We kicked off our ongoing series by taking a look at the record of Senator Hillary Clinton. Last week, we focused on Senator Ron Paul.
Today, we will talk about former Senator Mike Gravel. We'll be joined by Greg Giroux, senior political writer for Congressional Quarterly, and Joe Lauria, an independent reporter who’s writing has appeared in the Progressive, the Boston Globe and the Sunday Times of London.
Senator Gravel will join us from 10:20-10:40 am PST. If you live in the Bay Area, you can tune in at 91.7 FM or you can listen online.
During the last debate on CNN, Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Gravel was only given 5 minutes and 37 seconds to answer 10 questions. His fiery, straightforward approach made quite an impression. Senator Gravel is well known for releasing the Pentagon papers during Vietnam and working day and night to end the draft. Gravel wants the troops home now, favors replacing the income tax for a national sales tax, says the IRS should be abolished, and supports the legalization of drugs. What else does he stand for? Why would a man who left politics 20 years ago want to be President?
After the first presidential debate in April, The Washington Post wrote in an editorial that "voters trying to sort out their presidential choices aren't helped by debates cluttered with the likes of Mike Gravel."
In an interview with the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire, former Democratic Party chairwoman Kathy Sullivan said: "I believe that going forward the networks should politely dis-invite Mr. Gravel. He just detracts from the time from the other candidates. He's not a serious candidate."
Mike Gravel was the first Democrat to enter the presidential race. The 77-year-old is from Springfield, Massachusetts. He moved to Alaska in the 1950s. After Alaska became a state in 1959, Gravel served in the state House of Representatives. He served as a U.S. Senator from Alaska from 1969-1981. In 1981, he lost his reelection campaign to Republican Frank Murkowski and has been largely absent from the political stage ever since.
He says he initially entered the presidential race to push his National Initiative System, which would allow citizens to bring proposals to a popular vote. But once he was in, he says he realized voters needed a serious alternative to his fellow candidates.