Related story: Democrats Commit to Affirmative Action
George W. Bush (R):
"At their core, the Michigan policies amount to a quota system that unfairly rewards or penalizes prospective students based solely on their race. ... The motivation for such an admissions policy may be very good, but its result is discrimination and that discrimination is wrong." (From, Jan. 15, 2003)
Wesley Clark (D): “America cannot be a great nation without the leadership of our very best -- of all races, from all parts of the country. Affirmative action brings some of those future leaders to the forefront who might otherwise never get a chance. That's why all Americans benefit from affirmative action -- and why I am a supporter of it.” (Quoted on
 Howard Dean (D): “There is a study in the Wall Street Journal that says you have a better chance of getting a job if you're white and have a criminal record than if you're black and you don't. We still have a long way to go for equity and justice.” (At an agricultural forum in Des Moines, Nov. 15, 2003)
 John Edwards (D): “The civil rights movement is not over in this country. We need to have judges who enforce our civil rights laws. I support affirmative action programs.” (At a campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Oct. 7, 2003)
 Dick Gephardt (D): “While I am disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision today to overturn the University of Michigan's undergraduate affirmative action program, the court's ruling upholding the law school case makes clear that race continues to be a legitimate factor to consider in providing opportunity to all students." (Quoted on, June 2003)
 John Kerry (D): “John Kerry believes in an America where we take common-sense steps to ensure that our schools and workplaces reflect the full face of America. He has consistently opposed efforts in the Senate to undermine or eliminate affirmative action programs and supports programs that seek to enhance diversity, for example by fostering the growth of minority small businesses.” (Quoted on
 Dennis Kucinich (D): “To do nothing, to abolish affirmative action, is to use means to fall back into the de facto segregation of the past, which makes a mockery of democracy, equality, liberty and justice -- the very values on which this nation was founded.” (Quoted on, June 2003)
Joe Lieberman (D): “Lieberman supported Clinton's affirmative action plan and still plans to support it. He will defend affirmative action against all criticism." (Kevin McCarthy, Iowa representative for the Lieberman campaign, Nov. 17, 2003)
Carol Moseley Braun (D): “The survival of affirmative action creates hope that opportunity exists for those who have not yet had a chance to lead and that performance and talent will be rewarded." (Guest essay, editorial section, Chicago Sun-Times, July 9, 2003)
 Al Sharpton (D): A statement on affirmative action could not be obtained from the Sharpton campaign staff.

Quotes compiled by Annie Shuppy and Christina Preiss

E-mail Annie Shuppy at [email protected] and Christina Preiss at [email protected]du

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