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Posted on November 16, 2007 at 12:28 PM

Democratic party logoThe Democrats running for the presidential nomination got together in Las Vegas Wednesday for another debate. We’ve pulled highlights from the transcript that might be of interest here at our little intersection of the web. Topics included universal health care, Medicare funding, torture and birth control. The breakdown is after the jump.


Hillary Clinton on Barack Obama’s health care plan:

Well, I hear what Senator Obama is 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. Thats about the population of Nevada, Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire.

I have a universal health care plan that covers everyone. Ive been fighting this battle against the special interest for more than 15 years, and I am proud to fight this battle.

Barack Obama responding to Clinton:

Well, lets talk about health care right now because the fact of the matter is that I do provide universal health care. The only difference between Senator Clintons health care plan and mine is that she thinks the problem for people without health care is that nobody has mandated — forced — them to get health care. Thats not what Im seeing around Nevada. What I see are people who would love to have health care. They — they desperately want it. But the problem is they cant afford it, which is why we have put forward legislation — (cheers, applause) — weve 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. (Applause.)

Clinton and Obama then squabble back and forth:

SEN. CLINTON: Wolf, I — Wolf, I cannot let that go unanswered.

You know, the most important thing here is to level with the American people. Senator Obamas health care plan does not cover everyone. He starts with children, which is admirable — I helped to create the Childrens Health Insurance Program back in 1997. Im totally committed — (applause) —

SEN. OBAMA: Thats not true, Wolf.

SEN. CLINTON: — 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 my 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 premise of not reaching universal health care.

SEN. OBAMA: Wolf —

(Cross talk.)

MR. BLITZER: Hold on. One at a — one at a time.

MR. : (Inaudible) — in control. (Applause.)

SEN. OBAMA: No, I understand, but look, Im not going to —

MR. BLITZER: Senator Obama, were going to have a lot more on health care.

MR. : Theres no — (inaudible).

SEN. OBAMA: I will be very brief on this issue. Hillary states —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Off mike.)

SEN. OBAMA: — states that she wants — she states that she wants to mandate health care coverage, but shes not garnishing peoples wages to make sure that they have it.

MR. BLITZER: All right.

SEN. OBAMA: Shes not —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Off mike.)

MR. BLITZER: Okay, please.

SEN. OBAMA: She is — she is —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Off mike.)

MR. BLITZER: Go ahead, Senator.

SEN. OBAMA: She is not — she is not enforcing this mandate.

And I dont think that the problem with the American people is that they are not being forced to get health care.

MR. BLITZER: All right.

SEN. OBAMA: The problem is, they cant afford it. And that is why my plan provides the mechanism to make sure that they can. (Applause.)

John Edwards responding to a question about ethnic profiling and the PATRIOT Act:

And it’s just absolutely amazing to me that there’s actually an open discussion in the United States of America about what kind of torture will be tolerated. I’ll tell you what kind of torture will be tolerated when I’m president of the United States, no torture will be tolerated when I’m president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.)

Obama on funding Medicare:

Medicare is a tougher problem because we’ve got health care inflation going up, and I am meeting people all across the country who just can’t manage, even if they’ve got health insurance. Their premiums have gone up 78 percent since George Bush took office. It’s a scam, and people are getting desperate.

The only way we’re going to fix Medicare is if we get that rising cost under control, and that means having a universal health care plan where every single person has prevention and they are able to get the treatments they need. We’re instituting health technologies and managing the chronically ill so that we save money; we provide coverage for everybody. That over the long term will save Medicare enormous amounts of money, and it will be there for you.

Clinton on Medicare:

But I want to say one final word about Medicare. Number one, Medicare should be able to negotiate for lower drug prices. (Applause.)

MR. BLITZER: All right. Thank you, Senator.

SEN. CLINTON: It was a travesty when the Bush administration did not allow that to happen, and I have a lot of other ideas about how we’ll preserve and strengthen Medicare.

Dennis Kucinich responding to question about appointing Supreme Court justices:

A Kucinich appointment to the Supreme Court would have a litmus test on abortion. It’s a — it’s a question of a woman’s right to choose and a right to privacy.

But a president has to do more than that. A president has to be a healer, and this has been one of the great divides in our country. And so I want to also let the American people know that I’ll stand for prenatal care, postnatal care, child care, a living wage, universal health care, sex education —

MR. BLITZER: All right.

REP. KUCINICH: — birth control. We can make abortions less necessary if we have a healer in the White House, and we can also protect a woman’s right to choose. We can do both. (Applause.)

The New York Times has the full transcript.

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