January 31st, 2008
08:28 PM ET
10 years ago

Schneider: A civil face-off

Sens. Obama and Clinton greet the audience at Thursday's debate.

Sens. Obama and Clinton greet the audience at Thursday's debate.

Obama’s being more critical of Clinton’s positions, and more explicit in spelling out their differences. But he’s doing it in a way that isn’t very personal – it’s all about the issues. They’re both trying to avoid reprising last night’s tawdry tangle between Romney and McCain – or their own testy face-off at the South Carolina debate.

Their argument on the idea of health care mandates is a substantive and sophisticated one. There’s a good argument to be made for forcing people who don’t want to buy health care to pay into the system, and share the risk.

It’s not clear how the idea plays among voters. But people don’t like to be forced to do anything. Some of them would rather buy cars or vacations to Hawaii. It’s a very complicated argument, and it’s not clear voters will necessarily buy into Clinton’s position.

Still, Clinton has learned from her bitter experience in 1993 - and people have accepted it. Her failure has not discredited her. People believe that she learned something from it.

- CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider

Filed under: Bill Schneider
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. OK Mom

    I would like to have more affordable healthcare, I just have difficulty believing that it must be mandated! There should be a better way or at least try to work together first. Perhaps its naive but, if I were on the other side of the equation...

    January 31, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. todd thompson

    I think that they have FINALLY figured our beating up each other will not beat the republicans. Even though I have voted (early ballot) for Hillary – the both have me motivated as hell for November.

    January 31, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. peter

    this is no longer a debate. I think they have agreed NOT to disagee.

    January 31, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  4. observer

    It's starting to be "ON" now, Obama is starting in on Hillary. I notice she is getting the greater applause, maybe that's the reason. Obama is stuttering around too much again. He is a good speaker but in debates he uhand ahs way too much. Hillary is fanttastic tonight, she is focused and on course. She shows how knowledgeable she really is. She sounds Presidential!

    January 31, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  5. andrea stofen

    put medical price the same price in all 51 states and health care the same price in all 51 states and doctors and all hosptials fees price (even playing field)

    January 31, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  6. Josie

    Go Hillary. You trounced your opponent on the health care debate, one that is frought with nuance. He glossed, you honed in on the details.

    January 31, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  7. Mark

    Obama is way more of a realist that Hillary. Republicans would kill her.

    January 31, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  8. shamla

    Obama is cool and sending his point across very nicely,naturally.On the other hand Hillary seems to be calm also but very artificial. A small whisk and she will show off!

    January 31, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  9. Murry

    Obama, thanks so much for giving us choices! Hillary's previous healthcare plan failed.

    January 31, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  10. John

    I am a Independent and so far I am more impressed with Obama purely because Hillary seems to be looking for more government

    January 31, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  11. robert

    I'm an obama supporter because he stands for hope and change, but I've got to admit it's hard to beat Hillary's health care plan, and knowledge of it.

    January 31, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  12. Martha C Tampa, FL

    Health Care is the Cause of Hillary's Life

    January 31, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  13. John

    Obama is acting like a presidential candidate by not attacking Hillary instead stating their differences.


    January 31, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  14. john

    Hillary is awesome

    January 31, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  15. Chris

    Isn't this wonderful! The democrats are so civil and nice. Those Republicans are mean. CNN is the best! And those benevolent and caring movie stars in the audience make me feel so warm and fuzzy inside.

    January 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  16. obi

    Its really interesting to see just the 2 of them alone on the stage together. Visually Obama looks much more dignified and presidential and frankly much more credible. I'm switching.

    January 31, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  17. noli

    I commend Hillary tonight, She knows her stuff over healthcare. However, I believe Barack's plan would work better because I do not hear people say that they do not have health insurance because they do not want it, rather people do not have health insurance because they cannot afford it. In the long run, making healthcare insurance mandatory will be expensive in terms of regulation costs and who gets to pay for it in the end? Us again.

    January 31, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  18. Collins Neil

    Obama is right on. I hate being forced to do anything. This is America, freedom of choice. There are people who in this country who don't believe in hospitals or may want natural medicines. I agree with him.

    Its about unity and Obama brings that. Hillary divides people and attempts to make her own rules. Its unfortunate, but we need an honest leader who can pull congress together. The baggage that the Clintons carry will make them ineffective in the Whitehouse.

    January 31, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  19. Natalie

    I am disappointed in managment of this debate. Wolf is trying to create controversy. He is a bit improved from last time but that may because there are only two candidates to deal with. I miss having a third person – Edwards made it interesting.

    January 31, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  20. bob


    If you're going to switch candidates because of how one looks, You've got problems and this comes from an obama supporter myself

    January 31, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  21. jonelle

    WOW!! Now this is a debate! That side show act I watched last night has nothing on this.

    January 31, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  22. Brandy, NJ

    Collins Neil

    I think it's great that you don't want to be forced to do something, but frankly you are forced by your federal and state government to do all kinds of things lol ...

    I appreciate people who don't like or believe in hospitals and wish to use natrual medicines. But when one of those people have a heart attack, a car accident, burns from a house fire, a broken leg because they fell down the stairs, a stroke, and the list goes on ... then they do need a hospital and that is where they are taken in those circumstances. And, when they don't have health insurance to pay for that visit, they don't get a negotiated price that those of us with health insurance get ... they are billed full price for their stay in the hospital. And, when they can't pay that amount .... the hospital has to send it to a collection agency that then has to go after those people to pay ... and when those people have such a large bill they might end up filing for bankrupcy ... and that makes EACH OF US WHO DO PAY FOR OUR HEALTH INSURANCE HAVE TO PAY MORE!

    I can't trust my fellow Americans to do the right thing and be responsible and get the health insurance, so I need my government to do one of two things 1) completely over-haul the health care and insurance industry or 2) make sure every one has health insurance so my premiums, deductibles and co-payments DON"T KEEP GOING UP!

    Get real. Use common sense.

    January 31, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  23. Dave

    Hillary appears very calculatedly political and less genuine. She's very divisve too..how can she get anything done with the republicans?

    I would want her to explain further how she gained any experience as a 1st lady... I think we should vote George Bush's wife as president. She's got experience too

    January 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  24. vinod

    When soo many countries in the world can have universal heath care, why cant the US (the greatest nation in the world) not have a good policy on health care..Hillary is very correct in her plans and hope she will get a chance to work on it. Obama can help her as very Vice President

    January 31, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  25. G. Powers

    Mandating health ( or socialized health) does not work. Mrs. Clinton failed miserably before on the subject and will do so again if she is elected president and insistes on mandate. What is needed is options and insentives for people to participate. People are smart enough to figure out the rest, i.e., what is best for them. Flexibility is key which seems to be lacking in Mrs. Clinton plan and view.

    Further, knowing many facts as she does is important, but not a substitute for vision, leadership and ability to unit the public and intersted parties on important subjects. I did not see in Mrs. Clinton a strong ability to unit and mobilize the nation to do what needs done. Based on what I have seen that thus far, I rank Obama as the best choice for our next presedent, followed by McCain and distant third is Mrs. Clinton.


    January 31, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
1 2 3