The Knives Come Out

A campaign blog.
Jan. 5 2008 9:30 PM

The Knives Come Out

Oh here we go. Gibson asks Hillary: What does Obama need to be vetted on?

Hillary dives in, charging Obama with "having a pretty good debate with himself" on the subject of health care. He first supported a single payer system, she says -- now he has a health care plan that won’t cover every American.

Obama tries to clarify, saying "If I could set up a system from scratch, I’d set up a single payer system." But given the system we already have, under which many people are already covered, he thinks it would be more pragmatic to lower the cost of health care than to force people to buy it.

Obama calls it a "philosophical difference" between them. Hillary says he’s being inconsistent, since his plan would mandate coverage for children but not adults. Obama responds that he requires it for children because "they don’t have a choice."
 
These, these are the sparks we’ve been waiting for. And they're flying over one of the most contentious questions of the campaign -- to mandate or not to mandate. Not even Richardson's saccharine odes to positivity can extinguish this one. Props to ABC for letting them rough it out.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

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