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Gabbard appears on MSNBC political talk show

By Michael Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 8:43 p.m. HST, Sep 9, 2012

U.S. House candidate Tulsi Gabbard weighed in on Republican "obstructionism," the influx of outside funding to Hawaii races, the future of the U.S. military in Afghanistan and other topics during a two-hour appearance on the MSNBC program “Up With Chris Hayes” this afternoon.

Gabbard was part of a panel of guests in New York that included Facebook co-founder and New Republic owner Chris Hughes, Jeremy Scahill of The Nation, Sasha Issenberg of Slate, political scientist Jacob Hacker of Yale University, author Peter Beinart, Michelle Goldberg of, political columnist Walter Shapiro and political consultant Bob Shrum.

Gabbard eased into the conversation with a measured take on Senate opposition to the Obama administration, assuring viewers that a new wave of congressional legislators — of which she hopes to be a part — is looking forward to “bringing back the statesmanship” that has eroded in recent years due to bipartisan skirmishing.

Later, following up on host Chris Hayes’ suggestion that the focus on the presidential race might be diverting attention from “down-ballot” races, Gabbard opined that mobilizing voters would be critical in negating the influence of out-of-state money in deciding contests like Mazie Hirono and Linda Lingle’s battle for outgoing U.S. Daniel Akaka’s seat.

“Turnout is going to be key,” Gabbard said. “There’s going to be a substantial amount of money nationally that’s gong to be dumped into this race.”

Gabbard’s appearance on the show followed her well-received appearance at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

A former state representative and Honolulu City Council member, Gabbard wasn’t shy about addressing national and international issues on the show.

Regarding the convention, Gabbard expressed a bit of disappointment over the seeming lack of discussion about Wall Street reform.

“One thing I saw that I’d hoped (President Barack Obama) would talk about in his speech (was) the lack of true Wall Street reform and how that has really been one of the major causes of our high unemployment rates and the downed economy,” she said. “There really hasn’t been action taken or people held accountable for that.”

Later, fielding a question about what it would be like to work with a Mitt Romney administration, Gabbard took the opportunity to attack Romney’s perceived vagueness regarding foreign policy issues.

“Mitt Romney’s positions on foreign policy, his position on Afghanistan, which (is) open-ended — who knows how long we would end up staying there? — is something that worries me tremendously,” Gabbard said. “It’s hard to know how things will be because his positions keep changing.”

As she has throughout her campaign, Gabbard again emphasized her service with the Hawaii National Guard, explaining once again how her deployments in Iraq and Kuwait, and the exposure she subsequently had to governments “who acted as so-called moral arbiters for their people” radically changed her position on social issues like abortion and gay marriage. She mentioned her service again later while questioning both Obama’s and Romney’s plans for Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan has not been talked about enough,” she said. “Every single day that our troops are down range affects them, it affects their families and communities, and for what?”

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