November 30th, 2007
02:21 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama defends healthcare plan in DNC speech

Obama addressed the DNC Friday.

VIENNA, Virginia (CNN) - Without citing her by name, Barack Obama continued the sharp campaign trail give and take with Hillary Clinton as he addressed the core faithful Friday at the Democratic Party’s fall meeting.

“The same old Washington textbook campaign just won’t do in this election … the electoral strategy that starts out leaving half the country behind just won’t do it,” said the Illinois senator. “Triangulating poll driven positions because we’re worried about what Mitt or Rudy will say just won’t do it. We can’t live in fear of losing.”

Obama, reprising familiar campaign trail remarks and themes aimed at drawing contrasts with the New York senator, said that if he were the Democratic nominee his Republican opponent would not “be able to say I voted for the war” in Iraq “or gave George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran.” Clinton voted for the Iraq war resolution in 2002, and this year voted for an amendment that would classify the Iran National Guard a terrorist organization.

On a day when both the Obama and Clinton camps were again trading fire over the issue of health care, Obama said he had “put forth a universal health care plan that will do more to cut the cost of health care than any other proposal in this race.

“Here’s the truth – if you can’t afford health insurance right now, you will when I’m president,” said Obama. “Anyone who tells you otherwise is more interested in scoring points than solving problems. And I’m in it because we’ve had enough of that.”

- CNN Senior Political Producer Sasha Johnson

soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. George, Miami, FL

    Clinton is so manipulative and bullying that I cannot believe it!

    December 1, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Les WA

    So can't you see that Obama right from the start has been the best candidate so far. America's president is not just for Americans and given Obama's eloquence and ideas, it is very clear that he is the obvious choice. I however doubt very much America will be that decerning to choose him to lead!

    Posted By Antwi, Accra, Ghana : December 1, 2007 9:58 am

    Ideas are great, eloquence are great; IF you're not running for President. Eloquence doesn't make a good President, ideas is just that ideas if you have no track record to show for it.

    December 1, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. Harry,Iowa

    Can Obama or any other presidential candidate provide a brief outline of how their individual proposed health plans will work? Doing so would probably give more substance to any of their claims and in return allow voters the chance to make a more informed decision come election day.

    Posted By Julie, Albuquerque, NM : November 30, 2007 5:39 pm


    Where have you been? It looks like we need to send you to space for the next 15years after Obama administration is over. I hope you won't need to go to nursing home then but if you do you would not have to worry because Obama will have a healthcare that will be good for you while you are there!

    December 1, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. jeri,NYC,NY

    Markie Bee I don't need to compile a list. Who cares what you hillary haters write. WE ARE STILL GOING TO VOTE FOR HER – DON'T YOU GET IT. I love you Monte! I love Hillary.

    Posted By Hillarylover – SA : November 30, 2007 7:00 pm

    Go ahead and vote her. Infact try look for a few more but the thing is His support is so huge to the Clinton!
    Go 'O'!

    December 1, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. Jeremy,Nairobi,Kenya

    So can't you see that Obama right from the start has been the best candidate so far. America's president is not just for Americans and given Obama's eloquence and ideas, it is very clear that he is the obvious choice. I however doubt very much America will be that decerning to choose him to lead!

    Posted By Antwi, Accra, Ghana : December 1, 2007 9:58 am

    OOOh my goodness. watching from all the way Ghana. I was in America and now in Kenya for a job. I am watching this too. Even if I don't know much about issues that Americans want resolved, I think Bush has torn their country apart and I remember everybody running to Obama in March for hope. He must have had something to offer. I would be happy if AIDS comes to be a topic if elected and more research to be done. I think that is Domestic and foreign issue for us all. Good luck with him!

    December 1, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. George,Atlanta,GA

    I think the reality is kicking in for Obama haters that he is going to be nominated. They are now writing paragraphs after paragraphs to prove their points. Relax people. We are not yet there!

    December 1, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. fair,washington,dc

    At the end of the day it looks like Hillary or Obama will win the Democratic nomination. I am a Hillary supporter so I will be disappointed if she doesn't win, but I will regroup and back whoever the Democratic candidate is and I hope all Democrats will do the same when the time comes. I say this after watching the Senate race in Md where five African American Democratic elected officials right beore the election had a press conference and came out endorsing the Republican African American candidate and their reasoning was they were showing their displeasure that the Md democratic party didn't get behind Kweisi Mfume ( because he was African American according to their logic) who ran in the primary and lost to caucasian Jim Webb. It was one of the most distasteful things I've seen in politics and I hope if any of them run for re-election the MD voters remember that atrocity and vote them out of office. This 08 election isn't about race, gender or anything else other then putting our best candidate forward and hoping we get a Dem in the WH.

    December 1, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Brian, Syracuse NY

    Somebody show me where in the Constitution it says we need universal health care.

    Somebody tell me how Hillary's solution of mandating health care for everybody is (A) Constitutional and (B) reasonable.

    Somebody show me how mandating a service is more practical than lowering the price and raising incentives to use that service.

    I'm waiting, Hilldog.

    December 1, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Eli, Canada

    "Somebody show me where in the Constitution it says we need universal health care...
    I'm waiting, Hilldog.
    Posted By Brian, Syracuse NY : December 1, 2007 12:55 pm"

    This is another stupid and typically American point. Looking in the Constitution for answers to the health care issue! Are you living in the 21st century? Try to understand the NOTION of having everybody's basic health needs COVERED.

    This is from Wikipedia:
    In the 1880s, most Germans became covered under the mandatory health care system championed by Bismarck. The National Health Service (NHS), established in the United Kingdom in 1948, was the world's first universal health care system provided by government. Universal health care is provided in most developed countries and in many developing countries. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not provide universal health care.


    December 1, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. donna L.

    Why is everyone arguing about the specific details of Clinton's and Obama's healthplan NOW? I'll tell you - because this is the strategy of the Clinton campaign. They want to change the subject, they want to distract voters, they want to tar Obama with the impression of dishonesty so we don't notice their dishonesty. THEY DO NOT WANT ANYONE FOCUSING ON THE WAR IN IRAQ, HILLARY'S VOTE TO AUTHRIZE IT OR BILL'S RECENT LIE ABOUT BEING AGAINST IT FROM THE START. Any healthcare proposal is just a proposal! It will not be what we will get after it goes through the legislative process - if we get anything at all. If anyone expects that Hillary will be capable of passing any healthcare legislation, I warn you not to hold your breath. She failed once and she will fail again if we are stupid enough to put her in charge, because the republicans will see it as their MANDATE to block her efforts. They will not work with the Clintons - period. The democrats cannot do this without republican cooperation on some level. I think ANY of the other candidate has a better chance of accompishing something positive in healthcare reform because at the very least they will not have the baggage of the Clintons.

    December 1, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. Ann, IL

    The lines in Obama's DNC speach are old. He keeps barking at the same tree.

    He is trying hard now to get women voters by invoking his 'biography' (again?).. Raised by a "single mother"? Wasn't his mother remarried with that Indonesian Muslim guy? She divorced from Obama's natural father when he was 2 yo, and they all moved to Jakarta when he was 6yo. Even if she raised her child alone during those 4 years (actually they were in Honolulu with the grandparents, right?), this is hardly a 'single mother' profile. Another attempt by Obama to raise sympathy among voters!

    I know what being a single mother means! its much harder than that.

    December 1, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. mdt, washington dc

    Obama has been dishonest or ignorant with problems with his health care plan.

    Along with the usual mishmash of increased subsidies, Obama, has taken the idea of an employer mandate. Obama would establish a "play or pay" system under which employers would be required to provide their workers with health insurance or pay a payroll tax to fund government-provided insurance. There are two big problems with this approach.

    1) It flies in the face of basic economics. The amount of compensation a worker receives is a function of his productivity, and an employer is indifferent as to whether that compensation is in the form of wages, taxes, health insurance, or other benefits. Such a mandate simply increases the cost of hiring workers without increasing their productivity. Employers will therefore have to find ways to offset the added costs. This they can do by raising prices, lowering wages or reducing future wage increases, reducing other benefits such as pensions, or hiring fewer workers. Almost certainly, employees will be the net losers under such a mandate, with the low-skilled suffering most.

    2) An employer mandate locks us further into an employment-based health insurance system at a time when there is a growing bipartisan consensus that we should be moving in the opposite direction. There is no logical reason for tying health insurance to employment. There are many good reasons for not doing so.
    At the same time, he looks right to call for a Massachusetts-style insurance "connector," an idea being promoted by the Heritage Foundation among others. (Obama calls it "an exchange.") The exchange would allow workers to purchase individual health insurance with pre-tax dollars, leveling the playing field for individual insurance and giving workers the chance to buy personal and portable insurance — a good idea. The problem is that "exchanges" are also regulatory bodies. Indeed, Obama wants the "exchange" to regulate all sorts of things, including minimum benefit packages, premium caps, limits on copayments and deductibles, and "standards of quality and efficiency."

    Obama would require insurers to cover everyone regardless of their health status and charge community-rated premiums. One goal of health-care reform should be to encourage people to enter the insurance pool while they are young and healthy. We can do this by making insurance inexpensive for them, and penalizing them if they wait to buy insurance when they are old and sick. Community rating and guaranteed issue does precisely the opposite, raising the cost of insurance for the young and healthy and removing any penalty for waiting. Inevitably, this means more young healthy people will make the rational choice to go without insurance. Hillary Clinton (and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, for that matter) dealt with this by mandating that everyone buy insurance.

    Obama seems unaware of the problem he is creating.

    Finally, there is the question of how to pay for all this. Obama does not put a price tag on his plan, but there is no doubt it will be expensive. Indeed, it will almost certainly be far more expensive than he assumes, since his ideas for cost savings are mostly figments of his imagination. For example, Obama assumes that allowing the federal government to directly negotiate Medicare drug prices will yield substantial savings. But the Congressional Budget Office has said that private insurance plans have already reduced drug prices about as far as they can go, and unless the government is prepared to severely restrict drug formularies, denying seniors access to some drugs, further savings are unlikely.

    MD Tanner, Washington DC

    December 1, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. Jake, Iowa

    Obama, where are you going to get the money for this? Dems love to promote their fanciful ideas about as much as they love to raise taxes. Keep out of my paycheck, Obama!

    December 1, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. Aaron Smithsburg, Maryland

    The problem with politicians are they always eat their words sometime down the road. You know why that is? Republicans, Democrats it doesn't matter,are full of hot air. Most of them are Ivy Leaguers and lawyers, men and women of privilege, that have been given a bullhorn to shout what ever gets them the most votes at any given time. They are well rehearsed public speakers that use memorized talking points and that's about it. Really any form of honest public debate would bring most of these talking heads crumbling down like a ton of bricks. Thank you CNN for summing up our national debate into 30 second sound bytes that a moron could answer. Just because you let a couple of questions in from Gun Advocate Bob, and Suzy Soccer Mom, Metro-sexually Gay Ted doesn't make it a spirited debate. Because they are willing to tell the American people what they want to hear, not what needs to be said. End the Plutocracy. Make every candidate write a speech about what they stand for, and what they would accomplish as president, and that would be their platform. No staff writers to fill in their blanks, no consultant firms to feel the waters for them, and no corporate media to handpick the elitists that usually run for office, not because their born leaders, but because of their coffers and influence. These worms get an awful lot of wiggle room.

    December 1, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. Andrew, Haslett, MI

    Good call, Jake. All I see in Obama's plan is more $$$ spent on healthcare, more government intrusion into our lives, our workplaces, and now our health. Have we learned NOTHING from the Medicare and Social Security? Whenever government steps in and tries to fix a problem it just makes it worse! If Obama really wanted to change the culture in Washington, he'd be for less government, not more. Federal regulation just drives UP costs and negates any savings that might be created from technology. I don't for a second believe that drug prices can't go any lower in the current system and just about the only good idea in his entire plan is allowing the US to negotiate prices and buy from outside the US as long as they are safe.

    The question is, Mr. Obama, how high are you going to raise our taxes to pay for your grand plan? Sorry old chum, you and Billery are too much alike.

    Take matters into your own hands and vote Ron Paul!

    December 1, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. Mia, Stafford, VA

    Ann from IL: Many single mothers have support of family. Yes his mother was remarried and divorced again. And his father left his mother and they were eventually divorced. He abandoned them.

    His mother having the support of her parents is their reasonable service as I'm sure you will one day provide to your children when they have children.

    Barack does not need or request sympathy, he doesn't play the VICTIM ROLE!!!

    December 1, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. Art Miller Alabaster AL

    If you like the long TSA lines at the airport, the you'll love Democrat health care plans. Face it ~~ Congress screws up everything it touches. I cannot recall anything Congress has truly fixed...except their ever-higher salaries.

    December 1, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Taylor- Philadelphia, PA

    Some people are so bent out of shape about how the Democrats will pay for Universal Health Care, but where in the heck is the OUTRAGE over the $30 TRILLION this war is going to cost us by 2010.


    December 1, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. Andrew, Haslett, MI

    Uhhh, Taylor? This article isn't about the war, it's about healthcare. I'm sure plenty of people are pissed off about the cost of this illegal war, but this isn't the place to debate that.

    December 1, 2007 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    Health care bills? and The President.

    In electing a president the Electoral College votes are selecting whom will be best to fill the role of Government Estate Attorney; a person elected whom will also hold the final power of attorney over the legislatures.

    The 'Boss' of the Senate is the Vice-President while the 'Boss' of Congress is the Speaker of the House. The President can only sign a bill passed by a house quorom majority.

    These possible health care bills presented are great opportunities for the general public, but are not fodder in the general campaign, as the power of The Presidential administration is limited to the Power of Signature and can not pass or present any bill to either house.

    While in the Senate both Senator Hilary Clinton, and Senator Barack Obama have the license and opportunity to draft and present those bills, but once elected they must both release those bills to the power Senate which would be found beneath them, and, so could only pass such once they have legitimately reached The Presidents desk which they might be found sitting at.

    (The party method now works to by-pass this constitutional limitation placed on the Office of The President.)

    December 2, 2007 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  21. Leano, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    Some say well, Obama does not provide universal care. Clinton says the same thing always, but never substantiates her argument that indeed Obama does not provide health. The argument of universal care is that everyone should be able to afford, simple as that. You can mandate it or not, but do people afford it. Is it so commercialised that we can't get access when we need it. Now Obama thinks along this line, whereas Clinton's thoughts are from a business management perspective. Obama says we can make health care less commercial but Clinton says how can we make work commercial. That's a fundamental difference. From the onslaught we know that mandated health care has failed,just like mandated insurances have gotten people into great defaults and jail. So Clinton's plan is not feasible, and too complex to acheive. It also introduces too many problems instead of reducing them. You have to understand that issues are connected. You cannot mandate health care whilst you are still failing to raise the minimum wages, and when you have other problems such as creation of jobs. Clinton's mandated plan fails dismally. She has forgotten that problems are intertwined, hence she has separated health care from other issues, and that makes her plan seriously weak. It creates more problems. Neither does it even show any balance of thought. Listen to her enforcement strategy, you will learn that her plan infact impinges on a lot of critical issues, from population growth factors and to many issues. ideologically, it seems a good idea, but by common sense one can tell that mandates fail in that laws cannot be passed on certain issues and that makes the laws of none effect. I mean if you tell people,once you come to America, you ought to have a health care plan , you are crazy.

    December 2, 2007 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  22. brian macnamara, philadelphia PA

    the only can person running for president in 08 that has a universal healthcare plan is dennis kucinich. it's a shame that the most honest one is looked at as a joke...

    December 2, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. Karen Oakland, CA

    I admire the strength and confidence in Barack Obama as he answers questions and states his position on a variety of issues. He has heart, quiet power and important values to be our next President.

    December 3, 2007 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  24. jw arkansas

    this guy obama don't have a clue he don't even suspect any thing.

    December 3, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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