January 17, 2008

South Carolina Leaders Offer Bipartisan Challenge to Presidential Candidates to Strengthen U.S. Global Leadership

Former Top Military Brass Join Leaders to Speak at Impact ’08 in South Carolina Launch as Senior Surrogates Debate Their Candidates’ Readiness to Lead

January 17, 2008 (Columbia, SC) – Former top military leaders Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani (USN, Ret. -Former Vice Chair, Joint Chiefs of Staff) and General Michael W. Hagee (USMC, Ret. -Former U.S. Marine Corps Commandant) join with South Carolina leaders from both major parties today in challenging all of the presidential candidates to elevate and strengthen America’s investments in non-military tools of global engagement to build a better, safer America and world. Giambastiani and Hagee came to Columbia to help launch the campaign Impact ’08 in South Carolina: Building a Better, Safer World, which is co-sponsored by the Center for U.S. Global Engagement, the University of South Carolina, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, and the Columbia World Affairs Council.

In a full-page ad in today’s The State, former South Carolina Governors Dick Riley, David Beasley and Jim Hodges, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, House Speaker Bobby Harrell, University of South Carolina President Dr. Andrew Sorenson, Citadel President Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, Clemson University President James Barker, MUSC President Dr. Ray Greenberg, Revs. Joe Darby and Philip Linder, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Chairman James Micali, S.C. Ports Authority President Bernard Groseclose, Jr., Major General James Livingston, S.C. Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Stanhope S. Spears; and other business, religious, civic and political leaders from across South Carolina called on the Presidential candidates to elevate and strengthen America’s non-military tools of global engagement, including development and diplomacy. For full text of the ad and a list of ad signatories, please go to www.usglobalengagement.org.

The ad sets the stage for the official Impact ’08 in South Carolina launch program at 6:00 p.m. today at the Russell House at the University of South Carolina, where over 350 prominent South Carolinians will gather to hear a discussion on “National Security in a New World” featuring Admiral Giambastiani, General Hagee and South Carolina resident Major General Livingston, moderated by Charles Bierbauer, Dean of the USC School of Mass Communications and former CNN Senior White House Correspondent.

Bierbauer will also moderate a discussion panel of Presidential candidates’ foreign policy advisors. Representing the candidates are: John Edwards: Dr. Mike Signer; John McCain: Former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX); Barack Obama: Dr. Susan Rice.

Other Candidates’ foreign policy advisors were also invited to attend.

Several of the prominent South Carolinians who helped launch the Impact ’08 in South Carolina campaign spoke about the importance of strengthening America’s global leadership. President and CEO of South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, S. Hunter Howard said, “South Carolina companies conduct business all over the world. Investing in the stability and prosperity of these nations through U.S. foreign assistance is not only the right thing to do, it helps us here in the Palmetto state.”

Lt. Governor Andre Bauer said: “South Carolina is proud of its military heritage–but we also understand that military power alone cannot keep us safe from terrorism, infectious disease, and other global threats that recognize no borders. But there is something we can do to make us more secure–we can work hand-in-hand with our global allies and build partnerships with those who share our passion for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Rev. Joseph Darby said, “South Carolinians care that America is helping save lives, treat people with disease, educate children and create opportunities for the world’s poorest citizens. Greater investments in these programs will reinvigorate America’s moral leadership and global respect.”

Dr. Hildy Teegan, Dean of the Moore School at the University of South Carolina, said: “South Carolinians, like all Americans, recognize the importance of creating opportunities for our poorest citizens to improve their situation wherever in the world they reside. Thoughtful and effective international development efforts that include harnessing the power of the public and private sectors to provide the means for building infrastructure, fighting disease, and stabilizing governments are critical for our successful engagement around the world.”

They joined with a growing campaign of leaders in other early voting states and nationally who are calling on the Presidential candidates to chart a new path for America’s role in the world, with greater investments in global development, health and diplomacy viewed as essential to promote America’s national security, economic prosperity, and moral leadership.

For more information go to www.usglobalengagement.org