ABCNEWS' Melinda Arons is on the road with Representative Kucinich. For the latest report, scroll down.
Kucinich faces insurance employees
Nov. 12 — Congressman Kucinich, who never gives a speech without bashing insurance companies (signature line: "Insurance companies make money NOT providing health care") and touting his plan for a universal single-payer system, took the unusual step Tuesday of speaking to a group of employees at the Principal Companies, a huge insurance company known in Des Moines simply as "The Principal."
Though the crowd was cordial and there were several supporters present, including one who works for Principal and volunteers for the campaign, Kucinich finally got the question everyone was anticipating: "This is an insurance company that provides millions of people with health care plans. What happens to us if there's a single-payer system, and how are you so sure Medicare for all will work when it often doesn't work now?"
Kucinich, whose tone was the calm and deferential one reserved for appearances he makes when introducing himself to undecided voters (as opposed to the fiery battle cries he delivers to avowed supporters), tried to appease the audience by explaining that with the new system the government would need workers with the skill set of the insurance company employees, so there would be a place for them, and that although they might not be happy with the results of the single-payer system, his presidency would work to reduce environmental damage that he says costs the insurance industry money because of the higher number of claims being processed.
It's a tough sell in insurance industry-heavy Des Moines, even among Democrats like the questioner. The logic is essentially, elect me and my health care policy will shut you down, but there might be fewer beach erosion housing claims in 50 years.
While not convinced, the man who asked the question seemed pleased that Kucinich didn't dodge it, and Kucinich thanked him for asking it, as he always does when faced with more confrontational queries The Congressman spent the rest of the day visiting with veterans at the Des Moines Veterans Hospital and giving speeches at Drake University and Grandview College.
As for the latest shake-ups in the Kerry campaign, Kucinich took the Dean line, saying with a chuckle "I can hardly keep track of what's going on with own staff … .I couldn't comment on another campaign."
Kucinich fields marriage proposals
Nov. 11 — Congressman Kucinich has had an interesting week since Wednesday night's joke about looking for a special someone to join him in the White House. He told ABC News, "I've been getting marriage proposals slipped to me! One woman at the rally in Bellingham Friday had a huge sign that said 'Marry Me.'"
The Congressman seems genuinely surprised and amused at the response, and for now is unsure whether he'll pay any heed to the PoliticsNH.com contest trying to find him a mate, wary of detracting from the seriousness of the candidacy while intrigued by the opportunity for the publicity his campaign craves.