2008 Presidential Election, Race and Racism
Professor Vernellia Randall
Speaking Truth to Power!

Presidential Candidates on Asian American Issues


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Lisa Wong Macabasco
AsianWeek.com Feb 01, 2008

Where They Stand:


Hillary Clinton

On Asian American Issues: Last year, introduced legislation that would reunite families who have been separated by the immigration system. Sponsored the Legal Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act to restore access to Medicaid and SCHIP benefits for legal immigrant pregnant women and children. Introduced the Access to Employment and English-Language Acquisition Act toprovide more job training funds for individuals with limited English-language skills. On education: more money for Head Start and universal preschool. Expressed support for legislation for Filipino World War II veterans to receive compensation from the U.S. government.

Quote: “I am thrilled to have the support of so many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and, in particular, leaders like Doris Matsui. We’re not taking any vote for granted, and I want the AAPI community to know that I hope to earn their vote.”

“The Asian Pacific Islander community is important to me personally,” Clinton said after a February. 2007 incident in San Francisco, where several Chinese media reporters were denied access to a fund-raiser and told that it was not open to “foreign press.”

Asian American outreach: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Hillary; Iowa and Nevada Asian American Pacific Islander Leadership Councils for Hillary; AAPI Women for Hillary; Chinese Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Korean Americans, South Asians and Filipino Americans for Hillary

Notable Asian American supporters: Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento (Clinton’s national Asian American voter outreach campaign chairwoman); Hawai‘i Senator Daniel Inouye; former Washington Governor Gary Locke; New York Assemblywoman Ellen Young; New York City Councilman John Liu; California Assemblywoman/Majority Whip Fiona Ma; California state Assemblyman Michael Eng; California state Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi; State Board of Equalization member Judy Chu; California Democratic Committee Vice Chair Alicia Wang; Mayor of Sunnyvale, Otto Lee; Alice Bulos, chair emeritus of the Filipino American Democratic Caucus; S.F. Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting; Julie D. Soo, chair of the California Democratic Party’s Asian and Pacific Islander Caucus; 80-20 Initiative

. . . . . . . . . .

Barack Obama

On Asian American issues: On education: more money for Head Start, wants to make teachers accountable, likes merit pay and charter schools; reform and fund No Child Left Behind; give more high schoolers access to college courses; increase Federal college aid; free up money for student aid; invest in small businesses; build framework for East Asian cooperation; reform H-1B Visas.

Quote: “As the child of a black man and a white woman, someone who was born in the racial melting pot of Hawai‘i, with a sister who’s half Indonesian but who’s usually mistaken for Mexican or Puerto Rican, and a brother-in-law and niece of Chinese descent … I’ve never had the option of restricting my loyalties on the basis of race, or measuring my worth on the basis of tribe. Moreover, I believe that part of America’s genius has always been its ability to absorb newcomers, to forge a national identity out of the disparate lot that arrived on our shores.” — The Audacity of Hope

Asian American outreach: Asian Americans for Obama, South Asians for Obama, AAPI National Leadership Council

Notable Asian American supporters: Assemblyman Ted Lieu, chair of the California AAPI Legislative Caucus; Jun Choi, mayor of Edison, N.J.; Angela Oh, former member of President Clinton’s Initiative on Race; Eddie Wong, former executive director of the Center for Asian American Media; former Assemblywoman Wilma Chan; Russell Leong, editor of UCLA’s Amerasia Journal; Hydra Mendoza, San Francisco Board of Education commissioner ; actors Cary Tagawa, Kelly Hu and Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle); Janet Yang, producer of The Joy Luck Club; Martin Wong, co-editor of Giant Robot magazine; rapper Jin tha MC

Family ties: Half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and brother-in-law Konrad Ng

. . . . . . . . . .


John McCain

On Asian American issues: Opposes racial preferences; supports a “path to citizenship” for illegals; pledged to “do everything I can” to help all immigrants learn English; on education: more testing for teachers. As a senator, McCain voted against funding redress for Japanese Americans in 1989. In 2000, promised a convention of minority journalists that if he became president, he would absolutely and unequivocally name an Asian American to his Cabinet.

Quote: McCain told the U.S. India Political Action Committee in advance of the Florida primary on Jan. 29: “I value the Indian American community’s contributions to our great nation and thank those who have supported me here in Florida.”

Asian American outreach: None<>Notable Asian American supporters: California Assemblyman Van Tran, R-Costa Mesa; Optima Consultants President Lily Kuo; Midway City (Calif.) Sanitary District Board member Truong Diep; New Hampshire state Representative Saggy Tahir

Family ties:
Has an 15-year-old adopted daughter from Bangladesh

. . . . . . . . . .

Mitt Romney

On Asian American issues: Wants more charter schools and “public-private partnerships”; supports English immersion in schools. As governor of Massachusetts, allowed the state’s Asian American Commission, a governor-appointed statewide commission, to become inactive by declining to fill vacancies until the last year of his term.

Quote: Called Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch’s addition to his campaign “another indication of the strong Asian Pacific American coalition that is forming around our message of change in Washington.”

Asian American outreach: Asian Pacific Americans for Mitt (national chair: Ambassador Sichan Siv, U.S. representative to the U.N. Economic and Social Council; national co-chair: Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, president of the U.S.-China Education Trust)

Notable Asian American supporters: Lanhee J. Chen, domestic policy director for Romney for President

Sources: hillaryclinton.com, barackobama.com, johnmccain.com, mittromney.com, apaforobama.com, asianam.org, ontheissues.org, diversityinc.com, sfgate.com, washingtonpost.com, motherjones.com,
newamericamedia.org, ocgop.org, sajaforum.org, usasianbusiness.org


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