News Release

Fact-Checking the Candidates: · Health Care · Iraq War


National coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program, Young said today: “It was ironic to hear Clinton talk about standing up to the the insurance companies. She’d tried to work them into her plan, which is a large part of why it failed. The biggest insurance companies actually backed her plan for a time while the smaller ones opposed it.

“Edwards is giving a false impression when he says that there’s no way to have universal coverage without raising taxes. We could cover everyone with a single payer system for the same amount of money that we’re paying now. This would mean money going to a single payer — like Medicare is run now — instead of the insurance companies. For about 95 percent of people it would mean less total costs. However, neither Clinton, Edwards or Obama are adopting such a plan, probably because it would clash with the interests of the insurance and drug companies, who are major funders.”
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Zunes is professor of politics at the University of San Francisco. At last night’s debate, Biden — saying “let me tell you straight up the truth” — claimed that “You need 67 votes [in the Senate] to end this war.”

Zunes said today: “The Democrats needed only a simple majority to stop funding the war. Pelosi and Reid could have refused to allow any funding bill to come to a vote unless it had strict timetables for a withdrawal and, if Bush refused to sign it, he would have been the one to put the troops in harm’s way, not Congress.

“Clinton, Edwards and Obama vied over who was most opposed to the war, but their records are at best mixed. Clinton says that she voted to authorize the war to give Bush a strong hand in getting the weapons inspectors into Iraq, yet she still backed Bush’s decision to invade that oil-rich country even after inspectors were allowed to return and engage in unfettered inspections. Obama says that he was opposed to the war from the start, but, like Clinton, repeatedly voted to fund it up until he began his campaign for president.

“While Edwards, unlike Clinton, has apologized for his vote to authorize the invasion, he has still not come clean regarding his outspoken assertion in 2002 that ‘Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction,’ which had actually been eliminated years earlier, somehow posed a ‘grave and growing threat’ to our national security. Edwards was on the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time and surely should have known, in the words of his fellow committee member Dick Durbin, that the information they had regarding Iraq’s WMD capability ‘was not the same information being given to the American people’ and that, having access to classified intelligence reports, therefore recognized that ‘the American people are being misled, they are not being told the truth.’ Edwards, who had access to the same information, was among a minority of Democrats on the committee who voted to authorize the invasion.

“Ironically, the only candidates who have a strong and consistent record opposing the war were largely ignored by the media following last night’s debate: Mike Gravel — who challenged the Bush administration’s dishonesty regarding the alleged Iraqi threat back in 2002 — and Dennis Kucinich, who led the opposition in the House against the initial authorization and has opposed funding the war from the beginning.”

Zunes wrote the article “The Democrats’ Support for Bush’s War” and a piece on Edwards.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167