DINGELL: "I think it had less to do with what they were trying to do than with how they proceeded. The Clintons could have gotten a bill through if they had introduced a bill when he did the State of the Union. What they did was draft over a long period of time, making compromises with themselves. That's something they thought should be done. By the time they got around to moving legislation . . . the insurance lobby and the pharmaceutical lobby had spent $500 million to beat them. . . . They never were able to answer the questions and the doubts people had."
THE NOTE: "If a Democrat is elected president in 2008 and wants to try again, what advice would you give him -- or her?"
DINGELL: "Well, number one, make it an issue in the campaign. Point out that this country is going broke. American industry cannot afford it. Forty million people have no health insurance and that number is going to grow significantly as companies remove legacy costs from retirees and active workers. An automobile made in Canada costs $4 less per hour than an automobile made in the United States. You ask: 'why?' The answer is simple: the Canadian heath care system gives that kind of advantage. I remind you: we are the only industrialized country in the world that doesn't have national health insurance. If the President would move speedily on it after getting elected, that would give us a really good chance. Not only do ordinary citizens want it but industry does, too."
THE NOTE: "Retired Gen. Odom has said the longer we stay in Iraq, the worse it gets. As someone who voted against the war, do you agree? And if so, is it time to get out?"
DINGELL: "Well, remember I voted for going into rescue Kuwait from the Iraqis. I voted against going into Iraq. Having said those things: is it time to pull out? It is time for the President to present a plan that will work -- clearly his plan is not working at this time: hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent over there. Thousands of Americans are dead. A hundred thousand Iraqis are dead. . . It is becoming a terrorist training ground . . . But I'm not sure that we can get out. . . If we don't come up with a way of addressing this, we're going to destabilize the Middle East and sow the seeds of World War III. And it's going to have a tremendous economic impact. There would be a loss of energy sources upon which we are now dependent."
THE NOTE: "Why do you think that the war in Iraq might lead to World War III?"
DINGELL: "I can't prophesize that. What I can tell you is that World War I started in a little place called Sarajevo. World War II started when the Germans invaded Poland -- it was really just a continuation of World War I. . . Some Arab extremist group can take over a country -- drop a dirty bomb. Terrible trouble."
THE NOTE: "What do the Democrats need to do in 2006 to recapture Congress?"