May 13th, 2008
01:01 PM ET

Hillary Clinton's line-in-the-sand issue

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/13/art.hillary.crowd.jpg]

William Schneider
Senior political analyst

Something Hillary Clinton said at a children’s hospital in Portland, Oregon, last week caught my eye:

"How can anyone run for Democratic nominee for President and not have a universal health care plan? This is a huge, huge difference and one I feel passionately about.’’

With that, she defined her biggest issue difference with Obama. In fact, one of her only issue differences with Obama (unless you count the gas tax holiday, which is silly).

This could be the line-in-the-sand issue Clinton takes to the convention, demanding a platform plank calling for universal health care as a victory for her campaign.

Reagan did that in 1976, demanding that the Republican Party repudiate the Nixon-Ford policy of détente (it did).

Kennedy did that in 1980, demanding that the Democratic Party endorse a big jobs program (it didn’t).

Ford and Carter both went on to lose.

soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Michelle in CA

    Universal health care is too extreme a change for the health care system to put in place in the next four years. It is just an empty promise. Obama's health care plan makes more sense and is practical enough to really put into place. If you look at his policies detailed on his website you will find they are all practical and will work.

    What Obama supporters across the spectrum understand is if he has a democratic majority in the house and senate, his cabinet (chosen for their abilities rather than because of favoritism or cronyism) will be able to make positive changes in Washington and in this country. We will all benefit.

    This election is a rollercoaster ride on which we are being asked to examine our core beliefs and fears. Hold on tight and eventually we'll be out of the rapids. No one said change would be easy. I believe this democratic race will turn out to have been good for the country. I believe it is all part of the social evolution this country is experiencing as we move forward into the 21st century. It is time we, as a nation, recognize people throughout this country and the world do have common values and hopes and no one is better than anyone else.

    Thank you CNN for presenting an intelligent and fair examination of all sides of this election process.

    Obama 2008

    May 13, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  2. NC

    This universal health care plan that she keeps banking on is very similar to the failing manditory health care plan that exists in MA. No wonder the MA representatives support Sen. Obama. If it is not working properly in a single state why would you try to implement this on a grand scale?

    Someone please call her at 3 am to tell her this show is over. It's time for her and Bill to use what little power they have left to unite the party. And please tell her that it is embarassing for her supporters to say they won't vote or they will vote for John McCain if she is not the nominee. Would you really jeopordize the country Sen Clinton if you aren't the nominee?

    May 13, 2008 at 10:19 pm |
  3. Nancy



    May 13, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  4. ophelia/FL

    Barack can get all vote's, if People are stupid enough to not vote for Barack Obama, that means they want to die broke, and there kids die fighting a useless war. Black People have gotten it right the last two Presidental elections,Why should we listen to WV when they can't seem to get it right, the Media should be talking about this.

    May 13, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    I hope HRC does make this a defining issue at the convention; while I understand the importance of insuring the children universal health care gets us all – hopefully insulating us from the prospect of a parent being sick and unable to receive treatment and unable to earn a living. Without health insurance for the parents as well as the children, the children are still at risk of economic hardship should one of their parents become ill. Hillary's plan is the only one that meets all the needs and really gets at the core of the healthcare problem. I hope she is given a chance to implement it!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 13, 2008 at 9:24 pm |
  6. D.S.

    Well, it doesn't matter anymore. Hillary cannot win without black votes and Barack can't win without white votes. Whose fault is this? Hillary Clinton. Obama has never said I can get the good black people's vote or the good educated people's vote. She said I can get the good hard working white people's vote. Well, so be it. The Clintons and only the Clintons have raise the issue of race and the Clinton News Network has helped them take our country back. Who cares? I'm staying home come November.

    May 13, 2008 at 9:04 pm |
  7. Karen

    Let's see–if you vote for Obama, you're well-educated, white and rich, or African American.

    If you vote for Hillary, you're racist, white, and drooling down the front of your shirt. Barely able to write your own name but still capable of voting.

    The similarities between the two? Each vote counts exactly the same. Might want to stop labeling people as you're managing to drive a wedge that won't be healed by November.

    And calling the Clinton supporters sore losers is rather humorous. Have you never heard the term 'gracious winner'?

    May 13, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  8. Jose Contreras

    WOW! I never thought I would agree with the Clintons, but they are right! CNN's political analysts are sooo
    transparent! they dislike Hilary Clinton! and like Obama and the commentaries are so easily dicifered, to be pro Obama, what ever happen to fair reporting!?
    And the African American analysts you have including Brazile, are so Pro Obama! This can only help my candidate McCain, you go racists, I mean brothers and sisters.

    May 13, 2008 at 8:59 pm |
  9. ophelia/FL

    If She is so experienced, then why is her compaign OVER BROKE!!!? Why has she been fighting Obama like He's a republican??? Why is she behind in every way??? Why is She deviding the party??? Oh and I am married to a Hispanic Man, and oh yes they will vote for Barack in the general, don't get it twisted...

    May 13, 2008 at 8:47 pm |
  10. Brad Sterman

    Wow! Here is guy who wants to be the President of ALL the people and yet he didn't show up in WV.

    He lost my vote!

    May 13, 2008 at 8:40 pm |
  11. ophelia/FL

    Barack Obama is the most trustworthy of all three of them, we haven't heard any of McSame, or Hillary's dirt yet because Barack wasn't running their kind of campaign.... In the general Barack is going to take off his gloves, watch out McSame supporters... They have nothing els on Barack
    and for a polition Thats Great!!!

    May 13, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  12. JT

    If the democrats wants to win in November, Hillary is the right choice!

    Hillary will do better in November!!

    Obama will be smack hard with inexperienced, Pastor Wright, Ayers, Rezko and how he is going to pay for all his promises.

    Hillary 08!!

    May 13, 2008 at 8:25 pm |
  13. ophelia/FL

    WHATEVERRR, She Lost...

    May 13, 2008 at 8:23 pm |
  14. Illinois

    She is going to win the nomination and she is going to win the GE. The only people who don't want her to get the nomination, much less win the GE, are the people who are so mad at the Clintons for having as much power as they do. They have done just about everything they can to try to derail her campaign in order to prevent her from being the nominee. That way they don't have to go up against her....because they know she would win. Bottom line: they can't stand losing/not having enormous political power.

    The Kennedys, Pelosi, Dean, and all of the other big players in Washington who are democrats want nothing more than to see her fail.....and they are willing to do anything to make sure that that happens. What they don't seem to understand is that she won't quit the race for the nomination, no matter what. If anything, this is making her stronger. Obama is a Manchurian Candidate.....that's all he is. Just someone who will do other's bidding. And they know that Clinton won't go along with their stupid left wing liberal ideas.

    May 13, 2008 at 8:19 pm |
  15. Christine

    I am all for Hillary and will not vote for Obama because he has no plan that will work for this country. Because I am a registered Dem they will try to put Obama signs on my lawn, well I will just have to burn them to the ground. Nuff said.

    May 13, 2008 at 8:12 pm |
  16. Gary Chandler in Canada

    @Nicole A from Florida
    "medicine is too capitalistic in this country. Is she aware of how much a medical education cost? How would she make doctors conform? Most clinicians would refuse the insurance. She would have to raise a complete different culture of physicians. "
    Anybody who is president should listen to Nicole, and study Canada. In a more socialistic country, where we have had 'universal' health care for years, the 2 points you bring up are always in contention up here. Check out the long line ups for surgeries, and the continual controversy about the private clinics which sprouted up.
    We have moved to a 2 tier system. As Nicole says, I don't see how America, the land of capitolism, will be able to embrace 'universal' care!?

    May 13, 2008 at 7:44 pm |
  17. xtina, chicago

    The democrats can't even handle their own delegates and super-delegates; what makes people think they can run the entire country's health care?

    May 13, 2008 at 7:37 pm |
  18. J P fisher

    Al Gore won the popular vote in the 2000 election but still lost because of the electorial college. Could we get Mr King and his map wizzardy to give the two democrat canidates a winner take all in each of the states they have won and see what the electorial college would look like. My feelings on the election are they should have more winner take all states then to basically evenly divide the delegates and this election probally would have been decided long ago.

    May 13, 2008 at 7:26 pm |
  19. Ann

    CNN rarely reads any of these blogs on the air...especially when they promote Hillary...they like to promote Obama's campaign and they even talk like he's already the nominee....can't wait to see their faces when, as we all know, she's the more electable and more experienced, they have to say maybe she will ask him to be her running mate! Besides, most Clinton supporters will not vote for him if he's the nominee....not because they are shallow (as someone on CNN said) but because they know that this country cannot afford that kind of mistake....God Bless the USA

    May 13, 2008 at 7:07 pm |
  20. Kathie, Ontario. Canada

    You notice when Obama talks about the small amount people will save under Hillary's plan he prefaces it with "the AVERAGE' person.
    His thinking does not include , truck drivers, farmers who have to
    get their goods to market, long distance commuters, taxi drivers etc.
    The man is a good talker alright , You have to listen very carefully to what he says and more carefully to what he doesn't say .

    How can he totally ignore West Virginia now during the primaries
    and then when and if he is the nominee , go back to them with
    his tail between his legs and convince these same people he
    ignored and basically told them they weren't relevant, that he
    now cares about them and their issues.
    Also, what right do people have who have had their vote and
    their voices heard that the people who have yet to vote shouldn't
    have their voices heard and have their constiutional right to

    May 13, 2008 at 6:31 pm |
  21. Maria

    Hey Isaac,

    Hillary and Bill were pretty good to us when they were in office.. That was a presidency that was color blind. Many people have gone off to a "change".. well i wish them luck with this "change"..which is only a word that people who are so tired of Bush enjoy hearing..

    Obama is not going to bring the soldiers home right away.. Are you kidding?!?! If Obama was in the senate it is obvious he would of voted for the war.. Had he been pressured with what was going on then.. It didn't take him long to say " his views on the war were the same as Bush" not too long ago.. he swings over to whatever people want to hear...

    May 13, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  22. Maria

    this gas holiday. we would get the 18 cents in our pockets and at the same time the oild companies would feel the loss of money. The highway fund would be fine. The oil companies pay that right to the IRS when the import comes in. The companies in turn tax us the 18 cents at the pump to make up for what they paid to the highway fund, Does the media or Obama know anything? They never brought this up.. EVER.. it would of meant a small amount of money in our pockets and a huge loss for the oil companies.. I liked that idea... granted they would probably bring up the price even more, but at this rate does it really matter? We don't know where they are going to stop and my husband and I would of had an extra 80$ in our pocket and the oil companies would not be making such a huge profits for a little while...

    May 13, 2008 at 5:50 pm |
  23. Carol B., Virginia

    She's had a couple of times when she pulled off a victory. Maybe she's still expecting a hat trick. It will be interesting to see where all this is going.

    May 13, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  24. Susan


    The Congress of the United States ( including Senator Clinton & Senator Obama) take money from insurance companies and the drug companies. Is one hand going to vote for universal healthcare while the hand is pocketing the money?


    May 13, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  25. Rekha Joy Raman

    I am universally yours Senator Clinton. I was just nursing my emotional health. Now I'm weaned off and ready to bloom!

    May 13, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  26. Isaac

    The Democratic race has been a run of interest to the world over, should the DNC take away the nomination from Obam then guess what message it sends to the entire world. Already many are saying that the key questions are not being asked by the media, like, Hillary is sounding as is she has a right to the nomination beacuse she appeals to the blue collar white Americans, is America justy white & how important is the Black, latino & every other vote to her?

    May 13, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  27. Jan Gray

    I think Hillary will fight till her dying breath for the American people.

    That is why so many people are voting for her. Millions of people
    are going to write her name in on the ballot if she is not the nominee.

    We really believe in her, she is more thanYES WE CAN speeches.

    May 13, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  28. Rob

    it could be the best health care plan ever but HRC has already proven her inability to get it done. if her administration were run anyhting like her campaign God Help Us All

    May 13, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  29. spencer

    Barack is a man on no substance....HRC has plenty of substances... Vote Hillary for President..................

    May 13, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  30. Ann

    Whatever "line-in-the-sand" she chooses will be an intelligent one. The convention HAS to know that most democrats will NOT vote for Obama if he's the nominee....we Will be forced to go with McCain. This country has to have integrity, experience, and intelligence in a nominee for President of this U.S. Obama would be putting "Wright" people in the "wrong" place!

    May 13, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  31. Marc in Quebec

    Why do you guys keep putting up stuff about her? She's no longer relevant....

    May 13, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  32. Cory Ben

    Why is the media spinning the West Virginia issue so much like it would be a big deal for Clinton if Obama loss big or small?
    The whole point is the media doesn’t seem to remember that McCain is the Republican nominee but he loss the West Virginia race in February, so if Obama loss it why is it a big deal? I don’t think it should be since McCain loss it also, so if Obama is the nominee then that will be a test for both candidate.

    May 13, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  33. N Patel

    Hillary Clinton is wasting people's time and money. She has failed to gather people's vote, not only that but she has also failed to budget her own campaign. If she has to take a debt to finance her own campaign, how will she manage failing US economy?

    May 13, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  34. Deb n Texas

    Hillary, you and Bill need to go to Canada or some place far. I use to be crazy about you all – I reality thought the world of you all, but NOW I WHEN I SEE YOU ALL ON TV – I TURN THE CHANNEL!

    May 13, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  35. Rahni, Connecticut

    Hillary Clinton healthcare proposals are no better than Obama’s. Unfortunately, the gas holiday that Hillary Clinton and John McCain are proposing is only short term. We need someone to look beyond the immediate but into the future to resolve are energy crisis in long term and I feel that it’s Obama although, I voted for Hillary in the state primary but I will correct that mistake and vote for Obama in the general election. People, please do not blame Obama for the Michigan and Florida debacle, and put the blame on their state local government that caused all the problems.

    Yes! We all know West Virginia will vote for Hillary Clinton, as she stated the American “White” workers are the backbone of America and that pretty much eliminating all the other ethnicities that keep America functioning on a daily basis.

    Rahni, Connecticut

    May 13, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  36. Debbie, NJ

    She want to make health care like car insurance. If you don't pay your car insurance they drop you. If you don't pay your health insurance she'll fine you.

    May 13, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  37. Michelle

    I hope that tonight's political coverage will not be all
    HRC all of the time. Will you all also carrying any of
    the Obama events tonight ?

    May 13, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  38. Debbie, NJ

    Hillary has had a health care plan for the past 20 years. Bill said she had millions of papers and thousands of people working on it.

    May 13, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  39. Marie

    Keep going Hillary!!! You will win the Democratic Primary popular vote and polls show you will beat McCain in Nov. in swing states (these polls show Obama would not win these swing states). Take it to the convention and let all of the delegates vote, including Fl. and Mich. Hillary 08!!!! She can save our country!!!

    May 13, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  40. Carol

    Last week I interviewed for a job. I know I am qualified – I have the experience and the ability to take on this job and do it well. I did my best at the interviews and, I thought, I gave all the right answers.

    They haven't called. I keep checking my cell phone for missed calls. I check for phone messages as soon as I get home but there aren't any.

    I'm disappointed – I had a lot of plans for what I was going to do in my new position. But they chose someone else and I'm going to have to accept it. They aren't interested in my ideas of how things should be done. Someone else was more qualified, or more likeable, or had the edge for whatever reason.

    Hillary, you weren't selected for the job. Your ideas were not what the voters wanted in the campaign – or now. It's time to accept it and move on.

    May 13, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  41. elaine c., ambler, pa

    There recently was a very good special on TV (PBS?) comparing various health care policies in France, Canada, Germany and elsewhere. One thing they all agreed on was that for the system to work, EVERYONE had to be covered. This is where I feel Obama is a bit naive, but will still vote for him assuming he becomes the nominee.

    I think Hillary is smart to stay in until early June just because the voting record of the electorate will be there if it becomes useful to her for some reason later. Once she's out, she can't undo it. I really don't think it is hurting the democratic party. Everyone will forget come August. Plus, coming from a later state (PA), Kentucky and others should have the rare thrill to actually have a choice. It doesn't feel like much of a democracy when everything is decided before your turn.

    May 13, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  42. Maggie

    Hillary has fought for Americans to get worthy healthcare for decades. She hasn't given up on us yet, and I hope we don't give up on her. My signs are in my yard since I voted for her in South Carolina. I am PROUD to support her, as she is trying to look out for me. I am an educated, Company CEO, Mother, Wife, "White", hard working American. I wish Hillary was "Black" and Obama was "White" this race would have been over well before the Republican primary was.

    Think long and hard about that you RACISTS.....

    May 13, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  43. Frost

    with all the controversy over Obama and religion... my question is. If elected president will he swear or affirm the oath on a bible?

    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." - Article II, Section 1, clause 8 – U.S. Constitution

    May 13, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  44. Nicole A from Florida

    Hillary so proudly boast for universal health care. Her plan is unrealistic. Universal Health Care will never happen in the United States....medicine is too capitalistic in this country. Is she aware of how much a medical education cost? How would she make doctors conform? Most clinicians would refuse the insurance. She would have to raise a complete different culture of physicians.

    Perhaps if she attacks the issues of medical liability and the monopoly that lawyers and insurance companies have over the health care arena then she would have my respect.

    I do not agree with the manditory coverage portion of her plan.
    So she could go to the floor of the convention with the Universal care nonsense to carve out some victory .....and when she can't get it through congress then I bet her approval rating will be even less.

    Consider this....90% of people :young old rich and poor carry cell phones. The average cost of a montly cell phone bill would carry basic health coverage. ...Food for thought.

    May 13, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  45. Gary Chandler in Canada

    You can possibly start a car in second gear if it's going down hill.
    For an uphill start, try bull low. Again, like with McCain's gas tax holiday plan, Barrack is showing fiscal sense, combined with the compassion of the health care issue. You espouse a possibly unattainable plan to win politically, while he aims for something that has a chance to get off the ground instead of the vote grabbing approach.
    No wonder he is getting so much support from independents, republicans, and educated folk. Let the nominee go with the plan his supporters voted for, and don't try to foist your losing agenda on anyone.
    (Oh, and study 'universal' health care, like we have in Canada. It's NOT all it's cracked up to be.)

    May 13, 2008 at 1:34 pm |
  46. Luis Pabon

    If Hillary is my next Commander In Chief, I will move to Australia when my Military Career is over in 2years. Obama is my number one pick. On top of that I have not voted yet. When November comes around I will make sure I am the first one in line voting for OBAMA.

    May 13, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  47. Beverly

    First of all who cares what she says now!
    Second if she felt so strongly about universal health care, her husband had 8 yrs to put her plan into effect.

    May 13, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  48. John - Spokane, WA

    WHY IS a Holiday gas tax Silly ? Anytime Americans can catch a break (Though beit a small one) Im all for it !! There are many people that communte a fair distance each day to and from work, perhaps using 4 to 5 gallons a day with a savings of up to a $1 per day. Thats $25 per month (Not counting weekends) and $75 for the summer ! Why is that Meaningless? We all know that a long term solution is the ultimate answer, nobody is dening that – You know like enforcing some of our Price gauging laws in this country that our government has convienently turned a blind eye to. The idea that the mega billions that the oil companies are making somehow does not equal price gauging is a joke. I just dont understand why Obama would oppose ANYTHING that would put a few extra dollars in the pockets of Americans ? If the Oil Companies gave something back to this Country in the form of PAYING THE GAS TAX for the summer, How is that a Bad thing for America ? And by the way, WHAT IS OBAMAS PLAN ?? DOES ANYBODY KNOW ?? DOES HE KNOW ??

    May 13, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  49. Maria

    I am upset that Hillary will not be our next Dem nominee.. Everyone talks about not trusting her. How can this country trust a man who tells us how he came from nothing? How he grew up with a single mom on food stamps?? Come on.. Mom was a college grad, dad came here on a student visa to study and left his pregnant wife in Kenya, moved on to Harvard and met another woman, got her pregnant too and took her back to Kenya.. Grams was a president of a bank.. Mom's family owned slaves and at 10 years old he was sent to a prestigious school in Hawaii.. It does not add up. I heard it again this monring how Obama came from nothing.. That is such a lie.. His mom milked the system. I came from nothing and even when my dad got sick, my parents kept supporting us with their money and didn't look at the system for help. Those programs are there for the people who need them. Not for college grad women whose mom is a bank president... I came from nothing. people like me come from nothing.. NOT Obama! All his lies will come out when the GOP get a hold of him.. It all sounds good when you are trying to fill the pages of a book.

    May 13, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  50. Cindy

    That is about the only difference between the two. But really who's to say there isn't more. Obama hasn't exactly been forthcoming on his ideas or plans on the issues. I've barely heard any of them. Like the women on the 360 report said last night people are in love with the idea of Obama and not Obama's ideas...he has not told them.

    May 13, 2008 at 1:07 pm |
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