Hillary Clinton will be debating Tim Russert, Brian Williams and Big Media tool Barack Obama tonight.
The debate will be telecast live on the horrid MSNBC.
9:00 – 10:30 p.m. (ET)
Moderators: Brian Williams, Tim Russert
Williams: video of Hillary “honored” to be Obama; video of Hillary saying “Shame” to Obama. Explain.
Hillary: This is a contested debate. We have differences. In recent days flyers and mailers and other information on my position on NAFTA have been disturbing to me. It is unfortunate that Obama is saying I would force health care on people if they can afford it or not. I care passionately about heath care. This is a debate that should be fair. My plan covers everyone and is affordable. Obama’s plan leaves 15 million people out. We should not use discredited information especially on quality affordable health care.
Williams: The native garb question.
Clinton: I know nothing about it. It is not the behavior I condone. I ask people to leave my campaign if they do something I do not approve.
Obama: I take Clinton on her word on the photo. 95% of our health care plan is similar. Senator Clinton’s mailers say I leave out 15 million Americans. The difference is regarding mandates. She would force in some fashion people to get health care. Senator Clinton does not say how she forces people to get health care or how it can be affordable. Senator Clinton’s campaigns has sent out many mailers attacking my position. I have not whined about it.
Clinton: This is an issue that goes to the heart of whether this country does what is right. Senator Obama has a mandate in his plan – for children. The difference is that I know from the work I have done in this over the years is that insurance companies will cherry pick only the heathy people. Obama’s attack goes to the heart of whether or not we can achieve health care. I find regretable in Obama’s mailing that it is almost as if the insurance companies wrote it. My plan is affordable. Many experts say this. As Democrats we need to stake out universal health care as a core Democratic value.
Obama: Senator Clinton is saying something not accurate. President Clinton’s former secretary of labor says my plan is better. We do better to reduce costs. The fact of the matter is that we don’t know how she enforces her mandate, like in Massachusetts, in which people prefer a fine rather than purchase health care. The insurance companies want a mandate. They want everyone to buy their products.
Clinton: Senator Obama has a mandate. That is the case. A mandate must be enforceable. It would be as though FDR said let’s make Social Security voluntary. We have said that at the point of employment we would have people sign up. They would be automatically enrolled. There is enough money in my plan to make it affordable. I would limit the amount people would have to pay. Without health care we will not have prevention. Those who compare our plans say mine is affordable and universal.
Obama: I do provide a mandate for children because it will be an affordable price. If the subsidies are inadequate people will not be covered. Senator Clinton cites experts who say our plans are not that different. Medicare Plan B is voluntary. People choose to purchase it.
Clinton: Senator Obama does not cover everyone. We need a plan for universal health care.
Obama: With respect to young people up to 25 you can be covered by your parents.
Clinton: It is important to discuss this issue.
Williams: NAFTA, good for Texas, job killer for Ohio.
Clinton: In all the debates I am the one who always gets the first question. It’s like Saturday Night Live with Obama being asked if he is comfortable. I will answer. I represent upstate New York. I have seen the economic problems. Companies have gotten tax benefits to move. I would have a trade time out to fix NAFTA. We need core labor and environmental standards. We need to stop sniping at our protections for workers. I have received a lot of criticisms and the Cleveland Plain Dealer has said Obama’s attacks on me have been inaccurate. NAFTA heavily disadvantaged some of our industries.
Obama: I think it is inaccurate for her to say she has always opposed NAFTA. She liked it when she was running for Senate. Senator Clinton has shifted position on this. When I first moved to Chicago I saw then the net costs of these agreements.
Russert: Clinton, you did say you liked NAFTA. You said it proved its worth. Based on that since we can get out of NAFTA in 6 months.
Clinton: I said I will renegotiate NAFTA. I will opt out of NAFTA if we can’t negotiate. There are places in upstate NY where NAFTA worked and places in Ohio where it did not work.
Russert: But you have said you liked NAFTA.
Clinton: You do not have the entire record. The Cleveland Plain Dealer said that Obama’s criticism is inaccurate. I have said that we need to renegotiate or opt out. We also need a clear view on how to renegotiate NAFTA. David Gergen stated on TV today attesting to the fact that I was skeptical of NAFTA.
Russert: You will opt out.
Clinton: We will renegotiate.
Russert: You have been for NAFTA earlier.
Obama: Senator Clinton is right. I would also opt out. The Chicago Tribune endorsed me in spite of my strong opposition to NAFTA. I said trade deals can be beneficial. We can’t shy away from globalization. We have been looking for what is good for corporations, not main street.
Russert: Some journalists have said the problem is exports and investment.
Obama: Trade cannot be the only part of our economic agenda. We need to invest in infrastructure. We have to create green jobs. There are all sorts of things to do.
Russert: Your economic blueprint. I read it carefully. You pledge to create 5 million jobs. In Buffalo you pledged 200,000 jobs but there has been job loss.
Clinton: I counted on Gore being president. We needed shared prosperity. I have worked hard to create jobs. We can create at least 5 million new jobs. I have passed bills to create jobs and green jobs. If we put 5 billion dollars in training and tax incentives we would be on the way to create 5 million jobs. Germany went green and created many jobs that cannot be outsourced.
Williams: Clinton said we cannot afford another president who is inexperienced. Compared you to Bush. Were her comments unfair.
Obama: She equates experience with longevity. I spoke out against the Iraq war. I suggested we need to get tough with Musharraf and hunt down terrorists. On the critical issues that matter my judgment has been sound.
Williams: You took a pass earlier. Is America taking a risk with Obama?
Clinton: I have a long record, Beijing, and other countries. Senator Obama is to be commended for that speech. Many people gave speeches. Senator Obama praised Bush on Iraq. We have voted exactly the same in the senate on Iraq. Obama said he would bomb Pakistan. I disagree with that. I continue to disagree with him on meeting with enemies without preconditions. I have traveled and negotiated around the world. Standing on that stage with Senator McCain I have a better case to make.
Obama: My objections were not simply a speech. I was running for senate. This was a big strategic blunder. Once we had driven the bus into the ditch. Senator Clinton says she is ready on day 1 but she gave in to Bush. She facilitated and enabled Bush. With respect to Pakistan I said if we have actionable intelligence and Pakistan can’t or won’t do anything I will. Now there is more cooperation. My claim is not made on a speech.
Russert: You both pledge withdrawal and a residual force. If Iraq says you have to get out completely, will you leave.
Obama: If they ask us to leave, we have to leave. We should not be hostage to Iraq.
Clinton: Absolutely get out. There is no military solution.
Russert: If Americans get out in totality and Al Qaida reemerges do you go back in.
Clinton: Too many hypotheticals. It is in Iraqi and American interest to plan for an orderly withdrawal. I have been fighting to get that plan. Bush also wants to get an agreement to force us to stay in Iraq. Senator Obama heads a committee on foreign countries which includes NATO but has not held one single meeting.
Russert: Oversight, no meetings. and getting back in Al Qaida.
Obama: I became chairman at the beginning of this campaign so I could not hold hearings. We are getting resistance from our allies to get more trips to Afghanistan. I always reserve the right for the President to act if Al Qaida grows in Iraq.
Clinton: The question…..
Williams: We need to take a break.
Williams: Obama, video of Hillary in Rhode Island, celestial video, – the tape was in error. How did you take it?
Obama: I understand the broader point Senator Clinton is trying to make. I spent years helping families. That is how I started my career. I helped reform welfare and help with the tax system. If Senator Clinton thinks it’s all talk she needs to talk to those I helped, like veterans. I passed ethics bills. I fought the special interests. I met with 4 women in Cinncinnati who have no health care, job, ageing parents, dipping into retirement accounts. Nobody has been listening to them.
Clinton: I was having fun but the larger point is that getting health care will not be easy. 15 years ago I tangled with the health insurance industry and special interests. They have to be fought. I put out a plan on getting 55 billion dollars back from the special interests. As I travel through Ohio, people are working harder going nowhere. Obama voted for Cheney’s energy plan. I voted against. I will fight for the people of Ohio.
Williams: video, she wants to take credit for Bill Clinton policies but not the bad.
Obama: She often says this is what WE accomplished. I don’t begrudge her that. You can’t take credit for the good things and then say behind the scenes I was against the bad. She talked about me objecting to caps on credit cards. I objected against the whole bill. She said she voted for it but hoped it did not pass. She says she is a fighter on health care but the way she approched it was wrong. She just wanted to fight. Not only the health insurance companies but Jim Cooper and other Democrats. I know hope is not enough. It won’t be easy. The only way to get this done is to mobilize the American people. That’s what I will do as president. We have to go after the special interests. She said we can’t just wave a magic wand but then she takes money from special interests.
Russert: Keeping your word. You said you would opt for public financing. Checked yes on a questionnaire. Why won’t you keep your word?
Obama: I am not yet the nominee. We still have a lot of contests to go. I will sit down with McCain and work out a system that is fair for both sides. I do not take PAC money or federal lobbyists. I had confidence the American people would finance the campaign. Our average donation is $109.
Russert: So you may break your word?
Obama: I will work with McCain.
Russert: You will not release your joint tax returns. Accountability. Why won’t you release your tax returns of you and your husband?
Clinton: The American people are financing my campaign. We are raising about 1 million a day. I will release my tax returns upon becoming the nominee. The public has 20 years of my records. I will work towards releasing.
Russert: The archives released 20 million pages. Will you release those papers.
Clinton: I have urged for quick release. The Bush White House also has to OK things.
Russert: Obama, Farrakhan endorsed you.
Obama: I have denounced his anti-semitic statements. I did not seek his endorsement.
Russert: Do you reject his support?
Obama: I can’t say to someone they don’t like me.
Russert: He called judaism a “gutter religion”.
Obama: I have said it is reprehensible.
Russert: Reverend Wright of your church. He called Farrakhan great. He traveled to Libya with him.
Obama: I am a stalwart friend of Israel. We have a special relationship.
Clinton: I faced a similar situation in New York. The Independence Party in NY was headed by anti-semites and I rejected their support. I would not be associated with them. I won but at the time it was important to stand on principle. There is a difference in denouncing and rejecting. Everything Barack said is sincere but we cannot let these people say these things.
Obama: I will reject and denounce.
Williams: National Journal rates you more liberal than Ted Kennedy.
Obama: That rating is based on 2 votes. These ratings are silly. The votes were on illegal immigration and investigations in the Senate. I don’t think my position on ethics investigations are liberal. Why is this supposed liberal attracting Republican votes. People don’t want to back to those labels. Polls show I beat McCain.
Russert: Russian elections. What can you tell me about him.
Clinton: He is an appointed successor. The so called opposition leader praises Putin. I have been critical of Bush policy towards Russia. It is imperative that we begin a realistic policy.
Russert: What is his name?
Obama: Bush looked into Putin’s eyes and liked what he saw.
Russert: He is 42 and a former campaign manager for Putin. What if he sends troops to Serbia.
Obama: The Clinton administration put together a coalition and helped Kosovo and Serbia.
Russert: Your careers in public service. Votes you’d like to take back.
Clinton: My vote on Iraq was sincere. I would not have voted that way again. I would not as president take us into foolish wars. But this election is about the future. China, Middle East, Israel are all a mess after George Bush. My unique experience prepares me to deal with Putin and others because we don’t have that much time.
Obama: In my first year there was the Terri Schiavo case. I voted to intervene and I think that was a mistake. We are wrapping up the debate. There is still a lot of fight in this contest. The one thing I am sure about is that Senator Clinton is a good campaigner. We care about the American people. We hear heart breaking story after heart breaking story. They want a little hand up. It is critical to change the way things are done in Washington.
Williams: Closing. What is the fundamental question Senator Clinton has to answer to prove her worthiness as a nominee.
Obama: I think she is worty as a nominee. I think I am better that is why I am running. She would be better than McCain. He wants to continue a war we can’t afford. I think I can keep the country together. I have a track record as a community organizer and in state government.
Clinton: There is no doubt we both feel strongly about our country and we bring committment and energy. As I said last week, it is a honor to campaign. This campaign is history making. I am proud to be the first woman president which is a challenge to the way things have been done. Either one of us will be history making. My experience in government and the private sector gives me a special insight into making change. There are 142,000 kids without insurance in Ohio. A mother looked at me and said “will you help us?” I will do what I can in the states to come. The weathy have had a president and I want to be a president for all.