By Jason Clayworth
Sac City, Ia. - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he has been more successful as a legislator than Hillary Clinton or John Edwards.
"I've passed more bills, I'm sure, than either of them. Certainly on the state legislative level," Obama said in response to an audience member's question on whether he has enough experience to be president.
Campaign officials for Clinton and Edwards either declined to comment or did not respond directly to questions about Obama's assertion that he is more accomplished.
Obama was a state senator in Illinois between 1997 and 2004 before he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Clinton was reelected last year for a second term as a U.S. senator from New York. Edwards was elected as a North Carolina senator in November of 1998 and did not seek reelection after his first six-year term.
His campaign staff said Obama was referring to his work in the Illinois Legislature and the U.S. Senate but did not offer any details of how many Obama-sponsored bills have passed.
Obama wrapped up a two-day campaign tour in northwest Iowa. He also made stops in Storm Lake and Spencer on Wednesday.
One of his key messages Wednesday was the need for medical reform. He said there should be an easier way to provide residents with cost comparisons and information about health providers who have made preventable medical errors.
"Today folks have limited information on their health care needs, and that's wrong," Obama said in front of a crowd of about 500 people at Storm Lake's Circle Park. "No decisions are more important than the ones we make about our health care, and you should have all the information you need to ensure that the decisions you make are the right ones."
Early resident Mary Ringgenberg told Obama during the event in Sac City that his plans to reform health care will be killed by special interest groups, similar to Clinton's plan in the early 1990s when she was first lady.
"No, no, no, no, no," Obama responded. "There's a difference, and the difference is, first of all I don't take the PAC money and I don't take federally registered lobbyists' money. I will be putting pressure on them and letting them know they can have a role in the process, but they can't dictate the process," Obama said.