As we enter the second month of the year the road to the presidency is now down to the final four. Super Tuesday is within days and America will announce their choice of who will continue on. Debates for both the Republican and Democratic parties both proved interesting. Unlike the pot shots McCain and Romney threw back and forth, Clinton and Obama chose to lay out their strategic differences. The two hour debate aired live from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California revealed to viewers that the two political history makers have far more in common than previously thought.
The topics discussed at length included healthcare, national security, immigration, and the economy. While both candidates agree that change is necessary in order to turn the nation around, there were significant differences in their approach to effecting that change.
Both candidates agree that illegal immigrants employed in the U.S. drives down wages and that a comprehensive immigration reform must be put in place to tackle the issue of the 12 – 14 million people that are illegally in the United States today. Senator Obama emphasized the need to crackdown on employers hiring illegal immigrants as did Senator Clinton. Both candidates believe a “pathway to citizenship” to those already here should be established and expressed that fines be imposed on those persons who entered the country illegally. Senator Clinton expressed that back taxes should also be paid over a period of time as well as mandating non-English speakers learn English. Once all these steps have been taken, then the illegal immigrants would have to “wait in line” like everyone else for their citizenship. While these feelings were mutual between both parties, there was discord with the matter of issuing driver’s licenses.
Obama’s position supported issuing licenses to illegal immigrants so as to avoid the “hit and run” scenario where persons fearing deportation flee accident scenes. Clinton stated, this would only serve to “further undermine the problem.”
Healthcare, the War in Iraq, and the present state of the economy were also addressed. With an estimated 16 % of the nation’s citizens uninsured, proper coverage was a heavy debate. Senator Clinton favors a universal health plan whereas Senator Obama favors a voluntary approach. Under Clinton’s proposed healthcare solution, citizens with existing healthcare coverage would remain unchanged. Uninsured or underinsured persons would have the Congressional insurance plan available to them. Obama, while emphasizing his proposed healthcare plan would be voluntary, advised that even if adults opted not to carry insurance, it would be mandatory for children to have coverage (up to age 25).
Overall, the debate was party friendly as the brunt of the force was directed at the Bush Administration and the Republican candidates. Questions asked were received from users of www.Politico.com, a fairly new site dedicated to covering Capitol Hill politics as well as lobbyists and the politics of the presidential campaign.
As the candidates are whittled down to the final two and the race for the presidential seat begins to quicken, 2008 has already proved to be historic. Following the results of Super Tuesday and finally the election in November, if a democrat is elected to the presidency, regardless of which candidate, history will be made