Going Down Swinging: Clinton Hits Obama on Health Care For Last Time?


From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

PORTLAND, ORE. -- As Hillary Clinton's days in the hunt for the Democratic nomination seem more and more numbered, her campaign seems to have come full circle, with a small campaign event today on health care at a children's hospital here.

One of Clinton's key reasons for running for president was to put in place a universal health care plan, a plan she attempted in the early 90's. The plan fell short, under pressure from Republicans and insurance companies, according to Clinton.

Clinton seems resigned to her fate in this race, almost as though she wanted to make a plea to her opponent to adopt the very universal health care plan on which she built her campaign. Barack Obama's plan does not require that all Americans purchase health insurance, and could potentially leave up to 15 million Americans uninsured, a point Clinton has fought him over throughout the primary season. "I just don't think you can draw these artificial lines. I deeply, deeply believe that we've got to get to universal health care and if you don't start in favor of universal health care you'll never get there," Clinton said speaking at the center of an open courtyard on a chilly morning here.

Although the setting didn't quite call for it, there was little in the way of excitement or challenge in the voice of Clinton as she spoke to parents and patients who would have benefited from a universal health care plan like hers. Down in the polls and lagging in campaign contributions, Clinton chose to focus on her health care plan, rather than host a rally with thousands of supporters. "I want to reiterate as strong as I can my personal commitment to universal health care, it's one of the main reasons I'm running for president," Clinton said, "If you don't believe it is a moral imperative then I regret that."

Making this an even more special moment for Clinton was that she was reunited with a young woman who was a patient here when she was a child and first met Clinton back in the early 90s when she was first lady. Today, the young woman is a strong advocate for Clinton's universal health care plan and is a community organizer for Clinton

Clinton cut the speech short as several patients, many of them children, were sitting outside in the chilly courtyard wrapped in blankets. Clinton said she apologized for having people outside in the cold, something she "deeply" regretted, saying she didn't want the children outside in the cold because it's "not the right thing to do."

Clinton is only hosting one event in Oregon, a state she trails in the polls to her opponent, but she is scheduled to head east for a campaign rally in Kentucky later today.