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Interest Groups and the Second Presidential Debate


Concord Coalition
Washington Report October 11, 2016

Second Debate Fell Short on Budget Solutions

Despite the professed interest of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in discussing important issues, the second presidential debate on Sunday was another missed opportunity to seriously address the enormous fiscal challenges that will face the next president and Congress.

The federal budget is on an unsustainable course, with rising debt and chronic gaps between current spending commitments and federal revenue. The Medicare and Social Security trustees have warned that these programs, faced with an aging population and rising health costs, must be repaired soon.

Once again, however, voters did not hear credible, comprehensive proposals to meet these challenges. Nor did last week’s vice-presidential debate feature such proposals.

One questioner on Sunday night asked the presidential candidates what specific changes in tax policy they would pursue, but the responses were generally vague or focused on questionable promises that taxes would be cut dramatically (Trump) or that any additional tax burdens would be limited to people with very high incomes (Clinton).

“Tax reform is an important issue but it needs to be connected to the broader fiscal outlook,” says Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition. “Ultimately, taxes and spending cannot be considered in separate silos.”

“So it is too bad that we still haven’t had a real discussion by these candidates on how their spending and tax policies add up,” Bixby added. “We have had accusations, but no explanations.” 

October 10, 2016

Statement by AARP's John Hishta on Presidential Debate: Presidential Candidates and Moderators Leave Voters Guessing on Social Security

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Opinions on who won Sunday night's Presidential debate will vary but who lost is clear: the millions of American voters who want to understand how the candidates would keep Social Security strong for future generations," AARP Senior Vice President, Campaigns, John Hishta said.

"The debate was the best chance for voters to get real answers on how the Presidential candidates would address Social Security's significant financial challenges," Hishta said.

"Failing to ask a question about how to fix Social Security disregarded thousands of voters who contacted the debate moderators via social media to urge them to ask the candidates how they'll lead on Social Security.  We will now turn our attention to pressing Fox's Chris Wallace to answer voters' call for the answers they deserve before Election Day," he said.

Social Security faces a significant revenue shortfall that, while still a number of years away, would result in a nearly 25 percent, across-the-board benefits cut for all Social Security recipients if left unaddressed. Despite recent polling in support of more focus on the issue, it has been largely ignored in this election.  A battleground AARP survey of Boomer women found 71 percent want the next president and congress to address Social Security immediately and more than two-thirds have heard nothing about the candidates' plans, AARP said. 

About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world's largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit or follow @aarp and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.

Interfaith Alliance Action
October 10, 2016

For Immediate Release
Contact: Josh Glasstetter, West End Strategy Team

Interfaith Alliance Action Statement on Second Presidential Debate

Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance Action president, Rabbi Jack Moline, released the following statement after last night’s second presidential debate:

“Last night’s debate mostly wallowed in a sea of divisive rhetoric. With the nation focused on Donald Trump’s deplorable comments recounting violent acts against women, he chose to dig in rather than show contrition. He chose to further divide our nation rather than bring us together. He chose to parade Bill Clinton’s past across the stage rather than take responsibility for his own actions. This is not the kind of campaign we deserve as a nation.

“The debate did have moments that, if not substantive, were at least enlightening on the divergent views of the candidates. For this organization, most notable was the response from the candidates to a question from an audience member on Islamophobia. Mr. Trump made no attempt to use it as an opportunity to build a bridge to a community he has done so much to unnecessarily disenfranchise. Instead he once again cast Muslims as a threat and praised himself for not being ‘politically correct.’

“Mr. Trump, protecting the rights of American Muslims is not politically correct, it’s the law.”

League of Conservation Voters

Contact: Seth Stein

October 9, 2016  

LCV Statement on the Second Presidential Debate

Washington, D.C. –In response to the second presidential debate, LCV National Campaigns Director Clay Schroers issued the following statement:

“Let’s be clear: Donald Trump clearly does not understand American energy policy or environmental protection at all. When asked about energy, he spewed Big Polluters’ fact-free talking points and doubled-down on a dirty, outdated energy plan. Hillary not only recognized the critical importance of meeting the challenge of climate change head-on, but also laid out a comprehensive plan focused on clean energy jobs – and transitioning coal communities to the renewable energy economy. On substance, temperament, and knowledge, Hillary Clinton demonstrated she is ready for the presidency on day one – while Trump never will be.”


NARAL Pro-Choice America
October 9, 2016

NARAL Statement on Presidential Debate

NARAL Pro-Choice America National President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement in response to tonight's presidential debate: 
"Tonight, Donald Trump reinforced how unfit and unhinged he is, and just how wrong he'll be for women and families in the White House. His comments in the video released Friday clearly referred to his desire to sexually assault women, and he still wouldn't acknowledge that tonight. He's the embodiment of misogyny and rape culture in this country. Combine all that with his claim that there should be some form of punishment for women who have an abortion, and you've got a woman's worst nightmare in the White House.
"Hillary Clinton did us proud tonight. She didn't back down to a bully, instead using her time to communicate her plans to keep this country great. While we're disappointed the moderators didn't ask a single question about abortion tonight, Hillary Clinton brought up reproductive rights herself with her plan to protect Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court. She has continuously put women front and center during this campaign and throughout her career, unlike her opponent who has spent his life belittling us, demeaning us, and worse. We're so proud of her tonight."

NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as "one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America."

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