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Sweet Dem debate special. Partial debate transcript. Will be posting entire transcript when available.

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DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES PARTICIPATE IN A DEBATE
SPONSORED BY CNN, GOOGLE, YOUTUBE AND THE DNC

JULY 23, 2007

PART ONE

SPEAKERS: SEN. CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, D-CONN.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, D-N.Y.

FORMER SEN. JOHN EDWARDS, D-N.C.

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON, D-N.M.
SEN. JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., D-DEL.

REP. DENNIS J. KUCINICH, D-OHIO

FORMER SEN. MIKE GRAVEL, D-ALASKA

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, D-ILL.

ANDERSON COOPER, MODERATOR

[*]
COOPER: Our first question tonight is Zach Kempf in Provo, Utah.

QUESTION: What's up? I'm running out of tape; I have to hurry.

So my question is: We have a bunch of leaders who can't seem to
do their job. And we pick people based on the issues they that they
represent, but then they get in power and they don't do anything about
it anyway.

You're going to spend this whole night talking about your views
on issues, but the issues don't matter if when you get in power
nothing's going to get done.

We have a Congress and a president with, like, a 30 percent
approval rating, so clearly we don't think they're doing a good job.
What's going to make you any more effectual, beyond all the platitudes
and the stuff we're used to hearing? I mean, be honest with us. How
are you going to be any different?

COOPER: Senator Dodd, you've been in Congress more than 30
years. Can you honestly say you're any different?

DODD: Well, I think so.

First of all, thank you for inviting us here in The Citadel.
It's great to be here at this wonderful college, university.

Certainly, I think it's a very important question one ought to be
asking because, while hope and confidence and optimism are clearly
very important, I think experience matters a great deal -- the
experience people bring to their candidacy, the ideas, the bold ideas
that they've championed over the years, whether or not they were
successful in advancing those ideas and able to bring people together.


DODD: I'm very proud of the fact that, over my 26 years in the
Senate, I've authored landmark legislation, the Family and Medical
Leave Act, child care legislation, reform of financial institutions.

In every case, those are new ideas, bold ideas, that I campaigned
on and then were able to achieve in the United States Senate by
bringing Republicans as well as Democrats together around those
issues.

That's what's missing, more than anything else, I think, right
now, is the ability to bring people together to get the job done.

COOPER: But if someone really wants a change, are you the guy to
give it to them?

DODD: Well, I think they ought to look back. Speeches are easy
to make and rhetoric is easy to expose here. But I think the idea of
looking back and saying, "What have you done?" --if you want to get a
good idea of where someone is going to lead or how they're going to
lead, I think it's very appropriate to say, "What have you done? Show
me. Demonstrate to me the ability to get these things done that
you've championed in the past."

COOPER: Senator Obama, your supporters say you are different.
Your critics say you're inexperienced. You're a first-term senator.

OBAMA: Well, I think the questioner hit the nail on the head.
As I travel around the country, people have an urgent desire for
change in Washington. And we are not going to fix health care, we're
not going to fix energy, we are not going to do anything about our
education system unless we change how business is done in Washington.

Now, part of that is bringing people together, as Chris said.
But part of it is also overcoming special interests and lobbyists who
are writing legislation that's critical to the American people.

And one of the things I bring is a perspective as a community
organizer, as a state legislator, as well as a U.S. senator, that
says: Washington has to change.


COOPER: A lot of people say -- Congressman Kucinich, your
supporters certainly say you are different. Even your critics would
certainly say you are different. Here's a direct question for you.

QUESTION: Hello. My name is Davis Fleetwood. I'm from Groton,
Massachusetts. My question is for Dennis Kucinich.

After watching the first several debates, which seemed more like
conversations than actually debates, we're all clear out here that you
Democrats are united. We get it.

But we have a very important decision to make coming up very
soon, and Americans desperate for a change need to know: Congressman
Kucinich, how would America be better off with you as president than
we would be if either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama became
president?

COOPER: What do you have that Senator Clinton and Senator Obama
do not have?

KUCINICH: Well, first of all, a clear record as having not only
opposed the war from the very beginning -- the only one of the stage
that actually voted against the war, and also the only one on the
stage who voted against funding the war 100 percent of the time.

You know, we're here at The Citadel. I want the people of The
Citadel to know that I mourn the passing of those people who gave
their lives, but I also would not hesitate to call upon you to defend
this country, but I'll never send you in pursuit of a political agenda
or a lie.

Just like my father before me, who served in the Marines, and my
brother who served in the Marines in Vietnam, and my nephew who served
in Iraq, I believed in duty and honor and I think it's important to
have those commitments to this country.


KUCINICH: And so I say we achieve strength through peace.
That's the new doctrine that I'm going to promote throughout this
campaign; that we'll use the science of human relations and diplomacy;
that we pursue an approach which says that you can use international
agreements and treaties; and that you can work to settle your
differences without committing the young men and women to war, unless
it's absolutely necessary.

COOPER: Senator Clinton, you were involved in that question. I
want to give you a chance to respond, 30 seconds.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Well, I think the Democrats are united, as Davis said,
and we are united for change. We cannot take another four or eight
years of Republican leadership that has been so disastrous for our
country.

The issue is: Which of us is ready to lead on day one? I have
35 years of being an instrument and agent of change, before I was ever
a public official. And during the time that I've been privileged to
serve as first lady and now as senator, I've worked to bring people
together, to find common ground where we can, and then to stand our
ground where we can't.

COOPER: Senator Obama, you were involved in that question as
well.


OBAMA: Look, I don't think this is just a Republican problem. I
think this is a problem that spans the parties. And we don't just
need a change in political parties in Washington. We've got to have a
change in attitudes of those who are representing the people, America.
And part of the reason I don't take PAC money, I don't take federal
lobbyists' money is because we've got to get the national interests up
front as opposed to the special interests.

And that is something that I've got a track record doing, and I
think that is what the American people are looking for in this
election -- people of both parties as well as independents.

COOPER: Our next question is for Senator Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

QUESTION: Hi. My name is Rob Porter, and I'm from Irvine,
California.


QUESTION: I have a question for Hillary Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton, how would you define the word "liberal?"

And would you use this word to describe yourself?

Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: You know, it is a word that originally meant that you
were for freedom, that you were for the freedom to achieve, that you
were willing to stand against big power and on behalf of the
individual.

Unfortunately, in the last 30, 40 years, it has been turned up on
its head and it's been made to seem as though it is a word that
describes big government, totally contrary to what its meaning was in
the 19th and early 20th century.

I prefer the word "progressive," which has a real American
meaning, going back to the progressive era at the beginning of the
20th century.


CLINTON: I consider myself a modern progressive, someone who
believes strongly in individual rights and freedoms, who believes that
we are better as a society when we're working together and when we
find ways to help those who may not have all the advantages in life
get the tools they need to lead a more productive life for themselves
and their family.

So I consider myself a proud modern American progressive, and I
think that's the kind of philosophy and practice that we need to bring
back to American politics.

COOPER: So you wouldn't use the word "liberal," you'd say
"progressive."

(APPLAUSE)

Senator Gravel, are you a liberal?

GRAVEL: I wouldn't use either word (OFF-MIKE) Zach asked about
change. You're not going to see any change when these people get
elected.

We were asked about -- that we're united.


GRAVEL: We're not united. I'm not united on many of their
views. And I want to take on Barack Obama for a minute, who said he
doesn't take money from lobbyists. Well, he has 134 bundlers. Now,
what does he think that is?

And, besides that, he has received money from a Robert Wolf, the
head of the USB (sic) bank in the United States, who raised $195,000
-- from this bank -- wait a second -- who has lobbyists in
Washington...

COOPER: Your time is up.

GRAVEL: ... and it's a foreign-owned bank.

COOPER: Senator Obama, I'm going to have to let you respond.

OBAMA: Absolutely.

Well, the fact is I don't take PAC money and I don't take
lobbyists' money.

And the bundlers -- the reason you know who is raising money for
me, Mike, is because I have pushed through a law this past session to
disclose that.

And that's the kind of leadership that I've shown in the Senate.
That's the kind of leadership that I showed when I was a state
legislator. And that's the kind of leadership that I'll show as
president of the United States.

GRAVEL: Wait a minute...

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Our next question is for Senator Biden.


QUESTION: Hello. This question is for all of the candidates.
Partisanship played a major role in why nothing can be done in
Washington today. All of you say you will be able to work with
Republicans. Well, here's a test. If you had to pick any Republican
member of Congress or Republican governor to be your running mate, who
would it be?

BIDEN: At the risk of hurting his reputation -- and it will hurt
him -- but I would pick Chuck Hagel, and I'd consider asking Dick
Lugar to be secretary of state.

And I do have -- I do have a record of significant
accomplishment. The crime bill, which became known as the Clinton
crime bill, was written by Joe Biden, the Biden crime bill. That
required me to cross over, get everyone together, not -- no one's
civil liberties were in any way jeopardized.

We put 100,000 cops on the street. Violent crime came down.


BIDEN: The Violence against Women Act, what we did in Bosnia,
and so on. So I have a track record of being able to cross over and
get things done.

And by the way, if you want to end all this money, support my
effort to pass public financing of all elections.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: All right. Stay on the topic.

Senator Edwards? Any Republicans?

EDWARDS: Actually, I think Chuck Hagel is a good choice. But I
-- if you listen to these questions, they all have exactly the same
thing, which is how do we bring about big change?

And I think that's a fundamental threshold question. And the
question is: Do you believe that compromise, triangulation will bring
about big change? I don't.

I think the people who are powerful in Washington -- big
insurance companies, big drug companies, big oil companies -- they are
not going to negotiate. They are not going to give away their power.
The only way that they are going to give away their power is if we

take it away from them.

(APPLAUSE)

And I have been standing up to these people my entire life. I
have been fighting them my entire life in court rooms -- and beating
them.


EDWARDS: If you want real change, you need somebody who's taking
these people on and beating them...

COOPER: Time.

EDWARDS: ... over and over and over.

COOPER: The other thing you're going to see tonight are
candidate videos. We've asked each campaign to put together a 30-
second YouTube-style video. The first one is from Senator Chris Dodd.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Senator, I have to ask, what's with the white hair?

DODD: I don't know why you bring that up. Bill Richardson,
Hillary, Joe Biden and I, we're all about the same age. I don't think
the white hair is an issue.

QUESTION: Well, how did you get the white hair?

DODD: Hard work, I suppose. For example, it took me seven years
to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act, and I helped to end wars in
Central America and bring peace to Northern Ireland. I'm ready to be
president.

QUESTION: Well, how many white hairs do you have?

DODD: Hundreds, thousands, I presume.

QUESTION: Really?

DODD: I'm Chris Dodd, and we approved this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: There you go. Nothing wrong with white hair.


(LAUGHTER)

DODD: A young person with white hair, too?

COOPER: Yes, sadly, my age is catching up to my hair.

(LAUGHTER)

Almost 50 percent of South Carolina's Democrats are African-
Americans. It's among the highest percentage of the nation. So we're
giving a lot of questions from YouTube viewers on race tonight.

This first one is for Senator Edwards. Let's listen.

QUESTION: Hello, America. Hello, presidential candidates. This
is Will from Boston, Massachusetts. And I hope, you know, they put
this question on. It's a question in the back of everybody's head.
You know, in some people, it's further back than others, collecting
cobwebs.

But is African-Americans ever going to get reparations for
slavery?

I know you all are going to run around this question, dipping and
dodging, so let's see how far you all can get.

COOPER: Senator Edwards, no dipping and dodging. Should
African-Americans get reparations?

EDWARDS: I'm not for reparations. I can answer that questions.
But I think there are other things we can do to create some equality
that doesn't exist in this country today.

Today there was a report that, right here in Charleston, African
Americans are paying more than their white counterparts for mortgages
than any other place in America, any other place in the United States
of America.


(APPLAUSE)

EDWARDS: And here's an example. What is the conceivable
explanation for this, that black people are paying more for their
mortgage?

And, by the way, it's not just low-income African Americans; it's
high-income African-Americans. There's absolutely no explanation for
this. It goes to the basic question that I raised just a few minutes
ago.

To have a president that's going to -- is going to fight for
equality, fight for real change, big change, bold change, we're going
to have to somebody -- we can't trade our insiders for their insiders.
That doesn't work.

What we need is somebody who will take these people on, these big
banks, these mortgage companies, big insurance companies, big drug
companies. That's the only way we're going to bring about change.
And I will do that as president.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Obama, your position on reparations?


(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: I think the reparations we need right here in South
Carolina is investment, for example, in our schools. I did a...

(APPLAUSE)

I did a town hall meeting in Florence, South Carolina, in an area
called the corridor of shame. They've got buildings that students are
trying to learn in that were built right after the Civil War. And
we've got teachers who are not trained to teach the subjects they're
teaching and high dropout rates.

We've got to understand that there are corridors of shame all
across the country. And if we make the investments and understand
that those are our children, that's the kind of reparations that are
really going to make a difference in America right now.

COOPER: Is anyone on the stage for reparations for slavery for
African-Americans?

Are you?

KUCINICH: I am.

The Bible says we shall be and must be repairers of the breach.
And a breach has occurred.


KUCINICH: We have to acknowledge that. It's a breach that has
resulted in inequality in opportunities for education, for health
care, for housing, for employment. And so, we must be mindful of
that.

But it's also a breach that has affected a lot of poor whites as
well.

We need to have a country which recognizes that there is an
inequality of opportunity and a president who's ready to challenge the
interest groups -- be they insurance companies or mortgage companies
or defense contractors who are taking the money away from the people
who need it.

COOPER: Time.

KUCINICH: Yes, I am for repairing the breach. Yes, I am for
reparations.

COOPER: Our next question is for Senator Dodd.

QUESTION: Do you believe the response in the wake of Hurricane
Katrina would have been different if the storm hit an affluent,
predominantly white city? What roles do you believe race and class
played in the storm's aftermath? And if you acknowledge that race and
class affected the response efforts, what can you do to ensure that
this won't happen in the future? And what can you do to ensure this
nation's most needy people, in times of crisis and always, something
will be done to help them too?


DODD: Well, it's a great question, Morgan, to raise here. It,
obviously, points to one of the most dark and shameful moments in
recent past history in our country -- the fact that a major American
city went through a natural disaster, and we found almost (ph) little
to do. The American president had almost no response whatsoever to
the people of that city, New Orleans.

In fact, today still, the problem persists where people who had
to move out of their city, move elsewhere, and little or no efforts to
make sure they can get back in their homes. They have literally
thousands of people whose homes were destroyed, their economic
opportunities destroyed.

I believe that had this occurred in a place with majorly a white
population, we would have seen a much more rapid response and a
consistent response to that issue.

As an American president, we can never, ever allow again a major
city, a major population center in our country go through what New
Orleans, what the Gulf states did as a result of the kind of neglect
from an American president.

As president, I would commit to do everything possible we bring
to bear the talents, the resources.


DODD: In fact, it should have been done ahead of time, to have a
FEMA operation that was prepared to respond to these predictable
disasters. So it's a mark of shame on our country. It ought to be
reversed. It will in the Dodd administration.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Governor Richardson, the Democrats talk a lot about the
failure of the president with Hurricane Katrina. The governor of that
state was a Democrat; the mayor of that city is a Democrat as well.

RICHARDSON: Well, there was politics. All of a sudden, other
states that had the similar devastation got better treatment, like
Mississippi.

This is what I would do. The response of our government to
Katrina, before, during and after, was inexcusable. We have got to
eliminate in the future any red tape that helps families -- that helps
the devastation.

Secondly, we have to let those that live there to come back
first, instead of big moneyed interests. We have to stop the
predatory lending of insurance companies, housing and many others that
are ripping off the people.

And then, finally, we have to make sure that a president cares --
and doesn't just pose for photo ops, but makes a difference and a
commitment to rebuild that city and that region.

(APPLAUSE)

RICHARDSON: Our next question comes from Jordan Williams.

QUESTION: Hello. My name is Jordan Williams, and I am a student
at K.U., from Coffeyville, Kansas.


QUESTION: This question is meant for Senator Obama and Senator
Clinton.

Whenever I read an editorial about one of you, the author never
fails to mention the issue of race or gender, respectively. Either
one is not authentically black enough, or the other is not
satisfactorily feminine.

How will you address these critics and their charges if one or
both of you should end up on the Democratic ticket in '08?

COOPER: Senator Obama, how do you address those who say you're
not authentically black enough?

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Well...

COOPER: Not my question; Jordan's question.

OBAMA: You know, when I'm catching a cab in Manhattan -- in the
past, I think I've given my credentials.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

But let me go to the broader issue here. And that is that race
permeates our society. It is still a critical problem.


OBAMA: But I do believe in the core decency of the American
people, and I think they want to get beyond some of our racial
divisions.

Unfortunately, we've had a White House that hasn't invested in
the kinds of steps that have to be done to overcome the legacy of
slavery and Jim Crow in this country.

And as president of the United States, my commitment on issues
like education, my commitment on issues like health care is to close
the disparities and the gaps, because that's what's really going to
solve the race problem in this country.

If people feel like they've got a fair shake, if children feel as
if the fact that they have a different surname or they've got a
different skin color is not going to impede their dreams, then I am
absolutely confident that we're going to be able to move forward on
the challenges that we face as a country.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Clinton, you have a minute as well since this
question is to you.

CLINTON: Well, I couldn't run as anything other than a woman.

(LAUGHTER)

I am proud to be running as a woman.


CLINTON: And I'm excited that I may...

(APPLAUSE)

... you know, may be able, finally, to break that hardest of all
glass ceilings.

But, obviously, I'm not running because I'm a woman. I'm running
because I think I'm the most qualified and experienced person to hit
the ground running in January 2009.

And I trust the American people to make a decision that is not
about me or my gender, or about Barack or his race or about Bill and
his ethnicity, but about what is best for you and your family.

We have big challenges...

(APPLAUSE)

... and big needs in our country. And I think we're going to
need experienced and strong leadership in order to start handling all
of the problems that we have here at home and around the world.

And when I'm inaugurated, I think it's going to send a great
message to a lot of little girls and boys around the world.

COOPER: Senator Edwards...

(APPLAUSE)

Senator Edwards, earlier this week, your wife said that you would
be a better advocate for women than Senator Clinton.


COOPER: Was she right?

EDWARDS: Well, let me say first that on the question that was
just asked to Senator Obama...

COOPER: We prefer you stay on the question...

EDWARDS: I'm going to stay on your question. I promise I'll
answer that question. But the first thing I want to say -- and I want
to speak for everybody, I believe, on this stage -- anybody who's
considering not voting for Senator Obama because he's black or for
Senator Clinton because she's a woman, I don't want their vote. I
don't want them voting for me.

(APPLAUSE)

I think what Elizabeth was saying was -- to answer your question,
what Elizabeth was saying was there are very important issues facing
women in this country. More women are affected by the minimum wage
than men are affected by the minimum wage. I have been the most
aggressive -- in fact, I would challenge every Democrat on this stage
today to commit to raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by the
year 2012.

(APPLAUSE)

Second, there are more women in poverty than men in poverty.


EDWARDS: And I have made this a central cause in my life and a
central cause in my campaign. More women have difficulty getting the
health care that they need than men do. And I was the first person to
come out with a comprehensive, truly universal health care plan.

COOPER: So do you think you're a better advocate for women than
Senator Clinton?

EDWARDS: Those are issues -- listen, Senator Clinton has a long
history of speaking out on behalf of women. She deserves to be
commended for that. But I believe that on the issues that directly
affect women's lives, I have the strongest, boldest ideas and can
bring about the change that needs to be brought.

COOPER: Senator Clinton, is he a better advocate for women?

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Anderson, I have a great deal of admiration for
Elizabeth Edwards. And I appreciate greatly John's comments. You
know, I have spent my entire life advocating for women. I went to
Beijing in 1995 and said that women's rights are human rights, and
I've done everything I can to make that principle come true.

And, specifically on issues, I got to vote to raise the minimum
wage.


CLINTON: I put in legislation which said that Congress should
not get a salary increase until they did raise the minimum wage, and I
am putting that back in, because I agree that by the time we got it
raised after 10 years, it was already out of date.

And as to women in poverty and women with health care needs, I
have been on the forefront of both advocating and creating change in
my public service, in my time in Arkansas, the White House, and now in
the Senate.

But I think it is terrific. We're up here arguing about who's
going to be better for women, because isn't that a nice change for
everybody to hear.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Our next question is on a topic that got a lot of
response from YouTube viewers. Let's watch.

QUESTION: Hi. My name is Mary.

QUESTION: And my name is Jen.

QUESTION: And we're from Brooklyn, New York.

If you were elected president of the United States, would you
allow us to be married to each other?

COOPER: Congressman Kucinich?

KUCINICH: Mary and Jen, the answer to your question is yes. And
let me tell you why.


(APPLAUSE)

KUCINICH: Because if our Constitution really means what it says,
that all are created equal, if it really means what it says, that
there should be equality of opportunity before the law, then our
brothers and sisters who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or
transgendered should have the same rights accorded to them as anyone
else, and that includes the ability to have a civil marriage ceremony.

Yes, I support you. And welcome to a better and a new America
under a President Kucinich administration.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Dodd, you supported the Defense of Marriage Act.
What's your position?

DODD: I've made the case, Anderson, that -- my wife and I have
two young daughters, age 5 and 2.


DODD: I'd simply ask the audience to ask themselves the question
that Jackie and I have asked: How would I want my two daughters
treated if they grew up and had a different sexual orientation than
their parents?

Good jobs, equal opportunity, to be able to retire, to visit each
other, to be with each other, as other people do.

So I feel very strongly, if you ask yourself the question, "How
would you like your children treated if they had a different sexual
orientation than their parents?," the answer is yes. They ought to
have that ability in civil unions.

I don't go so far as to call for marriage. I believe marriage is
between a man and a woman.

But my state of Connecticut, the state of New Hampshire, have
endorsed civil unions. I strongly support that. But I don't go so
far as marriage.

COOPER: Governor Richardson?

RICHARDSON: Well, I would say to the two young women, I would
level with you -- I would do what is achievable.

What I think is achievable is full civil unions with full
marriage rights. I would also press for you a hate crimes act in the
Congress. I would eliminate "don't ask/don't tell" in the military.

(APPLAUSE)

If we're going to have in our military men and women that die for
this country, we shouldn't give them a lecture on their sexual
orientation.


RICHARDSON: I would push for domestic partnership laws,
nondiscrimination in insurance and housing.

I would also send a very strong message that, in my
administration, I will not tolerate any discrimination on the basis of
race, gender, or sexual orientation.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: This next question is for Senator Edwards.

QUESTION: I'm Reverend Reggie Longcrier. I'm the pastor of
Exodus Mission and Outreach Church in Hickory, North Carolina.

Senator Edwards said his opposition to gay marriage is influenced
by his Southern Baptist background. Most Americans agree it was wrong
and unconstitutional to use religion to justify slavery, segregation,
and denying women the right to vote.

So why is it still acceptable to use religion to deny gay
American their full and equal rights?


(APPLAUSE)

EDWARDS: I think Reverend Longcrier asks a very important
question, which is whether fundamentally -- whether it's right for any
of our faith beliefs to be imposed on the American people when we're
president of the United States. I do not believe that's right.

I feel enormous personal conflict about this issue. I want to
end discrimination. I want to do some of the things that I just heard
Bill Richardson talking about -- standing up for equal rights,
substantive rights, civil unions, the thing that Chris Dodd just
talked about. But I think that's something everybody on this stage
will commit themselves to as president of the United States.

But I personally have been on a journey on this issue. I feel
enormous conflict about it. As I think a lot of people know,

Elizabeth spoke -- my wife Elizabeth spoke out a few weeks ago, and
she actually supports gay marriage. I do not. But this is a very,
very difficult issue for me. And I recognize and have enormous
respect for people who have a different view of it.


COOPER: I should also point out that the reverend is actually in
the audience tonight. Where is he? Right over here.

Reverend, do you feel he answered your question?

(APPLAUSE)

QUESTION: This question was just a catalyst that promoted some
other things that wrapped around that particular question, especially
when it comes to fair housing practices. Also...

COOPER: Do you think he answered the question, though?

QUESTION: Not like I would like to have heard it...

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: What did you not hear?

QUESTION: I didn't quite get -- some people were moving around,
and I didn't quite get all of his answer. I just heard...

COOPER: All right, there's 30 seconds more. Why is it OK to
quite religious beliefs when talking about why you don't support
something? That's essentially what's his question.

EDWARDS: It's not. I mean, I've been asked a personal question
which is, I think, what Reverend Longcrier is raising, and that
personal question is, do I believe and do I personally support gay
marriage?


EDWARDS: The honest answer to that is I don't. But I think it
is absolutely wrong, as president of the United States, for me to have
used that faith basis as a basis for denying anybody their rights, and
I will not do that when I'm president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Obama, the laws banning interracial marriage in
the United States were ruled unconstitutional in 1967. What is the
difference between a ban on interracial marriage and a ban on gay
marriage?

OBAMA: Well, I think that it is important to pick up on
something that was said earlier by both Dennis and by Bill, and that
is that we've got to make sure that everybody is equal under the law.
And the civil unions that I proposed would be equivalent in terms of
making sure that all the rights that are conferred by the state are
equal for same-sex couples as well as for heterosexual couples.

Now, with respect to marriage, it's my belief that it's up to the
individual denominations to make a decision as to whether they want to
recognize marriage or not. But in terms of, you know, the rights of
people to transfer property, to have hospital visitation, all those
critical civil rights that are conferred by our government, those
should be equal.


COOPER: We're going to take a quick break, but before we go
we're going to show another candidate video. This one is from the
Clinton campaign. And then when we come back from the break, we'll
see one from the -- from Senator Edwards' campaign.

(MUSIC PLAYED FROM CLINTON CAMPAIGN VIDEO)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 23, 2007 8:13 PM.

Sweet Dem debate special. Obama black enough? Clinton feminine enough? Clinton's more passionate response. Report 6. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet Dem debate special. Everything you need to know about Clinton, Obama, in 30 seconds. Edwards brilliant "hair" video refocus to bigger issue. Report 7. UPDATED. is the next entry in this blog.

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