clinton calls the House Select Committee on Benghazi an arm of the Republican National Committee — which we all know is true.

UPDATE, 6:49 PM (Andrew): “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” Sanders says, getting a big smile out of Clinton.

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Andrew): Sanders and Clinton shake hands, smiling, after Sanders goes after the media for not talking about the real issues. Many Democrats in the audience jumped to their feet.

UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Andrew): O’Malley refuses to take Anderson Cooper’s bait, and instead seizes an opportunity to criticize DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz regarding the 2016 Democratic presidential debate.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Andrew): Anderson Cooper asks Bernie Sanders about one of the issues he talks about often: income inequality. What would Sanders do about income inequality that Obama hasn’t done? Sanders notes that when Obama took office, he inherited a horrible mess left by George W. Bush.

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Dominic Barrera): O’Malley covers a previous campaign trail gaffe by showing his understanding for the need to bring attention to institutional racism in his response to the question “Do black lives matter, or do all lives matter?”

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Andrew): Martin O’Malley calls for the restoration of Glass-Steagall. We need a firewall between commercial and investment banking.

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Andrew): Clinton says her plan to hold big banks accountable is more comprehensive than that of the other candidates. She notes there are large financial institutions like AIG that need to be reined in as well.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Andrew): “If you only look at the big banks, you may be missing the forest for the trees,” Clinton says. Sanders retorts by declaring, “Wall Street regulates Congress.”

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Andrew): Sanders clearly doesn’t regret his vote against the 2008 bank bailout.

UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Dominic Barrera): Bernie Sanders calls for scrapping the cap on taxable earnings for social security, while Clinton avoids specifics on social security expansion.

UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Andrew): Sanders acquits himself well in response to a question about why he voted against a Bush error immigration proposal in 2007, noting that he was opposed because the Southern Poverty Law Center analyzed the bill’s guest worker provision to be equivalent to wage slavery.

UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Andrew): “I am for a generous, compassionate America that says we’re all in this together,” Martin O’Malley says, articulating a strong progressive position of immigration.

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Andrew): Hillary Clinton notes that there’s a huge difference between what the Democratic candidates are saying on immigration versus the Republicans.

UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Andrew): O’Malley slams Trump as “a carnival barker in the Republican Party”. Was hoping somebody was going to do that.

UPDATE, 7:21 PM (Andrew): Asked about the Patriot Act, Lincoln Chafee replies, “That was another 1999-2001 vote…” He’s not doing very well tonight.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Andrew): Continuing a discussion about the Patriot Act, Sanders says he would absolutely shut down the NSA’s unconstitutional mass surveillance programs, which violate the Fourth Amendment.

UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Andrew): “I think being the first woman president would be quite a change,” Hillary Clinton says with a broad smile, when asked if she is running for Obama’s third term.

UPDATE, 7:29 PM (Andrew): Sanders explains that by revolution, he means people participating in our democracy.

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Andrew): Anderson Cooper veers away from the issues again and asks why Democrats should embrace an insider like Clinton. Stupid question.

UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Andrew): “I would not ask anyone to vote for me based on my last name,” Clinton says, delivering a great response to Martin O’Malley.

UPDATE, 7:37 PM (Andrew): “I think there is profound frustration all over this country with establishment politics… I do not have a Super PAC,” Bernie Sanders notes, mentioning that his campaign has organized thousands of watch parties all over the country.

UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Andrew): In response to a question about combating the climate crisis, Martin O’Malley says he has a plan to move America to a completely clean electric grid by 2050.

UPDATE, 7:39 PM (Andrew): James Webb parrots a talking point from the Obama administration and starts talking about an “all of the above energy strategy”. An old and tired phrase.

UPDATE, 7:41 PM (Andrew): Sanders says he agrees with Pope Francis that combating the climate crisis is a moral issue. He notes that fossil fuel companies are financing Republican candidates, and that money in politics is thus a related problem.

UPDATE, 7:45 PM (Andrew): Clinton hits a home run with her answer defending paid family leave.

UPDATE, 7:45 PM (Andrew): O’Malley, Sanders, and Clinton all agree: We should have paid family leave.

UPDATE, 7:46 PM (Andrew): It’s time to rethink the failed “war on drugs”, Bernie Sanders says.

UPDATE, 7:47 PM (Dominic Barrera): Sanders offers lukewarm endorsement of recreation cannabis when asked about Nevada’s legalization initiative. Clinton declines to take a stance.

UPDATE, 7:54 PM (Andrew): Final question: Which political enemy are you most proud of? Chafee: The coal lobby. O’Malley: The National Rifle Association. Hillary Clinton: The drug companies, the Iranians, the Republicans. Sanders: Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry.

UPDATE, 7:55 PM (Andrew): Chafee reminds us again how proud he is that he has had no scandals.

UPDATE, 7:56 PM (Andrew): In his closing remarks, Webb says he’s always been willing to take complicated, difficult issues and work them through to find a solution.

UPDATE, 7:58 PM (Andrew): O’Malley says he’s grateful for the chance to stand on a stage with other qualified and distinguished candidates for President.

UPDATE, 8:00 PM (Andrew): Sanders says there’s no way just one person can address the tough challenges facing America… it’s going to take a movement. And he’s correct on that score.

UPDATE, 8:02 PM (Andrew): “My mission as President will be to raise incomes for middle American families,” Clinton says in her closing remarks.

UPDATE, 4:24 PM (Andrew): Early results from Newfoundland and Labrador look good for the Liberals. They are ahead in five ridings (a riding is the Canadian equivalent of a U.S. congressional district).

UPDATE, 4:32 PM (Andrew): The Liberals certainly are doing very well in the early results. CBC reports that the Liberals have won in three ridings in Atlantic Canada; they lead in three more. Something for Trudeau & Co. to feel good about.

UPDATE, 4:33 PM (Andrew): Polls have now closed in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Fresh results due in soon.

UPDATE, 4:34 PM (Andrew): The CBC has put the NDP up on the board; they’re ahead in one riding. This is Jack Harris in St. John’s-East.

UPDATE, 4:39 PM (Andrew): CBC is now talking about the riding of Sydney-Victoria, where Liberal Mark Eyking leads. Despite what you might be tempted to think, this riding is in Atlantic Canada, not British Columbia. As many Washingtonians know, two of the largest cities on Vancouver Island are Sidney, the only foreign port of call for Washington State Ferries, and Victoria, the capital of British Columbia.

UPDATE, 4:40 PM (Andrew): The Conservatives just got on the board; they lead in one riding. Current score: Liberals 7, Conservatives 1, NDP 1. Remember, these are all Atlantic Canada ridings, “where they tend to vote red”, as a CBC correspondent noted. (Red is the color of the Liberals).

UPDATE, 4:43 PM (Andrew): More than seventy percent of the vote in Atlantic Canada has gone Liberal so far, the CBC reports.

UPDATE, 4:45 PM (Andrew): The Liberals are now ahead in 12 ridings. Conservatives and NDP still only lead in 1 each. The Liberals are running ahead in at least two ridings held by the NDP and the Cons.

UPDATE, 4:48 PM (Andrew): The vote change in Atlantic Canada is stark. The Liberals are up 40.3% (for a total of 69.7%). They’re pulling support away from the Conservatives (-23%) and the NDP (-17%).

UPDATE, 4:54 PM (Andrew): Liberals now running ahead in 21 ridings. NDP and Conservatives still have just 1 each. The Liberals look incredibly dominant in the maritime provinces.

UPDATE, 5:01 PM (Andrew): Updated score: Liberals ahead in 26 ridings, Conservatives in 2, NDP 1. Still early, but it’s sure looking like a rout for the Liberals. 309 ridings to come.

UPDATE, 5:11 PM (Andrew): It just gets better for the Liberals. They’re ahead in thirty ridings now! Current score: Liberals 30, Conservatives 1, NDP 1.

UPDATE, 5:17 PM (Andrew): WHOA! The Liberals are now leading in thirty-two out of thirty-two ridings in Atlantic Canada. This is just remarkable. It’s a red wave.

UPDATE, 5:19 PM (Andrew): “In all my years, I’ve never seen a region of the country painted in one color like this,” says CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge.

UPDATE, 5:25 PM (Andrew): The Conservatives have retaken the lead in one riding. Fifteen races have been called at this juncture.

UPDATE, 5:45 PM (Andrew): The Liberals now lead in thirty-three ridings — including one in Quebec. The Conservatives have been trading the lead with the Liberals in one key riding, but the Liberals have it at the moment. The NDP is in big, big trouble… it looks like their six seats are gone. Among the NDP casualties could be young progressive Megan Leslie, considered to be a rising star in the NDP.

UPDATE, 5:49 PM (Andrew): The CBC projects that Megan Leslie, one of the most popular members of the New Democratic Party caucus, has been defeated.

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Andrew): CBC taking note of veteran NDP MP Peter Stoffer’s loss in Sackville-Reston-Chezzetcook, a riding he has held since 1997.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Andrew): Fresh results from Quebec are due very soon. In the meantime, the Liberals are still sweeping Atlantic Canada. If the Liberals do well in Quebec and Ontario, it could be all over before we get to British Columbia.

UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Andrew): Results in two hundred more ridings, from Quebec to Alberta, are now about to be counted. Here comes the big wave.

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Andrew): The Conservatives are finally back on the board. They’re ahead in four ridings now. Liberals still sweeping Atlantic Canada.

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Andrew): Stephen Harper described on CBC as “the most unpopular popular Prime Minister ever” among le Québécois.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Andrew): “Numbers tumbling in quickly now,” CBC says. Current score: Liberals 42, Conservatives 6, NDP 1.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Andrew): Liberals now up to fifty leading and elected. Conservatives have eleven and NDP have two.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Andrew): We have a projection! CBC projects that the Liberals will form the next government and Justin Trudeau will be the next Prime Minister of Canada.

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Andrew): Big moment for the Liberals and Justin Trudeau.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): Justin Trudeau is expected be sworn in as Canada’s next Prime Minister within two weeks. Stephen Harper has been defeated!

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Andrew): Fresh score: Liberals 75, Conservatives 37, NDP 10, Bloc Québécois 1

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Andrew): Liberals closing in on one hundred seats. They lead or have won 98. Conservatives have 61, NDP 12, Bloc 1.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): Liberals notch 100. Conservatives at 63. NDP 12. Bloc 1.

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Andrew): The Liberals seem to be doing reasonably well in the Toronto area. They lead or have won in 119 ridings. Conservatives ahead in 67. NDP ahead in 13. The Bloc has 2 ridings.

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Andrew): Polls are about to close in British Columbia.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): Liberals appear to be cruising towards a majority. They lead in 141 ridings. Conservatives ahead in 88, NDP 21, Bloc 4.

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Andrew): It’s worth remembering that in 2011 the Liberals got eviscerated. They went down to under forty seats. Right now, they lead in one hundred and fifty ridings. A stunning comeback.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Andrew): The NDP is not doing well at all tonight.

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Andrew): Thomas Mulcair is trailing in his own riding of Outremont, but hardly any votes have been counted.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Andrew): Results are trickling in from British Columbia now.

UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Andrew): One hundred and seventy seats are needed for a majority. At present… Liberals have 156, Conservatives 93, NDP 25, and the Bloc 8.

UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Andrew): This is incredible. Liberals 167, Conservatives 95, NDP 24, Bloc 6.

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Andrew): Liberals reach the pinnacle of 170. They’re leading in a majority of the country’s ridings!

UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Andrew): CBC isn’t quite ready to project a majority Liberal government, but if the current trend holds, that’s what Canada will end up. A victory of historic proportions for Justin Trudeau. Liberal strategists say he has outdone even his father’s victory from deacdes ago.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Andrew): The latest… Liberals: 177, Conservatives 95, NDP 23, Bloc 9.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Andrew): Giggling heard on CBC set as Peter Mansbridge looks at ridings with ridiculously low numbers of votes counted. CBC currently looking at the riding of Delta, which the Liberals have a lead in.

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Andrew): CBC airs Olivia Chow’s concession speech. She is the wife of former NDP leader Jack Layton, who died shortly after his victory four years ago in the 2011 election. She was running as part of the NDP’s slate.

UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Andrew): Big moment: CBC projects a Liberal majority government. Future Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have a solid mandate to govern Canada.

UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Andrew): “There’s no precedent for this election…. no precedent for what the Liberals have done,” says a CBC analyst. Liberals ahead in 179 ridings, Conservatives 101, NDP 33, Bloc 10, Green 1.

UPDATE, 7:43 PM (Andrew): Overheard on CBC: “Terrible result for the Conservatives… Not a good night for the pollsters.”

UPDATE, 8:01 PM (Andrew): The Liberals show no sign of relinquishing strength. They lead in 186 ridings. Conservatives ahead in 104. NDP winning 36. The Bloc has 10. Green Party 1 (Elizabeth May’s riding).

UPDATE, 8:09 PM (Andrew): The Liberals have really outperformed expectations tonight. The Globe and Mail notes: “Before the results started streaming in, The Globe’s election forecast, based on recent polls and historical data, said there was an 81-per-cent chance the Liberals would get the most seats, but only an 18-per-cent chance of a Liberal majority.”

UPDATE, 8:16 PM (Andrew): So much for this being the closest election in Canada’s history…

UPDATE, 8:22 PM (Andrew): Liberals now leading in 191 ridings. This is something else. Conservatives ahead in 104, NDP in 32, Bloc in 10, Green in 1.

UPDATE, 8:34 PM (Andrew): Tom Mulcair giving his concession speech. He’s speaking in both English and French. He congratulated Trudeau on an “exceptional” victory.

UPDATE, 8:36 PM (Andrew): Mulcair thanks all of the candidates who campaigned under the NDP banner. “We ran in this election with the most women and with the most indigenous candidates,” Mulcair notes. “This is something that makes me immensely proud.”

UPDATE, 8:38 PM (Andrew): Mulcair says the NDP will always be “a real choice” for the people of Quebec.

UPDATE, 8:39 PM (Andrew): Mulcair ends concession speech without saying what his future plans are after speaking to a rather subdued crowd at NDP headquarters.

UPDATE, 8:48 PM (Andrew): Stephen Harper expected to concede in a couple minutes.

UPDATE, 8:52 PM (Andrew): Here comes Harper…

UPDATE, 8:57 PM (Andrew): “It has been an unbelievable honor to serve as your Prime Minister,” Harper says. “We gave everything we have to give and we have no regrets whatsoever… We remain citizens of the best country on Earth.”

UPDATE, 8:57 PM (Andrew): “The people of Canada have elected a Liberal government, a result we accept,” Harper says. He acknowledges having phoned Justin Trudeau. “I have assured him of my full cooperation for the transition in the coming days.”

UPDATE, 9:00 PM (Andrew): “Tonight, friends, we have been able to elect a strong Official Opposition to the Parliament of Canada,” Harper says, adding, “The disappointment you also feel is my responsibility, and mine alone.”

UPDATE, 9:02 PM (Andrew): Harper ends speech without discussing his future in politics.

UPDATE, 9:03 PM (Andrew): CBC is reading a statement from Conservative party officials, in which it is revealed that Harper has left instruction for the appointment of an interim Conservative party leader.

UPDATE, 9:14 PM (Andrew): “This is what positive politics can do,” Justin Trudeau says triumphantly as he begins his victory speech.

UPDATE, 9:14 PM (Andrew): Trudeau says Canadians from all over have sent a strong, emphatic message of change.

UPDATE, 9:16 PM (Andrew): Trudeau thanks his wife and children, saying he and his family are embarking on a new adventure together. “Dad will be there for you,” he says fondly.

UPDATE, 9:17 PM (Andrew): Trudeau thanks his constituents for sending him to Parliament.

UPDATE, 9:19 PM (Andrew): Trudeau salutes “the incredible volunteers who made tonight happen”.

UPDATE, 9:20 PM (Andrew): “We thank him for his service,” Trudeau says of Stephen Harper.

UPDATE, 9:21 PM (Andrew): “Conservatives are not our enemies, they are our neighbors,” Trudeau says. “Leadership is about bringing people of all different perspectives together.”

UPDATE, 9:22 PM (Andrew): Speaking in French, Trudeau pays tribute to Thomas Mulcair and congratulates him for running a vigorous campaign, right up until the very end.

UPDATE, 9:23 PM (Andrew): “We won this election because we listened,” Trudeau says, telling supporters, “You built this platform, you built this movement. You told us what kind of government you want.”

UPDATE, 9:26 PM (Andrew): “You will be at the heart of this new government,” Trudeau says to cheering Liberal supporters.

UPDATE, 9:27 PM (Andrew): “I know that I am on stage tonight for one reason and one reason only: Because you put me here,” Trudeau says. “And you gave me clear marching orders.”

UPDATE, 9:30 PM (Andrew): “I will be the Prime Minister of all Canadians,” Trudeau says in French. “We will form a government of integrity that respects institutions and will make collaboration with the provinces [a priority].”

UPDATE, 9:32 PM (Andrew): Trudeau pledges to listen to all three hundred and thirty-seven other members of Parliament chosen by Canadian voters.

UPDATE, 9:35 PM (Andrew): “We know that our enviable, inclusive society didn’t happen by accident,” Trudeau says. “Have faith in your fellow citizens, my friends.”

UPDATE, 9:36 PM (Andrew): “My friends, we beat fear with hope. We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together”, Trudeau says. “Most of all, we defeated the idea that Canadians should be satisfied with less.”

UPDATE, 9:37 PM (Andrew): Trudeau finishes his speech with a flourish and is joined by his wife on stage. They are all smiles and supporters are simply euphoric.

UPDATE, 9:38 PM (Andrew): Current standings: Liberals 184, Conservatives 101, NDP 42, Bloc 10, Green 1.

UPDATE, 9:43 PM (Andrew): A strong speech by Trudeau. He will take office in about ten days.

UPDATE, 9:44 PM (Andrew): Wonder if we’ll get a readout from the White House tomorrow of a call between Obama and Trudeau. In all likelihood, President Obama will be calling Trudeau tomorrow morning to offer his congratulations and to discuss next steps.

UPDATE, 10:02 PM (Andrew): Well, that’s it for our live coverage tonight. Thanks for following along.

UPDATE, 2:59 PM (Andrew): Justin Trudeau has been sworn in!

UPDATE, 3:00 PM (Andrew): Justin Trudeau is the 23rd Prime Minister in Canadian history!

UPDATE, 3:04 PM (Andrew): Justin Trudeau has assembled a pretty significant Cabinet that includes an equal number of men and women.

UPDATE, 4:51 PM (Rennie): Stay tuned for our coverage of the 2nd Democratic debate of the 2016 cycle!

UPDATE, 4:58 PM (Essie): The debate will begin in one hour.

UPDATE, 5:15 PM (Andrew): We will be getting started in forty-five minutes.

UPDATE, 6:01 PM (Andrew): CBS asks listeners and candidates to join in a moment of silence for victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

UPDATE, 6:01 PM (Essie): Candidates are observing a moment of silence to honor the citizens of Paris.

UPDATE, 6:02 PM (Andrew): The candidates have been introduced; now we’re heading back to commercial break before we really kick off.

UPDATE, 6:05 PM (Essie): Now explaining rules of debate. One min opening statements now.

UPDATE, 6:07 PM (Andrew): Hillary Clinton is the second candidate to give an opening statement. “I will be laying out, in detail, what we need to do, with our friends and allies, to do a better job of coordinating efforts against the scourge of terrorism,” she says.

UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Andrew): Clinton stressed in her opening statement that America is not just electing a President, it’s choosing a Commander-in-Chief.

UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Essie): O’Mally’s opening statement and addressing Paris: “My heart goes out to the people of France in their moment of loss…We must anticipate these threats before they happen. We need new leadership. We need to collaborate and become better leaders.”

UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Rennie): Bernie begins in the 1 minute opening statements by denouncing ISIS, then ends with how we need to restore the economy for the working class.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): Clinton gets the first follow-up question, about the threat of Islamic State. “This cannot be an American fight, although American leadership is essential she says.”

UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Essie): If the United States doesn’t lead who leads? O’Mally says that we are best when we show the leadership and work collaboratively with other nations. O’Mally says that we have not been on the ground enough. We must meet this enemy in a strong presence in the region and defeat this enemy.

UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Andrew): That was a strong answer by O’Malley. He’s correct that we have not put enough resources into human intelligence. We’re addicted to signals intelligence, and that’s a serious problem.

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Essie): All of the candidates have mentioned working with other nations, and not leading alone in the fight against ISIS.

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Rennie): Bernie states that Climate change is a big cause for terrorism. He also states that the invasion of Iraq is what created ISIS.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Rennie): Moderator tried to get Bernie to go negative by referring to Clinton’s “Yes” vote on the Iraq war. Bernie didn’t fall for it.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Andrew): O’Malley nicely picks up on Sanders’ “unintended consequences” theme.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Essie): O’Mally is interjecting in a debate of the invasion of Iraq between Clinton and Sanders. He says we need to be more far-thinking in conflict. We need to understand the secondary and third consequences that follow with regime changes.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Rennie): Moderator asked Bernie about Hillary’s performance as Secretary of State. Bernie instead talked about being against toppling other governments and creating “regime changes” in the world. He stated he was more conservative than Clinton in that respect.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): “We’ve got to understand the complexity of the world we are facing,” Clinton says, concluding her response.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Essie): Clinton is giving strong answers on her grasp of foreign policy and the history of the region.

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): Sanders says nations like Jordan are “going to have to get deeply involved, in a way that is not the case today.”

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Rennie): Bernie says we need to understand that the Muslim nations need to get more involved in the fight against ISIS.

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): Clinton says Sanders is being unfair to Jordan, but agrees the Gulf nations need to step up and make up their minds.

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Andrew): Clinton reviewing lessons from Libya, which is a pretty chaotic place…

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya…. they’re all a mess, Martin O’Malley says.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Andrew): “Just because we’re involved and we have a strategy doesn’t mean we are going to be able to dictate the outcome,” Clinton says.

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Andrew): Sanders reminds us that we need to take care of our veterans when they come home.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Essie): Is the world too dangerous for a governor with no foreign policy experience? “O’Mally responds that the world is a dangerous place, and says that we are not good in developing stable democracies and attacking the root causes. He tells a story of a mother of a soldier in Iowa who asked him not to use the term “boots on the ground,” while campaigning, because they are “not a pair of boots” they are men. We need to develop better and stronger ways of thinking and approaching foreign conflict.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Rennie): Bernie says “When we talk about long term effects of the war, we should not ignore the issues that our soldiers have when they return home.” Referring to brain injuries and PTSD.

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Andrew): We don’t want to use language that suggests we are at war with all Muslims, Clinton says.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Andrew): Clinton and O’Malley agree that we should say we’re at war with jihadists, not “radical Islamists”.

UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Rennie): Bernie says that groups like ISIS are very regressive (wanting to move society back thousands of years) and that the ISIS agenda needs to be stopped.

UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Essie): Sanders gives a powerful broad perspective on the attitudes toward ISIS and Al Qaeda, saying that we need to be aware of what exactly they want, which is to take the world back several thousand years.

UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Andrew): Clinton says we need to update, upgrade the authorization for the use of force against terrorists.

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Essie): Overall Clinton and Sanders seem to be dominating the stage, although O’Mally is giving strong answers.

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Rennie): Bernie speaks about 0B military budget, but less that 10% is used to fight terrorism. We need to reform military spending to be better spent on intelligence and on actually fighting global terrorism.

UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Essie): O’Mally says that 65 thousand refugees is what we should accept. He says that needs to be done with proper screening. He says to be a moral leader in this world we need to do this. The nature of warfare has changed and we are facing  a new age. We need to be more proactive. We need to take our place among the world to relive the specter to the world of children washing up on beaches.

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Andrew): We need a careful screening and vetting process in place before we can take in large numbers of refugees, Clinton says.

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Essie): Taking a break now….

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Andrew): The first segment of this debate goes to Martin O’Malley. His answers have been very strong.

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Essie): Round 2 starting now…

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Andrew): This Democratic debate is a real, substantive, meaningful conversation about serious issues… not a clown show. So refreshing.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Andrew): Clinton says it’s time for America’s wealthy families to pay their fair share so we can be fiscally responsible while making the investments our country needs.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Andrew): Democratic candidates should be reframing in their answers to these “Who pays?” questions, which aren’t being framed using the logic of progressive values.

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Andrew): The framing of these questions is wrong. Why are conservatively-framed questions like “How high will you raise taxes?” being asked in a Democratic debate?

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Rennie): Sanders says that there has been a redistribution of wealth to the top 1% and corporations. We need a tax on Wall Street and corporations.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Andrew): Sanders is correct: There has to be real tax reform in this country.

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Rennie): Bernie said “I’m not as much of a Socialist as Eisenhower.” when explaining that his tax increases will not be as high. Audience laughs.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Essie): On free public college: O’Mally answers:  In MD, sales tax was raised by a penny. MD asked the top 14% of earners to pay more in income tax. He noted that the AAA bond rating was maintained while his policies addressed public college. O’Mally says that the entitlement of lower income rate on high wages and capitol gains should be addressed by taxing  the same way as hard labor….Nice job addressing income rate on high wages as an entitlement! He notes that other candidates say what they would like to do, but he has made it work in MD.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Rennie): Bernie said he was on the committee that wrote ACA. But ACA is only a step forward. We need to move to Healthcare as a right of all people.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Andrew): It’s the Patient Protection Act, Nancy Cordes. Use the law’s real name. You’re a journalist, not a Republican operative.

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Essie): Sanders got the first belly laugh of the night! “I’m not as much of a Socialist as Eisenhower!” He also got the first applause…saying the ACA is a step, but healthcare is a right for all people.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Essie): O’Mally got his hand slapped for talking over Sanders. “Governor…you’re breaking the rules!”

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Essie): My favorite commercial so far was from UFCW featuring Walmart Workers.

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Andrew): Way to go, Martin O’Malley! Very nice Donald Trump slam… he certainly is a carnival barker.

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Andrew): Clinton says her reading of the law convinces her that President Obama had the authority to issue his executive order to make our immigration enforcement more sensible and compassionate.

UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Rennie): Sanders on “wage issue”: Millions of Americans are working 2 or 3 jobs because wages are just too low.

UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Andrew): Bad framing, again. Wages have not kept up with cost of living. That’s why we need to increase the minimum wage. And to ask “what level of job loss is acceptable to you?” is a nonsensical question.

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Essie): O’Malley are you willing compromise Boarder security or comprehensive immigration? O’Malley responds beautifully to a roar of laughter and applause:  We need to bring our Republican brothers and sisters to the table and [not listen to that ]“Immigrant Bashing Carnival Barker Donald Trump!” The truth is that we want wages to go up. We need people come out of the shadow economy into the light. That what our parents and grandparents did. We have  11million people living in the U.S. have known no country. Our symbol is the statue of liberty not a barbed wire fence.

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Rennie): Bernie: It is not a radical idea that a working mother should make a living wage that will support her family. Bernie said that he will not apologize for stating that people need a living wage.

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Andrew): Shout-out for Seattle on the minimum wage! Thanks, Bernie Sanders.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Rennie): Bernie say cities like Seattle have been successful in raising the minimum wage and increasing prosperity without the job loss that nay-sayers predict.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): Clinton says she supports a /hour federal minimum wage, and cities and counties can go higher.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Essie): O’Mally says that a strong middle class is the source of economic growth. .10 was all he could get done in MD legislature. Many of our counties raised it to more and it works! Bernie shouts out to Seattle!!! Clinton feels is more sensible, and other areas like Seattle can do more. O’Malley says she is taking advice from economists on Wall Street.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Andrew): That was awkward… CBS’ Dickerson: “We’re going to talk about Wall Street, but for now we’ve got to go to commercial break!”

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Essie): O’Malley is gaining some ground now! GO TERPS!

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Essie): New Topic is Wall Street.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Andrew): On to the second half of the debate!

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Andrew): Tough question for Hillary Clinton: How do you convince voters you’re going to level the playing field when you take money from Wall Street?

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Essie): Clinton says she has a tough plan to go after the big banks that brought our economy down.

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Andrew): “I want to look at the whole problem,” Clinton says, calling her Wall Street reform plan the most comprehensive that’s out there.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Rennie): Sanders says Clinton’s answer to Wall Street is “Not Good Enough”.

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Andrew): If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, he’d say, Break ’em up, Sanders says, denouncing the big banks.

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Rennie): Sanders says the the banks need to be broken up. He is the only one not accepting Wall Street cash and says he will follow through with that promise.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): Clinton punches back: “A majority of my donors are women.”

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Essie): Sanders says lets not be naive. Why have they been major contributors to Clinton’s campaign? Sanders says I’m the only one up here not supported by a Super Pac. If Teddy Roosevelt was alive he would say “break them up.” Hillary is bent out of shape!

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Andrew): “My [Wall Street reform] proposal is tougher, more effective, and more comprehensive,” Clinton says.

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Essie): Clinton says she goes after all of Wall Street not just the big banks and re-instating Glass-Stegall is a part of her plan.

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Andrew): It’s easy to talk the talk, Sanders says, reaffirming his call to break up the banks.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Rennie): Bernie says it is not just Wall Street. It is the corrupt financial system. Too much power and wealth in the financial system. Banks need to be broken up.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Andrew): “I won’t be taking my orders from Wall Street,” O’Malley says, saying he wouldn’t appoint the likes of Larry Summers to serve on the Council of Economic Advisors.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Andrew): O’Malley lands the sharpest blow yet against Clinton in the debates, calling her Wall Street reform plan “weak tea”.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Essie): Governor O’Malley says that there needs to be new economic thinking and that his economic advisers will not be Wall Street advisers. He notes he was on the front lines as a governor to protect people during the struggle. He says that Clinton’s plan is “weak tea”. He supports Sanders:  “Bernie is right! We need to look at new implementation of Glass-Stegall.”

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Rennie): Bernie responds to Clinton: Wall Street will not “play by the rules”. “Wall Street execs will not be on my cabinet.”

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Andrew): “Wall Street representatives will not be in my Cabinet,” Sanders pledges.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Andrew): New topic: candidates talking gun responsibility now.

UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Essie): On gun legislation: Clinton describes her different policies as immunity to gun sellers would not be something she supports as Sanders did. She notes statistics on how many people have been killed by gun violence. Claims she will close the gun show and online loopholes and implement universal background checks.

UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Andrew): Clinton calls for universal background checks, smarter gun laws. “I will do everything I can as President to get that accomplished.”

UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Essie): Clinton’s Iraq record what then turned back on her by the moderator.

UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Rennie): Bernie responds to Hillary’s attack on Sanders over gun manuf immunity vote. Bernie says we need a better bill to revisit the immunity issue.

UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Andrew): No other candidate is attracting the kind of crowds Bernie Sanders is, so why did CBS ask Sanders about right wing movement politics?

UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Essie): On gun legislation : O’Malley states the immunity Sanders allowed needs to be looked at and says that Clinton has been on three sides off the issues and at one point was portraying herself as Annie Oakley. Sanders says that Baltimore is unsafe, O’Malley fired back that its much safer than it was. O’Malley points to his record in MD on promoting gun safety.

UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Andrew): Clinton name-drops Paul Krugman and Paul Volcker in again defending her Wall Street reform plan.

UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Rennie): Bernie says at the end of the day, Wall Street’s business model is greed. Bernie says we need to re-instate Glass-Steagall. Clinton does not support Glass-Steagall.

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Andrew): “Help me wage this campaign for real American capitalism,” Martin O’Malley says, promoting his website.

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Essie): O’mally says that crony capitalism is what we have been observing with the bailouts, and cozy relationships with Wall Street.  He says that he is not the Wall Street candidate. Clinton drew applause saying that just re-instating Glass-Stegall was not enough. We need to look at policies that are going to work.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Rennie): Bernie, in response to “conservative revolution”: we need a working family revolution. Bring people together to say “enough is enough” to Wall Street.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Rennie): Bernie: What we need is leadership in this country that revitalizes democracy in this country.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Essie): Sanders says we need leadership in this country to revitalize American Democracy.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Rennie): Bernie: We are happy with this campaign. We are giving young people hope.

UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Rennie): Bernie says the media needs to talk more about wealth inequality, high imprisonment rate, and not Hillary’s emails.

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Andrew): “I agree completely,” Hillary Clinton says, smiling, after Sanders affirms he’s glad Clinton’s emails aren’t front and center in the presidential campaign.

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Andrew): Boom. Clinton handled that question nicely.

UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Essie): Sanders directs a question about Clinton’s email, by saying lets get off this topic, I’m still sick of it. Lets talk about the middle class. Clinton says she agrees completely to a round of laughter. Clinton draws applause for saying that she thinks Obama deserves more credit for getting as much as done as he did with an obstructionist congress.

UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Andrew): Good breadth of topics being covered in this debate.

UPDATE, 7:30 PM (Andrew): Martin O’Malley has his words ready this time: Black Lives Matter!

UPDATE, 7:30 PM (Rennie): Sanders: 1 in 4 young black males end up in the justice system. We need very clearing major reform in the American justice system.

UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Rennie): Sanders: End minimum sentencing. Hold police who kill on the streets accountable.

UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Andrew): “I do appreciate the way young people are standing up and speaking out,” Hillary Clinton says, reflecting on recent student activism at the University of Missouri.

UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Essie): O’Malley says on the police force issue across the nation:  The question is how can we improve public safety and race relations and that both issues are intertwined. We should all have a sense of responsibility to look at things that will work. Notes that his state repealed death penalty under his leadership, decriminalized small amounts of marijuana and implemented criminal  justice reform. As president he states he would lead efforts, for public safety and race relations  and would attend more grave sites than any of the three candidate and ended his statement with yes, “Black Lives Matter.”

UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Andrew): Clinton name-drops Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown.

UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Essie): Sanders says that free college would be an “extraordinary investment in this country.”

UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Andrew): Sanders reminds us that many colleges used to be much more accessible… nearly tuition-free.

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Rennie): Sanders: Free tuition is not throwing money away, it is an extraordinary investment. Other countries do this. Students should get a college education regardless of income level of their family.

UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Rennie): Bernie: in 2015, we should look at a college degree in the same way as we looked at a high school degree 50 or 60 years ago. We should eliminate barriers to getting a college degree.

UPDATE, 7:37 PM (Andrew): Clinton’s now repeating much of what O’Malley just said about making college accessible and debt-free.

UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Essie): In the year 2015 we should look at a college degree the same way as we looked as a High School Degree 50 years ago, Sanders said.  O’Malley says that debt free college is the way to go. He disagrees with Sanders and says that grants and interest rates. He says that his daughters graduated and he is proud, but will be “proud, every month for the rest of our lives. “

UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Andrew): Medicare For All is the next frontier. We don’t need to scrap the Patient Protection Act; we should build on it!

UPDATE, 7:39 PM (Essie): Sanders says that eventually we need to see a single payer system. “Why are we the only major company in the world that does not look at healthcare as a right?” Sanders says that Medicare for all is the way to go to applause.

UPDATE, 7:39 PM (Rennie): Sanders: Healthcare For All is not going to happen tomorrow. How can we continue not guaranteeing healthcare for all of our citizens?

UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Andrew): Sanders responds to Clinton: “We don’t eliminate Medicare, we expand Medicare!”

UPDATE, 7:41 PM (Essie): Clinton says that the ACA should not have to be defended among Democrats. She says that the system should not be administered by the states under Sanders plan.  She says its better to improve upon the ACA.

UPDATE, 7:41 PM (Andrew): “We’ve got to take a break, or the machine breaks down,” CBS’ John Dickerson says apologetically.

UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Essie): We have stellar candidates compared to the Republican field by far!

UPDATE, 7:48 PM (Andrew): This has arguably been the best presidential debate of the 2016 cycle. A great conversation between Sanders, Clinton, O’Malley.

UPDATE, 7:49 PM (Essie): Clinton describes her most challenging moment as being in the situation room with President when deciding to go after Bin Laden. O’Malley says that he has not experienced the type of crisis that would be faced by a  commander in chief, but he has learned disciplines that are applicable. He was tried under emergencies, gang warfare, disasters, and is proven his ability to lead under crisis.  

UPDATE, 7:49 PM (Andrew): Closing statements!

UPDATE, 7:50 PM (Essie): O’Malley says in his closing statement that new and fresh approaches are needed now. He says divisiveness is harmful and that we need to work together to construct a new foreign policy of identifying threats before they cause crisis around the world.

UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Rennie): Sanders met with veterans. Sanders wants to improve healthcare for veterans. Sanders states that he can work on less than ideal bills that still makes change happen. He says he has proven that he can get things done even with Republican opposition.

UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Andrew): “I’ve heard a lot about me in this debate; I’m going to think a lot about all of you,” Clinton says, with a broad smile, launching her closing statement into orbit.

UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Essie): Clinton says the President needs to do everything SHE can do to uplift the people of this country.

UPDATE, 7:53 PM (Andrew): Now all of the candidates have mentioned their websites! MartinOMalley.com, HillaryClinton.com, BernieSanders.com.

UPDATE, 7:53 PM (Rennie): Sanders: itemizes issues including campaign finance corruption, etc. We need to stand up to big money interests and take back control of our country.

UPDATE, 7:53 PM (Essie): Bernie notes all the things our country fails to do that other western nations provide their people with, like education, and healthcare. Bernie calls for a political revolution in his closing statements.

UPDATE, 7:56 PM (Essie): Candidates are now thanking each other for a good debate.

UPDATE, 7:58 PM (Andrew): And with that, we are done! Thank you for following along with us.

UPDATE, 5:01 PM (Andrew): ABC’s live special coverage has begun. The candidates are due to take the stage shortly.

UPDATE, 5:07 PM (Essie): We are getting ready to for the candidates, strategists are discussing Sanders controversy over Sander’s campaign mistake with the DNC, and Hillary’s difficult rise to this stage. The candidates have had to work very hard to get this far.

UPDATE, 5:08 PM (Essie): The “fervent level of support” for Sanders is evident with the large crowds Sanders draws to college campuses. O’Malley has not been able to draw that kind of excitement.

UPDATE, 5:14 PM (Essie): Most of the Republican candidates have tied Hillary Clinton to Barak Obama in their speeches, and criticized her pants suits. Only female politicians are criticized like this.

UPDATE, 5:15 PM (Andrew): Television networks sure do like to fill time with pundits providing their “expert” perspectives… and ABC is no exception. The stage is still empty.

UPDATE, 5:17 PM (Essie): The podium stage for the Democrats is markedly smaller than the Republican stage. The strategists are remarking on the diversity of the Republican stage that has never been seen before. Republicans fear a Trump win of the nomination.

UPDATE, 5:19 PM (Andrew): ABC’s pundit panel consists of George Stephanopoulos, Matthew Dowd, Jonathan Karl, Donna Brazile, Ana Navarro. Navarro is billed as a “Republican strategist”.

UPDATE, 5:24 PM (Andrew): Donna Brazile’s presence and perspective is the best thing this “panel” has going for it. ABC, this is the best you could put together? Let’s get to the debate already.

UPDATE, 5:25 PM (Essie): The Hillary and Sanders campaign apparently still have not settled the issue of the database issue. A discussion over the database may come up tonight.

UPDATE, 5:31 PM (Essie): The Debate is starting in a few minutes.

UPDATE, 5:31 PM (Essie): This is the last debate of the year, and a lot has happened between the last debate and this one.

UPDATE, 5:32 PM (Andrew): Here they are…. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley!

UPDATE, 5:32 PM (Essie): Rules are being read. All campaigns have agreed to them.

UPDATE, 5:34 PM (Andrew): “From my perspective, we have to prevent the Republicans from rolling back the progress we’ve made,” Clinton says during her opening statement, drawing a contrast between the Democratic field and the Republican field.

UPDATE, 5:34 PM (Essie): Opening statement with Clinton. Clinton is explaining her plan for economic equity and fighting ISIS without involving us in another ground war.

UPDATE, 5:35 PM (Essie): Governor O’Malley says that tonight is different because we need to talk about the protection of our country and describes the political dangers of unscrupulous leaders.

UPDATE, 5:36 PM (Andrew): O’Malley taking a very different tack with his opening statement, warning of the danger of allowing our values and freedoms to be compromised by neo-fascism.

UPDATE, 5:36 PM (Essie): O’Malley repeats his phrase from the last debate: “The statue of liberty is our symbol…not a barbed wire fence.”

UPDATE, 5:37 PM (Andrew): Bernie Sanders’ opening is familiar, but it’s also solid, touching on major issues like national defense, economic security, environmental protection, and open government.

UPDATE, 5:38 PM (Essie): Sanders is outlining his reasons for running for president…economic equality, opposing the rigged system of electing leaders, climate change, and foreign policy that will destroy ISIS without involving us in a “quagmire.” He talks about coalition building and supporting global neighbors.

UPDATE, 5:38 PM (Essie): Sanders is bing asked about the data issue.

UPDATE, 5:39 PM (Andrew): *This* is the first question!?

UPDATE, 5:41 PM (Essie): Sanders says the DNC hired vendors, and acknowledges  breaches. The staffers quietly went to the vendor, and said that the staff did the right thing. He says a few days ago saying the vendor “screwed up.” Sanders said that a staffer this time did the wrong thing, and the staff person was fired. Sanders said that DNC arbitrarily shut off access. Sanders says he looks forward to working with Clinton to look at all the breaches. He mentions that an independent investigation may see a breach in her campaign too.

UPDATE, 5:42 PM (Andrew): Sanders says we need an independent investigation to ensure that we have data security in the Democratic voter file.

UPDATE, 5:42 PM (Essie): Sanders apologizes to Clinton, and says that if anything happens in the future like this people will be fired. Sanders also apologizes to his supporters.

UPDATE, 5:43 PM (Essie): Clinton is graciously accepting and says there are more important issues. O’Malley is jumping in and outlining that there are more important things happening, and this is what is wrong with Washington.

UPDATE, 5:43 PM (Andrew): Very classy of Bernie Sanders to apologize for what his staff did, and for Hillary Clinton to say in response that it’s time to move on.

UPDATE, 5:44 PM (Essie): Sanders says when the middle class is disappearing, and those issues the American people want to hear about.

UPDATE, 5:44 PM (Andrew): ABC has wisely decided to move on to serious issues. Finally.

UPDATE, 5:45 PM (Andrew): O’Malley’s response would have been better if he’d gone after ABC directly for making the NGP data security incident the first question.

UPDATE, 5:46 PM (Essie): Secretary Clinton is being asked what she would do to find undetected operatives who would harm the homeland. Clinton says she says she has a plan to defeat ISIS; deprive territory, take apart networks. She describes the region and things we need to do at home. Intelligence sharing is an important piece, work with tech companies, we must work closely with Muslim Americans, embrace them and not demonize them.

UPDATE, 5:47 PM (Essie): O’Malley is criticizing Clinton for not having a deeper plan, and says that this needs to happen faster.

UPDATE, 5:48 PM (Andrew): The Democratic candidates are talking about national defense policy. How do we find would-be terrorists and defeat the evil Islamic State group?

UPDATE, 5:48 PM (Essie): Sanders says the best way to destroy ISIS is to not focus on unilateral military action. He says a coalition of major powers and Muslim Nations are what will work.

UPDATE, 5:49 PM (Andrew): Bernie Sanders commends Jordan for having welcomed so many Syrian refugees.

UPDATE, 5:49 PM (Essie): Sanders says the Muslim Nations should lead, because they are fighting for the soul of their religious ideology.

UPDATE, 5:51 PM (Andrew): “The first line of defense against radicalization is the Muslim community,” Hillary Clinton notes. She says putting more guns into the hands of more people will not lead to a safer America.

UPDATE, 5:51 PM (Essie): Clinton is answering a gun control question in a circuitous way with foreign policy.  She says arming people is not the appropriate response to terrorism, but creating coalitions in our own country. She says the relationships with Muslims are important in combatting radicalization.

UPDATE, 5:52 PM (Essie): Sanders says that gun ownership is a right, but that the horrific mass killings requires bringing together reasonable people to talk about background checks is important.

UPDATE, 5:53 PM (Andrew): Bernie Sanders says we need to unite Americans around the cause of safer gun laws. We’ve got to ensure  that “weapons designed by the military to kill people aren’t in the hands of civilians,” Sanders says.

UPDATE, 5:53 PM (Essie): Sanders says there is a consensus on gun safety issues is important.

UPDATE, 5:53 PM (Andrew): Martin O’Malley is not going to be denied his time!

UPDATE, 5:54 PM (Essie): O’Malley is arguing with the moderators for his say on the gun issue. Attacks Clinton and Sanders on wavering on the gun issues.

UPDATE, 5:54 PM (Essie): O’Malley says we don’t need polls we need action.

UPDATE, 5:55 PM (Andrew): O’Malley should be talking about launching a gun buyback program.

UPDATE, 5:56 PM (Essie): Would you make gun sales on military weapons illegal–confiscated. O’Malley says that is not what he did in MD, but that flip flopping of the other candidates is not what will work. Clinton and Sanders asked him to calm down and follow the rules.

UPDATE, 5:58 PM (Andrew): Martin O’Malley really isn’t having such a great debate so far. Taking on both Sanders and Clinton at once hasn’t been paying off for him.

UPDATE, 5:58 PM (Essie): Sanders is replying to O’Malley that he has absolutely voted to improve the safety around guns. Clinton says she voted to ban assault weapons, and the Brady bill. Confronts O’Malley on his accusations. Clinton asks Sanders to help in Congress to improve safety, and calls for all three of them to move forward and oppose the Republican rhetoric on guns.

UPDATE, 6:00 PM (Andrew): “Mr. Trump has a great capacity to use buster and bigotry to inflame people,” Clinton says.

UPDATE, 6:00 PM (Andrew): “He is becoming ISIS’ best recruiter,” Clinton adds, knocking Trump again.

UPDATE, 6:00 PM (Essie): Clinton says that people are reacting out of fear and anxiety when they support Trump, and notes Trumps bluster as being misconstrued as strength. She says that Muslims should not feel marginalized at the very moment we need their help. She gives G.W. Bush credit for reaching out to Muslim communities. She says Trump ISIS is used as a radical recruiter.

UPDATE, 6:01 PM (Essie): Should we profile? Sanders says suspicious activities should be reported.

UPDATE, 6:03 PM (Essie): Sanders says that people are fearful and angry. That’s understandable. He says that the fear can be exacerbated by income inequality , and as the rich get richer, it is easy to be convinced to scapegoat–Muslim’s fault! Hispanic’s fault! That messaging is dangerous.

UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Essie): On new terrorist tool: inscription, should we force tech companies to give out access to inscription? Clinton says that there needs to be a partnership, not forcing people to give out the tools. Admits she does not know a lot about the technology, but says that we need to learn how to prevent the attacks.

UPDATE, 6:05 PM (Andrew): “Maybe the back door is the wrong door,” Hillary Clinton says, suggesting she takes seriously Silicon Valley’s opposition to deliberately weakening encryption (which is a terrible idea).

UPDATE, 6:05 PM (Essie): Clinton says she hopes that tech companies would work with government officials, and we need to balance liberty and safety.

UPDATE, 6:05 PM (Andrew): “We should never give up our privacy,” Martin O’Malley says, when given an opportunity to talk about balancing privacy and security.

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Essie): O’Malley says we should never give up freedoms for security. He says that government should have to get warrants, and new technologies have an obligation to work with law enforcement.

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Andrew): That was O’Malley’s best answer yet of this debate.

UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Essie): Governor Maggie Hassan says Syrian refugees should be paused/halted. Clinton responds that there should not be a halt, but an increased vetting, while we are taking on ISIS. Screening/vetting should be as tough as possible. We should not sacrifice our values…remain a nation of resolve, not fear. Widows, orphans should be prioritized. Americans need to be given a sense of security.

UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Andrew): Hillary Clinton says we shouldn’t pause our efforts to welcome in Syrian refugees. She notes we already have a pretty comprehensive screening process in place.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that we should accept the refugees, and says that there are wider vulnerabilities, and says that we should bring more. Visas and other wavers should have the bigger vetting process. He says that we need to act like the great country we are.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): “There is a pretty excruciating process that refugees go through,” Martin O’Malley notes, pointing out that there’s not as much scrutiny for people traveling here on a tourist visa.

UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Essie): Sanders was not given a chance to respond, and noted that…but will adhere to the moderators rule. I would have liked to hear his answer to the refugee question.

UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he voted against the First Gulf War and the Iraq War. He says the U.S. should not be thought of as the world’s police. He says that American Taxpayers should not be held responsible. He says again that the Muslim countries need to step up.

UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Andrew): Sanders said he’d tell Arab nations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar that fighting the Islamic State group needs to be a bigger priority.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): Hillary Clinton says it would be a “strategic mistake” to send American ground forces back into the Middle East, noting that the Islamic State group has been trying to bait the U.S. into doing just that.

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Essie): Clinton says that we are facing a very complicated issue with ISIS. Al Qaida had a base of operations, and the resurgence requires a Special Operations. She says that that ISIS would want ground troops so that they have a target, and a recruiting tool. She says coalitions of the region, and the countries should not be ostracized by Trump like rhetoric.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Essie): Are you willing to run the risk of a larger force or give up? Clinton says that’s a false choice, and details the relationships and coalitions with specific tasks of members in order to be successful.

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): The questions from ABC have certainly gotten better. Martha Raddatz is asking some good, tough policy questions of the candidates. Hillary Clinton was challenged on her opposition to sending in ground forces to fight the Islamic State group. Martin O’Malley was asked what more does our intelligence community need to be doing.

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that U.S as a moral leader in the world needs to bring in more intelligence. Clinton says that there needs to be a no-fly zone. Clinton says that it would help on the ground. When confronted if she would have planes shot down, Clinton says that she should not answer that question now. That the no-fly zone should be shared with Russia.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Essie): Sanders jumps in and says that Clinton is too aggressive and may not be aware of the unintended consequences, and that is why he voted against the wars. He says the regime changes are dangerous and that the coalition building is more powerful in making changes in the region and more politically stable. Clinton argues that is what she said.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Andrew): Sanders correctly points out that we need a plan for victory when we go after a dictator like Hussein or Gaddafi. “Regime change” can lead to a power vacuum.

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Essie): Clinton disagrees, and says that Sanders did vote for regime change. Sanders is cut off from a rebuttal. Sanders seems to be cut off in speaking more than Clinton.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Essie): Clinton is now laying out the path of transition. She says that it would be a grave mistake for more Iranian troops in presence in Lebanon would threaten Israel. Sanders agrees these issues are complicated.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Essie): Sanders says the destruction of ISIS should be the primary focus and a timetable.

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Essie): O’Malley says, “Can I offer a different generation’s perspective on this?” To a gasp from the audience.

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Andrew): “We need to leave the Cold War behind us,” O’Malley adds, calling for a new approach to international coalition-building.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that we need to focus on destroying ISIS, and we should not declare that Assad must go.

UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Essie): Clinton disagrees. She says that Assad has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians. She says that she wishes the issue was that simple, but leaving Assad in power would only bring more terrorists. Clinton is dominating the stage.

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Essie): Sanders says that the U.S. must lead but should not be involved in perpetual war in the Middle East. The first task should be to bring countries together. U.S. cannot continue to be the world’s police.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): Back from commercial break!

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Essie): We’re back!

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Essie): Economy is next…jobs/wages.

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Essie): Clinton is off-stage, and Sanders is being asked a question. Clinton says sorry for being late to stage.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Andrew): ABC is not waiting for Hillary Clinton to get back to her podium. First question on income inequality goes to Bernie Sanders.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Andrew): Sanders clearly relishes the opportunity to answer this question. He’s talking about tax fairness, pay equity, and addressing our serious infrastructure deficit.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Essie): On how would we would raise the minimum wage right away. Sanders says the system is rigged. People are working longer hours for less money. Billionaires need to pay their fair share, and that over time needs to happen. Women need to be paid equitably. Trillion $ investment in infrastructure will build jobs and college needs to be tuition free.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Andrew): O’Malley adds nicely to Sanders’ answer by talking about education and clean energy. This is one of his better answers.

UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Essie): O’Malley said they raised a livable living wage, and that fair market capitol is the way to make this happen. He outlines the infrastructure, and a clean electric power grid are successes in MD. He says that the actions in MD applied to his presidency will be successful.

UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Andrew): O’Malley concludes his answer by talking about his agenda for America’s cities, and reemphasizes his belief in national service.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Andrew): “You’re not going to hear anything like this from any of the Republicans running for President,” Clinton says of the Democratic economic security agenda, drawing another contrast between the three Democrats and the Republican field.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Essie): Clinton says that the families she is talking to thinks the economic situation is an outrage. She says if the game is rigged there are consequences. She says she enjoys talking about these issues with the people on the stage, because the Republicans on the stage are not talking about this at all. She says she wants to pass the paycheck fairness act, and make college more affordable, debt plans. She says lets take this debate to the Republicans.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Essie): Should business love Hillary?…she says, “Everybody should.” She says she wants to see the “Buffet Rule” applied. Clinton says she wants to incentivize small business, and for the economy needs to be built and grown.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): Clinton handled the question about her ties to Wall Street much more smoothly than in the last debate.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Essie): Will corporate America love  a President Sanders? Sanders said, “No they won’t and Wall Street will like me even less.”

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Essie): Sanders says that Wall Street won’t support me and I don’t want donations for large corporations. Sanders said that the economy is being destroyed by corporate greed.

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Andrew): “The greed of the billionaire class, the greed of Wall Street, is destroying this country,” Sanders says, finishing a strong answer stressing his independence from big banks and other powerful megacorporations.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Andrew): O’Malley goes after Clinton directly, reminding everyone about Clinton’s answer on the ties to Wall Street question in the last debate.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that the economy is an ecosystem, and that we are not going to see improvement by submitting to crony capitalism. He criticized Clinton for invoking 9-11 when talking about about big banks. O’Malley directly confronts Clinton for not breaking up the big banks.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Essie): Clinton insists that she respond.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Essie): Clinton says that there are hedge fund billionaires running ads against her. She says that students and teachers donate to her more than wall street people.

UPDATE, 6:49 PM (Andrew): Clinton certainly came to this debate prepared to answer O’Malley’s criticisms.

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Essie): She points out that an investment banker is in charge of O’Malley’s consumers. Clinton also points out Sanders Wall Street connections. She says her plan to take on Wall Street is more effective than Sanders or O’Malley.

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Andrew): Bernie’s on a roll here with this rebuttal. “Wall Street is a threat to the economy, they’ve got to be broken up,” he says.

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he has no super PAC donations, and that he led he worked against Greenspan and Bill Clinton, “Maybe you know him?”  who worked with Wall Street.

UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Andrew): Hey, Martha: It’s called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Essie): On the ACA: What is broken that needs to be fixed. : Clinton, : I would build on what works, and fix the glitches. She outlines all of the positive developments and acknowledges the issues with the out of pocket costs and drug prices. Clinton outlines how she would address the issues with regulation, and the need for oversight and competition.

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Essie): Clinton is confronted on the “glitches.” Clinton stands her ground, and says they need to be worked out.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): The candidates are having a very substantive discussion about healthcare and health coverage. Clinton and Sanders both want to build on the Patient Protection Act, though Sanders wants to go further with Medicare For All.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Essie): Sanders says that there are steps forward, but not only are the deductibles are rising and many people still can’t afford to go to the doctor. Why are we the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee healthcare as a right? Sanders says that politicians are being bribed.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Essie): How much will they be expected to pay? Sanders says the average middle class family will be saving thousands of dollars a year.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Essie): College students are now addressing questions to the candidates.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Andrew): We’re moving on to the student debt crisis.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Essie): We know you want college to be more affordable. How does free tuition work, are we just shifting the cost to taxpayers?

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Andrew): “If we are going to be competitive in the global economy, we need a competitive workforce,” Sanders says, explaining why he believes so fervently in affordable college.

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Essie): Sanders says that quality education with well paid faculty members is more important. If we are going to be a global leader we have to have an educated workforce. Sanders says a speculative tax on Wall Street, and radical changes need to happen to make that happen.

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Andrew): O’Malley, who says his plan for affordable college goes further than Sanders’, points out that room/board, books, and living expenses are part of the cost of college.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Essie): O’Malley says I’ve done this. He says that he goes further than Sanders does in covering books and residency. O’Malley says that an income based repayment plan will work, and a tax on high volume trade will work. O’Malley says that Clinton borrows a lot of his ideas.

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Andrew): Hillary Clinton begins her answer on higher education funding by noting, “States have been disinvesting in higher education.” She says she’s for “debt-free tuition” as part of what she calls the New College Compact.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Essie): Clinton says that her idea is the “new college contract” and everyone needs some skin in the game. She says that States have put their money into things that are not involved in higher ed. She says that free tuition is not her focus. She says that debt free tuition is more important. Clinton says that there is a 40% increase in the federal budget. She says that her proposals will not shift responsibility to the State.

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Essie): Sanders says Clinton is wrong. Clinton is rebutting but I can’t hear her over the moderator.

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Essie): Sanders says, “Now this is getting fun.”

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Andrew): “Now this is getting to be fun,” Bernie Sanders cracks, making light of the crosstalk.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Essie): Clinton says that new big programs should not be shouldered by the middle class. She says that people need to be able to save, and a middle class tax is not going to help.

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Essie): Sanders says that Clinton disagrees with LBJ and FDR, and this country. Sanders says that .61 a week to the middle class is a pretty good deal. The moderator is shouting. Its really annoying.

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Andrew): O’Malley declines to take a silly no-new-taxes pledge, and points out he was committed to fiscal responsibility as Governor of Maryland. He also calls for an expansion of Social Security.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that his budget is balanced every year, and the tax was applied to the highest earners in MD. He says the things that he has been successful in lowering tuition with the taxes he has applied to billionaires.

UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Andrew): Turning to race relations in America… this question goes first to Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Essie): Clinton is being asked about law enforcement. Clinton acknowledges systemic racism. She says we need to reform the criminal justice system. She says that trust is lost, but we know that officers are bridging those divides. She says there needs to be a bi-partisan commitment to protecting our communities. She says there needs to be more education and trust rebuilt.

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Andrew): That was a reasonably strong answer from Clinton on combating systemic racism, reforming policing, and improving access to justice in the United States.

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that he has worked on this more than any other issue. He says that he has reduced violent crimes and incarceration. He says it is possible to bring people together. He mentions we need to police the police, and bring down the use of lethal force. There needs to be more transparency and accountability.

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Andrew): “We are spending billion a year locking up our fellow Americans,” Sanders observes during his turn to answer. He adds that he supports decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Andrew): “We need to make police departments look like the communities they serve in terms of diversity,” Sanders adds.

UPDATE, 7:21 PM (Essie): Sanders agrees with much of what has already been said, and he says that we are spending 80 billion a year locking up Americans. He says we need to make an effort to end institutional racism and fix the broken criminal justice system. Police officers should not be shooting unarmed people-namely African Americans. Sanders says that marijuana needs to be delisted as a narcotic. Police departments need to look like the communities that they are representing.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Andrew): “We need to understand that addiction is a disease, not a criminal activity,” Sanders says in response to a question about addressing deaths due to the heroin epidemic.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Essie): The next question is on Heroin. What specifically what you do to address this crisis? Sanders says this is a tragedy. He says that the medical profession cannot be prescribing opiates so much and that healthcare needs to be a single payer system. Addiction needs to be treated as a disease.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Essie): Clinton says that she has had two town halls just dedicated to addressing drugs. She says that she has a 5point plan. She says that too many prescribed opiates are a problem and there needs to be a place for people to go, and police need to carry a antidote to overdose.

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Andrew): O’Malley stresses early intervention in his answer to “What would you do to combat the heroin epidemic?”

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Essie): O’Malley says this is a public health challenge. He says that in MD, he expanded drug treatment programs, and says that MD was hit was the over prescription of opiates. He says that hospital should intervene when people come in with addiction.

UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Essie): Clinton is asked about the Libyan chaos that was left behind with the lack of leadership. Clinton says the whole region is unstable because of the Arab Spring and propaganda. She says that today Libya is working to dislodge ISIS and create a national government.

UPDATE, 7:30 PM (Essie): How much responsibility do you bear? Clinton says that the U.S. offered much more than what they would accept. Clinton says that there is always retrospect, but if they had said yes, there is more that we would have done.

UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Andrew): We’ve circled back to foreign policy with a question on the fallout of removing Gaddafi from power in Libya.

UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Essie): Sanders agrees with Clinton. He says that it is easy for America to overthrow a dictator, but it is difficult to expect the unintended consequences, then reminds us that he is not as much of a “fan of regime change as she is.”

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Essie): Is it time to change the role of a President’s spouse. Clinton says that the role should be defined by the person who holds it. Mrs. Obama has been a leader with young people’s health. She says the family of a President has an extraordinary position. She will still pick the china and flowers, but Bill will have a great role.

UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Essie): Sanders says his wife is smarter than he is, so she will work beside him. He also thanks Secretary Clinton for redefining the role of the First Lady Herself. Sanders says that his wife would help him accomplish the goals of inspiring children.

UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Essie): O’Malley says his wife will follow her own dreams and as a District Court Judge, she exceeded his abilities. Katie O’Malley will do what she will regardless of what her husband’s success is .

UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Andrew): Well, that was nice. All three candidates had an opportunity to praise their spouses, and did so effusively.

UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Essie): Closing Statements coming up.

UPDATE, 7:45 PM (Essie): Sanders says that the people on the stage have more to offer the American people than the right wing extremists. He says that his mother’s dream was to own her own home, and never could do that, but he and his brother went to college. He says this is why he pledges to bring about a political revolution, and this country belongs to us, not a handful of billionaires.

UPDATE, 7:46 PM (Andrew): Good closing statement from Bernie Sanders. Now on to Martin O’Malley.

UPDATE, 7:47 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that he has 4 children and he wants to give all children a better chance, and we can take actions that other countries cannot. He says the Republicans are full of anger and fear, and that won’t accomplish anything. He says that our investments in people will make a better future for our kids. He says that he will bring us to green energy by 2050.

UPDATE, 7:50 PM (Essie): Clinton says that the next president should not be a Republican, and that all of our rights could be at risk. Privatization of public benefits could happen, defunding of Planned Parenthood. Clinton says that a Democrat should succeed Obama in the White House. She says as President she will make sure every child should have the chance to live up to their God Given potential, and May the Force Be With You.

UPDATE, 7:52 PM (Andrew): “When you listened to the Republican debate the other night, you heard a lot of anger and a lot of fear,” Martin O’Malley reminds voters, declaring that we’re better than that.

UPDATE, 7:57 PM (Andrew): Hillary Clinton had a strong and smooth closing, appealing for Democratic Party unity and ending with the words, “May the Force be with you.”

UPDATE, 7:58 PM (Andrew): That was an informative, substantive, and enjoyable debate! Thanks to the candidates and to you, our readers, for joining us tonight. Take care and good night!

UPDATE, 5:54 PM (Andrew): We are just a few minutes away from the speech. It looks like the motorcade has arrived at the United States Capitol.

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Andrew): Here we go! The President is in the House.

UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Essie): Commentators are talking about how Obama has aged, and his children have grown into young women in the white house. Obama is getting a loud reception, standing, shaking his hands, and patting him. He greeted Supreme Court Justices and leaders of our armed forces.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): After the official introduction, another round of applause for President Obama.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Essie): Obama just called order of Congress, and Ryan introduced the President.

UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Andrew):

“I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa,” jokes President Obama. “I’ve been there.”

UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Andrew): Obama cites criminal justice reform as a priority he wants to work on in his final year.

UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Andrew): “Who knows? We might surprise the cynics again,” President Obama muses.

UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Essie): He says that the expectations for Congress are low, but commends Ryan for the work that was done in passing a budget. He hopes that Congress surprises us.

UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Essie): Obama says that he will still ask to fix immigration system, get equal pay for women, raise the minimum wage, and address gun violence. He says that he won’t let up until this work gets done.

UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Andrew): Democrats loudly applaud as President Obama talks about equal pay for equal work, raising the minimum wage, paid leave, and policies that will help workers get ahead.

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Andrew): Congress has mostly settled down now that the President has launched into the speech. It looks the President is now going to talk about his administration’s accomplishments.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Essie): The President talks about the pace of change that we are seeing, and talks about the changes that we have seen before, and that there is always fear around it. We emerge stronger and better than before. Our unique strength as a nation is our optimism, our diversity and our rule of law. That’s how we recovered from the worst economic recession in generations.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Andrew): Democrats stand to applaud marriage equality, Republicans don’t.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Essie): He says this is how we addressed healthcare, and give aid to our returning veterans, and secure the freedom in every state to marry the person we love.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): Cameras just showed reaction shots from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): “How can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us?” Very good question, Mr. President.

UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Essie): The choices we make together are important to who we are right now. Do we respond with fear? Or do we respond as a nation of solidarity?

UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Andrew): “We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private sector job creation in history,” President Obama reminds Congress.

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Andrew): “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction,” Obama says.

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Essie): Obama says that we have one of the best economies and job growth in history, and we are generating manufacturing jobs while cutting the deficit.

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Essie): Anyone who says America is declining is pedaling fiction.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): “More and more wealth and income is concentrated at the very top,” Obama notes.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Essie): The President says that automation is changing the job market, less leverage for a raise, companies can relocate and workers are being squeezed. Its harder for a family to pull out of poverty and harder for young people can start their careers. The American belief is that everyone who works hard, should have a fair shot. The growing economy should work well for everyone. We’ve made progress, but we need to make more.

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Andrew): “We should recruit and support more great teachers for our kids. And we have to make college more affordable for every American,” Obama says. Unfortunately, education policy has been one of this administration’s greatest weaknesses.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Essie): We should build on this progress by providing Pre-K for all and offering the hands on computer classes they will need for the job market, and recruit great teachers. College needs to be affordable for every American. No hardworking student should be stuck in the rain. We need to cut the cost of college. 2 years of Community College for every student is the right thing to do.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Andrew): Obama gets in another dig at Congress. Nicely done, Mr. President!

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): Yes! “Social Security and Medicare are more important than ever. We shouldn’t weaken them, we should strengthen them!”

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): Expanding Social Security should be a priority of every candidate running for President.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Essie): We also need benefits and protections that provide a basic net of security. Obama noted that everyone in the chamber does not need to worry about retirement. Social Security and medicare should not be weakened. It should be strengthened. Obama noted the accomplishments on healthcare, and noted that there won’t be agreement on it any time soon, but there should be systems of wage insurance and health insurance as well as retirement. Obama says the new economy should benefit everyone. He commended Speaker Ryan for wanting to tackle poverty.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Andrew): “America is about willing to give everybody willing to work a chance,” the President says.

UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Andrew): Very good framing there by the President. The system is indeed rigged.

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Essie): The President says that the major disagreements have been around making sure the system is not rigged so that it benefits the wealthiest people. He agrees that there are outdated regulations that need to be cut for the thriving private sector (standing ovation).

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Andrew): The fox shouldn’t guard the henhouse, Obama says. We cannot trust Wall Street banks to self-regulate.

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Andrew): This speech is fantastic. Obama is hitting it out of the park right now.

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Essie): The President says that big oil companies, and hedge funds should not be pushing people around. Food Stamp receptionist did not cause the financial crisis, wall street did.

UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Andrew): Obama notes that sixty years ago, when the Russians got ahead of us in space, “we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there.”

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Andrew): “America is Thomas Edison. And the Wright brothers. And George Washington Carver.”

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Essie): Obama says that some of our best corporate people are our biggest innovators. He notes that when the space programs were developed we didn’t deny that “sputnick was up there” we built on in and 12 years later we were walking on the moon.

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Essie): The President names great innovators, Americans and immigrants who have helped build the innovation that has made America the great country that it is.

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Andrew): President praises Vice President Biden for calling for a moonshot to cure cancer, and tasks Joe with heading an administrative initiative to get it done.

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Andrew): Even John McCain is smiling. Wow.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Essie): Obama says “Joe is in charge of mission control.” He wants America to be the country that cures cancer once and for all. Medical research is number one and we still need to address climate change.

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Andrew): “Why we want to pass up on the opportunity for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?” President Obama asks, after wryly telling Republicans to knock themselves out if they want to dispute the science of the climate crisis.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Essie): Obama says that America should produce and sell the energy of the future. And we made the best investment in clean energy. He says that wind power is now cheaper than dirty alternatives. We have cut carbon pollution more than any other country. We have cut our dependence on foreign oil by 60%.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Andrew): “Yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo,” Obama says. But that shouldn’t deter us from the work we need to do.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Andrew): “The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period.”

UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Andrew): “We spend more on our military than the next eight nations in the world,” President Obama notes, going on to praise U.S. troops as “the finest fighting force in the world.”

UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Essie): We need to build a 21st century transportation system. None of this is going to happen overnight, and there are intrenched interests that want the status quo. Climate Change is one of many issues that links us to the rest of the world. America is getting stronger not weaker. The rhetoric that our enemies are stronger is untrue. We have the finest fighting force in the world.

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Andrew): This could be the best speech Obama has ever given as President.

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Essie): Surveys around the world show that people of the world favor the US. When people around the world need help they call us.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Andrew): Current crises abroad have more to do with “failing states” than “evil empires”, Obama says.

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Essie): Obama says he knows this is a dangerous time, but it is not because of evil empires but of failing states, with ancient conflict. We have to help remake the systems and to do that well we have to set priorities. Priority one is to protect America and go after terrorist networks.

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Andrew): “We have to take ’em out,” Obama says of terrorist networks like al Qaeda and ISIS.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): “We sure don’t need to push away vital allies by echoing the lie that ISIS is representative of one of the world’s largest religions,” Obama says.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Essie): The terrorists have to be stopped but do not threaten our existence. That is the propaganda ISIL uses. They are not representative of one of the world’s largest religions.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Essie): We need to call them what they are: Killers and fanatics who need to be destroyed.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Andrew): Obama reminds Congress we’ve been hammering the Islamic State group with nonstop airstrikes.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Andrew): “When you come after America, we go after you,” Obama says, addressing the nation’s enemies.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Essie): The President calls for Congress to take a vote on the military use of force against ISIL. Take a vote! With or without Congressional action, Obama says that if anyone doubts what he will do to protect the nation, just ask Osama Bin Laden.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): Calls for carpet bombing “may work as a TV soundbite, but it doesn’t pass muster on the world stage,” Obama says, directly rebuking Republican presidential candidates like Ted Cruz.

UPDATE, 6:49 PM (Essie): Obama says the world looks to us for answers and those answers need to be more than a sound bite to carpet bomb. We also can’t takeover and rebuild every country that falls into chaos. It is a lesson of Vietnam, and the lesson of Iraq and we should have learned it by now.

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Andrew): “The world has avoided another war,” Obama says, praising the success of the JCPOA with Iran.

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Essie): On issues of global concern we need to mobilize allies and work with nations. This is how Iran has rolled back its nuclear program and Ebola has been contained in West Africa.

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Andrew): Sorry, Mr. President, but when it comes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we part ways.

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Andrew): Obama urges Congress to lift the Cuban embargo – something it isn’t likely to do while under Republican control.

UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Andrew): “Leadership means a wise application of military power,” Obama says.

UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Andrew): Marco Rubio looks thirsty!

UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Essie): The President talks about opening doors, recognize the cold war is over, and lift the embargo. American leadership should be a wise application of our military power.

UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Andrew): “We’re on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS. We can do the same thing with malaria,” President Obama says. “That’s American strength. That’s American leadership.”

UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Andrew): Obama vows to continue working to shut down Gitmo.

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Andrew): “We need to avoid any politics that targets people because of race or religion,” Obama says, and Democrats jump to their feet.

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Essie): Obama says that when we help solve problems, it strengthens the international stability. Reaching out to help with health, food security and democracy, that shows our strength and leadership. This is why we need to shut down Guantanamo which is a recruitment tool for our enemies.

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Andrew): “This is not matter of political correctness,” Obama adds.

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Andrew): “When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens… when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is called names… that doesn’t make us safer,” Obama declares. Indeed.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Essie): The world respects us not just for our arsenal. It respects us for our diversity and our openness. he says that to imitate the hatred of tyrants and murderers, it is the best way to take their place. When politicians speak against Muslims it doesn’t make us safer, its just wrong and it diminishes us in the eyes of the world and it betrays ho we are as a country. The chamber stood and applauded.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Andrew): “The future all of us want — all that is within our reach. But it will only happen if we work together,” President Obama says. “It will only happen if we fix our politics.”

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Andrew): “Our founders distributed power between states and branches of government, and expected us to argue,” Obama notes.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Andrew): “Democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens.”

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Essie): The future we want, all of us want, opportunity, security, sustainability…all that is within our reach, but it will only happen if we work together and can have rational constructive debates. We don’t have to agree on everything, and we are expected to argue. But democracy does require basic bonds of trust between our citizens.

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Andrew): “Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get all the attention.” Hear that, big media?

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Andrew): Republicans don’t seem to want to clap for fair elections and getting big money out of politics.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Essie): Democracy grinds to a halt with only the most extreme voices are heard, and regular people feel their voices are drowned out by the rich. He says that his greatest disappointment of his president is that the rift between the parties got bigger instead of smaller.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Andrew): “We’ve got to make it easier to vote, not harder.” Amen!

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Andrew): “This is America… we want to make it easier to participate!”

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Essie): The President says there must be campaign finance reform. He says that it needs to be easier to vote not harder. It has to be modernized. He says, “I know you don’t like raising money.”

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Essie): When the American people demand this, it will happen. This is what is mean government by the people.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Andrew): Looks like we’re heading into the conclusion of the speech. This has been something else. The President has risen magnificently to the occasion.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): I’m really pleased with the framing in this speech. It’s strong and deeply rooted in progressive values.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Essie): The President says that the voters need to be active in public life all the time, not just at election time.

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Andrew): “In your daily acts of citizenship, I see our future unfolding,” the President says.

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Essie): Obama says that everywhere he travels he sees the American future unfolding in kind acts, and the hard work of Americans.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Andrew): What a great series of vignettes. Unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word!

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Andrew): An incredible speech, with a strong finish.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Andrew): That was wonderful. Just wonderful.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Essie): He says we are clear-eyed, and full of unconditional love. He believes in Change because he believes in America, and he believes in us. God Bless the United States of America.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Essie): This is by far the best speech I have heard from the President. He is greeting Congressional members with tears in their eyes.

UPDATE, 5:36 PM (Andrew): We are presently about twenty-five minutes away from the advertised start time.

UPDATE, 5:59 PM (Andrew): We’re just a few minutes away from starting…

UPDATE, 6:01 PM (Andrew): NBC introduction is playing

UPDATE, 6:02 PM (Andrew): NBC’s Lester Holt, a respected newsman, is here to welcome everyone.

UPDATE, 6:03 PM (Andrew): Off we go!

UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Andrew): In her opening statement, Clinton thanks the Congressional Black Caucus Institute for co-hosting the debate on the eve of MLK Day.

UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Andrew): “We need a President who can do all aspects of the job… I hope to earn your support to be the nominee,” Clinton says with a smile.

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Andrew): Sanders uses his opening to reinforce his campaign themes, wasting little time reminding everyone that the system is rigged in favor of the millionaires and billionaires.

UPDATE, 6:07 PM (Andrew): O’Malley’s turn now. “We have urgent work to do, and the voices of anger and division that we’ve heard coming out of the Republican presidential podiums are pretty loud,” he says.

UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Andrew): Our campaign is about thinking big, Sanders declares. We should have healthcare for every man, woman, and child, he says, and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. We need a government that works for all of us.

UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Andrew): Clinton says she would present plans to Congress plans to create more jobs, increase the minimum wage, and require equal pay for equal work.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): O’Malley echoes Clinton’s economic security priorities, but adds collective bargaining rights into the mix.

UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Andrew): Uniquely, O’Malley also emphasized tackling the climate crisis and creating a new agenda for America’s cities.

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Andrew): Clinton goes on the attack after Sanders defends his record on gun responsibility.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): “There is no other industry in America that was given the total pass that the gun lobby was,” Clinton says.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): O’Malley asserts that both Clinton and Sanders “have been inconsistent on this issue.”

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Andrew): “I’ve never met a self-respecting deer hunter that needed an AR-15 to down a deer,” O’Malley says, completing one of his strongest answers in the debates thus far.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Andrew): Candidates now talking about combating systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): “Who in America is satisfied that we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth?” Sanders asks, not waiting for Holt to ask him a question after Secretary Clinton concluded her thoughts.

UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Andrew): Sanders stresses his ascendancy in Democratic presidential polls after being asked about Clinton’s lead with minority voters.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): Nice to see NBC is taking questions through YouTube early on.

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Andrew): “We have got to de-militiarize our police departments so they don’t look like occupying armies,” Sanders says, when asked about police reform.

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Essie): Sanders says that police officers must be prosecuted if they break the law, community policing should be encouraged, and police departments should reflect the communities they serve.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Essie): Sanders emphasized the de-militarization of the police.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Essie): Clinton says that Emergency Medical personnel should have antidotes to heroin overdose.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): We need a revolution in this country in terms of mental health treatment, Sanders says.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): Time for our first commercial break!

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Essie): Sanders emphasizes universal healthcare, and including mental health. He says that much of the responsibility should fall on the pharmaceutical companies.

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Andrew): We’re back, and we’re talking about Medicare For All.

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Andrew): Clinton asked if her attacks on Sanders’ healthcare plan are fair (they’re not).

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Essie): “Is it really fair to say that Sanders wants to kill Obamacare?” Clinton says we have a path but the Republicans can repeal his solutions. Sanders says that Clinton didn’t answer the question.

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Essie): Sanders says that healthcare is a right and should be available to everyone.

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Essie): Sanders says that 29 million people still have no healthcare and are paying too much for prescriptions.

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Andrew): “I’m on the committee” that wrote the Patient Protection Act,” Sanders says, noting he helped make it better. But we shouldn’t be resting on our laurels. Not everyone has coverage.

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Essie): Sanders says his vision is to lower costs for everyone. Clinton says that she doesn’t know which plan he is referring to and that the ACA act is working.

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Andrew): The Patient Protection Act would have been a greater accomplishment had it contained a public option, @HillaryClinton.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): We shouldn’t be afraid of having contentious debates.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): “The vision from FDR and Truman was healthcare for all people,” Sanders says.

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Essie): Clinton says that the contentious debate is too risky to tear it up and start over. We should build on what we have. Sanders says he does not want to tear up the ACA, but build on it by expanding Medicare to all.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Essie): Clinton says that a whole new debate on healthcare would set us back, that Republicans will continue to attack it. Thank goodness Obama vetoed it.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Andrew): Clinton’s “contentious debate” talking point is ridiculous and repetitive.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Essie): Sanders says the real point is that our campaign finance structure. Pharmaceutical companies give too much money to politicians. He says that politicians need to stand up for what is right for the American People.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Andrew): We could have gotten the votes for the public option, but we didn’t try hard enough.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Essie): Clinton says that she is accustomed to standing up to health insurance companies. She says this has been the fight of the Democrats for decades and that we should build on what is working, and get individual costs down.

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Essie): How will you bring the country together? President Obama’s comment on his inability to bring people together was his biggest failing. Clinton says she will meet with anyone anywhere to find common ground.

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Andrew): Clinton touts her record of bipartisanship when asked how she would unify the country, highlighting her work on New START and several other pieces of legislation.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Essie): Sanders says that a few years ago we found out that veterans were not getting what they needed, he worked with John McCain. He says the real issue is that Congress is owned by Big Money and refuses to do what the people want to do. We need to raise the minimum wage, equal pay for women, and the needs of the people need to be thought of first.

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Andrew): “We’ve got to make Congress responsive to the needs of the people,” Sanders says.

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Andrew): Bernie will not be interrupted!

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Essie): To a question of his “Democratic-Socialist” label, Sanders says that small donors need to be what candidates should have to work for.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): O’Malley saw an opening and jumped in.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Essie): Sanders says we have to deal with the handful of billionaires who control this country.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Andrew): Great question about getting young voters engaged.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Essie): To a question about engaging young people: Clinton says, this election is about the future and it is a great urgency for young people. She says that student debt is a problem, and community college should be free, and tuition should be debt free. She says that young people value their civil liberties, and that people of all ages need to work together.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Essie): Clinton says that Sanders young supporters are passionate, but she will continue to work to engage them.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): “I think this is an election where we have to pull young people and old people together,” Clinton says. Asked why Sanders has so many young supporters, Clinton smiled, demurred, and said she would continue working to gain as many supporters as she could.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): We’re taking another break.

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Andrew): O’Malley has been having a really good debate so far. Clinton and Sanders have been, for the most part, solid. They’ve gone after each other on their gun safety and healthcare positions, but otherwise, have mostly sounded notes of agreement.

UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he does not take money from big banks. He says that the Glass-Stegal legislation needs to come back. He says that the trust-busters need to come back. They should not be too big to fail.

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Essie): Clinton says that the criticism toward President Obama for taking Wall Street. Clinton defends the President. She says the Dodd-Frank bill was the most important bill since the 1930’s.

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Andrew): “Can you really reform Wall Street when they are spending millions of millions of dollars on campaign contributions?” asks Bernie Sanders.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Essie): Sanders says, “Can you really reform Wall Street when they provide speaker fees to individuals, and give millions to campaigns.” Sanders says that he will rely on the middle class for his campaign contributions.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): Martin O’Malley takes advantage of his live mic to say “That’s not true” and “Oh, come on” when Clinton claims her Wall Street reform plan is the smartest and toughest.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Essie): Clinton says that his comments toward the President are confusing. She says that Wall Street is running ads against her right now, and she is the one they don’t want.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that that there is a difference between all three of them, and says that she would not go as far as he would to protect the American people from Wall Street. He says what she says is just not true.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Andrew): “I support reinstituting a modern version of Glass-Steagall,” O’Malley says, going on to criticize Clinton’s Wall Street reform plans as inadequate.

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Andrew): Some crosstalk between Hillary and Bernie.

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Essie): All three of them are arguing over each other to contest who would be the toughest on Wall Street.

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Essie): Sanders says Clinton has received over 600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Essie): Clinton says that in 2000 Sanders is the only one on the stage to vote to de-regulate the system and ultimately caused the collapse of the financial system.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Andrew): Quite the feisty exchange over Wall Street reform…

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Essie): Clinton says at least we are having a debate about this, because Republicans want to de-regulate.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Essie): Sanders has been asked how he will pay for all of the programs that he wants. Sanders says that our infrastructure needs to be rebuilt by keeping investments and taxes on investments here in the States. Sanders says that a tax on Wall Street speculation. Its time for Wall Street to bail out the middle class.

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Andrew): “I want to raise incomes, not taxes,” Clinton says, adopting some conservative framing.

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Essie): Clinton says that she has documented how she would pay for everything she wants to do, and that her website has that documentation. She has says that she wants to raise incomes not taxes, and that paid family leave, student debt, and that the financial services industry should pay for it. She says that the middle class should not.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): Sanders: Do away with private health insurance, slightly raise taxes… it’s a pretty good deal.

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Essie): Will you raise taxes on the middle class? Sanders says that the criticism for this comes from Clinton. He says that what we have to acknowledge that we have to do away with middle class family’s necessity to pay for health care costs. That will save a family ,000.00 a month. Private health insurance premiums will go away. The modest tax increase would be far less.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that he is the only one on the stage that has done these things. Sanders says that he was mayor for 8 years, and that’s not true.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Andrew): We can make the investments we need to make by raising taxes on the wealthy, O’Malley says.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Andrew): Ah, good. A question about fighting the climate crisis.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Andrew): Sanders blasts the Republican Party for denying climate science.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Essie): Sanders talks about the climate change issue is real and is causing major issues and if bold action is not taken, major issues will result. He says that the Republican Party is so owned by the fossil fuel industry they will not work on the issue. The energy system needs to be changed and his legislation on the issue is the most comprehensive.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that we need to be on a 100% electric grid based on solar and green energy.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Essie): Iran, ISIS enemy crisis is up next.

UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Andrew): O’Malley challenges Clinton and Sanders to join him in committing to a 100% renewable energy grid by 2050. Clinton wanted to respond, but NBC went to commercial.

UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Essie): Commentators call the next set of questions: “The Commander in Chief Test”

UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Andrew): We’re back and talking foreign policy.

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Essie): Sanders says we need to move aggressively to adjust the behavior of Iran. He says that managing to reach an agreement with Iran is  positive. He says that relationship should continue to become positive and we should move to warm relationships with them.

UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Essie): Clinton says she helped to work on the sanctions with Iran, and they have so far been following agreements. She says that we have to be very careful, their bad behavior in the region should be addressed.

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Essie): Clinton says that ground forces in Syria should not be a solution. Iraq army and Sunni fighters and Kurdish fighters should be mobilized and supply chain for money and online space should be interrupted. She says that the air forces should be used.

UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Essie): Sanders says that we need to learn the lesson of Iraq, and the quagmire of Syria should be avoided. We should learn from King Abdullah, who said that this is a war for the soul of Islam and that Muslim troops should be on the ground. Not American troops in perpetual warfare.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that we need a proactive security strategy. He complements the Democrats on the stage for not using the bravado of the Republican party.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Andrew): Excellent point by O’Malley about remembering the real and sobering human costs of war.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Andrew): It’s easy to get rid of a two-bit dictator like Saddam Hussein, but there wasn’t thought given to what needed to happen next when we invaded Iraq, Sanders notes.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he led the opposition to the war in Iraq. He says that there was not a lot of thought about what happens after removing a dictator. Sanders says that we need to train and support the Muslim nations in the region. He says the wealthy countries need to start putting some “skin in the game” and stop depending on America.

UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Essie): Should the President have stuck to his “red line” on chemical weapons. Clinton says that we were able to get the chemical weapons out and the issue resulted in a positive outcome. She says that the surrounding States could have been terribly affected. She says that as a commander in chief has to critically think about the outcome of actions. The US had a very big interest in keeping the stability of the region.

UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Essie): Sanders says our first priority should be on getting rid of ISIS, and that all of the interests need to be brought together in order to make it happen.

UPDATE, 7:29 PM (Andrew): O’Malley jumps in and makes a crucial point about a lack of human intelligence. The U.S. intelligence community is addicted to signals intelligence, and it’s definitely a problem.

UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Andrew): Well, this is a first… a strong technology question!

UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Andrew): O’Malley says the government should need a warrant, whether that’s to come through the front door or a back door.

UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that the Federal Gov should have to get a warrant weather they go through a front or back door. We need security, but our privacy should not be infringed upon. We need a public advocate to help with the Patriot Act.

UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Andrew): We need a body of law that protects Americans in the digital age, O’Malley says, concluding a strong answer in which he called for curtailing privacy abuses and one-sided secret courts.

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he voted against the Patriot Act, and that we have to worry about the private information that the private companies have regarding the American public. Sanders says that we have to have Silicon Valley help with ISIS without violating the civil liberties of the American people.

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Andrew): Sorry, Secretary Clinton, but we have to go to break…

UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Andrew): Lester Holt is the best moderator we’ve seen in the Democratic debates thus far.

UPDATE, 7:39 PM (Andrew): NBC has also done a really good job putting questions together for this debate.

UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Andrew): Clinton slams the Republican presidential candidates for their bigoted comments against Muslims.

UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Essie): Clinton says that we need better intelligence and our country needs to be unified. We need to work with Muslim Americans.

UPDATE, 7:41 PM (Essie): O’Malley speaks against the vilification of American Muslims.

UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Andrew): Sanders makes a good point — much of our military budget goes towards conventional forces and weapons.

UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Essie): Sanders says that we have a military budget that continues to fight the old cold war. Little of it goes to fighting ISIS. We need to make fundamental changes to the priorities.

UPDATE, 7:43 PM (Essie): Clinton on the “kitchen table” role of Bill Clinton on the economic advisory role. She says that Bill will be a good will emissary to get more ideas on how to address the economic issues.

UPDATE, 7:44 PM (Essie): Sanders says that if Clinton’s advisory body on economics is stacked with Wall Street people they are not going to help very much.

UPDATE, 7:46 PM (Essie): Sanders says to a question related the transgressions on Bill Clinton: He says that he is annoyed by the question because it is not relevant to the issues facing the American people.

UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Andrew): O’Malley cites several issues that didn’t get talked about in depth tonight, like immigration reform and what’s happening to Puerto Rico.

UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Essie): O’Malley says that he wishes we had discussed immigration issues had been covered more. He says that the belief that we are on the threshold of a new era of American progress.

UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Andrew): Clinton says she’s outraged by what is happening in Flint, Michigan. Was hoping this would be mentioned.

UPDATE, 7:52 PM (Andrew): #ArrestGovSnyder

UPDATE, 7:52 PM (Essie): Clinton says she is outraged by what is happening in Flint Michigan. She criticized the Governor for not acting on the issue. She says that it is outrageous that she wants to be a President who acts on our issues at home.

UPDATE, 7:53 PM (Andrew): Sanders: We have got to get rid of Super PACs and Citizens United… we need a political revolution to revitalize American democracy.

UPDATE, 7:54 PM (Essie): Sanders says that he calls for the resignation of the Governor. Sanders says that he wants to see the super PACs gone and Citizens United repealed. He says that he wants more young people involved in the political process. The wealthy should not be in charge of American policy.

UPDATE, 7:55 PM (Andrew): And with that, we’re done. It was a spirited, lively, and enjoyable debate with the only real adults in the presidential race.

UPDATE, 7:57 PM (Essie): Another great debate. I trust the people on this stage to lead the American people more than any of the Republican candidates. They are far more thoughtful, and caring of the people in this country. Republicans are focused on driving voters by fear.

UPDATE, 5:57 PM (Andrew): We’re three minutes away from the start of the debate.

More observations on the way!

How would WA Republicans like it if *these* bills needed a two-thirds vote to pass?

Anyone who has spent time attempting to understand the politics of the Washington State Republican Party knows that Republicans spend an awful lot of time listening to (and taking their cues from) militant, right wing initiative profiteer Tim Eyman, who has become obsessed lately with gutting Washington’s cherished tradition of majority rule and replacing it with rule by the few.

Eyman is demanding that legislators vote to change the Constitution to require that any bill that raises or even recovers revenue for the state treasury receive a two-thirds vote on the floor of each house of the Legislature — otherwise, it would die. Such a change to our plan of government would permanently transfer power from the many to a few, as this pictogram illustrates:

Pictogram: Don't mess with our Constitution

Don’t mess with our Constitution

House and Senate Republicans have taken up Eyman’s cause and are beating the drum for an amendment, along with Eyman’s friend Jason Mercier, who works for John Carlson’s Washington Policy Center. Eyman and Republicans insist that altering the Constitution to sabotage Article II, Section 22 would be a good thing.

If supermajority requirements are so wonderful and lead to bipartisan compromise, why not require supermajority votes for everything? (And, for that matter, why stop at two-thirds? What about three-fourths… or nine-tenths?)

Republicans don’t seem to have answers to these questions.

Last autumn, I urged Carlson and other backers of I-1366 to imagine the shoe being on the other foot. What if it were progressives who were proposing requiring supermajority votes for certain actions? Would Republicans be on board with that? (We can’t imagine that they would be.)

Republicans have made it clear over the last few days that they have an extreme, aggressive agenda for Washington State. Jamal Raad, the Washington State Democratic Party’s Communications Director, has been keeping an eye on the bills that Republican legislators have been filing for this year’s short session. This morning, he sent out a compilation of some of them to the press:

HB 2291 – Rolling Back The Minimum Wage. Republicans want to account for health benefits when calculating the minimum wage rate and provide a “youth wage” which would cut the minimum wage for thousands of workers.

HB 2294 – Defunding Planned Parenthood. Republicans in Washington State are joining the national Republican mania of defunding Planned Parenthood.

HB 2325 – Math, Science and…Guns? Republicans want to bring the NRA into our high schools at taxpayer expense to teach our students about their far-right interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.

SB 6158 – Raffling Off Guns Without Background Checks. This bill would allow conservative and Republican political groups to give out guns to their members at fundraisers without voter-approved universal background checks.

SB 6173 – Banning Policies To Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions. One of the State Senate’s lead recipients of campaign cash from the fossil fuel industry, Doug Ericksen, a Donald Trump supporter, is sponsoring legislation that would block action to protect Washingtonians from climate change.

HB 2293 – Awarding Electoral Votes To Republicans. Knowing they are most likely nominating a radical conservative like Donald Trump for President who has no shot at winning here in Washington state, Republicans are trying to sneak a way to award electoral votes to the GOP nominee for president even when they eventually lose.

None of these bills stand a chance of becoming law or even passing the Legislature, because Democrats currently control the governor’s mansion and the House. However, the Democratic House majority has been whittled down to a margin of just one vote, and Republicans are making a play for the House in 2016. They’re also looking to maintain their hold on the Senate.

If they’re successful, at this time next year, they’ll control both houses of the Legislature for the first time in decades — and they’d be able to pass all of the above bills with all or nearly all of their members marching in lockstep.

(Article II, Section 22 of Washington’s Constitution says bills pass by majority vote, and if you can count to fifty in the House and twenty-five in the Senate, then you can get a bill sent to the governor’s desk. It’s been this way since statehood.)

But what if Tim Eyman’s rules were in effect for the aforementioned bills? What if a two-thirds vote were the standard for passage? Why, in that case, Democrats could block them… all of them, even if they only had a submajority of each house of the Legislature (and not a majority). It wouldn’t matter how successful Republicans were at winning in swing districts in 2016. They wouldn’t be able to implement their agenda on their own, because Democrats would have a legislative veto over them.

Majority rule is good for everyone — Democrats and Republicans alike — but unfortunately, this seems to be lost on the Republicans currently serving in the Legislature. We wonder: How would Republicans like Bruce Dammeier and Drew MacEwen feel about a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote for bills to roll back the minimum wage, override executive orders by the governor, or allow guns to be purchased with no questions asked? Do Republicans still think supermajorities are a good idea in those cases? And if not — why not?

King County Council appoints Reuven Carlyle to State Senate, Noel Frame to State House

This afternoon, in its first meeting of 2016, the Metropolitan King County Council acted to fill two vacancies in the Washington State Legislature, both resulting from Jeanne Kohl-Welles’ move from the Senate to the King County Council.

By a vote of nine to zero, the Council first appointed State Representative Reuven Carlyle (D-36th District: Ballard, Greenwood, Queen Anne) to take Kohl-Welles’ place in the Senate, and then unanimously appointed Noel Frame to take the place of Carlyle in the Washington State House of Representatives.

Reuven Carlyle taking oath of office

Reuven Carlyle taking oath of office

Carlyle and Frame were among three nominees put forward by the Democratic Party to fill each vacancy. Each was the respective top choice of the Democratic PCOs in the 36th, and they were expected to be chosen by the Council.

Carlyle and Frame were invited to give remarks and then sworn in to their new positions immediately following the votes. Each will need to report for work in Olympia within a hundred hours. As required by the Washington State Constitution, the 2016 legislative session is scheduled to begin this coming Monday, January 11th. It will be a short session, lasting up to sixty days in duration.

It is common for vacancies in the Senate to be filled by members of the House from the same district. It’s happened many, many times over the years.

Sharon Nelson, David Frockt, Cyrus Habib, Maralyn Chase, Bob Hasegawa, and Dean Takko are among the members of the Senate Democratic caucus who used to serve in the House, but moved to the Senate when a position came open. When such transitions occur, they open up positions in the House for aspiring new leaders.

Noel Frame after taking oath of office

Noel Frame after taking oath of office

We at NPI extend our congratulations to Reuven Carlyle and Noel Frame on their new roles (and to Noel, welcome to public service!) We’re confident they will do their best to facilitate a more robust discussion about the need for structural tax reform and full compliance with the Supreme Court’s McCleary orders.

U.S. Representative Jim McDermott announces his retirement from Congress

Washington’s current longest-serving member of Congress has decided to retire after nearly three decades of service to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressman Jim McDermott, seventy-nine, announced at a press conference today in Seattle that he won’t seek reelection in 2016, setting the stage for what will undoubtedly be a crowded Top Two election to succeed him next August. McDermott has represented Washington’s most liberal congressional district, the 7th, since 1988. He has won reelection in the past with 80% of the vote or more.

“This was not an easy decision, because I don’t like to quit… But there comes a time when you say to yourself, enough,” McDermott told reporters gathered for his announcement. He took questions for more than a half hour, reflecting on his legacy, accomplishments, possible successor, and service to the country.

McDermott said that he told his family over the Christmas holiday break that he’d decided not to run again, explaining that he had realized there were other things he wanted to do in his life. He recounted how colleagues George Miller and Norm Dicks had reached to similar conclusions in past cycles, choosing to hand off the baton off to someone new. McDermott figures it’s his time to do that now.

He says he hopes his successor will be a progressive, and preferably someone who can work effectively with other members of Congress, regardless of party. McDermott noted he doesn’t get hung up on labels. Trust is what matters.

“One of the problems in politics right now is the issue of trust,” he said, going on to lament, “There’s so little trust left in the Congress right now.”

State Representative Brady Walkinshaw had already announced he would run for McDermott’s seat, but now he will almost certainly have competition, as McDermott’s decision to retire will almost certainly prompt a number of state lawmakers, county councilmembers, city councilmembers, and others to launch exploratory bids for Congress. A position like U.S. Representative in a district like Washington’s 7th just doesn’t open up very often.

Tributes to McDermott began to pour in almost immediately.

“For more than forty years, Jim McDermott has worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Washington State,” said President Barack Obama.

“As a state legislator, he helped pass laws that offered healthcare to unemployed and low-income Washingtonians, the first such program in the nation. In the United States Congress, he continued to be a much-needed voice for his most vulnerable constituents. Across America, you’ll find families that are better off because Jim McDermott was fighting for them. I’m grateful for Jim’s service, and Michelle and I wish him all the best in whatever the future holds. ”

“Jim has been a bold and progressive voice throughout his four decades of service in Congress,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “He has capably represented Seattle on a long list of important issues including health care reform and his very vocal opposition to the Iraq War. His storied career is one Seattle will recall for years to come.”

“Congressman Jim McDermott has been Seattle’s courageous, progressive voice in Congress for over 25 years,” said Jaxon Ravens, Washington State Democratic Chair. “He was and is a hero for many of us, fighting for health care to be a right for everyone and against the unjust war in Iraq.”

“A psychiatrist, McDermott brought much-needed expertise to the conversation on mental health policy in Congress. Thank you, Congressman McDermott, for your decades of leadership and service to our city and state.”

“Jim McDermott has brought total integrity and dedication to this institution,” said McDermott’s colleague Sander Levin of Michigan. “For him, public service has meant serving the public interest, not self-interest. He used his medical background to help shape quality health care for all, with a particular focus on health care for women and children. He also has been a champion for a host of international issues, helping to forge AGOA, a trade program between the U.S. and African nations. I will be among many who will miss his capacity for strong personal friendship.”

“From the beginning of this campaign, I made it clear that I have an enormous respect for Congressman Jim McDermott’s progressive values and long history of public service,” said State Representative Brady Walkinshaw.

“His leadership on efforts including the creation of our State’s Public Disclosure Commission, our State’s basic health plan, his steadfast devotion for peace, and his recent role in improving foster care services in our country leaves a remarkable legacy. Today I underscore those statements and thank Representative McDermott for his decades of service to the people of Seattle and our region.”

“He is leaving a proud legacy that I hope to build upon. He has been a consistent voice for working families and labor, a voice for equitable access to healthcare, and a voice for people who don’t yet have a seat at the table. Looking ahead, the Congressman’s thoughtful remarks today on the importance of bipartisan work in this year’s Congressional session around mental health are so timely and important to our region. Jim McDermott has ably served our state and region in an extraordinary way. Thank you Jim, for all you have done.”

“Jim McDermott has been bringing Washington State values to Washington, D.C., since 1989,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

“He has been a champion of preserving the social safety net, protecting the environment, and ensuring that everyone in the nation and abroad is treated fairly and with respect. He has bucked the cynicism of Congress and confronted our nation’s challenge with candor and resolve.”

“Congressman McDermott’s entire career has been dedicated to public service — not just in Congress, but in the United States Navy, as a doctor, and as a Washington State legislator. His commitment to the well-being of our community, and of all the people of the nation and world, is unmatched.”

“Congressman McDermott has been a friend and partner to King County for many years, and I extend my gratitude for his decades of exceptional service.”

This post will be updated as more reaction is received.

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