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Edwards Draws Sharpest Contrasts

Edwards continues to come the closest to drawing outright contrasts with his rivals.

John Edwards
During the debate, Edwards, at left, talked about health care to draw sharp distinctions with the other candidates. (Getty Images)

Asked about health care, Edwards said he was "proud of the fact that I have a very specific universal health care plan that is different than some of the others on the stage."

He added: "Rhetoric is not enough. High falutin' language is not enough."

Brian Williams immediately put the health care question to Obama who has been criticized by some for substituting lofty words for specific policy proposals. Obama did not take Edwards/Williams bait -- talking instead generally about his plan.

Clinton chimed in next, noting that she promoted a health care plan like those backed by Edwards and Obama and watched as it was torn apart in the political process. "We can save money within the existing system," Clinton said, adding she was unwilling to put new money into a system that doesn't work.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 26, 2007; 7:55 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Questions the Candidates Don't Want to Hear
Next: Soul-Searching During the Debate


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Posted by: Buy best antivirus | May 10, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Edwards' pause when asked for his moral leader wasn't a sign of weakness or any lack of morality, it was the sign of a man who truly thinks about questions and honestly explores the possible answers before deciding which one he truly believes in. Some have called this his weak point in the debate, but I see it as a shining example of his humanity.

Posted by: Alex | April 28, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalekarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | April 28, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Why do they have to ask candidates stupid questions like "Who is your moral leader?" "What is your biggest mistake?" "What's your favorite kind of ice cream?" "What was your favorite TV show as a kid?" and other BS. That has nothing to do with the job they'd do as president and all it is meant to do is put them on the spot in the hope that they'll draw a blank and look stupid. Here's one question nobody asked: WHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR REMOVING TROOPS FROM IRAQ AND HOW MUCH LONGER WOULD WE HAVE ANY TROOPS IN THE COUNTRY IF YOU ARE ELECTED? That's much more useful when you're deciding who to vote for than knowing Bill Richardson once kept a gun in his house.

Posted by: Q | April 27, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Edwards' long pause on who is his moral leader - I heard him say he didn't have one and why should he? He's a grown man. He named his lord, his wife, his dad. As you age you try to be a moral leader - not look for one.

Posted by: maryroberts | April 27, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I thought Edwards would be stronger than he actually was. I thought if anyone would come out the winner it would be him. But, he was kinda middling. He talked about specifics but, then did like anyone else in just doing a list and not going specific.
One point I thought he came off a bit snotty.
I was disappointed by him tonight. I remember from 2004 how much more engaging he was. From his fan base in this campaign I was expecting a stronger and more interesting performance.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to ask all of them if the pray for guidance how exactly they receive their answers. Do they hear voices, or is it no more than quiet reflection that confirms what they had already decided. I'd pay for a ticket to hear their honest answers. I think they all need to be pinned down on that question. They never will of course, but I can wish.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

A big problem with Obama's proposal is that the ONE idea that he actually put forward was buying into the government's health care coverage by individuals. The problem with that is that most of the people who don't have health insurance *can't afford it*! It doesn't matter what kind of plan you let people buy into if they can't afford it. Single-payer is the best solution. What some of the candidates should have said was something along the lines of "It is a false dichotomy to talk about raising taxes and universal health insurance. It is possible to pay less in tax funds for universal health insurance than what we pay private companies now for inadequate coverage." I wish Democrats would stand up and say something along those lines.

Posted by: Steve | April 26, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton said a good thing about not supporting more money going into healthcare until we deal with the cost problems in the system now. If more money is put into the healthcare system, you can bet that 75% of that new money will go towards Medicare. There are no controls on Medicare spending and its going to be very tough for the politicians to restrict procedures in Medicare but if they are not forced to do so, they will bankrupt us with the costs.

I also liked Obama's answers on sort of incremental healthcare reform and think that is the way to go: make catastrophic insurance more available and allow people to buy into larger pools.

Posted by: Karen | April 26, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I loved the question to Edwards about who his moral leader is. He so clearly doesn't have any sort of moral role model. I've never seen such a long pause. His attitute instead of being emarrassed was like "OK, you got me on that one." Then he finally got it together to BS about his Lord and his wife. Ha.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I agree. Edwards was straightforward on his answers. He learned a lot in 2004 and seems a different candidate.

Posted by: Tom Wells | April 26, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Universal health care is one of the biggest steps to take against poverty. I hope that the renewed interest in a more humanitarian government will help to put poverty reduction on the agendas of our leaders. The Borgen Project states that just $19 billion annually can end starvation and malnurtition. Instead of supporting the Millennium Development Goals to end poverty, Bush has squandered $340 billion in Iraq. Our current national and foreign policies are too unreflective of the American public's desires.

Posted by: fps | April 26, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I have heard more real answers from Edwards.

Obama is not bringing anything new in. (not much there) Obama goes Ah alot, can't seem to say what he is thinking.

Clinton same old, same old.

The rest are too far out there for me. Richardson on Guns - I would like to know how he plans to take all the guns away from the Mentally ill that already have them???

Biden, trying to stay with shot as possible answers, - One word was funny.

Gravel - no comment

Kucinich - seems extreme.

Posted by: Dk | April 26, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

But did you notice? Obama mostly parroted some points from Edwards' specific health care plan. I'm not sure that Obama actually has a plan yet.

Posted by: Laura | April 26, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

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