Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack used his appearance at a forum for Democratic presidential candidates to push his call for ending the war in Iraq sooner rather than later. Vilsack was one of seven candidates to speak Wednesday afternoon in the state of Nevada in a forum organized by the AFSCME union, and Vilsack opened with a jab at his rivals who serve in the U.S. Senate.
"I want to challenge every single one of you and ask the simple question: What have you done today to end this war in Iraq? It needs to be ended now," Vilsack said, as the crowd of union members started to applaud. "Not six days from now. Not six months from now. Not six years from now. It needs to be ended now and it’s up to you." Vilsack said Senators and fellow presidential candidates Biden, Clinton, Dodd and Obama have a "moral obligation" to end the war now.
"And we say to the president, ‘Mr. President, we are no longer going to fund this war,’" Vilsack said. Vilsack was asked to analyze the health care plan advanced by rival John Edwards, who has suggested businesses that don’t provide health care insurance should pay a fee, every American should be forced to buy insurance, and America’s richest citizens may have to pay higher taxes to ensure American’s who can’t afford insurance premiums get health care coverage.
"There are ways to do this without necessarily raising the tax burden on folks and certainly on working folks. You know, when working folks hear about tax increases, their interpretation is they may be next," Vilsack said. "I think our party can do a better job of being innovative and creative."
Unlike Vilsack, Illinois Senator Barack Obama did not attend the forum in Nevada and was outside the Iowa statehouse Wednesday afternoon talking with reporters. "We were interested in campaigning here in Iowa and had already started scheduling some things," Obama said. Obama campaigned in the state of Nevada three days ago. Last night, Obama held a town hall meeting in Des Moines.