Clinton talks war, health insurance and more in Fernley

About 500 people, showed up Friday night at East Valley Elementary School in Fernley to support Sen. Hillary Clinton in her run for president.

"I believe this is one of the most important elections we have had in this country," she said.

People in America, Clinton said, understand the importance of politics, and are sometimes disappointed in the political process.

She said the 2008 presidential election is going to ask voters to make an important decision. Nevada will be the first western state to hold a caucus on Jan. 19.

"I am betting we are going to make a commitment," she said.

Clinton then spoke about four issues at the heart of her campaign.

To begin with, she said, the troops fighting in Iraq would be coming home if she were elected president. Clinton said Democrats have voted for this repeatedly but have been unable to convince enough Republicans to make it happen.

The soldiers have done everything they were asked to, including locating Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and helping the country form its own democratic government.

"We have done everything we could to give the people of Iraq a choice," she said. "I do not want our men and women to be referees of the Iraq war any longer."

She conceded the safety of the troops would prevent her from pulling them out of Iraq immediately.

"If President Bush does not end the war by the time he leaves office, I will if I am elected president," she said.

As president, Clinton said she would want to create and build a prosperous middle class because that is the backbone of America.

"I am tired of people saying I can't, I can't," she said with her voice rising. "We have to get back to fiscal responsibility of the government. It gets me a little agitated."

Six and a half years ago when her husband, Bill, left the White House, she said there was a $5.6 trillion surplus in the federal budget.

Now, she said, there is a deficit in the trillions.

The senator also discussed the need for a new energy policy and the cost of fuel.

"We are putting ourselves at the mercy of regimes that are not acting like we think they should," she said, adding other countries are looking at alternative fuels.

"Folks selling us gas are not stupid, so they bring gas (prices) down a little," Clinton said. "We get lulled into thinking it is better than it used to be."

She said America cannot continue with this kind of dependence on fuel.

Clinton also touched on the subject of health insurance and the 47 million people who are uninsured.

Millions more, she said, pay health premiums only to have insurance companies refuse to pay claims when filed.

She talked about putting residents in need of health care into the congressional plan.

"I believe if it is good enough for Congress it is good enough for anyone," she said.

She also stressed the importance of prevention and medical checkups to offset the cost of more expensive health bills in the future.

Clinton finished her hour-long speech by talking about education, which she called one of the cornerstones of America's democracy.

She said there needs to be a plan in place for children prior to them entering kindergarten.

"It's about reclaiming the future for our children," she said. "I don't want out children entering an unsafe world."

The senator realizes the challenges she faces in the upcoming months.

"I am thrilled about the possibility of becoming the first woman president," she said, adding people can now choose any profession they desire.

Fallon resident James Cross, a lifelong Democrat, has worked on a few presidential campaigns in the past, including one of Bill Clinton's.

"I am probably going to vote for Hillary. I think it's time for a woman president," Cross said. "Hillary Clinton is ready to lead. Nevada is ready for a change."

Sue Harriman attended the event with her son Tristan, who carried a sign that read, "Think about the war."

The Fallon elementary school student said if Clinton insists on pulling the troops out of Iraq, the fighting will ensue in America because terrorists will follow the troops to America.

"We should fight them over there instead of fighting them here," he said.


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