candidates Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton pose
for photographers prior to the CNN/Los Angeles Times Democratic
presidential debate in Hollywood, California January 31, 2008.
As Californian voters view economic issues as more important than
the Iraq War, Democrat candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen.
Barack Obama were clashing over economic issues and the Iraq War.
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards' withdrawal Wednesday
means the Democrats are virtually assured of becoming the first
major party to nominate a woman – Clinton – or a black – Obama –
Both candidates will weigh in Tuesday with their preference in
their party's precedent-breaking presidential race in California, a
stronghold for Democrats.
Both Clinton and Obama were trying to lure support by coming up
with economic stimulus packages.
They have proposed stimulus packages in addition to earlier
economic plans, basically aimed at aiding the middle class.
Clinton unveiled her five-part, 70 billion-dollar economic
stimulus package in Commerce January 11.
candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton participate in a
televised debate at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.
Her plan includes a 30 billion-dollar emergency housing crisis
fund to assist states and cities to mitigate the effects of
mounting foreclosures; a 90-day moratorium on subprime
foreclosures; and an automatic rate freeze on subprime mortgages of
at least five years.
Clinton also called for 25 billion dollars in emergency energy
assistance for families facing rising heating bills; accelerating
five billion dollars in energy efficiency and alternative energy
investments to stimulate "green collar" job growth; and a 10
billion-dollar increase in extending and broadening unemployment
She called on Congress to provide an additional 40 billion
dollars in direct tax rebates to what she called working and
middle-class families if the economy continues to worsen.
"In the face of rising global competition, our children's future
is at stake, so we don't need more rhetoric, we need action. We
need an immediate strategy to get our economy back on track. I
would work with leaders from both parties to pass an aggressive,
fast-acting stimulus package to create good new jobs and revitalize
our economy," Clinton said.
Obama has proposed a 75 billion-dollar plan which includes
giving an immediate 250 dollar tax cut for workers and their
families; a 250 dollar bonus to senior citizens in their Social
Security checks; an additional 250 dollars to both workers and
Social Security recipients if the economy continues to worsen; aid
to states hit hardest by the housing downturn and extending and
expanding unemployment benefits.
"The American dream is slipping out of reach for many families
whose paychecks aren't meeting the increased costs of their medical
bills and tuition payments," Obama said.
Obama's plan has drawn criticism from Clinton's senior economic
adviser Gene Sperling and the Republican National Committee.
Sperling said Obama's stimulus package "borrows heavily from
Senator Clinton's but nonetheless comes up short."
In September, Obama proposed an economic plan, which included a
middle class tax cut of 1,000 dollars per family and would
eliminate taxes for senior citizens making under 50,000 dollars per
"Obama's first tax-and-spend economic plan was widely panned and
his second is just more of the same," Republican National Committee
Communications Director Danny Diaz said.
Clinton and Obama have both pledged to withdraw US troops from
Obama has criticized Clinton throughout the campaign for her
2002 vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq. Obama had not
been elected to the Senate when the vote was taken.
"I don't want to just end the war, but I want to end the mindset
that got us into war in the first place," Obama said at Thursday's
debate at the Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles.
Clinton said she would begin to withdraw troops within 60 days
of taking office and estimated it could take a year for a complete
"We have to think about what we're going to do with the more
than 100,000 American civilians who are there, working for the
embassy, working for businesses, working for charities."
Obama said "it is important for us to be as careful getting out
as we were careless getting in."
"The one thing that I think is very important is that we not get
mission creep, and we not start suggesting that we should have
troops in Iraq to blunt Iranian influence. If we were concerned
about Iranian influence, we should not have had this government
installed in the first place."
Clinton's vote in favor of authorizing the use of force in Iraq
was among the factors leading the Los Angeles Times to
In its first presidential endorsements since 1972, The Times
"strongly" endorsed Obama, calling him "the Democrat most focused
on steering the nation toward constructive change."
Twenty-two states, including California, New York and Illinois,
will hold primaries and caucuses Tuesday in the biggest one-day
round of presidential primary voting in US history.
In California, 370 delegates to the August 25-28 Democratic
National Convention in Denver will be at stake Tuesday, with 241
allocated proportionally on the results in each of the state's 53
congressional districts and the other 129 on the statewide
(Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2008)