TRANSCRIPT: The Democratic Debate

Is there any difference between you and Senator Clinton on what you would do right now?

OBAMA: My sense is that what all of us need to do over the next 16, 18 months is focus on putting pressure on Republicans to stop giving George Bush a blank check, because if we have to wait for 16, 18 months, that's going to make the situation that much worse.

If we have not began a withdrawal by the time I'm sworn into office, then the next task is to call together the Joint Chief of Staff and to give them the mission, which is to begin an orderly, phased withdrawal, so that we can begin the diplomacy that Joe and Bill and others are talking about.

But look, as I said, there are no good options at this point.

OBAMA: This is the equivalent of George Bush drove the bus into the ditch, and there are only so many ways you can pull that bus out of the ditch. That doesn't mean you don't fire the driver, and it doesn't mean that you don't evaluate how we avoid getting in these same problems in the future.


KUCINICH: We can talk about George Bush driving a bus into a ditch, but let's not forget there was a Democratic Senate in charge that OK'ed the war. And those senators who are up on this stage helped to authorize that war and they have to take responsibility for that.

Likewise, they have to take responsibility for funding the war. You say you're opposed to it, but you keep funding it.

I think the American people have to look at that and ask, What's going on?

Now, I've had a plan on the table for four years to get out of Iraq, and Democrats in Congress have to stand up to the pledge they made in 2006 to take us out of that war. They have to tell the president now, "Bring the troops home. We're not going to give you any more money for that war."

KUCINICH: The American people have a right to expect that we're going to take a new direction. But, frankly, you cannot expect a new direction with the same kind of thinking that took us into war in the first place.

We cannot leave more troops there. We cannot privatize Iraq's oil. We cannot partition that country and expect there's going to be peace.

We need a president who understands that, one who's been right from the start, and one who has shown the judgment, the wisdom, and the maturity to take the right stand at the time that it counted most, when the American people needed someone to stand up. And I'm the one who did that.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me move on now. We've got a question -- we've got an e-mail question from Seth Ford of South Jordan, Utah.

And he said, "My question is to understand each candidates' view of a personal God. Do they believe that, through the power of prayer, disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the Minnesota bridge collapse could have been prevented or lessened?"

I'd like each of you to answer it. Let me start with you, Senator Clinton.

CLINTON: You know, it's hard to hear you up here, George. I apologize.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll keep it up, and I'll just repeat it again.

My question is to understand each candidate's view of a personal God. Do they believe that, through the power of prayer, disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the Minnesota bridge collapse could've been prevented or lessened?

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