South Pasadena Students Sound Off on Democratic Race

Most of the seniors at South Pasadena High School are still too young to vote, but that doesn't stop their opinions about the presidential race. Special Correspondent Kitty Felde dropped into an Advanced Placement Government class to gather students' thoughts on a recent debate among the Democratic candidates.

Kitty Felde: The assignment for Maryann Nielsen's advanced placement Government class was to watch the most recent Democratic debate. The seniors were interested in a laundry list of issues, starting with the national debt.

Hannah Ames: Alright, I'm Hannah Ames, and I think we're concerned about the debt because we're gonna grow up into that world. We're entering it at the end of this year, and we're gonna have to deal with trying to get that money, like work harder.

Joseph Biden: The Republicans are trying to sucker us into this, you either have to balance the budget and do nothing to make people's lives better, or you're going to balloon the deficit.

Andres MacCarthy: Andres MacCarthy. Well I just feel like, I dunno, the debt's really important because that's gonna affect our social security when we're older, and I dunno.

Rebeca Bonilla-Myers: Rebeca Bonilla-Myers. Um, we're about to like apply to college and stuff, and like we're really affected by the inflation of prices, especially like the cost of tuition and stuff like that.

Barack Obama: We are not going to be able to dig ourselves out of that hole in one or two years, but if we can get on a path of sustained growth, if we can end the war in Iraq, end some of the special interest loopholes and earmarks that have been clogging up the system, then I think we can return to a path of balanced budget.

Vincent Hennerty: I'm Vincent Hennerty. I had a big problem with the universal health care, that Clinton supports.

Hillary Clinton: I will end the war in Iraq and bring our sons and daughters home, I will get quality affordable health care for every single American.

Hennerty: I didn't like the fact that they give the idea, and a lot of people of course are gonna support it, but she didn't explain how they were going to pay.

Teresa Wen: Teresa Wen. I heard a couple candidates talk about cap and trade agreements, and I thought that was kind of interesting.

Chris Dodd: I'm the only candidate on this forum here who's advocated a corporate carbon tax.

Felde: You could say "cap and trade" to a hundred people, and their eyes would glaze over immediately. Why is that of interest to you?

Wen: The economic side is cool, 'cause they both make money, but then it also helps the environment.

Emilio Medina: Emilio Medina. At one point of the debate, Clinton said something about raising taxes for corporations, and wealthy individuals.

Clinton: I want to restore the tax rates that we had in the '90s. That means raising taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals.

Medina: And that kind of struck me as, uh, shocking, I guess.

Michelle Lam: Michelle Lam. So one of the topics that struck me was about how our country should alter trading policies with nations that violate human rights.

Bill Richardson: What we need to do is impose trade sanctions when a country violates human rights and doesn't hold elections, as we should be doing, and we're doing in Burma, as we're doing in Sudan, as we probably should consider doing with China.

Lam: Um, obviously our nation, in terms of trade, we want the benefits that can be derived from trade, but there's also, we have to be careful in making certain policies, because we don't want to further the corruption that could be going on in certain nations.

Lauren Saint: Lauren Saint. What struck me more than what they were saying was the different presences, and although I think Hillary seemed the most presidential, and like the most self-assured and confident, she wasn't really good at, like, relating to the people, and I thought that John Edwards was probably the best at that.

John Edwards: We have a responsibility to future generations, an enormous responsibility. I mean, 20 generations came before us. Our parents, our grandparents. They did everything they could do to leave America better than they found it, and to make certain that their children had a better life than they've had. That's what our responsibility is.

Saint: Hillary definitely did seem, like, the most presidential, the way she opened up with that quote about, like, most people try to, like, achieve change by just hoping for it, but I would do it by working for it. But I mean, that was just a line.

Felde: Few of these students will be able to cast ballots in the February primary, but almost all will turn 18 by the general election in November.