TRANSCRIPT: The Democratic Debate

Those critical questions that affect people in this country are very important considerations. But public financing is where we need to be.

And let me point out as well, George, here, if I may as well here, it's about getting this job done. We don't elect a king or a queen or a dictator in November, we elect a president. The margins are thin. No one political party is going to write all of this. It takes leadership that knows how to bring people together.

It's what I've done for 26 years. When I wrote the Family and Medical Leave Act -- three presidents, two vetoes to go through in seven years. But I brought Republicans to the table around a Democratic principle.

The idea we're going to go down there, any one of us is elected president, and write all the rules and decide what it's going to be is not the case. It's not how it happens.

We need leadership that's been tested and proven to bring success between the political parties to get the job done for America.

DODD: That's the kind of leadership that's needed in 2008.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Kucinich, is this debate over lobbyists real or artificial?

KUCINICH: Actually, George, this debate is insufficient, because you're really not including all the candidates here...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Just called on you.

KUCINICH: ... and polarize -- you're trying to polarize people out of the race. Now, let me talk about an issue that concerns the people of Iowa, and that is health care. The Iowa AF of L-CIO, two days ago endorsed H.R. 676, a not-for-profit health care system, a bill that I'm the coauthor of.

And Senator Edwards said that, you know, we're talking about challenging the insurance companies. Well, actually, every other health care plan represented by everyone else here on stage keeps the private insurers in charge.

Matter of fact, according to an article in the Nation, Humana, which participates in a hedge fund called Fortress, is in a position to just clean up with the privatization of Medicare.

I'm the only one up here who challenges this system of premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

KUCINICH: So let's give the American people a real choice, not a conditioned choice, based on polls, but a choice that's based on their practical aspirations for health care for their families, for a not- for-profit system.

We have to break the hold, which the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies have on health care.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to move on to another issue we're hearing about a lot from the voters from Iowa in the poll. More voters wrote in questions for us on the issue of Iraq than any other single issue.

They all wanted to know what your plans were to get out of Iraq, and to get out safely from Iraq.

Senator Biden, you've put up an ad, just this morning, here in Iowa, on that subject. Here's part of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: We were leaving Baghdad and it was pitch black. As I climbed into the C-130, strapped into the middle of that cargo bay was a flag-draped coffin. It turned that cargo bay into a cathedral. And all I could think of was the parents waiting at the other end.

We must end this war in a way that doesn't require us to send their grandchild back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me turn the questioning, now, to David Yepsen.

YEPSEN: Governor Richardson, is that ad right, that Senator Biden is the only candidate with a plan?

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