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Campaigning Intensifies as Clinton’s ‘Firewall’ Draws Near

Hillary Clinton's campaign has staked her future in this race on the results of Texas's and Ohio's March 4 primaries. As rival Barack Obama has risen to match her in the polls in both states, both sides have intensified their efforts. Kwame Holman reports on the state of the Democratic campaign trail.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And now, the presidential race in this country. We begin with today's campaign developments. They include extended excerpts from the candidates' speeches on this Friday before the Tuesday contests in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont.

    NewsHour correspondent Kwame Holman reports.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    The presidential candidates barnstormed across Texas today, with just four days left before the Lone Star State's primaries.

    John McCain was in Round Rock, near Austin, for a town hall meeting with employees from computer maker Dell. One Iraq war veteran asked McCain what his plans were for helping those troops returning home with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona: … that I carry around with me quite often a piece of paper that has a statement by George Washington in 1789. And it basically says the willingness of next generations to serve their country is directly related by the treatment and appreciation we've provided those who have served in previous conflicts.

    And I thank you for your service. And I try to keep those words in mind.

    Very briefly as I can, PTSD is going to be a problem and it already is. These combat-related wounds, from especially IEDs, as you well know, are going to require expansion of military medical capabilities and VA capabilities.

    And we have passed legislation, but we've got to do a lot more. And we have to expand the capability to care for those kinds of injuries, because the VA and the military medical are best at that.

    But here's the problem, as you know — and I'll be glad to hear your response — it's cluttered up. The VA system is badly cluttered up now by veterans with routine health care needs.

    So they go down to the VA, and they stand in line, to stand in line to get an appointment, to get an appointment. I want to, for a routine health care need, give every veteran a plastic card and say, "When you've got a routine health care need, you take that plastic card, you take it to the doctor or health care provider of your choice, and get it taken care of, and never again will you have to stand in line, to stand in line, to get an appointment, to get an appointment."

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Barack Obama met with a roomful of veterans at an American Legion post in Houston and said he, too, would make it a priority to give care to those who served.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: America enters into a sacred trust with every single person who puts on the uniform. That trust is simple: America will be there for you, just as you have been there for America.

    Keeping that trust must always be a core American value and a cornerstone of American patriotism, because our commitment to our servicemen and women begins at enlistment and it must never end.