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Defending recent impeachment debate

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As one of the organizers of the impeachment debate, I would like to respond to the letter "Impeachment debate lacked debate" (Letters to the Editor, Jan. 30). We never promised a debate on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of the Bush administration. We simply advertised a debate that presented the pros and cons of impeachment.

The debate sprang from a meeting with U.S. Rep. David Price (D-4th District) in August 2007, in which we asked him to take a leadership position in advocating for the immediate start of impeachment hearings against both President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. We made a strong and solid case that our country was in a constitutional crisis. Price, while agreeing that this was "the worst administration in the history of our country," claimed that Congress was pursuing tactics equal to impeachment that would hold this administration accountable. He never cited any specifics, but was adamant that impeachment would "suck the oxygen" out of our democracy.

On the way out of the meeting, Price's aides handed us an article by Michael Tomasky titled "The Dumbest Move the Dems Could Make."

Our group then crafted this debate specifically to explore the pros and cons of impeachment in the context set forth to us by our own representative, which echoes the response that has filtered down from the national Democratic leadership.

In our opinion, there is no debate as to whether the Bush administration has committed acts that should trigger impeachment hearings. Torture, illegal wiretapping, lying to Congress and outing a CIA agent are a few acts that need true investigations. The real debate is in the minds and souls of our representatives. Will they take a courageous and principled stance and act on the oath they took to uphold the Constitution, to protect it from all enemies foreign and domestic?

Rebecca Cerese
Coalition for the Constitution
Durham

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