Edwards, Clinton spar over lobbying

John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton tussled over accepting campaign contributions from powerful health care groups Monday at a forum on cancer that attracted four Democratic hopefuls.

Each candidate spoke separately at the Iowa event, with Edwards and Clinton focused on the ongoing debate among the party’s top-tier rivals over accepting campaign donations from lobbyists.

Clinton has refused to forsake such donations. Edwards doesn’t accept money directly from federal lobbyists, but he is not above benefiting from the broader lobbying community, accepting money from firms that have lobbying operations.

Clinton defended her decision to accept campaign contributions from health care groups, saying she has a long track record of fighting for national health care that demonstrates she’s not influenced by special interest giving.

“My record shows I’ve been very effective in that,” the New York senator said. “I believe in working with everybody and being influenced by nobody.”

Edwards warned that powerful interest groups killed efforts to create universal health care when Clinton was first lady and spearheaded the effort of her husband’s administration.

“I think the lesson from that, my lesson, is not the same as hers,” Edwards said. “Her lesson is give them a seat the table. I think if you give the drug companies, insurance companies and their lobbyists a seat at the table, they’ll eat all the food.”

In the early 1990s, Clinton tried to reshape the nation’s health care system ā€” an audacious effort that collapsed under its own complexity, Republican opposition and the Clintons’ unwillingness to seek compromise with lawmakers.

“I intend to do everything I possibly can to be the president who signed into law national health care,” Clinton said Monday.

Meeting with reporters, Edwards sought to underscore the differences with his rival, who is now running even with him in Iowa polls. Clinton left immediately following her appearance at the cancer forum.

“There’s a fundamental difference between Senator Clinton and myself about how we bring about the change we need,” Edwards said. “We have to take their power away from them. I don’t believe we can compromise with them.”

All four candidates stood together in calling for more money for cancer research and criticizing President Bush for allowing political philosophy to dictate decisions on scientific research.

Clinton vowed to double spending on research over 10 years, but saved some of her sharpest words for Bush.

“The president of the United States has been leading an assault on science and research,” Clinton said. Edwards called Bush the “most anti-science president in history.”

Edwards said he will take a back seat to no one in combatting cancer, motivated by his wife’s battle with the disease.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio also participated in the forum sponsored by champion bicyclist Lance Armstrong, himself a cancer survivor.

Richardson noted that former President Nixon declared war on cancer more than 30 years ago, and he joined his rivals in suggesting that money being spent on the war in Iraq be diverted back home.

“We’re not doing too well in that war,” Richardson said. “This president wants a surge in the war in Iraq. I want a surge in the war on cancer.”

Armstrong said he was disappointed that none of the top-tier Republican candidates planned to attend Tuesday’s session. He noted that Rudy Giuliani and John McCain ā€” both cancer survivors ā€” opted not to participate.

“It’s a disappointment that two cancer survivors on the Republican side aren’t coming,” Armstrong said. “I understand they have other commitments.”


  1. michaelstephenlevinson

    John Edwards had a great line, “Give the lobbyists a seat at the table and they will eat all the food.”

    Hillary’s attitude is good enough reason not to elect her. Most people feel selling a night in the White House – the Lincoln bedroom for a ten thousand dollar “dough nation” was unseemly. I doubt Billy Clintstone ever put into play or supported any legislation those people – his contributors – were opposed to.

    So Hillary’s line about listening to everyone (gimmie the money) but being influenced by no one – echh this is just so much guff! Bill took money and she supported / supports him so neither will back off from that approach because they – she will never admit to being wrong . . . bottom line . . not a leader. Neither.

    One of my programs, as a candidate, is to provide free political speech on broadcast and cable TV for candidates for federal elective office with a simple $2 check off on your income tax. As soon as you declare your candidacy you would / will have $250 million dollars to give televised live speeches with. You could run for office – your children could run without having to pander after Money & Power for initial support.

    C-SPAN would be the threshold. A candidate, to qualify would have to appear there, make a 15 – 30 – 45 – minute statement and then take questions from news rooms and school rooms – this would winnow out the “American Idol” publicity seekers one imagines might apply.

    Is that so complicated? Before you begin your speech you would be required to take an oath the words you were speaking were of your own making – not a written speech by someone else – and to qualify the speech would have to be delivered live.

    A finance lady on MSNBC just remarked we could be heading into a recession over the bursting housing bubble. My plan: Add one or two cents voluntary onto every item scanned in WalMart, KMart, Target, every supermarket, McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC and every other fast food chain. This would add $2 cash an hour to every pay check – not subject to tax – no requirement by the employer to match 5% withheld for the Social Security system to off set (my coming plan to privatize Social security) so prices in these places won’t rise. That is an additional $80 bucks a week in a working poor person’s pay check.

    That means all the lower middle class and upper lower class people have an extra $80 per week all at once every week! The overage will go in to an interest bearing medical savings account with the person’s name on their share! That goes with them when they leave the job!

    The above can be accomplished with the president gathering the CEO’s of the above named companies and convincing them to do it as it isn’t any skin off their backs. Act of Congress NOT REQUIRED.

    With my program, in the event there is a recession because of the housing bubble, the recession will be only amongst the stock broker crowd, limited to the people who created the housing bubble in the first place.

    I invite you to visit http://www.youtube.com/poetprophet and from there http://www.michaelslevinson.com

  2. lydiahowell

    Lydia Howell, independent journalist Minneapolis,MN

    I’d expect Capitol HIll Blue to NOT do the SAME “Pundits-Smarter_Than-You PRE-Select Candiates” that corporate media do…but, here that is AGAIN. While FOUR Democratic candidates running for prez were at this evetn,yuo OMIT TWO (Gov. Bill Ricahrdson and Rep. Dennis Kucinich) until far down in the article–and TOTALLY CENSOR ANY COMMENTS FROM DENNNIS KUCINICH. News flash: the primaries are still six months away–starting earlier than ever and why can’t ordinary people have any chance at all to figure out who WE think would best represent us?

    When it comes to HEALTH CARE–perhaps, the biggest domestic issue for most people–ONLY Rep. Dennis Kucnich has the solution:SINGLE-PAYER UNVIERSAL HEALTH CARE–what EVERY other Western industrialized nation has, EXCEPT the USA. Clinton is BOUGHT BY the health insurance/HMO/Pharmaceutical industries. All caniddates EXCEPT KUCINICH–have variations on MAKING PURCHASE OF HEALTH INSURANCE MANDATORY–like car insurance–and LEAVING insurance companies IN CHARGE of the nation’s health care.The Rep[ublicans are no better. With medical bills being reason for one-third of personal bankruptcy, 46 MILLION unable to afford ANY insurance and abouit100MILLION moer under-insured, how are Hilary, Edwwards, Obama solving this problem? THEY AREN’T.

    I expect far better reporting from Capitol Hill Blue.If the DLC and the media are going to decide for us WHO is “electable”, who is even worth HEARING where they stand–then, why on Earth should anyone even bother to vote??? Like investigative journait Greg Palast says, the US is “the best democracy money can buy”.

  3. bryan mcclellan

    NO ONE,I repeat NO ONE is going to force me to buy health insurance.If they want to see a dirty bomb go off in washington let them try to pass this legislation. The Unwashed Masses Will Explode.Illegals get free health care because they won’t or can’t track them down for payment, but American citizens are going to be forced to further pad the insurance industries already bloated coffers with mandatory tribute to a seriously and grossly morally bankrupt system,I don’t think so.If these pompous asses want to fight cancer,then they can start by cleaning out the damn WH,bring our troops home,secure our borders,kick the crooked F#*king lobbyists out of DC,return to our manufacturing base,stop offshore movement of companies for tax evasion purposes,stop outsourcing good jobs,fix our infrastructure,pay our teachers and fund the schools,make higher education available for all,etc.etc.etc.Need I go on? How about providing some real health care for our Troops by stopping this filthy lie of a war and getting them out of the meat grinder? Every candidate should just shut the HELL UP and direct their efforts towards ending the illegal occupation of foreign soil by smirk and his cohorts. Then and only then should they be talking out of their asses about any and all issues facing America today. PMFOT’s

  4. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Ms Howell, I’m with you, Kucinich is who I’m voting for. CHB did do a feature just on Kucinich not to long ago, don’t know if you saw it.

    Hillary Pillary Crocks epiglottis is being tickled by the pharmaceuticals while she’s turning tricks for Medical Insurance Pimps as well.
    Obama’s another stooge as well.

    The Congressional & Senate Whores wanting to force feed Americans mandatory purchase of health care while they have always gotten it free is the smoking crap on their brows.

    But first things first, lets get us the @#@$#@ out of Iraq, increase money for veterans hospitals, medical needs for veterans, for brain trauma care, for veteran outpatient needs.

    All the Chimp Fuhrer specializes in is cutting
    funds for Veterans hospitals, body armor & upgraded armor on vehicles for our troops who are stuck in Iraq spilling their blood. The list goes on.

    Money is desperately needed to repair our countrys infrastructure instead of the Chimps wet dreams with Big Dick Cheney and the rest of the Neo-Scum.