Friday, July 18, 2008

Better than PBS’ News Hour: Berkowitz discusses Obama’s flip-flop on School Vouchers-School Choice w/ McCain’s Education and Economics policy advisors

Jeff Berkowitz: Barack Obama said on a television show I host [Public Affairs] on June 27, 2002 that he would consider any option to improve schools, including school vouchers. [Go to the Closing of Barack Obama's mind]. He said he would consider [those options] to improve what he said were “admittedly intolerable conditions in inner city public schools.” Would it be Senator McCain’s strategy to use that statement to illustrate flip-flops by Barack Obama or would he use that statement to goad [Obama] into joining him in supporting school vouchers- school choice, notwithstanding the pressure Obama has received from the teachers’ unions, especially with the recent endorsement [of Senator Obama by the AFT].

Phil Handy [Education Policy Adviser, McCain 2008]: I think today’s speech [by McCain, see here] focused on the Washington, D.C., opportunity scholarships. It’s a wonderful example, I think, [of McCain’s actions] to reach across the aisle. Senator McCain has done that- has done that throughout his career [and] is trying to do that again to help the kids in Washington, DC. The Superintendent [of the DC schools] is desperate to keep the program alive. Senator McCain would like to keep the program alive as an example of the kind of choice [low income] students should have and I think we’re just trying to make that distinction and highlight that program as an example of exactly what we’re talking about and trying to get other people to agree with us.

Lisa Graham Keegan [Education Policy Adviser, McCain 2008]: It is an example of taking action in favor of students over everything else. In DC, it is particularly personal. He knows these families. They have met with him for years- years before they ever had this opportunity. He knows them well- Ginny Ford from DC Parents- is on his education advisory team. So, it is something he absolutely believes in. I have to let Doug and others speak to the politics of what Senator Obama is doing. Senator McCain has always fought this very difficult battle [and] will continue to.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin [Senior Policy Adviser, McCain 2008(Beware, Princeton trained)]: I think Phil and Lisa said it right. John McCain is focused on solving the problems that face America’s families and their children in public schools. Senator Obama’s words are his problem. His decision to change his position on [school] vouchers; his decision to first embrace and then reject public financing of the general election; his myriad decisions to reverse positions are problems he faces with his public and he’ll have to convince them who he is. That’s not John McCain’s call.

McCain Campaign Press Conference Call held on July 16, 2008 to discuss education policy introduced by Senator John McCain on that day at the 99th Annual NAACP Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at You may watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Obama, McCain, Giuliani and Cox, this week's suburban edition of Public Affairs with's Tom Bevan, next week's suburban edition of Public Affairs with State Rep. Candidate Tim Stratton (R-Glencoe, 58th Dist.), our prior shows with State Rep. Mark Beaubien (R-Wauconda), Ald. Sandi Jackson(Chicago, 7th Ward), 13th CD Democratic Nominee Scott Harper, State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago); State Senator John Cullerton (D-Chicago), Comm. Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago), State Rep. Candidate Joan Solms (R-Aurora), 6th CD Democratic Nominee Colonel Jill Morgenthaler (Ret.), State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and shows with many other pols at
Now included on the Public Affairs YouTube page is last Monday night's show in the cities of Chicago and Aurora withAld. Sandi Jackson. Additional very recently posted shows on the Public Affairs YouTube page include this week's suburban edition of "Public Affairs," featuring Real Clear Politics' Tom Bevan and next week's suburban edition of "Public Affairs," featuring State Rep. Candidate Tim Stratton (R-Glencoe, 58th Dist.) and our recent show featuring State Rep. Mark Beaubien (R-Wauconda). Other recently posted shows include our shows featuring 13th CD Demoratic Nominee Scott Harper, Sen. Kwame Raoul(D-Chicago), Senator John Cullerton (D-Chicago)- ; State Rep. candidate Joan Solms (R-Aurora), Comm. Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago) on the Obama Presidential campaign and shows with many other pols