Abel Maldonado and Lois Capps

Paul Wellman

Abel Maldonado and Lois Capps

Farmer Fights Nurse for Congress

Abel Maldonado’s Bid to Unseat Rep. Lois Capps Gets National Attention

Thursday, October 4, 2012
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No matter your politics, the past four years have been nothing short of historic. Amid one of the worst economic disasters in American history, a black president was elected, the auto and financial industries were bailed out, the health-care system was reset with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (which has been upheld by the Supreme Court), and the military’s longstanding “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gay soldiers was repealed.

And here we are again, with another Election Day around the corner, one that pundits are claiming to be the most important in our lifetime, as they tend to do every time the voting booths are rolled out for presidential elections. But for the first time in 10 years, thanks to California’s once-a-decade redistricting policy, the state is a battleground for the U.S. House of Representatives. Starting in California, the Democrats are eyeing a long-shot chance of taking back the House, while the Republicans are fighting to maintain the majority they won in 2010.

That high-stakes hustle has zoomed in on our very own slice of the Central Coast, where the newly drawn 24th Congressional District extends from a sliver of Ventura County up to encompass all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. For only the second time since taking office 14 years ago ​— ​and certainly true of her past five reelection campaigns ​— ​Representative Lois Capps finds herself in a tough race. The 20-something-percent advantage of registered Democrats over Republicans that Capps enjoyed in her former district has been whittled down to just a 3-percent lead, with one-fifth of voters undeclared. That could cause anxiety against any opponent, but Capps is up against former lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado, a moderate Republican from Santa Maria who’s got experience, youth, and popularity on his side.

As such, the GOP bigwigs see the Capps seat as a possible pickup, and they aren’t hiding their efforts to snag it. So far, the National Republican Congressional Committee has thrown $400,473 at the race, Speaker John Boehner’s unofficial Super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, has pitched in $250,000, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce added $120,000. To fight back, the Democratic National Campaign Committee and the House Majority PAC have begun to run ads in the district, and much more cash is expected to be raining on the coast by Election Day. And that’s not even counting the more than $1 million in campaign monies that each candidate already has in their own war chests.

It will most likely be the priciest campaign ever waged by Capps, who has been a member of Congress since 1998, when she won a special election to replace her husband, Walter Capps, a former UCSB professor who died suddenly in office. She was reelected in 2000, back when the district looked a lot like it does today. But for most of her tenure, Capps represented the 23rd District, a gerrymandered strip of coastline from San Luis Obispo to Oxnard that’s become known as the “Ribbon of Shame” and will cease to exist come 2013.

Though he hasn’t been in political office since 2010, when he lost the statewide election to current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Maldonado had his eyes on Capps’s seat before the new lines were even drawn, opening up a campaign committee in 2011 because he realized the reformed district would be more favorable to challengers. Like Republicans across the country, Maldonado is calling attention to the still struggling economy and asking voters whether the country is better off now than it was four years ago or back in 1998, when Capps was elected. He says no, citing higher unemployment, deeper national debt, costlier college tuitions, and expensive gas at the pump.

But since Capps and Maldonado began their political careers at about the same time, many of the problems he pins on her could be turned around on him. While Maldonado was in state office, California’s $4-billion budget surplus became a $25-billion deficit, California State University tuition more than doubled, and unemployment in the state also increased. Maldonado’s defense is that he never served on the majority party in the State Legislature, and that’s true, but Capps has only been in the majority party of the House for four of 14 years.

As vote-by-mail ballots begin to hit mailboxes this week, most political observers agree Maldonado is still fighting an uphill battle to unseat the entrenched Capps machine. But with less than a month to go until Election Day, they also admit that it is far from a done deal for Capps to claim her eighth reelection.

By Paul Wellman

Abel Maldonado at Goleta Beach

The Son of a Farmer Man

A likeable guy with an inspiring life story, Abel Maldonado is the son of an immigrant farmworker whose family farm is now the source of enormous wealth. When government bureaucracy weighed down his attempts to get a building permit 20 years ago, he decided to run for the Santa Maria City Council and won his first campaign in 1994 at the age of 26. Two years later, he was mayor, and in 1998, he was elected to the State Assembly, where he’d serve three terms before moving to the State Senate. In 2000, the fresh-faced Maldonado, who is married with four children, was speaking onstage at the Republican National Convention.

Over the years, Maldonado has worked hard to achieve his reputation as a moderate Republican, and he boasts a record of working across the aisle, which seems an endangered trait. He supported Hannah-Beth Jackson’s bill to track oil tankers between Los Angeles and San Francisco, was one of two Republicans to support the state’s assault-weapon ban, and was the only Republican in the Assembly to vote for a bill that instituted jail terms for ag growers who failed to pay workers. But Maldonado can also be staunchly conservative. He voted against California’s climate change law, has said he is opposed to gay marriage and has consistently voted down domestic partnerships, has voted against affirmative action, and even supported Proposition 187, a measure that was looked at as anti-Latino.

And then there is his infamous 2009 vote. With Sacramento gridlocked, the Democrats needed one more vote to pass a budget and close a $40-billion deficit. Though the repercussions would be severe, Maldonado agreed to be that vote, thereby ushering in the biggest tax raise in state history in exchange for the Democrats’ help in getting three measures on that year’s ballot, including one that made California’s primary elections “open primaries,” where the top two candidates, regardless of party, move on to the general election.

Maldonado was immediately vilified by conservatives, including Jon Fleischman, who runs the influential FlashReport. “He’s rather infamous for breaking his no-taxes pledge,” explained Fleischman.

“I knew that day it was either going to be for my political career ​— ​and just do the party line ​— ​or put California first,” said Maldonado of the decision that still strains his Republican ties. “We were on the verge of going off the fiscal cliff. Let me tell you what the other choice was: Shut down the university system. Shut down some of the prisons. Shut down some of the construction jobs in California. In my book, that was not an option.”

To him, it’s hard evidence that he won’t be beholden to party bosses in Washington. “I’ve had pressure from a lot of people,” he said. “And guess what? I’m only going to have pressure from 750,000 people. That’s it. No pressure from John Boehner and no pressure from Nancy Pelosi. That’s it. Politicians don’t want to rock the boat anywhere. They’re afraid of losing their office. No. You do what’s right for the district, and I’ve proven that, and that’s not going to change in Washington for me.”

Onlookers wonder whether Maldonado will be able to walk that talk in D.C., questioning the prospect of working around the party leaders and wondering how effective he would be if he did so. Harsher critics say that he’s more of an opportunist than a moderate, calling his budget vote a calculated political move that personally set him up for a better future. “His vote in support of the budget was done so it would create the type of primary where he would be competitive,” said former assemblymember Pedro Nava, who opposed Maldonado’s appointment to lieutenant governor. “It was not based on some long-held principle. It’s because it was part of an exchange.”

“We need a strong leader who actually has principles that they fight and stand for,” said Mitchum, echoing some conservatives who claim they won’t vote for either candidate come November.

Conservatives continue to snipe at Maldonado, too, including Chris Mitchum, who opposed Maldonado in the June primary and lost but won’t endorse him. “We need a strong leader who actually has principles that they fight and stand for,” said Mitchum, echoing some conservatives who claim they won’t vote for either candidate come November.

The national Republicans, however, are standing tall behind Maldonado. Speaker John Boehner came out to a Hope Ranch mansion for a fundraising visit, the money keeps flowing in from Washington, and Maldonado has been named a member of the party’s “Young Gun” program.

If elected, Maldonado would work toward solutions to problems he’s seen in his own life. For example, he’d like to make it easier for smaller businesses to succeed by reducing regulations.

But lessons about life and business aren’t the only things he’s reaped from the family farm. The 6,000-acre strawberry, broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuce farm near Santa Maria is also proving to be the source of controversy during this campaign. In 2010, a Los Angeles Times report outlined dozens of workplace-safety violations at Maldonado’s farm, including one farmworker fatality. At the time, Maldonado said that the violations were, among other things, the result of overzealous regulators “who put businesses out of business and dissuade new businesses from coming to California.”

The family’s taxes have also become Election Day fodder. After learning that Maldonado’s farm ​— ​in which he has a one-third stake ​— ​had nine tax liens totaling more than $240,000 over a period of 15 years, the Times also revealed that Maldonado is in dispute with the IRS over tax deductions that could total as much as $4.2 million. Maldonado is awaiting a resolution of that dispute.

By Paul Wellman (file)

Lois Capps

Nurse for a Nation

Unlike Maldonado’s party woes, Rep. Lois Capps is well-liked by Democrats virtually across the board and enjoys strong, embedded grassroots efforts up and down the Central Coast. That’s in part because Capps is a party-line voter, voting 96.8 percent of the time with her party since 2006, according to Capps doesn’t back down from that statistic, explaining that her votes always reflect her values and input she gets from constituents. “I just look at what is the best thing that my drumbeat tells me from spending time in the district and that fits with where our needs are,” she said.

That drumbeat is also informed by her nursing career and nearly 50 years living in Santa Barbara, where she moved in 1964 with her husband, Walter. Before getting into politics when Walter died, the mother of three and grandmother of seven worked as a public school nurse, administering a program that focused on the needs of pregnant high school girls.

In Washington, Capps is consistently voted one of the nicest members of Congress. No one disputes that, but critics do question what she has actually done. In response, Capps proponents note she was one of the few members of Congress to vote against going to war on Iraq. She also explains that she authored the Nurse Reinvestment Act, as well as legislation that makes it easier for military veterans who served as medics to be certified as EMTs, and that she is a leader when it comes to offshore oil, a claim bolstered by her membership in the House Committee on Energy & Commerce. She voted for both the stimulus package and the bank bailout.

As far as on-the-ground work in the region, Capps worked for many years to find funding to fix the Santa Maria River Levee, which will be able to withstand a 100-year storm when completed. That path included teaming with Senator Dianne Feinstein to secure nearly $7 million for initial construction, negotiating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make sure the project was shovel-ready, and then lining up $40 million in federal stimulus funds.

“You don’t want to sell out, but you also don’t want to sit and wait for the perfect bill. You want to get on board with something that moves the agenda forward. As in the healthcare law. If we waited for the perfect law, we’d be waiting around another generation or two, and a lot of people would be suffering.” — Lois Capps

Despite her party-line votes, Capps said she also believes in bipartisanship when possible, always seeking a Republican to cosponsor any legislation she introduces. “Democracy is the art of compromise, in a good way,” said Capps. “You don’t want to sell out, but you also don’t want to sit and wait for the perfect bill. You want to get on board with something that moves the agenda forward. As in the healthcare law. If we waited for the perfect law, we’d be waiting around another generation or two, and a lot of people would be suffering.”

Capps proudly voted for the Affordable Care Act ​— ​in fact, some of the provisions were bills she had a hand in ​— ​and she wears the name Obamacare as a badge of honor. That’s contrary to her opponent Maldonado, who has said he would repeal and replace the law but softened his tone in speaking with this paper recently. “They rammed a piece of legislation through,” said Maldonado. “It was not bipartisan; it was too big. They called it a gamble, and they said let’s pass it and we’ll work on it down the road.” He has said he likes some of the provisions but that it needs a rework.

But like Maldonado, Capps has her own tax issues, including not paying taxes on rental income she received for five years. While her accountant discovered the mistake in 2006, and reported it to the Legislative Resource Center, which oversees public disclosures from public officials, it was not resolved with the IRS until earlier this year. “I was happy to release all of my tax records from the first time I ran, and in doing so, realized I had made a mistake,” she explained. “Immediately we discovered we had made a mistake and fixed it.”

The two tax situations have led to mirror-image television advertising. In one, the National Republican Central Committee says Capps is cutting Medicare by supporting Obamacare, claiming, “She raised your taxes and didn’t pay hers, until she got caught.” Meanwhile, the Capps campaign is running an ad about Maldonado that, at the end, proclaims, “Can you really trust someone who doesn’t pay his own taxes but raises yours?”


With Paul Ryan taking center stage as the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee, his budget plan has also taken center stage. In step with her party, Capps voted against it, saying her only disappointment was that “I only got to vote against it twice.” Maldonado, meanwhile, said he was also against Ryan’s budget, which would have made him the only Republican to vote against it. “We made a commitment to our seniors,” said Maldonado, explaining he did not like the idea of turning Medicare into a voucher system, “and we’re going to keep our commitment.”


The immigration system in the United States is broken, and there’s little doubt it needs to be fixed.

But the answer on what to do is a little trickier.

Capps voted for the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented young adults who were brought into the country as children to pursue citizenship if they go to college or join the military. According to a spokesperson, she “supports establishing a pathway to legal status for undocumented families that have lived, worked, and raised their families in this country for decades.” That path would include criminal background checks, paying taxes, learning English, and getting in line to apply for citizenship.

Maldonado, the son of an immigrant, said he plans to introduce legislation to attempt to fix a “system that no one is willing to tackle.” He said he is in favor of a temporary work permit for temporary jobs, like the one that brought his father to America. “When the job is over with, you go back to the country you came from,” he said.


The Santa Barbara Independent also asked both candidates their thoughts on Camp 4, a 1,400-acre property in the Santa Ynez Valley purchased by the Chumash tribe, who have said they plan to pursue tribal housing there but have residents worried they will use the property to expand gaming and resort operations. The Chumash hope to bring the land into their reservation, thereby taking it off the county tax rolls and out of local government control. Federal legislation, introduced by a politician, is one of the easiest ways to do so.

Maldonado was firm on the issue. “I’m not going to Washington to introduce a piece of legislation that allows people to expedite the process for land-use decisions in Santa Barbara County, or San Luis Obispo, or Ventura County,” he said. “That process is done at the local level, not in Washington.”

Capps, meanwhile, said it didn’t make sense to weigh in on the issue when it wasn’t yet in her district but that she will continue to listen to concerns carefully. “I haven’t been privy enough to all the information to make a decision on it,” she said.


Both candidates said they are opposed to offshore oil drilling. Maldonado explains that, with the new technology out there, he is for energy exploration ​— ​whether it is onshore oil, wind, solar, or bio energy ​— ​but that offshore oil is off limits. Though he wasn’t in a position to vote on the controversial Tranquillon Ridge proposal to allow some offshore drilling in exchange for shutting down operations later, Maldonado was against it, keeping in mind something his grandfather told him: “Abel, we have a beautiful coastline, and they don’t make it anymore. And if you don’t protect what we have, who the hell is going to?”

Capps was a supporter of the project, which Maldonado is quick to point out. “I don’t understand how Lois can say she was a protector of the coast when she supported PXP.”

While she was a supporter of that project ​— ​and many environmentalists were in favor of it (they said allowing PXP to drill in the short term was an adequate exchange for shutting down the platforms down the road) ​— ​she has consistently been a vote against drilling. Most recently, in July, she voted against a bill that would have expanded drilling from platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel and other onshore locations.


The Santa Barbara Independent, along with UCSB’s Carsey-Wolf Center, is hosting a debate between Abel Maldonado and Lois Capps on Tuesday, October 9, at 7 p.m. at UCSB’s Pollock Theater. Tickets for the event are sold out, but it will be streamed live on, broadcast live on KCSB, and replayed frequently on TVSB Channel 19. There is also an overflow room on campus at 1920 Buchanan Hall.

Click here to watch the live debate, which runs tonight from 7-8:30 p.m.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Excellent overview of the candidates, thank you Chris.
I am really torn on who to vote for on this one. I am not that impressed with Capps. She is nice, yes, but how effective is she at helping her constituents? My one experience reaching out to her office for assistance in dealing with an underinsurance issue after our property was destroyed in a wildfire left me entirely unimpressed. It was basically "This is not my area of expertise, you are on your own." Maldonado would be a breath of fresh air, a moderate, and full of can-do energy. On the other hand, I hate the Republican right wing so much that I really would love to see the Democrats take back the House.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
October 4, 2012 at 8:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hate doesn't help and is what is destroying our system, so put it aside.

If you saw the debate you saw an elected Representative who couldn't utter a coherent sentence and had no record to run on. On the other hand, Maldonado is the very essence of a moderate, work-across-the-aisle Republican. Capps' ads accusing him of voting for the 'biggest tax increase in CA history' are laughable, given that Maldonado was the only Republican to cross the aise and vote with Capps' Democratic party for the tax increase.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
October 4, 2012 at 8:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

'accusing him of voting for the 'biggest tax increase in CA history' are laughable, given that Maldonado was the only Republican to cross the aise and vote with Capps' Democratic party for the tax increase.'
and this makes sense how?
If he voted for it, it is laughable to accuse him of voting for it because he did so?

spacey (anonymous profile)
October 4, 2012 at 1:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Human rights come before any other issues, including taxes. Maldonado supports apartheid based on sexual orientation, so he has no business having a leadership role in elected office.

banjo (anonymous profile)
October 4, 2012 at 1:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Can you imagine if a Libertarian had been in that debate and the subject had been human rights and fiscal responsibility? Just think about it.

Notice too how the National Defense Authorization Act was never mentioned during the debates.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 4, 2012 at 2:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Did anyone see the picture on the front of the Independent? Lois Capps looks more like a 25 year old Vanna White.

To say that was a flattering depiction is an understatement.

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 4, 2012 at 2:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I really enjoyed this article and the fact it was balanced, gave a rundown of both candidates highs and lows in a unbiased fashion. I will probably end up voting for Lois again but like the fact that this article was fair to both of the candidates instead of painting one side with horns and eating small children and puppies.

pointssouth (anonymous profile)
October 4, 2012 at 3:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)


If you were running as a democrat, you would win this seat in Congress.

Think about it.

The Federal Republicans are owned by special interests and will not support you.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
October 4, 2012 at 3:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't understand why another Democrat doesn't challenge Lois Capps for the seat. If you look at the legislation that she has Authored and passed. It is 1 bill for land rights conveyed to the department of Interior. I am not necessarily in favor of Abel Maldonado as I do not know very much about him. However I hope the Independent would mention her lack of effective legislation the next time they do their recommendations for which candidate to vote for in the upcoming election. She is a largely ineffectual leader.

tbrunnemer (anonymous profile)
October 4, 2012 at 4:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The article was fair; therefore DM, banjo, and J_L will probably stop reading the Indy...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
October 4, 2012 at 4:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Georgy, Maldonado has emphasized he wants to repeal Dodd-Frank and "Obamacare" and replace with health insurance purchased across state lines.

Though not a Tea Partier, that tells me he'll fit in with the Federal Republicans just fine.

I love this swarmy endorsement of Maldonado by the Montecito Journal:

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
October 4, 2012 at 6:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Another Dem won't challenge Capps because she is supported by the local Machine and is a reliable parrot for Pelosi.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
October 5, 2012 at 7:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You are right JohnLocke, I should not have said I hate the Tea Partiers. I should have said I strongly dislike their intransigence and think they are just as dangerous to our Democracy as runaway deficits.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
October 5, 2012 at 1:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@EastBeach, The thing is is that both "Obamacare" and "Dodd-Frank" don't do much other than keep things the way they were. Obamacare even helps private insurance create a monopoly and eliminates the possibility of a single-payer system, while forcing poor and middle-class people to buy really bad, over-priced insurance at an uncompetitive high price. Why didn't Obama just push for Medi-care coverage for all?

To reform the banks and Wall St., the Glass-Steagall act of 1933 needs to be re-instated. Maldonado may or may not want to do this, but Dodd-Frank has little teeth in it.

Robert Kuttner, Joseph Stiglitz, Elizabeth Warren, Robert Weissman, and others have tied the Glass-Steagall repeal to the late-2000s financial crisis.–St...

Maldonado may or may not be a reformer, but Lois certainly will not go against her marching orders and be a reformer.

Obama knew from previous speeches Glass–Steagal was the solution but he caved to big money donors like Goldman-Sachs.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
October 5, 2012 at 2:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

and the answer is...

C. none of the above.

native2sb (anonymous profile)
October 8, 2012 at 3:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I trust the one I can throw the furthest.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
October 8, 2012 at 3:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A vote for Maldonado reinforces the conservative extremists who now run the vote-squashing Republican party, and the cabal of neo-Randian throwbacks who are darned close to acquiring a government, an economy, and an ecosystem if the Ryan+some-version-of-Romney ticket should win. Like Obama, Capps is flawed, but the better choice for complex problems.

anemonefish (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2012 at 2:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Isn't it Reid and co. that are sitting on almost every bill the house sends them? Among my favorites is auditing the Federal Reserve. Thanks alot Harry for your obstruction!

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2012 at 3:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What kind of Bills are the House sending them? More hate based initiatives against women, the elderly and sick, minorities? And wasn't it the Republican caucus who announced day one of the Obama administration that their number one goal was to deny him another term as opposed to actually helping solve the country's problems; putting Party over Country yet none dare call it treason.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2012 at 3:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah right Ken, they're all Jim Crow laws, like you ever bothered to look.

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2012 at 3:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I wouldn't embarass yourself making assumptions like that about me Botany.
Furthermore, it's been the House and Senate Republicans who've demanded Guantanomo remain open, have advocated torture and were also the ones who demanded the NDAA be part of an economics bill- they've been trying to get that passed since W. So it seems it is not I who hasn't bothered to look. But at least you don't deny the treasonous strategy they announced early on.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2012 at 3:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Botany, while both parties have used obstructionist tactics, Republicans are much more guilty of making the most recent Congressional sessions some of the least productive ever.

"We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party."

That quote is from two highly respected and long-time watchers of Congress, Norm Ornstein at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and Thomas Mann at the moderate Brookings Institution.

I trust them to be impartial much more than I trust the Koch Brothers' Freedomworks Super PAC.

Ornstein/Mann actually attend sessions of Congress and know the members. Check them out in Google Books or read the link to see examples of Republican backstabbing and filibustering they've documented. It's really disgusting.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2012 at 5:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why do you suppose Obama did not close Guantamo, as he promised. Well, rather than call him a liar, I'd guess that he found out after he took office that it wasn't so simple, not to mention that no one wanted the prisoners in their back yard (this NIMBY attitude should be very familiar to most Santa Barbarians).

And Maldonado is hardly a conservative extremist. After all, as Ms. Capps pointed out in one of her fatuous ads, he voted with the Dems for a tax increase. Comically, Capps, who regularly votes in favor of tax increases, pointed this out as a negative, as opposed to bipartisanship. Unbelievable.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2012 at 6:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I remember that hullaballoo JL! You would've thought any actual terrorists had superhuman powers!
The whole campaign seems centered on who paid taxes, who isn't blah blah blah. I'm sure we all agree there's been no real conversation about issues other than their taxes- altho perhaps the debate tonight will yield a comment or two about the weather.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2012 at 7:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"In 2009, when the administration moved toward closing the prison, Obama faced fierce opposition from Republicans over where the detainees would be held. He also had to deal with resistance in his own party, and Senate Democrats blocked $80 million that would have funded closing Guantánamo during Obama’s first year."

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y.) defended the Guantánamo prison, arguing it’s too much of a risk to bring suspected terrorists to a U.S. prison.

“In an ideal world we would find another location, but quite frankly I don’t know where it would be,” King told The Hill on Wednesday. “If you send them overseas, there’s a greater risk of them being released, and here in the U.S. it opens all sorts of other issues.”

tabatha (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2012 at 10:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The majority of congress, the majority of the senate, Lois Capps, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney support the NDAA. I don't know where Maldonado stands on it however.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2012 at 11:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

More blood on Peter King's and Obama's hands...

("Guantanamo detainee found dead had recently gone on hunger strike": from September 11, 2012 WaPo: )

::: "Latif, the ninth detainee to have died at the Guantanamo Bay detention center since 2002, was captured near the Afghan-Pakistani border in late 2001 and was among the first prisoners to be transferred to Guantanamo in January 2002.

:: "He had a long history of hunger strikes and once weighed as little as 89.8 pounds, according to Defense Department records. He attempted suicide multiple times before his death and had been reprimanded for misbehavior. He was being held in maximum security in Camp Five.

:: "Latif was cleared for release by the military in 2004 and approved for transfer five years later by the Justice Department’s Guantanamo Review Task Force. Separately, in July 2010, a federal court in Washington ruled in favor of Latif’s habeas corpus petition, ordering that he be released to Yemen. The court found that the Obama administration had failed to show that Latif had a connection to al-Qaeda."

The detention camp and program at Guantanamo is a national sin, begun by Bush, perpetuated by Obama; currently 166 prisoners remain, many of them innocent of crimes or charges, as was Latif. Many of them literally driven insane by the circumstance of their continued incarceration.

As the article says "Latif was CLEARED FOR RELEASE by the military in 2004..."

"Close Guantanamo Now Petition" -- online here:
[Center for Constitutional Rights]

binky (anonymous profile)
October 9, 2012 at 11:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

An excellent article by Chris Meagher. Since I do not own a TV all these ads have gone over my head; the lies etc. thrown by both candidates about paying their taxes etc. is boring and as several posts agree, mislead the public.
Absolutely, the Glass-Steagall act of 1933 needs to be re-instated! It has been the Republican-dominated House of Representatives which has been much more obstructionists: didn't Romney brag in the first debate that Obama was unable to obtain a single vote in the House for the Obamacare law (ACA)? This tells us everything about the obstructionist Republicans, and Abel would be part of that disgusting cabal.
Why can't the Democrats find better candidates? Sclerosis of the populist arteries. Lois, Hannah-Beth, Das, what a motley crew, yet I'll end up voting for all three since the alternatives are much worse.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
October 10, 2012 at 3:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDran, of course the Republicans voted against ObamaCare, it's expensive, robs money from Medicare and people don't want it. This country would be better off without it, although a few provisions are likely to remain.

Obama spent all his time and energy cramming this through while the country was in economic crisis. The economy wasn't at the top of his agenda and that is one of the reasons why this is the weakest recovery since the great depression.

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 10, 2012 at 6 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I just want a representative who will represent us! Capps has never listened to us and even went against us when we "all" told her to vote against the stimulus bill... which as we now know was wasted! Made the super rich richer!!! I'm not sure who I will vote for -- but it sure isn't going to be her!!!!!

Darrelln99 (anonymous profile)
October 24, 2012 at 11:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A vote for Maldonado is a vote for the same thieves who created the 08 disaster.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
October 24, 2012 at 12:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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