By Katie Paul
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Jul 15, 2008
Newsweek’s Katie Paul interviewed Green Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, now published at Newsweek.com
A clip and one particular question is posted here. Read the full story at Newsweek.com
Controversy has always been Cynthia McKinney’s trademark. This election season, she may have finally found her perfect political home. Last weekend, the 53-year-old former Georgia congresswoman clinched the Green Party’s presidential nomination; 35-year-old hip-hop activist and activist Rosa Clemente will be her running mate.
A firebrand politician best known for her impolitic statements during her more than 20 years in public life, McKinney has had a mixed electoral record as a Democrat in her district in recent years. After 10 years in office, she was upset in 2002 by fellow Democrat Denise Majette, re-elected in 2004, and ousted again in 2006 by the 4th District’s current Democratic congressman, Rep. Hank Johnson. Most commentators point to her altercation with a U.S. Capitol police officer and her accusations that the Bush administration covered up its role in the 9/11 attacks to explain the losses, but McKinney cites voting irregularities like those highlighted in “American Blackout,” a 2006 documentary that focuses on her career.
Paul: If you were to be elected, what would be item number one on the McKinney agenda?
McKinney: Is it OK if I do several things simultaneously [laughs]? First of all, we have to instruct the Joint Chiefs of Staff to draw up an orderly withdrawal process for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We would also begin work immediately on a budget to submit to Congress that satisfies human needs and doesn’t reflect corporate greed as the current budget does. I would also remind the members of Congress swept into office with me as the New Broom Coalition that we could initiate impeachment proceedings. Also, I would make public the papers pertaining to certain tragedies in the life of our country, like the JKF assassination, Martin Luther King Jr., and the 9/11 Truth Movement-I would release everything the Bush administration knew about September 11. One more thing I would do is begin the process of putting into place a Department of Peace. It would be wonderful to rename the Department of State as the Department of Peace and have our ambassadors go around the world with a mission…to begin their engagement in the world based on human rights and peace.
Paul: What kind of strategy are you employing for the campaign?
McKinney: There are currently about 200 members of the Green Party who are elected officials. These are mostly local elections. The Green Party does not yet have representation on the federal level, but it’s quite a successful “minor” party. With 5 percent of the electorate, it can move from minor party status to major party status [and qualify the Green Party for federal funds]. So our goal is to get onto as many ballots as we can, since then achieving a 5 percent goal becomes possible. When I got to Washington D.C., I realized that public policy was made around the table. The 5 percent puts another seat at the table.