Is Obama all style and little substance?

The vetting of Obama continues… 

Is Obama all style and little substance?

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer 3 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – The voices , , ) all style and little substance?

He has focused instead on motivating his impressive following with a call for unity and change in Washington. But along with the attention comes a hunger to hear more about what he‘s about.

Obama has a lot of time to fill in the blanks between now and Election Day, and certainly many other candidates are short on details this early in the race. But they don‘t have such a barrier to prove they are qualified to be president.

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards , the only other candidate to serve less time in elective office than Obama, described in detail his health care plan to provide insurance for all Americans. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton doesn‘t have a written plan yet, but no one questions her expertise, since she was the chief proponent of the issue during her husband‘s presidency.

“I believe that he needed to know a little more about health care issues and he was just unprepared,” Romo said.

David Peter, a child support case worker and member of the SEIU in Las Vegas who was also in the audience, said Obama may have been better off not participating in the forum. Peter is a local organizer for anti-war candidate Dennis Kucinich , but said he was impressed with Clinton‘s health care plan and disappointed in Obama.

Obama was pressed by a union member in the audience who said she went to his Web site to learn more about his health care vision, but didn‘t find much beyond his commitment to reduce HIV / AIDS and lead poisoning.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the discussion will begin April 3, when Obama plans to talk to New Hampshire hospital workers and other community members at a meeting co-sponsored by the Portsmouth Herald.

If Obama were running in a different time, he might get more of a break for lacking specifics. Primary votes were already being cast in the 1984 Democratic primary when Walter Mondale famously ridiculed opponent Gary Hart by asking, “Where‘s the beef?” Four years ago, no candidate for president had a health care plan this early in the game.

Obama has offered a plan to get troops out of Iraq , beginning with a drawdown in May that would extended through a March 2008 goal of redeploying all combat troops. The plan is unlikely to become reality with Bush in office, but is what Obama says he would do if he were in the Oval Office today.

Obama also has laid out broad goals such as covering the uninsured by the time his first term is over. He has downplayed the importance of the specifics at this stage, saying that it‘s not a lack of details that are the problem.

“Every four years somebody trots out a white paper, they post it on the Web,” Obama said Saturday. “But the question we have to challenge ourselves is do we have the political will and the sense of urgency to actually get it done.”


Associated Press Writer Nedra Pickler covers the Democratic presidential race for The Associated Press. Associated Press writer Ryan Nakashima in Las Vegas contributed to this report.


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