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Clinton: Health care, N. Ireland...

In an extensive interview with the NYT, Clinton talks health care. She "said she would like to cap health insurance premiums at 5 percent to 10 percent of income. The average cost of a family policy bought by an individual in 2006 and 2007 was $5,799, or 10 percent of the median family income of $58,526, according to America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group. Some policies cost up to $9,201, or 16 percent of median income."
 
More: "Mrs. Clinton also she said if she could not generate the money needed to pay for universal coverage through other means, she would not object to raising the excise tax on tobacco products, which Congress last increased in 1997 to 39 cents a pack.
 
"I'm a big believer in raising tobacco taxes," Mrs. Clinton said when asked whether an increase should be on the table. "You know, when we were working on the Children's Health Insurance Program, that's the funding stream that the Congress came up with, which was bipartisan, which worked out very well. At some point, there's going to be diminishing returns. But, sure, why not? I don't have any objection to that."
 
"As in her debates with Mr. Obama and other contenders, Mrs. Clinton displayed an easy command of health policy in the 45-minute interview, conducted in a basement meeting room in the Midtown Manhattan tower that houses her Senate office."
 
AP has a fact-check of sort that doesn't look good for Clinton when it comes to her role in the Northern Ireland peace process. "Clinton's longtime claims to have played a difference-making role in Northern Ireland attracted no criticism until the buildup to St. Patrick's Day this year. To some ears, her most recent comments have raised a false impression that she helped produce the landmark Good Friday peace accord of 1998. Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern came to Clinton's defense, meeting with the senator in Washington -- and making his first phone call to Obama.
 
"I think for anyone to try to question the Clintons' huge support (for Ireland) and start trying to nitpick and saying, 'But she wasn't sitting down at the negotiation table' -- sure, we know she wasn't sitting down at the negotiation table," Ahern said.
 
"After suffering criticism from rival Obama's campaign and Protestant politicians in Northern Ireland, Clinton this month backed off language that suggested she was ever involved in the 22 months of negotiations that preceded the Good Friday pact. But Clinton still suggests that she wielded a hidden hand over the diplomatic triumph.
 
"I wasn't sitting at the negotiating table, but the role I played was instrumental," she said in a March 13 interview with National Public Radio.
 
"Clinton's campaign has distributed statements backing up her claim from Nobel laureate John Hume, the Catholic intellectual heavyweight of the peace process, who credited her with making 'countless calls and contacts,' and leaders of Sinn Fein, the party that former President Clinton helped to bring in from the diplomatic cold caused by Irish Republican Army violence.
 
"In Northern Ireland, the endorsements from Hume, Sinn Fein and Ahern are broadly recognized as reflecting Irish Catholics' desire for maximum international sympathy, specifically from the U.S. The retired Hume, in particular, boosted his clout by carefully cultivating friendships with U.S. politicians, chiefly Democrats. For them, a President Hillary Clinton offers the best chance of a return to the pro-Irish policies of her husband, who broke with decades of State Department deference to Britain, an approach resumed under George W. Bush."
 
Peggy Noonan attempts to read the minds of the press corps that covers Clinton and comes to some interesting conclusions: "I think we've reached a signal point in the campaign. This is the point where, with Hillary Clinton, either you get it or you don't. There's no dodging now. You either understand the problem with her candidacy, or you don't. You either understand who she is, or not. And if you don't, after 16 years of watching Clintonian dramas, you probably never will. ... Many in the press get it, to their dismay, and it makes them uncomfortable, for it sours life to have a person whose character you feel you cannot admire play such a large daily role in your work. But I think it's fair to say of the establishment media at this point that it is well populated by people who feel such a lack of faith in Mrs. Clinton's words and ways that it amounts to an aversion. They are offended by how she and her staff operate. They try hard to be fair. They constantly have to police themselves.
 
"Not that her staff isn't policing them too. Mrs. Clinton's people are heavy-handed in that area, letting producers and correspondents know they're watching, weighing, may have to take this higher. There's too much of this in politics, but Hillary's campaign takes it to a new level."
 
What will the folks at the DNC think of the fact that Bill Clinton called McCain a moderate?
 
Per NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli: "Taking a broad view of presidential contest, Bill Clinton told audiences across central Pennsylvania today that all three remaining presidential candidates are "appealing in their own way." He argued again that John McCain represents a tough general election matchup for Democrats, at one point even praising the Republican nominee for being a "moderate."
 
"Most of us in this room presumably are Democrats," he said at a stop in Lewistown, his fourth of five during the day. "But I have to tell you, I think Senator McCain is a very admirable person. … And he -- in Republican circumstances, he qualifies as a moderate because he was against torture, for campaign finance reform, and didn't think global warming was a myth."
 
Per NBC/NJ's Matthew Berger, with the glow of a disco ball shining down on her, Chelsea Clinton took the stage at Woody's, a gay bar in Philadelphia, Friday evening and discussed everything from HIV/AIDS prevention to the highlights in her hair.
 
Clinton spoke as part of a National Stonewall Democrats forum for presidential candidates. She followed a conference call that featured Obama supporter Melissa Ethridge, who was largely ignored as the crowd chatted away.
 
At one point, when discussing prescription drug prices, a man yelled "F**k Bush," to which Chelsea replied, "We need to get him out. I'm not interested in that." The crowd erupted, and Clinton tugged at her hair, grinning. "That just came out, that part. But I was actually making a serious point."
 
TIME's Halperin and Carney look at Clinton's chances, "The question of who emerges from the primary season as the party nominee is not usually a subjective one. There is a process, however convoluted, through which candidates amass delegates; after the last state has voted and the numbers have been tallied, the one with the most delegates wins. This year is different. The two massively popular candidates have both earned large numbers of delegates, resulting in a situation in which neither can realistically obtain the required number of elected delegates that will put the candidate over the top.
 
"Given this unusual turn of events, the Clinton campaign has seized the chance to promote an argument ground not in numbers but in sentiment: it is asking superdelegates to make a subjective decision about which candidate is best positioned to win the White House in November. The first exhibit of its case is demographic. "I've obviously done very well with women, who are a majority of the electorate," Clinton explained to TIME. "I've done very well with Hispanics. I've done well with older voters. We have to anchor our electoral map in the states that [Democrats] must win, and I think I'm in a good position to do that."
 
"There's a flip side to this as well--the argument that Obama is dangerously weak among key Democratic and swing constituencies. The Clinton campaign has been raising questions about Obama's ability to win white blue-collar voters in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania and Hispanics in places like New Mexico and Colorado--all swing states that will most likely decide the election."
 
The New York tabs are starting to circle Clinton. The New York Post dubs her "Has-been Hill." But, as we've noted before, if Hillary were to win North Carolina, things would change big time.