November 15, 2007, Democratic Debate
Obama: What I’m absolutely convinced of is that right now we need a different kind of politics. Everywhere I go, all throughout Nevada, people are struggling with health care, people are working harder for less, they are having a tougher time saving, tougher time retiring, and part of the reason is because they don’t feel that Washington’s listening to them. And what I want to do in this campaign is make certain that we are breaking out of the 1)gridlock and 2)partisanship and the standard practices of Washington and actually start listening to the American people to get things done.
Moderator: Alright. Senator Clinton, you wanna respond?
Clinton: Well, I hear what Senator Obama’s saying, and he talks a lot about stepping up and taking responsibility and taking strong positions, but when it came time to step up and decide whether or not he would support universal health care coverage, he chose not to do that. His plan would leave 15 million Americans out. That’s about the population of Nevada, Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire. I have a universal health care plan that covers everyone. I’ve been fighting this battle against the 3)special interests for more than 15 years, and I am proud to fight this battle. You know, we can have a different politics, but let’s not forget, here, that the people who we’re against are not going to be giving up without a fight. The Republicans are not going to 4)vacate the White House voluntarily. We have some big issues ahead of us and we need someone who is tested and ready to lead. I think that’s what my 5)candidacy offers.
Moderator: Alright, Senator Obama.
Obama: Well, let’s talk about…let’s talk about health care right now, because the fact of the matter is…the fact of the matter is that I do provide universal health care. The only difference between Senator Clinton’s health care plan and mine is that she thinks the problem for people without health care is that nobody has 6)mandated, forced them to get health care. That’s not what I’m seeing around Nevada. What I see are people who would love to have health care; they desperately want it. But the problem is they can’t afford it, which is why we have put forward legislation…we put forward a plan that makes sure that it is affordable to get health care that is as good as the health care that I have as a member of Congress. That’s what the American people are looking for, that’s what they deserve, and that’s why I intend to provide as President of the United States.
Clinton: Well, I cannot let that go unanswered. You know, the most important thing here is to 7)level with the American people. Senator Obama’s health care plan does not cover everyone. He starts with children, which is admirable. I helped to create the children’s health insurance program back in 1997. I’m totally committed to making sure every single child is covered. He does not mandate the kind of coverage that I do, and I provide a health care tax credit under my8)American Health Choices Plan so that every American will be able to afford the health care. I open up the congressional plan, but there is a big difference between Senator Obama and me. He starts from the 9)premise of not reaching universal health care.
Moderator: Alright. One at a time….
Obama: I understand, but look, I’m not gonna…
Moderator: Senator. Senator Obama, we’re gonna have a lot more on health care, but go ahead, go ahead.
Obama: I will be very brief on this issue. Hillary states…states that she wants…she states that she wants to mandate health care coverage, but she’s not 10)garnishing peoples’ wages to make sure that they have it. She is…she is not…she is not enforcing this mandate, and I don’t think that the problem with the American people is that they are not being forced to get health care. (Moderator: Alright.) The problem is they can’t afford it, and that is why my plan provides the 11)mechanism to make sure that they can.