Clinton touts plan locally

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 29, 2008

HANGING ROCK — Hillary played Hanging Rock and it was much of the same.

Her visit Thursday was touted the day before as the venue to unveil her child care plans. But details in a town hall forum were few.

In a press release handed to invited guests and press before the event, Clinton stated goals as cutting child poverty in half by 2020 and ending child hunger by 2012.

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Her strategies include bolstering the food stamp program; providing nurse home visits, early Head Start, raising the minimum wage, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and new job training, according to the release.

Also she wants a $1 billion Child Opportunity Fund to finance programs to help children and their families and to expand the school breakfast program.

In the panel held at the Ohio University South Child Development Center, Clinton pushed the need to help families.

“We have to focus on children and families and it has to go hand-in-hand,” she told the cheering audience of about 300. “If we had more Early Head Start and Head Start, by the time the child was 5, that child would be better prepared.”

Early on, Clinton introduced two women from the audience who gave personal accounts of the struggles of single motherhood and caring for a child with delayed development.

“I don’t know how single moms do it,” the senator said. “How could you do that without a reliable safe place for your daughter?”

Her child poverty, education plan revolves around the concept that the problems of children can not be separated from the welfare of the parents.

“When a child is sick, it affects the whole family,” she said. “If you don’t have health insurance for everyone you are not going to get out of this. We have to figure out how to provide affordable health care.”

Clinton took few swipes at her opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, who is now running even in Ohio polls, as the make or break Ohio and Texas primaries are next Tuesday.

When she did, it focused on their health care proposals. Clinton said she favors universal health care for all, but that Obama’s plan focuses on children alone. In a press conference after the forum, a member of the media traveling with the senator asked if her interpretation was misrepresenting Obama’s proposal. She denied that.

However, she never gave any details on how she would allocate funds for the health care plan, other than to say it would cost participants a small percentage of their wages.

She also gave no specifics on how she would fund her child poverty plan, simply that such programs were vital for child welfare.

“We need to provide more early child education. We need to grow Head Start, need to have more kids eligible,” Clinton said. “Moms get a lot of support from Head Start. It’s really a family program.”

The closest the senator came to facing the funding question was to say when, if elected President, she brought the troops home from Iraq that money would be available.

“The money will come back here to Lawrence County, to Meigs County, to Ohio, to America,” she said. “We need to be smarter about delivering help to our people.”