Obama confronts generational rifts; sees Hillary stuck in ’60s fight
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama attacked his chief rival as out of step with the times and too locked in 1960s social and cultural battles to deal with new challenges that require a different and perhaps younger perspective.
“I think there is no doubt that we represent the kind of change that Senator Clinton can’t deliver on, and part of it is generational,” Mr. Obama told Fox News Nov. 7 about the difference between himself and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. “I mean, Senator Clinton and others, they’ve been fighting some of the same fights since the ‘60s, and it makes it very difficult for them to bring the country together to get things done.”
Mr. Obama began his presidential campaign with the message that a new generation of Americans needs to assume leadership and continue the progress made by the baby boomers who fought for civil rights.
For the first six months of the campaign, that message helped carry Mr. Obama to record fundraising numbers far ahead of Mrs. Clinton’s. The senator from New York did not catch up until the summer.
Last month, Mr. Obama said he would begin to challenge Mrs. Clinton directly. He and other Democratic candidates peppered her during a debate last week with tough questions about immigration and Iran.
Mr. Obama, Illinois Democrat, kicked off several days of campaigning in Iowa yesterday with a speech in Bettendorf. He touted his proposals introduced earlier this year to expand health care coverage, eliminate the income tax for retirees making less than $50,000 per year and cut taxes up to $1,000 for families.
He also proposed ways to make college more affordable.
“I’ll create a new and fully refundable tax credit worth $4,000 for tuition and fees every year, which will cover two-thirds of the tuition at the average public college or university,” Mr. Obama said. He pledged to “simplify the financial aid application process so that we don’t have a million students who aren’t applying for aid because it’s too difficult.”
He said he would eliminate the current application for student aid and instead rely on parents’ tax data to determine eligibility. He proposed a new Community College Partnership Program to determine the skills and technical education needed to help local industry, create degrees for emerging fields and reward schools that graduate more students.
Mr. Obama’s higher-education proposal contrasts with that of former Sen. John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat who also is seeking the presidential nomination.
Mr. Edwards has called for a plan to fully cover tuition and book costs for more than 2 million students in their first year of public college. He said he would reform the financial aid system by eliminating bank subsidies on student loans and allowing students to apply directly to the Department of Education. He estimates his plan would free up almost $6 billion a year to make higher education more affordable.