COMMENTS: Partisan Dividing Lines

The issues of universal healthcare and global warming climate change were the topic of feature series on CBS and ABC. ABC had in-house physician Timothy Johnson follow up on yesterday's Critical Condition roundtable by anchor Charles Gibson on where the candidates stood on healthcare. Johnson echoed the conclusion voiced by Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation that the key difference between Republicans and Democrats cannot be found in their support for cost control or improved quality or personal choice or efficient recordkeeping. What divides the parties is that Democrats "are committed to universal coverage" and Republicans support "tax credits and personal savings accounts to help individuals" rather than relying on provision by governments or employers.

CBS anchor Katie Couric continued her Primary Questions series, which poses the same battery of ten questions to ten top candidates--five of each party--and then edits their answers to each question together side by side and one at a time. Last week Couric chose to ask about the candidates' mistakes and fears of loss. Now she turned to public policy issues: "Do you think in any way the risks of climate change are being over hyped? "

None of the ten flat out denied that the globe is warming; Huckabee and Thompson were skeptical; Giuliani and Romney allowed that human activity contributes to warming; McCain, Rodham Clinton, Obama and Biden acknowledged that the risks are real; Richardson and Edwards stated that the risks have not been hyped enough.

Three candidates advocated energy independence from imported oil--they were all Republicans.

Four candidates mentioned the wind and the sun as sources of renewable energy--three were Democrats; one was Republican.

Three candidates sought an expansion of nuclear power--they were all Republicans.

Five candidates called for more efficient mileage in automobiles--four were Democrats; one was Republican.

UPDATE (text link): Mike Huckabee's soundbite gets transcribed with a single-word error by the Sierra Club, exposing him to undeserved ridicule by a libertarian and an anti-clericalist.


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