MSNBC Democratic Presidential Debate Asks the Question "Is Wal-Mart a Good Thing or Bad Thing for America?"
April 27th, 2007
Contact: Chris Kofinis (202) 486-6422
MSNBC DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
ASKS THE QUESTION
“IS WAL-MART A GOOD THING OR BAD THING FOR AMERICA?”
SENATOR CLINTON CALLS WAL-MART “MIXED BLESSING”
Washington, DC - Last night, in one of the strongest reflections of how Wal-Mart has become an increasingly important national political issue, the debate about whether or not Wal-Mart is good for America was raised during the first Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC. The debate, which included questions on a variety of pressing topics, including Iraq, Terrorism, Health Care, Gun Control, and Abortion, brought Wal-Mart to the center stage when NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams asked Senator Hillary Clinton the question - “Is Wal-Mart a good thing or bad thing for the United States of America?”
In the debate, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a poignant response, answered that Wal-Mart is a”mixed blessing.” Senator Clinton went on to explain that as Wal-Mart “grew much bigger, though, they have raised serious questions about the responsibility of corporations and how they need to be a leader when it comes to providing health care and having safe working conditions and not discriminating on the basis of sex or race or any other category.”
The entire transcript of Senator Clinton’s response on the Wal-Mart question is attached below.
Interestingly, tonight’s question is similar to one asked in a national Zogby poll commissioned by WakeUpWalMart.com in November 2005. In the poll, 56 percent of American adults agreed with the statement - "Wal-Mart was bad for America. It may provide low prices, but these prices come with a high moral and economic cost." In contrast, only 39 percent of American adults agreed with the opposing statement - "I believe Wal-Mart is good for America. It provides low prices and saves consumers money every day."
Following the presidential debate, post-analysis discussion on Wal-Mart continued with MSNBC Host Chris Matthews and commentator Tucker Carlson discussing Senator Clinton’s response and how Wal-Mart has emerged as an important political issue for the national debate.
The following is a statement by Paul Blank, Campaign Director for WakeUpWalMart.com.
“As we have long argued, the campaign to change Wal-Mart is not a debate about one company, it’s a debate about what kind of America we want to live in. Last night, during the MSNBC presidential debate, we saw the power our movement has with over 370,000 supporters to make Wal-Mart not only an important social issue, but an important political issue.
As we witnessed during our incredible nationwide bus tour where countless Democratic leaders, like Senator John Edwards, Gov. Bill Richardson, Senator Joe Biden and others spoke out to last night’s debate where Senator Clinton called Wal-Mart a ‘mixed blessing,’ the debate about whether Wal-Mart is good or bad for America is front and center.
In our belief, though, as we look forward, the emergence of Wal-Mart as a defining political issue has only just begun. In the coming weeks and months, WakeUpWalMart.com will unleash one of the most exciting phases of our grassroots campaign to change Wal-Mart into a more responsible employer and company. So in the spirit of last night’s debate, we are more excited than ever about taking this campaign and the debate about Wal-Mart from one corner of America to another.”
Debate Transcript Attached Below:
MSNBC Democratic Presidential Debate
April 26, 2007
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Senator Clinton, overall, is Wal-Mart a good thing or a bad thing for the United States of America?
SENATOR CLINTON: Well, it's a mixed blessing.
WILLIAMS: How so?
SENATOR CLINTON: Well because when Wal-Mart started, it brought goods into rural areas, like rural Arkansas where I was happy to live for 18 years. And it gave people a chance to stretch their dollar further. But as they grew much bigger, though, they have raised serious questions about the responsibility of corporations and how they need to be a leader when it comes to providing health care and having safe working conditions and not discriminating on the basis of sex or race or any other category. Brian, this is all part, though, of how this Administration and corporate America today don't see middle class and working Americans. They are invisible. They don't understand that if you're a family that can't get health care, you're really hurting. But to the corporate elite and to the Administration and the White House, you're invisible. If you can't afford college, you're invisible. So I think we need to get both public sector and private sector leadership to start stepping up and being responsible and taking care of people.
WILLIAMS: Senator, thank you.