Getting ready for the long, long haul

Hillary Clinton's campaign releases her positions on Puerto Rico.

By Alex Koppelman
Published March 17, 2008 9:14PM (EDT)

Ever have a moment where an e-mail lands in your in box and all you have to do is read the subject line to make your stomach twist in all sorts of unpleasant knots? We have -- in fact, we had that moment just a few minutes ago, when an e-mail titled "Hillary Clinton's Agenda to Address the Concerns of and Challenges Facing the People of Puerto Rico" arrived, sent our way by the Clinton campaign.

There's an unspoken message in that e-mail: Puerto Rico is one of the final states scheduled to weigh in on the Democratic nomination; it will hold its primary on June 1. So if the Clinton campaign is already making its pitch to the people of the state, it's a further sign that it intends to fight it out until at least then. (There's also the possibility that the campaign is just trying to show supporters that Clinton is in it to win it, of course. Anything can change.)

As to her actual policy prescriptions, the campaign's memo deals right off the bat with options for the territory's status within the United States. "Hillary will enable the question of Puerto Rico's ultimate status to be resolved," the memo says, continuing:

Hillary also strongly believes that Puerto Rico should have the status that a majority of its people want from among all of the options. As President, from Day One, she will make it a personal priority to work with all factions -- advocates of the present status of the Commonwealth, statehood, independence, and national sovereignty in free association with the United States -- and with leaders of Congress -- and without any preference among the options -- to enable the question of Puerto Rico's status to finally be resolved. She will emphasize her commitment in addressing Congress -- and she will enable the issue to be resolved during her first term.

Clinton also promises, among other things, to lift the cap on Medicaid in Puerto Rico, to treat the territory equally under Medicare, to provide universal healthcare there, to return federal government land in Vieques to Puerto Rican hands and to put more police on the streets there.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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