And then there were two (and a quarter)

With the withdrawal of John Edwards from the Democratic Party race for the White House, we’re down to two candidates (and Mike Gravel). Comparisons are generally easier when it’s Either/Or so now it’s probably a good time to compare the positions of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I’ve taken these position statements from MSNBC’ great Candidate and Issue Matrix where you can see the positions on these five issues for all the candidates that have run in this amazingly long campaign.

  Hillary Clinton Barack Obama
Economy Clinton has yet to offer detailed proposals on the economy. She has called in general terms for making health care affordable, promoting U.S. energy independence, increasing the minimum wage, balancing the federal budget and providing greater retirement security. Obama proposes spending $250 million a year on public-private business "incubators" to help entrepreneurs create start-up companies. He supports raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation, and promises to spend $1 billion on career pathways programs for low-income workers.
Energy Clinton calls for creating a strategic energy fund by eliminating tax breaks for oil companies and cutting subsidies for oil and gas exploration. She supports banning drilling and eliminating oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Obama proposes a "cap-and-trade" system to cut carbon emissions and raise money for new energy programs. He calls for an annual 4 percent rise in fuel standards and increased research into nuclear power. He says 20 percent of U.S. energy needs should be met by renewable resources by 2020.
Health care Clinton promises universal health care by the end of a second term; in the meantime, she proposes expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act and the use of electronic records, barring insurers from rejecting patients with pre-existing conditions and negotiating drug prices under Medicare. Obama promises to reform the private insurance market to promote competition in pricing and quality. He proposes a national health plan to cover people without private or workplace access to insurance and would require that all children have health insurance.
Immigration Clinton has called for tougher border controls, and voted to support building a fence along the Mexican border in conjunction with programs to help illegal immigrants already in the country win citizenship. Obama says he would secure U.S. borders by deploying more border agents and more advanced technology, requiring employers to verify worker’ immigration status, lowering immigration fees to encourage legal entry and providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Iraq war Clinton has defended her vote to authorize the war but has proposed a measure that would set Oct. 11, 2007, as the end date of that authorization. She has called for capping troops at January 2007 levels and for planning a U.S. withdrawal. Obama, who spoke against the war as early as 2002, calls for a phased-in redeployment of U.S. troops to other parts of the Middle East outside Iraq to conduct counterterrorism operations. He says combat troops should be out of the country by March 31.
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