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Professors Praise Obama

Publication Date: 
January 31, 2008
The Stanford Daily
Melody Dye

The Stanford Daily reports on a "Faculty for Obama" forum held on campus:

...The talk featured candid policy discussions and a question and answer session with four presidential campaign advisors to Senator Barack Obama (D-IL).


The speakers included Law Profs. Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, Larry Marshall and William Gould, as well as Education Prof. Linda Darling-Hammond. The event — hosted by Debashish Bakshi ‘08, head of the Stanford chapter of Students for Barack Obama — drew some one hundred fifty prospective voters, filling seats almost to capacity.


Marshall, a national advocate for reform of the criminal justice system, recounted his own experience working with Obama in Illinois in 2001. It was a time, he said, when the long history of brutality and racism in the Chicago Police Department had created a crisis of inaction in the state legislature. Transformation of the justice system, it seemed, would not come through political avenues. But Obama changed that, Marshall said, by forming coalitions of people from across the political spectrum.

“What we’re talking about here with Senator Obama is an entirely different framework for what civility is in political discourse,” Marshall said. "We're talking about fundamental structural change; there's something different, there's something deep, there's something visionary here that transcends the issues that typically divide."

Cuellar, a veteran of the Clinton administration and a long-time Obama supporter, echoed Marshall’s sentiments, declaring that this is the most important election with which he has ever been involved. Cuellar, who advises Obama on immigration reform, criminal justice and foreign policy, lauded Obama’s courage in addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system and praised his principled stance on multi-lateralism. Obama, he said, was a man of moral conviction and integrity, neither swayed by the “political winds” nor immune to compromise.


Gould, a professor emeritus who has previously campaigned for John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Bill Clinton, said he believes Obama’s campaign to be of similar historical significance. Gould said he was attracted to Obama’s positions on a broad array of issues, including labor reform, social security, regional trade and taxation. What appealed to him most, however, was Obama’s drive to “overcome divisiveness on the basis of class and race, and to get us to work together as a country.”