In the third televised Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) said she would rather be called a "modern day progressive" than a liberal.
"I prefer the word 'progressive,'" Clinton said when asked if she would use the word "liberal" to describe herself via a YouTube video clip made by Rob Porter from Irvine, California.
Tuesday’s debate, held in South Carolina and hosted by CNN, Google and YouTube was billed as a "historic" event. The sponsors asked YouTube users to submit their questions online in 30-second video clips. The clips were then played for the candidates and moderator Anderson Cooper asked follow up questions.
Clinton lamented that the word "liberal" had been "turned on its head" to be "made to seem as though it’s a word that describes big government, totally contrary to what its meaning was in the 19th and early 20th century."
"I consider myself a modern progressive," Clinton said. "Someone who believes strongly in individual rights and freedoms, who believes that we are better as a society when we're working together."
A few of Clinton’s answers, however, sounded like they came from a big, government liberal.
Clinton used a question about registering women for Selective Service to discuss finding ways to get more young people to serve the government.
"I do think that women should register," she said. "We’ve got to look for more ways for universal national service."
She mentioned a bill she introduced in the Senate to create a public service academy that would provide free college education to more than 5,000 students a year in exchange for a five year commitment to work for the U.S. government.
"We’ve got to get young people back into public service," Clinton emphasized at the debate.
In the course of answering a question about global warming, Clinton discussed a new government program she would create to pay for green energy projects. She said as President she would get money to pay for it "by taking away the tax breaks for oil companies, which have gotten much greater under Bush and Cheney."
At no time Monday evening did Clinton bring up her plan to implement universal health care. She also stayed silent while other candidates were asked to outline their positions on gay marriage. No questions related to illegal immigration were asked of any of the candidates.