Democratic Candidates for President Address Health Care in Debate
Eight Democratic presidential candidates on Sunday participated in a debate held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, during which they discussed health care and other issues, the New York Times reports (Zeleny, New York Times, 8/20).
The 90-mintue debate was televised on ABC News' "This Week" and moderated by host George Stephanopoulos.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) said, "I want to have universal health care," adding, "I've stood up against the special interests. ... I took them on, on health care" (Debate transcript, "This Week," ABC News, 8/19).
However, Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) said that voters should ask Clinton of her efforts on health care reform during the 1990s, "Why did you not succeed?" (Fournier, AP/Boston Globe, 8/19).
According to former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), the "reason we don't have universal health care in America today is because of the insurance industry, the drug companies and their lobbyists." He added that "we ought to make it absolutely clear that we're not going to take money from ... these big corporate lobbyists that actually killed the health care effort that was done in the 1990s."
Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) said that he is "interested in ... providing relief to people who do not have health care." Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) said that the Iowa AFL-CIO has endorsed a bill (HR-676) he co-sponsored to establish a not-for-profit health care system. He said that "every other health care plan represented by everyone else here on stage keeps the private insurers in charge," adding that the U.S. must "break the hold which the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies have on health care."
Sen. Joe Biden (Del.), former Sen. Mike Gravel (Alaska) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (N.M.) also participated in the debate (Debate transcript, "This Week," ABC News, 8/19).
In other election news, Democratic and Republican congressional candidates have launched the "opening salvo of television and radio advertisements, automated calls and fundraising appeals" as part of a "fierce battle to shape voter impressions of Congress" on health care and other issues, the Washington Post reports.
For example, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last week launched a series of TV ads that promote the accomplishments of the Democratic Congress and criticize Republican lawmakers for their opposition to a bill to reauthorize and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
In Florida, Democratic congressional candidates have used traffic reporters on radio programs to criticize Reps. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) for their votes against "lowering seniors' Medicare deductibles and copayments."
Democratic congressional candidates in New Jersey have used traffic reporters to inform voters that Rep. James Saxton (R) "voted against providing health care for five million uninsured children" (Weisman, Washington Post, 8/20).
C-SPAN video of the complete debate is available online ("Road to the White House," C-SPAN, 8/19).
An ABC News transcript of the complete debate also is available online (ABC News Web site, 8/19).
In addition, an analysis of the issue of health care in the 2008 presidential election by ABC News Medical Editor Tim Johnson is available online (Johnson, ABC News Web site, 8/19).