Terry Jeffrey

Clinton opened the bidding, offering to help people pay for their homes and heating costs. "I have a package of $110 billion," she said. "$70 billion of that would go toward dealing with the home mortgage crisis. ... Then, I think we need to give people about $650, if they qualify -- which will be millions of people -- to help pay for their energy bill this winter."

Edwards agreed that there should be "a home rescue fund." Obama upped the ante, offering to give retired people "a supplement to their Social Security check."

Edwards vowed to invest tax dollars "in green infrastructure, which creates jobs."

Hillary trumped him. "That's why I have $5 billion to do it," she said. "We could put hundreds and hundreds of young people to work right now, putting solar panels in, insulating homes."

Edwards offered an additional plan to "help low-income families save." "(W)e need to match what they're able to save," he said, "so they actually have something that they can fall back on in case they get in a place where they need more money."

Finally, they argued over whose "universal health care plan" was more universal. Obama deviated from the party line, admitting his plan would only guarantee coverage to those who actually "want" it. Clinton said: "I am adamantly in favor of universal health care, and that means everybody is covered. And we will have a system to make it affordable, but it will be required ... ."

Edwards won the competition, however. Asked if illegal aliens would be covered by his plan, he said no -- because he would make them American citizens first. "(W)hen people who are living here undocumented actually have a chance to become American citizens, then I think they've got the opportunity to become part of the plan," he said.

What could be farther removed from the America that John Adams imagined, where descendants of pioneers lived free from undue government interference, than the place John Edwards foresees, where immigrants come here illegally on a road paved by tax dollars that runs straight into a government-run health care program?

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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