Democratic Candidates Questioned on Health Care in Latest Debate
All eight presidential candidates on Wednesday during a debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire discussed health care and other issues, the Manchester Union Leader reports.
During the debate -- moderated by Tim Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press" -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) said that, as president, she would make health care reform a priority. She said, "You see a lot of people with those stickers that say, 'I'm a health care voter.' Well, I want to be a health care president."
Former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) said that, as president, he would eliminate health insurance for lawmakers in the event that they did not pass health care reform legislation. He said, "There is no excuse for politicians in Washington to have health care when Americans don't have health care" (Senz, Manchester Union Leader, 9/27).
Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) criticized Clinton for her failure to enact health care reform legislation in 1993. He said, "If it was lonely for Hillary, part of the reason it was lonely, Hillary, was because you closed the door to a lot of potential allies in that process," adding, "At that time, 80% of Americans already wanted universal health care, but they didn't feel like they were let into the process" (Martelle/Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 9/27).
Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) added that Clinton might have problems with the enactment of health care reform legislation because of her past experience with Congress on the issue (Milligan, Boston Globe, 9/27).
Edwards, Biden, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Chris Dodd(Conn.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) and former Sen. Mike Gravel(Alaska) said that they support a national smoking ban (Manchester Union Leader, 9/27).
Obama said that he might support such a ban in the event that local efforts to limit smoking failed. Clinton said that she does not support such a ban but said that FDA should have the authority to regulate tobacco products (Boston Globe, 9/27).
MSNBC video of the complete debate is available online (MSNBC, 9/26).
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Thursday reported on the debate. The segment includes comments from Clinton, Edwards, Obama, Biden and Russert (Liasson, "Morning Edition," NPR, 9/27). Audio of the segment is available online.