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Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters in South Bend

Ashley Charnley | Monday, April 28, 2008

New York Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton challenged Barack Obama to a debate in Indiana and discussed key election issues in a speech Saturday afternoon at Coveleski Stadium in South Bend.

“I am offering Senator Obama a chance to debate me one on one, no moderators,” Senator Clinton said. “Just the two of us going for 90 minutes, asking and answering questions. We’ll set whatever rules seem fair.”

Clinton said she is disappointed that Obama and she have only met four times in one-on-one debates. However, Obama rejected Clinton’s request for another debate Sunday morning.

“I think this country is sure worth debating about its future. I think the issues we face are sure worth discussing. I want the American people to be part of that discussion,” Clinton said.

Former Congressman John Brademas introduced Clinton to the crowd and emphasized the importance that Indiana will play in the upcoming election.

“Indiana can play a key role in restoring vital leadership to our country,” Brademas said.

Clinton called for a change in direction for the country, but recognized how difficult the decision for the ticket is because of the historic nature of this campaign as the first woman candidate vies for the Democratic nomination against the first African-American candidate.

“I think we need someone on day one who can go into that Oval office, and as Commander-in-Chief start making the tough decisions that confront us around the world, and as president turn this economy around so it starts working for middle class and hard working families like you in Indiana,” Clinton said.

The senator discussed outsourcing around the country and renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“We need a 21st century trade policy because what we had in the 20th century no longer works in the 21th century,” Clinton said. “We are going to play offense. We are going to start creating jobs again.”

Clinton also promised to end the Iraq War in order to bring more money back to the American economy.

“Well, I am going to end that war in Iraq, and bring that money back home,” she said. “We are going to start investing in America again.”

Clinton said she would help create jobs in states like Indiana by taking subsidies away from oil companies and instead funding ethanol.

“I don’t believe we ought to be subsidizing fossil fuels, subsidizing the oil companies that already make millions of dollars of profit, so we are going to put that money to work with for clean renewable energy,” she said.

Clinton also spoke about her health care plan, which would allow uninsured Americans to buy into the Congressional Health Care Plan.

“It’s good enough for members of Congress, it’s good enough for every Hoosier and every American, and that you keep insurance if you have it, but if you don’t you will be able to buy into it,” Clinton said.

This speech in South Bend is one of several stops Clinton is making as she campaigns through Indiana before the May 6 primary.