Liberals seek to Take Back health care and education

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This week, several of the candidates spoke at Take Back America and also at a presidential forum hosted by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME).

Voters at both events said they think the Democrats have a strong field to choose from, and opined on their ideal candidate’s first days in office.

“They would need to bring manufacturing back to the Rust Belt — reopen and retool the plants,” said Kathie Sherrill of Detroit. “After we get out of Iraq, the next president needs to focus on the people who are falling between the cracks. We are losing sight of our own.”

The candidates all gave speeches with a mix of foreign and domestic policy — with most saying the U.S. must end the war, work to make friends abroad to restore international standing, and all saying every American deserves health care.

The candidates talked about fair wages, ending the country’s dependence on foreign oil and improving veterans care.

The domestic portion of Mrs. Clinton’s speech included the theme of helping people be seen by government.

“Too many people … feel like they’re invisible to their government,” she said. “They’re working as hard as they can. All they’re asking for is to be given a fair chance. … I want every American to know that their needs and their lives are not invisible to this group and they’re not invisible to me, and they won’t be invisible to the next president of the United States.”

Each offered some policy positions.

Mrs. Clinton promised universal kindergarten for every 4-year-old; Mr. Edwards said he would create “green collar” jobs to build up the economy and help the environment.

Mr. Obama said he would raise the fuel efficiency of cars, and noted he wasn’t afraid to tout that plan recently to auto executives in Detroit. He also talked about restoring the middle class.

“It’s time to turn the page for all those Americans who want nothing more than to have a job that can pay the bills and raise a family,” he said.

Voters didn’t mind the nuanced differences in the candidates’ health care plans, and lauded Mrs. Clinton’s efforts on health care when her husband was in the White House. This time around, she has promised universal health care but hasn’t yet released a detailed plan.

Mr. Obama said his plan would cut the cost of an average family’s annual premium by up to $2,500 and would help people without insurance buy a coverage similar to what members of Congress enjoy.

Mr. Edwards would roll back the Bush tax cuts to pay for his plan that would mandate coverage for every man, woman and child.

The forum attendees also called for union rights and punishing companies that outsource jobs.

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