Yes or No

Jonathan Garthwaite
Posted: Nov 16, 2007 10:49 AM

Five minutes into the debate...

OBAMA: Senator Clinton, I think, is a capable politician and I think that she has run a terrific campaign.

But what the American people are looking for right now is straight answers to tough questions, and that is not what we've seen out of Senator Clinton on a host of issues -- on the issue of drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants.

A few minutes later

BLITZER: All right. I want to just press you on this point, because it's a logical follow-up, and then I want to go and ask everyone.

On the issue that apparently tripped up Senator Clinton earlier, the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, I take it, Senator Obama, you support giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. 

Is that right?

OBAMA: When I was a state senator in Illinois, I voted to require that illegal aliens get trained, get a license, get insurance to protect public safety. That was my intention.


And -- but I have to make sure that people understand. The problem we have here is not driver's licenses. Undocumented workers do not come here to drive. 


They don't go -- they're not coming here to go to the In-N-Out Burger. That's not the reason they're here. They're here to work. And so instead of being distracting by what has now become a wedge issue, let's focus on actually solving the problem that this administration, the Bush administration, had done nothing about it.

BLITZER: Well, let's go through everybody because I want to be precise. I want to make sure the viewers and those of us who are here fully understand all of your positions on this barring -- avoiding, assuming -- there isn't going to be comprehensive immigration reform.

Do you support or oppose driver's licenses for illegal immigrants?

OBAMA: I am not proposing that that's what we do.

OBAMA: What I'm saying is that we can't...


No, no, no, no. Look, I have already said, I support the notion that we have to deal with public safety and that driver's licenses at the same level can make that happen.

But what I also know...

BLITZER: All right...

OBAMA: But what I also know, Wolf, is that if we keep on getting distracted by this problem, then we are not solving it.

BLITZER: But -- because this is the kind of question that is sort of available for a yes or no answer. 


Either you support it or you oppose it.


Several minutes later after getting the other candiates to more or less say yes or no.

BLITZER: All right. Senator Obama, yes or no?




OBAMA: I'll tell you, I am going to be fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, and we shouldn't pose the question that, somehow, we can't achieve that.

I believe that the American people desperately want it; that's what I'm going to be fighting for as president.


BLITZER: Senator Clinton?