Senator Mike Gravel wrapped up a 3-day campaign swing through Pittsburgh and New York City at the Sheraton Hotel where he addressed an enthusiastic crowd attending Reverend Al Sharpton's 9th Annual National Action Network Conference.
"There are candidates speaking at this convention today that have said that 'nothing is off the table with regards to Iran'. This is a reference to war, perhaps nuclear war. This is nothing but immature leadership." Senator Gravel, well known for his filibuster in the U.S. Senate which led to the end of the Vietnam War draft went to to say, "George Bush does not have the boots on the ground today to invade Iran because of my filibuster 25 years ago."
"We are losing an entire generation of our young men and women to our jails and prisons. Drug addiction is a public health issue. Rather than incarceration, we must place a much greater emphasis on rehabilitation." Gravel said that America's drug laws unfairly target the poor and the inner cities, and referenced a law passed by congress in 1986 that demands a mandatory five-year prison sentence for selling five grams of crack cocaine. "You would have to sell 500 grams of powder cocaine to get the same five-year sentence."
"Listen to what the other candidates are saying. They want to withdraw combat troops. They want to leave tens of thousands of soldiers and Blackwater contractors on the ground in Iraq. We must give the Iraqi's back their country and stop the civil war. We must enlist tens of thousands of Iraqi's and instead of giving them guns, we give them shovels and pay them to rebuild their country" said Gravel Thursday on Sirius Radio with host Alex Bennett. "I will withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within 60 days and raze Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo. We must tell the world that the United States does not stand for torture. It is unacceptable human behavior."
Thursday evening, Senator Gravel addressed the Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century where he talked about his military experience and his outrage at the government's treatment of Iraq War veterans. "How is it that it took the Washington Post to tell the Congress that Walter Reed was mistreating our veterans." During the Q and A, the question was asked whom the senator liked in the race. "I like me. With your help, I'm going to win."
On Wednesday, Senator Gravel was awarded the Progressive Panther at the University of Pittsburgh for his achievements in the U.S. Senate, "I am truly grateful for this honor."