Beltway Happenings
July 17, 2006--Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) started to draw some distinctions in the field of possible 2008 Democratic candidates in his speech on "The American Middle Class: Future of the Nation, Future of the Democratic Party."  In many ways this speech is a response to former Sen. John Edwards' (D-NC) focus on fighting poverty.  Bayh stated in his prepared remarks that, "Working to eliminate poverty, which my friend John Edwards speaks so eloquently about is a moral imperative.  But if we don't also directly strengthen the Middle Class, we will never achieve our potential as a nation." 

Specific ideas Bayh advocated were:

-a $6,000 refundable tax credit to cover the first $6,000 of college costs;

-cut health insurance premiums by covering 75 percent of health costs above $50,000;

-replace the current 401(k) and IRA deduction with a 30 percent government match; and 

-tax credits up to $3,400 for the purchase of new, high mileage vehicles to help drivers conserve.

Later in the day Bayh delivered the speech again in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Former DNC chairman Joe Andrew, a fellow Hoosier, attended Bayh's speech.  He observed afterwards that, "Since the day that Bill Clinton walked out of the White House, America has not had someone fighting for the middle class."  "Evan Bayh has done that as Governor, he's done that as Senator, and he'll do it again as President of the United States," Andrew said.  Andrew also described Bayh's remarks about former Sen. John Edwards as "a deft distinguishing, not a criticism."
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Copyright © 2006  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action