TRANSCRIPT: The Democratic Debate

CLINTON: Well, I don't pretend to understand the wisdom and the power of God. I do believe in prayer. And I have relied on prayer consistently throughout my life. You know, I like to say that, if I had not been a praying person before I got to the White House, after having been there for just a few days I would've become one.

(LAUGHTER)

So I am very dependent on my faith, and prayer is a big part of that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Dodd?

DODD: I agree with what Hillary has just said here. I would not want to try and second-guess the lord's intentions here and to assume that part of his great plan includes some of these actions we see, for a variety of different reasons, here.

DODD: And the power of prayer I think is important to all of us. I hope it is, recognizing that we don't do anything without His approval.

EDWARDS: I have prayed most of my life; pray daily now. He's enormously important to me.

But the answer to the question is: No, I don't -- I prayed before my 16-year-old son died; I prayed before Elizabeth was diagnosed with cancer. I think there are some things that are beyond our control.

And I think it is enormously important to look to God -- and, in my case, Christ -- for guidance and for wisdom. But I don't think you can prevent bad things from happening through prayer.

GRAVEL: What I believe in is love. And love implements courage. And courage permits us all to apply the virtues that are important in life.

And so you can pray -- I was always persuaded or struck by the fact that many people who pray are the ones who want to go to war, who want to kill fellow human beings. That disturbs me.

I think what we need is more love between one human being and another human being.

GRAVEL: And then we'll find the courage to dispel many of the problems we have in governance. The answer to governance is not up here on the dais. The answer is with the American people and the people of Iowa. That's where the answer is.

And I have a proposal, and it's the only one that talks of change. The change is to empower the American people with a national initiative.

And my colleagues, with all due respect, don't even understand the principle of the people having the power.

(APPLAUSE)

RICHARDSON: I pray. I'm a Roman Catholic. My sense of social justice, I believe, comes from being a Roman Catholic.

But, in my judgment, prayer is personal. And how I pray and how any American prays, for what reason, is their own decision. And it should be respected.

And so, in my view, I think it's important that we have faith, that we have values, but if I'm president, I'm not going to wear my religion on my sleeve and impose it on anybody.

BIDEN: George, my mom has an expression. She says that, "God sends no cross you're unable to bear."

BIDEN: The time to pray is to pray whether or not you're told, as John was and I was, that my wife and daughter are dead, to have the courage to be able to bear the cross.

The time to pray is to pray not only before, but pray that you have the courage, pray that God can give you the strength to deal with what everyone is faced with in their life, serious crosses, serious crosses to bear.

The answer to the gentleman's question is, no, all the prayer in the world will not stop a hurricane. But prayer will give you the courage to be able to respond to the devastation that's caused in your life and with others to deal with the devastation.

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