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Des Moines Register Endorses Clinton and McCain

I did not see this coming, but the Des Moines Register has endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton of New York for the Democratic nomination and Senator John McCain of Arizona for the Republican nomination.

You can read the editorial for the Democratic endorsement here and the Republican endorsement here.

The theme of the endorsement is competence and preparedness to lead America through these difficult times.

This is certainly good news for Clinton who has not had a particularly good six weeks. Obama has gained momentum in the state and this endorsement gives her the opportunity for some good news and a chance to at least slow Obama’s momentum. While I still don’t expect Clinton to win Iowa (it is just not her state), I believe Edwards will win it, this endorsement may decide who comes in second and who will win NH (not Edwards state), SC and ultimately the nomination.

As for McCain, he is far from winning Iowa or even placing third place in Iowa. His campaign has written off the state and is now focused on New Hampshire where Independents can give him much need momentum going into South Carolina, which I believe he can win. This endorsement gives him some good media attention and will at least allow Iowans to give McCain a second look. Basically, this puts him on the map again. Still, don’t expect him to win Iowa. If Huckabee is able to hold onto his leads and win the state, he may give McCain a second chance at victory.

You can watch the Democratic endorsement here, and the Republican endorsement here.

Who is hurting? Of course Obama, Edwards, Huckabee and Romney who have all lead in Iowa at some point or currently have momentum on their side. The DMR was unsure of Obama’s readiness to be President and unhappy with Edwards change in tone from optimistic to harsh.

SEIU Compares Healthcare Plans

There has been tremendous debate in the Democratic primary on which candidate’s Healthcare proposal will provide universal Healthcare. The SEIU released a comparison, which shows only four presidential candidates who have a plan to provide universal Healthcare.

Here are the summaries provided by the SEIU. Check out the full comparison here.

Democrats

Joe Biden
Plan to expand Medicaid and SCHIP to cover
young people up to 21 years of age as well as low-income and childless adults.
Plan would allow people to keep their existing coverage or buy coverage
through SCHIP, Medicare, or a new Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.

Hillary Clinton
Plan requires everyone to purchase insurance
and provides subsidies to make coverage affordable. Plan would allow people
to keep their existing coverage or buy coverage through Federal Employees
Health Benefit Program. Plan also requires large employers to provide coverage
or help pay for it.

Chris Dodd
Plan requires individuals and employers to
share the cost of coverage based on their ability to pay. Plan allows people
to retain existing coverage or to automatically enroll in a new plan similar to
the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program. Plan would phase in universal
coverage by age group over four years.

John Edwards
Plan requires employers to cover employees or
to help finance a public insurance plan and that requires all individuals to have
coverage by 2012. Expands Medicaid and SCHIP, reforms insurance laws to
contain costs and creates regional non-profit purchasing pools with competing
public and private plans to choose from. Plan also allows individuals to keep
their existing coverage.

Mike Gravel
Plan would end the employer-based system of
health coverage and replace it with a single-payer voucher program that could
not deny eligibility based on health, wealth, or for any other reason.

Dennis Kucinich
Plan expands Medicare to cover everyone,
replacing private and public insurance as described in HR 676. Plan would be
single-payer, allowing only public or not-for-profit providers to participate.

Barack Obama
Plan requires that all children be insured and
that all employers either cover their workers or pay into a public insurance
plan. The plan also allows people to keep their existing coverage or purchase
coverage through a new purchasing pool called the National Health Insurance
Exchange that offers competing private and public options.

Bill Richardson
Plan requires all individuals to have coverage
and provides subsidies to make coverage affordable. Requires employers to
contribute to the cost of coverage for employees based on a sliding scale.
Allows people to retain existing coverage or to buy coverage through the
Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan; expands Medicaid and SCHIP and
allows people over 55 to buy into Medicare.

Republicans

Rudy Giuliani
Plan will shift incentives from the current employer-based system of insurance
to the individual market without guaranteeing universal coverage or affordability.
Plan offers tax credits to help low-income families pay for insurance. Plan
offers the expansion of Health Savings Accounts with high deductible health
insurance plans, creates large insurance pools for small businesses, and
deregulates the insurance industry.

Mike Huckabee
Plan would use tax credits and other tax
incentives to encourage people to buy private insurance. The plan would
expand Health Savings Accounts with high deductible health insurance plans to
everyone, but does not address affordability or universal coverage.

Duncan Hunter
Has not yet released a detailed plan. Generally
supports private, market-based health insurance system including Health
Savings Accounts with high deductible health insurance plans, supports
expanding purchasing options across state lines and supports making
information more readily available to health care consumers.

John McCain
Plan will end tax preference currently benefiting
employees with health insurance through their workplace. Plan would expand
tax credits to help all individuals and families buy private insurance coverage.
Proposes to control health care costs by changing provider payments and
through tort reform.

Ron Paul
Has not yet released a detailed plan. Generally
supports current market-based insurance system, expanding Health Savings
Accounts and tax credits for individual coverage.

Mitt Romney
Signed a comprehensive health care reform
law while Governor of Massachusetts. Has not yet released a detailed plan
on the federal level. Encourages coverage that vary state by state through
market-based reforms. Supports the expansion of private insurance, but does
not address affordability; supports tax credits for health coverage.

Tom Tancredo
Has not yet released a detailed plan.
Generally supports market reforms and Associated Health Plans that limit
coverage and can exclude people based on previous health conditions.

Fred Thompson
Has not yet released a detailed plan.
Generally supports increased focus on preventive care, tax credits, and
market based reforms.

Here is a summary.

Provides universal Healthcare
Hillary Clinton
John Edwards
Dennis Kucinich
Bill Richardson

Near universal Healthcare
Barack Obama

Expands coverage
Joe Biden
Mike Gravel
Chris Dodd

Opposes legally mandated Healthcare
Mike Huckabee
Duncan Hunter
John McCain
Ron Paul
Tom Tancredo

Does not address Healthcare
Rudy Giuliani
Mitt Romney
Fred Thompson

(cross posted at MyDD)

Huckabee Whacks Bush’s Foreign Policy

It was going to occur in one shape or form. When it was going to occur was a matter of question. The most likely timeline was after the nominee was decided. However, Mike Huckabee took a drastic turn and distanced himself from the President’s foreign policy.

“American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out,” Huckabee writes in the journal’s Jan/Feb issue. “The Bush administration’s arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad. My administration will recognize that the United States’ main fight today does not pit us against the world but pits the world against the terrorists.”

In one specific criticism, Huckabee said Bush did not send enough troops to invade Iraq. And he accused the president of marginalizing Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, who said at the outset of the war that it might take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to control Iraq after the invasion. “I would have met with Shinseki privately and carefully weighed his advice,” Huckabee said.

Of course, leave it to Mitt Romney, who is now a distant second in Iowa, to hit Huckabee where it hurts.

“I can’t believe he’d say that. I’m afraid he’s running from the wrong party,” Romney said to a gathering of about 100 supporters in a restaurant here. “I had to look again — did this come from Barack Obama or from Hillary Clinton? Did it come from John Edwards? No, it was Governor Huckabee.”

Battle for the conservative vote. Still, some polls show as much as half of Iowa Republican voters favor a pull out of Iraq.

Recently, Huckabee named Ed Rollins his National Campaign Chairman, who won Ronald Regan 49 states in the 1984 election.

Bill Clinton on Charlie Rose

Bill Clinton made an appearance on Charlie Rose last night. Among the issues discussed was the 2008 election, in which the former President gives a rather frank view of the 2008 race, particularly on Obama’s experience.

Word has it, Clinton staffers were scrambling in the background to end the interview.

Obama responded quoting Bill Clinton that a candidate can “have the right kind of experience or the wrong kind of experience.”

Of course this little exchange brings us back to the argument of experience. The Edwards campaign is now questioning Obama’s experience as well.

“There’s a deep concern about his readiness to be president,” Joe Trippi, an advisor to Edwards, said Thursday.

Citing polling data on Obama — a poll data apparently from the Edwards campaign — Trippi said, “A quarter of his own supporters think he’s not qualified to be president.”

Edwards should have gone after Obama weeks ago in my opinion.

Then there is question on if it is wise to to go after the most popular Democrat in the country. Thread lightly.