TRANSCRIPT: The Democratic Debate

And in the White House, I'll let the American people know exactly what's going on, our path to peace, to not-for-profit health care, to education for all. That's the kind president that the American people want, straight from the shoulder.



OBAMA: I think there are a number of issues where there are going to be some choices we've got to make and some sacrifices involved. I'll give you one specific example, and that's on energy. All of us on this stage have talked about global warming and how it is a moral imperative for us to do something about this, to ensure that we're passing on a livable planet to our children and our grandchildren.

There will be some costs involved. It's not -- we can't do it on the cheap. There are some things that we can do to conserve energy, but all of those steps are going to require a little bit of hardship and a little bit of pinching, and that's something that we don't have enough of a discussion about.

I've tried to. I went to Detroit, and in front of a bunch of auto makers, I said we've got to raise fuel efficiency standards on cars. And the silence was deafening in the room.

But those are the kinds of choices, I think, that the next president is going to have to advance and have an honest conversation with the American people about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Edwards?

EDWARDS: Wasn't the question whether there's ever been anything that we didn't say?

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's what I'm asking you, the question -- right.

EDWARDS: That's what I thought it was.

I think, in my case, that would be true about my vote on the war in Iraq.

EDWARDS: I was wrong to vote for this war. But, beyond that, I had huge internal conflict at the time about giving George Bush this authority.

And I did talk about -- as all these other candidates have just said, I did talk about the things that persuaded me to cast the vote. But what I didn't express was the huge conflict I had, because I did not trust George Bush.

It turns out I was right not to have trusted him, and I cast the wrong vote. But that's the one time, and probably the single biggest time that I can think of.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I, too, regret giving George Bush the authority that he misused and abused. It was a very difficult decision, and I tried to weigh it as carefully as possible, talking to a lot of different people and being assured, both publicly and privately, by President Bush and the people close to him that they would use the authority to go in and get inspectors and try to find out if there were weapons of mass destruction and pursue diplomacy.

So, you know, looking back on it, I wouldn't have voted that way again, certainly, because obviously President Bush had no intention of doing what he said he was going to do. And obviously for me that is a great regret.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But did you tell the whole truth when discussing it?

CLINTON: Well, as I saw it, yes, you know, similar to John. You know, when the president of the United States says, as he said publicly, and then as people around him said privately over and over again, "We're going to use this authority to get inspectors back in, "We're going to go to the United Nations," you know, at some point, you do have to make that evaluation.

And I thought that, based on what he had said and what we were talking about at the time in the Congress, that that would be an appropriate approach.

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