2/04/2008

Clinton Wont Commit To Renew Consititution

Illinois Senator Barack Obama has finally signed the American Freedom Pledge, joining his fellow Democratic presidential candidates in encouraging the restoration of basic Constitutional principles after the battering they have taken during the Bush-Cheney era.

All the Democrats, that is, except New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

The effort to get presidential contenders to sign on the American Freedom Pledge has been promoted by organizations ranging from the Center for Constitutional Rights to Human Rights Watch, MoveOn.org , Amnesty International USA, the Brennan Center for Justice, the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and True Majority.

The pledge is anything but radical. It simply asks candidates to affirm a statement that reads: "We are Americans, and in our America we do not torture, we do not imprison people without charge or legal remedy, we do not tap people's phones and emails without a court order, and above all we do not give any President unchecked power. I pledge to fight to protect and defend the Constitution from attack by any President."

The often embarrassingly cautious Obama campaign had been slow to sign on to the pledge. Earlier this week the American Freedom Campaign, which is promoting the pledge, revealed that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Alaska Senator Mike Gravel had signed the pledge, while former North Carolina Senator John Edwards and Delaware Senator Joe Biden had responded with supportive statements. After a release from the freedom campaign noted that Obama and Clinton had not committed to the Constitution, Obama's aides moved quickly.

Recognizing the value of distinguishing their candidate from Clinton, the front runner in most polls, they got Obama to sign the pledge.

The freedom campaign is promising to turn the heat up on Clinton and Republicans presidential contenders -- aside from Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who signed on to a similar American Freedom Agenda statement promoted by conservative defenders of the Constitution.

"We are very pleased that Senator Obama has joined so many of his colleagues in signing the American Freedom Pledge," says freedom campaign co-founder Naomi Wolf. "But we will not be satisfied until we receive a solid commitment from each and every one of the presidential candidates. This is not just another request from an interest group; this is a test of whether our next president will be true to the vision of our Founders. Any candidate who does not express strong support for defending the Constitution does not deserve to be president."

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