CONCORD, N.H. – Two of the longer-shots for the Democratic presidential nomination are taking aim at some of their middle and top-tier rivals over their health-care proposals.
Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, a centrist candidate who’s long been vocal in his opposition to a government-run “Medicare-for-all” health-care system proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and supported by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, once again criticized the two progressive standard-bearers among the large field of Democrats seeking the White House.
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“You’ve got Senator Sanders and Senator Warren who want to cause complete upheaval to the U.S. health-care system as a way of creating universal health care,” Delaney told reporters on Monday after filing at the New Hampshire secretary of state’s office to place his name on the first-in-the-nation presidential primary ballot.
Delaney charged that “they’re going to basically blow up 90 percent of the health-care system to try to solve 10 percent.”
He also criticized the public-option plans being promoted by more moderate contenders Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, arguing, “It will almost do nothing to improve the health situation in the United States of America. It’s simply a government-run insurance company and it’s not even clear the government will run it that well.”
Delaney promoted his own proposal, which he said would reach universal coverage without forcing millions of Americans off their current health insurance.
Best-selling spiritual author Marianne Williamson, who pledged to unveil her own health-care plan in the next week or two, agreed with Warren and Sanders on moving toward universal coverage. But, she emphasized, “The problem I have with their plans, however, is, I do want doctors to have some entrepreneurial possibilities.”
Criticizing Buttigieg and Klobuchar, Williamson said, “Pete and Amy, that’s another cover for same old, same old.”
Health care has been a top issue for voters in the Democrats’ race for the presidential nomination. There’s been a sharp divide between the progressive contenders supporting “Medicare-for-all” and the candidates seeking to strengthen the current health-care system by adding a public option.
Williamson also seemed to question the moral leadership of her rivals for the nomination, highlighting, “They have a different set of qualifications… In terms of moral leadership, articulating a moral vision for groups of people and actually navigating the turbulence of the kind of crisis within people and within systems that is necessary now in a leader, I’m the one who’s had 35 years of experience.”
Asked by Fox News if she had the campaign cash to continue until February, when the presidential nominating contests kick off, Williamson said, “I have… money to continue. I do not have the money that I need to get on television in the way that I need to get on television. Hopefully that will come.”
Williamson also elicited laughter from the several dozen supporters who accompanied her to the filing, saying, “You see all these wonderful people who are here to support the campaign. The whole point of a grassroots campaign is that the volunteers need to work harder.”
Williamson, who has preached the politics of love and proposed creating a Cabinet-level Department of Peace if elected, urged her followers to be “obnoxious.”
“One of the things that you certainly saw and continue to see in Trump’s supporters is rambunctiousness. Rambunctiousness should not only be on the right,” she said. “This starts now. It’s like a bell ringing at the beginning of a race. I signed that document and let’s go. That means everybody has to be obnoxious on my behalf.”
Delaney, who been running for the White House for over two years — he launched his campaign in July 2017, just six months into Donald Trump’s presidency — acknowledged, “We would have liked to be doing better in the polls, but to me, the only kind of poll that matters is the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary.”
He also told Fox News, “I’m absolutely going to support the Democratic nominee. Full stop.” And, he said there was “zero” chance he’d run as a third-party candidate.
Delaney, a multi-millionaire who made his fortune as a CEO on Wall Street in the health care industry, has poured millions of his own money into his campaign. The candidate, joined by his wife, April, and a few supporters as he filed, indicated once again he had no intention of dropping out even though he hasn’t qualified for any of the Autumn debates.
Asked by Fox News about his expectations for where he needs to finish in Iowa and New Hampshire, he optimistically said a “top 5 in one of these states sends a big message.”