• WisPolitics


Monday, February 18, 2008

 10:39 PM 

Clinton urges crowd to treat primary like job interview

Hillary Clinton told a crowd Monday night Americans don't need another president they can "have a beer with," urging them instead to approach Tuesday's Wisconsin primary like it was a job interview.

"What Senator Obama and I are asking you to do is consider hiring one of us for the toughest job in the world," Clinton told a capacity crowd in the Exhibition Hall at Monona Terrace, where she spoke one day after originally planned because of a weather delay. "Think about who you would hire to do this job."

Clinton continued to try to draw contrasts between herself and Barack Obama over healthcare.

She walked out onto the stage with state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, who led an effort to create a universal health care plan for Wisconsin, and U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who serves on the campaign's Health Care Policy Task Force.

Clinton told her audience that the country would never be fair if anyone was left uncovered and that she would open up the congressional health care plan to the American public. She has criticized Obama's health care plan, saying it would leave 15 million Americans uninsured.

"I am passionately committed to universal health care. Senator Obama is not," Clinton said. "I am not running for president to put Band-Aids on our problems."

She said she looked forward to taking on special interests in her health care fight, calling her 1993 health care battle a "badge of honor."

Clinton also asked the crowd not to be swayed by speeches and rhetoric.

"We don't need a leap of faith," Clinton said. "We don't need to have a beer with the next president. We already have that president."

Clinton also talked about education, global warming, economic development and the federal tax system. She promised to end the "unfunded mandate" of the No Child Left Behind Act and return to direct lending to alleviate excessive student loan interest rates. She also promised to create a "strategic energy fund" by taking tax subsidies away from oil companies and to lead the world in a new post-Kyoto environmental agreement.

"This election is not about who's up and who's down," Clinton said. "It's time we started setting big goals again."



Clinton concluded her 40-minute speech with a discussion of Iraq. She said she would ask the defense secretary and her advisers to begin developing a plan for removing troops on her first day in office, but stressed "there are no good options" for American interests in Iraq.

"As we withdraw our troops, we're going to be telling the Iraqi government, 'Time's up,'" Clinton said, before adding, "There is no military solution."

Security personnel escorted one protester out of the hall after he yelled during the speech and held up signs protesting the Iraq War. The event also attracted four sign-bearing Ron Paul supporters outside the Terrace.

Listen to the speech here.

-- By Andy Szal

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