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2008 Presidential Contenders: Where They Stand, What They’re (Not) Saying, and How They’re Framing the Issues
Unformatted Document Text:  while their polar opposite was Dennis Kucinich, followed by Edwards, Clinton and Biden. Obama scored a 5 on the scale, due to his support for free trade if certain provisions are in place. Free trade was only second to agriculture policy for being least important to voters overall. However, economic issues in general are becoming more salient to voters. In April 2008, a broader range of economic issues are moving to the fore, as evidenced by the issues sections on candidates websites, except for Huckabee’s. Hillary Clinton’s website listed two relevant issues: economic issues for middle class families; and globalization. John Edwards’s campaign website listed “predatory mortgages” and “trade” as issues. Richardson mentioned the mortgage crisis while providing context to a larger issue entitled “jobs and the economy”. Economic issues in this election cycle are broadening to include globalization, the housing mortgage crisis, and an economic stimulus packages, but candidates’ platforms still lack detail. For instance, McCain offered general “bold solutions to stimulate the American economy,” in compelling but unspecific language. Social Safety Net o I believe that social security should be privatized. o I believe government should help provide health care for all citizens. o I believe government should provide a social safety net for its citizens. Graphic 5. Privatize social security. The table highlights universal opposition to the privatization of social security among Democrats. Romney was neutral, while Guiliani and McCain were somewhat in agreement. McCain was moving toward the center. He however, bundled the issue of social security on his site into concerns about the rapidly rising cost of US health care, and he wanted to protect private health benefits for retirees. Clinton was very much in favor of universal health care, citing her experience and battle scars from her first attempt. Obama focused on healthcare generally, suggesting that Americans have rights to affordable health care, and proposed more generally to bring together different actors to find a comprehensive solution to the crises. If we look at candidates issue page websites, we see that the primary issue listed is “Health Care Reform.” “Social Security” is the next most frequent, being mentioned on five of the websites. Other issues listed in this category include: elder care, persons with disabilities, child care, 12

Authors: Soule, Suzanne., Nairne, Jennifer. and Iyer, Ravi.
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while their polar opposite was Dennis Kucinich, followed by Edwards, Clinton and Biden.
Obama scored a 5 on the scale, due to his support for free trade if certain provisions are in place.
Free trade was only second to agriculture policy for being least important to voters overall.
However, economic issues in general are becoming more salient to voters.
In April 2008, a broader range of economic issues are moving to the fore, as evidenced by the
issues sections on candidates websites, except for Huckabee’s. Hillary Clinton’s website listed
two relevant issues: economic issues for middle class families; and globalization. John
Edwards’s campaign website listed “predatory mortgages” and “trade” as issues. Richardson
mentioned the mortgage crisis while providing context to a larger issue entitled “jobs and the
economy”. Economic issues in this election cycle are broadening to include globalization, the
housing mortgage crisis, and an economic stimulus packages, but candidates’ platforms still lack
detail. For instance, McCain offered general “bold solutions to stimulate the American
economy,” in compelling but unspecific language.
Social Safety Net
o
I believe that social security should be privatized.
o
I believe government should help provide health care for all citizens.
o
I believe government should provide a social safety net for its citizens.
Graphic 5. Privatize social security.
The table highlights universal opposition to the privatization of social security among
Democrats. Romney was neutral, while Guiliani and McCain were somewhat in agreement.
McCain was moving toward the center. He however, bundled the issue of social security on his
site into concerns about the rapidly rising cost of US health care, and he wanted to protect private
health benefits for retirees. Clinton was very much in favor of universal health care, citing her
experience and battle scars from her first attempt. Obama focused on healthcare generally,
suggesting that Americans have rights to affordable health care, and proposed more generally to
bring together different actors to find a comprehensive solution to the crises.
If we look at candidates issue page websites, we see that the primary issue listed is “Health Care
Reform.” “Social Security” is the next most frequent, being mentioned on five of the websites.
Other issues listed in this category include: elder care, persons with disabilities, child care,
12


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