Meet the candidates

Don’t forget to vote this February 5th!

John McCain (R)
Perhaps one of McCain’s most notable experiences was being a Vietnam prisoner of war for more than five years. He is a widely decorated military veteran, having served in the armed forces for 22 years. Shortly after his retirement from the Navy, he was elected into the House of Representatives, and he became a member of the U.S. Senate five years later, in 1987. He received the 1997 Taxpayer Hero Award for consistently voting to reduce Americans’ taxpaying burden. Among other issues he addresses, McCain supports the Iraq war, border enforcement, a strong military, Second Amendment rights and the development of cheaper generic drugs. His wife, Cindy, is a Baptist, and he is an Episcopalian.

Interesting fact: One of his adopted children, Bridget, was abandoned as an infant with a cleft palate in a Bangladeshi orphanage that was run by Mother Teresa.
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Mitt Romney (R)
Romney’s political involvement began at a young age when he joined civil rights marches with his father. He served on the U.S. Senate in 1994 before being elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002. While governor, Mitt Romney focused on lowering the unemployment rate and targeting education reform. Romney was also the CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics, in which he revamped the policies and increased fundraising. He wrote on a book about his experience called “Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games.” His presidential campaign includes sending additional troops to Iraq, reforming Social Security and cutting taxes. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Interesting fact: He donated the salary earned while serving on the Olympic Games, plus another million dollars, to charity.
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Rudy Giuliani (R)
Rudy Giuliani was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he later attended the New York University Law School. He was appointed Associate Deputy Attorney General in 1975, while later being named the Associate Attorney General during President Reagan’s era. He became the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he cracked down on mafia prosecutions and corrupt political figures. As the former mayor of the City of New York, Giuliani has been tough on reducing crime and boosting the welfare and vitality of New York. He’s received worldwide acknowledgement for his relief efforts following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Interesting fact: Giuliani was the first Republican to be elected mayor of the City of New York in a generation. He was re-elected in 1997 although Democrats outnumbered Republicans five to one.
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Barack Obama (D)
Inspired by trying to find ways to improve lives of people in his local community, Obama pursued a degree in law and graduated from Harvard in 1991. He eventually became an Illinois state senator, serving for eight years. He contributed toward the Earned Income Tax Credit program and pushed for expansion of early childhood education. He also worked with law enforcement officials to require videotaping of suspects’ interrogations and confessions in capital cases, due to a number of death-row inmates being found innocent. His activism has led him to the Internet, when he worked with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to provide access for Americans to see how their tax money is being spent. Some of Obama’s passion lies in simplifying the tax code, preserving the role of religious faith in Americans’ lives, implementing universal health care and finding support for rural Americans.

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Interesting fact: In one of his bestselling books, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,” Obama details his journey to visit his Luo family in Kenya.
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John Edwards (D)
Trial-lawyer-turned-politician John Edwards was born into a working-class family in South Carolina. Edwards supports the wellness of American people and not the big corporations. When he was elected as a U.S. senator in 1998, Edwards focused on adequate health care and proper schools. Edwards was appointed as Sen. John Kerry’s running mate in the 2004 general presidential elections, in which he supported a united America through universal healthcare and elimination of poverty. The top three issues he has mentioned throughout his campaign are health care, the Iraq war, and the economy and budget.

Interesting fact: According to an interview with the Associated Press, Edwards’ favorite reality television is college basketball.
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Hillary Clinton (D)
Former first lady from 1993-2001, this Democratic candidate has had a lengthy political history. She has served as New York senator since her time as first lady. While her husband, Bill Clinton, was president, she had spearheaded programs to strengthen women’s rights worldwide, make adopting easier in the States, aide early learning and child care, and help veterans who have suffered from Gulf War syndrome. She also attempted to launch a universal health care program, which ultimately failed, but has been an issue revived since her run for presidency. Some of Sen. Clinton’s issues deal with ending the Iraq war, promoting energy independence, fulfilling promises to veterans and reforming the immigration system.

Interesting fact: Her autobiography, “Living History,” has sold more than 1.3 million copies and has been translated into over 20 languages.
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Alan Keyes (R)
Running for his third time for presidential candidacy, Keyes has been actively involved in politics and diplomacy missions. He was a UN ambassadors protégé, eventually assigned to be consulate in Mumbai, India. He was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations and eventually went on to be a staff member of the National Security Council. Keyes began hosting his own syndicated radio show in 1994, and in 2002 had a live commentary show on MSNBC. He holds strong views on issues that his Web site calls “pro-life, pro-family, pro-security, pro-economy and pro-sovereignty.”

Interesting fact: A devout Catholic, Keyes is a third-degree Knight of Columbus. He is also a trained opera singer.
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Mike Huckabee (R)
Arkansas governor from 1996-2007, Huckabee was named one of Time magazine’s best five governors in the country. His endeavors pushed reforms in the Arkansas educational system, increasing the number of charter schools. When he was chairman of the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission, he worked with a 37-state coalition to lobby Congress on energy matters and contributed to the development of energy policies. He was also a pastor and the youngest president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. His issues include tightening immigration and border security, sanctifying marriage between men and women, and banning abortion.

Interesting fact: In 2007, he was presented with the Music for Life Award by the National Association of Music Merchants for his commitment to music education.
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Ron Paul (R)
A trained obstetrics/gynecology doctor and a former Air Force flight surgeon, Paul started his political career in the 1970s as a Texas representative. In 1988, he ran for president under the Libertarian Party. He was re-elected to Congress in 1996. Paul, on average, sponsors more bills than the average representative. He supports a limited government; enforcement of various constitutional rights such as religion, bearing arms and habeas corpus; and states’ individual rights with issues concerning abortion, stem-cell research and capital punishment.

Interesting fact: Though he is pro-life and has delivered over 4,000 babies in his medical career, he does not believe that the issue of abortion should become a federal matter.
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Mike Gravel (D)
Gravel’s political experience reaches as far back as 1960, here in Alaska, when he fought the Pentagon from continuing nuclear calibration tests at Amchitka Island. He was an Alaska representative from 1963-1966, and he jeopardized his political career when he launched a one-man filibuster in 1971 to try to bring an end to the Vietnam War draft. He was an Alaska senator from 1969-1981 and became head of the Democracy Foundation in 1989. Some of Gravel’s support lies with a reduction of America’s carbon footprint, Net neutrality, a universal healthcare system, women’s right to choose, LBGT rights and the end of the Iraq war.

Interesting fact: The Gravel Amendment was designed to immunize the Alaska pipeline, and ultimately sped up its construction. It met with a 49-49 tie, which was broken in Gravel’s favor by then-Vice President Spiro Agnew.
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Dennis Kucinich
After an initially unsuccessful run, Kucinich became part of the Cleveland Ohio City Council his second time around at the age of 23. By the time he was 31, he was elected mayor and at that time was the youngest mayor of a major city in the United States. A highly controversial point in his career was when he refused to sell Cleveland’s municipal electric system to a private competitor. Though the ordeal led to an assassination attempt and the demonizing of his public image for years to come, Kucinich’s decision ultimately saved the city hundreds of millions of dollars. He went on to become a member of the House of Representatives and lead 125 Democrats in voting against President Bush’s desire for a “blank check” to wage the war in Iraq. He has spoken against the war 140 times on the House’s floor and has questioned evidence produced about the war’s justification. He was a recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award in 2003. Some of the issues he favors are a universal health care system, protection of individual liberties and a strengthened the federal minimum wage.

Interesting fact: The oldest of seven children in an extremely poor family, Kucinich had only one pair of pants to wear to school and recalled his family counting out change on a countertop to pay the bills.
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