Jan. 5, 2008— -- The following is a full transcript of the Democratic presidential debate sponsored by ABC News, Facebook, and ABC affiliate WMUR. The debate took place on January 5, 2008, at St. Anslem College in Manchester, New Hampshire.
SAWYER: And that's Charlie Gibson talking to the new crowd thathas come in for the Democratic contenders as they gear up to begintheir debate in just a few minutes, as we say.
They're checking mics, checking where they're going to sit. Itis the second half of our double-header tonight.
And while they're getting ready, we though we'd show you some ofthe action taking place outside the auditorium at St. Anselm College.
Take a look at this. It's the campaign visibility area, which isa very dry name for what goes on. The candidates' supporters go outand, in some of the gentler campaign arts, they sign at each other,they cheer for each -- it's 32 degrees outside, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you know what so much of that is for?That's actually for the candidates. You want your candidate to gointo that room and see all the supporters out there so it pumps you upas you're heading in.
SAWYER: So, as they come in in their cars...
SAWYER: ... they see their supporters braving the cold to cheerthem on.
SAWYER: It's a great thing, one of the things we love aboutdemocracy. But of course, I just want to say that we do want toremind everybody of where everything stands now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's right.
In the Iowa caucuses Thursday night, Barack Obama, the big winneron Thursday night. He got 38 percent of the vote. John Edwardssqueezing by Hillary Clinton, 30 percent to her 29 percent, and BillRichardson, who will also be in the debate tonight, he was way, wayback. He was back at 2 percent.
SAWYER: And as we said earlier, according to the latest trackingpoll from our affiliate in New Hampshire, WMUR, cosponsors oftonight's debate, Clinton and Obama are now neck-and-neck, tied at 33percent going into tonight's debate, with Edwards in third with 20percent, Richardson in fourth with 4 percent.
OK, George, tell us what to look for here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think Senator Clinton's got the toughest jobtonight. She's got to find a way to be aggressive and engage BarackObama, without appearing too negative.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What I think she's going to try to do ispressure him on national security issues, and pounce if he makes amistake. That's what's most important.
What she'll also do -- and this is speaking about what Biannafound in Facebook -- show some passion about the economy, about whatpeople are going through, especially in New Hampshire.
Barack Obama, his job tonight is to ride the wave. You know, hegrew up part of his life in Hawaii. He was a surfer. And what he'sgot to do tonight is just ride this wave of change. But there's goingto be a lot of pressure on him as well, again, on these nationalsecurity issues. He cannot make a mistake on this issue tonight.That could be real trouble for him.
John Edwards -- I don't actually know what he's going to do,because he's got a choice to make tonight. He's got to decide who hisopponent is in New Hampshire. Is it Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?Out on the stump in the last few days, he's been kind of ignoringSenator Clinton and focusing more on Obama. We'll see what he doestonight.
And finally, Bill Richardson is going to be in there. And hemight have to change tonight as well. All through these debates, hehas been very nice to Senator Clinton. He's been the one backing herup and saying, "Everybody should be positive."
But I've got to tell you, right now, the Clinton campaign and theClintons themselves are livid at Governor Bill Richardson, becausethey believe he made these deals with Barack Obama in the Iowacaucuses to throw his support in the places where he wasn't viable toBarack Obama so he could stay in the race.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And it will be interesting to see the bodylanguage and the play between Richardson and Clinton tonight becauseof that.
SAWYER: Well, let's talk about a couple of the things SenatorClinton did on the campaign trail just today -- changed a few of hertactics.
She took questions at great length. Even for a couple of hours,she took questions.
She had some independent young voters traveling along with her.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think they're responding to what happened onThursday night, the tableaux of Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright,not looking like change.
Also, she's taking a page out of her husband's playbook from1992. Campaign round the clock; answer every question.
John McCain did it, too, in 2000. It works in New Hampshire.
SAWYER: All right.
Here it goes, once again. Another high-stakes moment. It is theDemocrats turn. And Charlie Gibson is in Manchester, New Hampshire.
GIBSON: Thank you very much, Diana.
And thank you, George.
We are back at the Dana Humanities Center at Saint Anselm Collegehere in Manchester, New Hampshire.
And I am delighted to say that the four leading Democraticpresidential candidates vying for the Democratic nomination are alljoining us this evening. And we have, again, drawn lots for theirplacement on the stage.
GIBSON: And so let me introduce them from left to right. Wehave with us former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, SenatorBarack Obama of Illinois, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico andSenator Hillary Clinton from New York.
And again, for the first 45 minutes of this debate, I will beposing questions in three rather broad categories. We'll do 15minutes each, but with the hope that I can sort of stay out of the wayto the extent possible and let the candidates discuss the issues amongthemselves.
There are no lights to limit -- time limits, at least for thispart of the debate. But I will interrupt politely, I hope, if thingsseem to be going a little bit long.
GIBSON: So let me start with what is generally agreed to be, Ithink, the greatest threat to the United States today, and, somewhatto my surprise, has not been discussed as much in the presidentialdebates this year as I thought would be, and that is nuclearterrorism.
And for some background, here's ABC's Chief InvestigativeCorrespondent Brian Ross.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN ROSS, ABC CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: After morethan six years of trying, the United States still does not have areliable way to spot nuclear material that terrorists might smuggleinto the country, much as ABC News twice did in demonstrations withoutbeing caught.
And after six years of trying, the United States has yet tocapture the man who says it is his religious duty to get nuclearweapons: Osama bin Laden.
And in the last 18 months, U.S. officials say his Al Qaida hasregrouped using safe havens along the Pakistani border to train anddispatch hundreds of new recruits.
ROSS: And just as troubling, amidst all the turmoil in Pakistan,the influence of bin Laden continues to grow there, a country withmany nuclear weapons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIBSON: Brian Ross there.
Well, Osama bin Laden, as he pointed out, has said it is his dutyto try to get nuclear weapons. Al Qaida has been reconstituted andre-energized in the western part of Pakistan.
And so my general question is, how aggressively would you goafter Al Qaida leadership there?
And let me start with you, Senator Obama, because it was you whosaid in your foreign policy speech that you would go into westernPakistan if you had actionable intelligence to go after it, whether ornot the Pakistani government agreed. Do you stand by that?
OBAMA: I absolutely do stand by it, Charlie. What I said wasthat we should do everything in our power to push and cooperate withthe Pakistani government in taking on Al Qaida, which is now based innorthwest Pakistan. And what we know from our national intelligenceestimates is that Al Qaida is stronger now than at any time since2001.
OBAMA: And so, back in August, I said we should work with thePakistani government, first of all to encourage democracy in Pakistanso you've got a legitimate government that we're working with, andsecondly that we have to press them to do more to take on Al Qaida intheir territory.
What I said was, if they could not or would not do so, and we hadactionable intelligence, then I would strike.
And I should add that Lee Hamilton and Tom Keaton, the heads ofthe 9/11 Commission, a few months later wrote an editorial saying theexact same thing.
I think it's indisputable that that should be our course.
Let me just add one thing, though. On the broader issue ofnuclear proliferation, this is something that I've worked on sinceI've been in the Senate. I worked with Richard Lugar, then theRepublican head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to pass thenext stage of what was Nunn-Lugar so that we would have improvedinterdiction of potentially nuclear materials.
OBAMA: And it is important for us to rebuild a nuclearnonproliferation strategy, something that this administration,frankly, has ignored, and has made us less safe as a consequence.
It would not cost us that much, for example, and would take aboutfour years for us to lock down the loose nuclear weapons that arestill floating out there, and we have not done the job.
GIBSON: I'm going to go the others in a moment, but what youjust outlined is essentially the Bush doctrine. We can attack if wewant to, no matter the sovereignty of the Pakistanis.
OBAMA: No, that is not the same thing, because here we have asituation where Al Qaida, a sworn enemy of the United States, thatkilled 3,000 Americans and is currently plotting to do the same, is inthe territory of Pakistan. We know that.
And this is not speculation. This is not a situation where weanticipate a possible threat in the future.
And my job as commander in chief will be to make sure that westrike anybody who would do America harm when we have actionableintelligence do to that.
GIBSON: Senator Edwards, do you agree with him?
EDWARDS: If I as president of the United States know where Osamabin Laden is, I would go get him, period.
This man is the mastermind of a mass murder in the United Statesof America. He is public enemy number one, as Al Qaida is.
But I would add, this has to be put into a bigger context of whatshould America be doing over the long term to deal with this wholeissue of nuclear proliferation? Because if you look at Pakistan, it'sa perfect vehicle for actually thinking about this issue.
Here's an unstable leader, Musharraf, in a country with a seriousradical -- violently radical element that could, under somecircumstances, take over the government.
If they did, they would have control of a nuclear weapon. Theycould either use it, or they could turn it over to a terroristorganization to be used against America or some of our allies.
I think the bigger picture on this is, what do we do over thelong term?
Because what we're doing now is essentially an ad hoc, nation-by-nation, case-by-case basis of trying to control the spread of thisnuclear technology.
EDWARDS: In the short term, that is exactly what we should doand what I would do as president of the United States. But A.Q. Khan,who developed the nuclear weapon for Pakistan, we know has alreadyspread some of this technology to other places.
And I think this ad hoc policy does not work over the long term.And what I believe we should be doing over the long term and what Iwill do as president of the United States, besides dealing with theseshort-term threats -- which are very serious and should be takenseriously -- I, as president of the United States, want to do whatsome Republicans and some Democrats have said, which is to lead along-term initiative -- international initiative -- to actually ridthe world of nuclear weapons, because that is the only way to make theworld safer and secure and to keep America safe.
GIBSON: Well, you led me right up to the point of what you'd doif the Islamic radicals actually took control of the Pakistanigovernment and, therefore, were in control of nuclear weapons, andthen you went away from that. But I'll come back to that in a moment.
RICHARDSON: In any foreign policy decision, I would usediplomacy first, in response to your question.
RICHARDSON: And that basically means that the last thing we needin the Muslim world is another action like Iraq, which is going toinflame the Muslim world in a horrendous way.
Now, here's what I would do.
First, with Pakistan, here is an example of a country, apotentially failed nation-state with nuclear weapons. What apresident must do is have a foreign policy of principles and realism.
And the Bush foreign policy, with Musharraf, we get the worst ofall worlds. We had a situation where he has not gone after Al Qaidain his own country, despite the fact that we've given him $11 billion.And he's also severely damaged the constitution. He's basically saidthat he is the supreme dictator. So we have the worst of all worlds.
What I would specifically do as president is I would askMusharraf to step aside. There is a provision in the Pakistaniconstitution...
GIBSON: Ask him to step aside?
RICHARDSON: Yes. For a caretaker...
RICHARDSON: Because we have the leverage to do that.
RICHARDSON: We have the leverage to do that.
RICHARDSON: And I would send a high-level envoy to ask him tostep aside.
There's a provision in the Pakistani constitution for a caretakergovernment of technocrats. This happened when a previous primeminister died. And I would make it unmistakably clear that he had tohave elections.
Now, elections are scheduled tentatively for February. A broadlybased government, it's what's best for the United States.
GIBSON: I understand your point about diplomacy, but SenatorObama's postulate was, we have actionable intelligence, the Musharrafgovernment won't move. Do we, should we go into western Pakistan and,essentially, try to take him out?
RICHARDSON: If we have actionable intelligence that is real andif Musharraf is incapable, which he is -- because here's a man who hasnot stood up for his democracy, he is virtually in a situation wherehe's losing control -- then you do take that action.
RICHARDSON: However, Charlie, first you use diplomacy.
And diplomacy is to try to get what is best for the UnitedStates. And that is a democratic Pakistan with free and fairelections, and a concerted effort on the part of Musharraf or whoeveris in the leadership in Pakistan to go after the terrorists in thosesafe havens which they have not done.
GIBSON: Senator Clinton?
CLINTON: Well, I think it's important to get back to yourquestion, because obviously that's the most direct threat to theUnited States.
We did take action similar to what has been described about 10years ago, based on what was thought to be actionable intelligence,sending in missiles to try to target bin Laden and his top leadershipwho were thought to be at a certain meeting place.
CLINTON: They were not taken out at the time.
So we have to be very conscious of all the consequences.
Now, as far as I know, there are, like, five things quickly thatwe should be looking at.
Bin Laden has in large measure regrouped because we did not putin the troops and make the commitment to aggressively going after himinside Afghanistan when we had a chance. Therefore, we need more NATOtroops and a faster effort to train the Afghan army so that we do havethe personnel and the technology, including the Predators, to be ableto be on the spot at the time to try to move as quickly as possible.
Secondly, I think it's imperative that any actionableintelligence that would lead to a strike inside Pakistan's territorybe given the most careful consideration.
CLINTON: And at some point -- probably when the missiles havebeen launched -- the Pakistani government has to know they're on theway. Because one of the problems is the inherent paranoia about Indiain the region in Pakistan, so that we've got to have a plan to try tomake sure we don't ignite some kind of reaction before we even knowwhether the action we took with the missiles has worked.
Real quickly, thirdly, so far as we know right now, the nucleartechnology is considered secure, but there isn't any guarantee,especially given the political turmoil going on inside Pakistan.
I would work very hard to try to get Musharraf, who is theelected president -- these elections are about parliamentarypositions. If you remove Musharraf and have elections, that's goingto be very difficult for the United States to be able to control whatcomes next.
CLINTON: I would try to get Musharraf to share the securityresponsibility of the nuclear weapons with a delegation from theUnited States and, perhaps, Great Britain, so that there is some fail-safe.
And just, finally, I think that what we have to do is, Musharrafand Afghanistan, is to repair the failed policies of the Bushadministration. And that's going to require intensive effort in theregion. And Bill is right that we should be engaged in that diplomacyright away.
But this is the forgotten front line in the war againstterrorism, because the Bush administration has walked away.
RICHARDSON: Charlie, I want us to just remember history. I wantus to remember history.
Years ago, we backed the shah of Iran, a dictator. We are payingfor that policy today by having backed a tyrant who repressed hispeople -- unintended consequences.
A president has to act.
RICHARDSON: I believe that we have to be on the side of thePakistani people, not on the side of the dictator.
And what we have today is an opportunity to get Musharraf to stepaside, to move toward this caretaker government, but also -- also --to use the leverage of the assistance we've given him.
Most of the assistance that we've given him -- $11 billion, hehasn't used to go after terrorists. He's put it in militaryassistance for his fight against India. The money has been stolen.
We get the worst of all worlds. If we stand on a foreign policyof principle, of human rights, along with protecting our security,that is the best direction for our foreign policy.
OBAMA: Let me just pick up on a couple of things that have beensaid. And I think people are in broad agreement here. But I thinkone of the things that's been left out is Iraq. And part of thereason that we neglected Afghanistan, part of the reason that wedidn't go after bin Laden as aggressively as we should have is we weredistracted by a war of choice.
OBAMA: And that's the flaw of the Bush doctrine. It wasn't thathe went after those who attacked America. It was that he went afterthose who didn't.
And as a consequence, we have been bogged down, paidextraordinary -- an extraordinary price in blood and treasure, and wehave fanned the anti-American sentiment that actually makes it moredifficult for us to act in Pakistan.
Just one more point I want to make on this, Charlie. I think itis absolutely true that we have to, as much as possible, getPakistan's agreement before we act. And that's always going to be thecase.
GIBSON: I want to...
OBAMA: But we have to make sure that we do not hesitate to actwhen it comes to Al Qaida. Because they are currently stronger thanthey were at any time since 2001, partly because we took our eye offthe ball.
GIBSON: I want to go to another question. And it really is thecentral one in my mind in nuclear terrorism. The next president ofthe United States may have to deal with a nuclear attack on anAmerican city.
GIBSON: I've read a lot about this in recent days. The bestnuclear experts in the world say there's a 30 percent chance in thenext 10 years.
Some estimates are higher. Graham Allison (ph), at Harvard, saysit's over 50 percent.
Senator Sam Nunn, in 2005, who knows a lot about this, posed twoquestions that stick in my mind. And I want to put them to you here.
On the day after a nuclear weapon goes off in an American city,what would we wish we had done to prevent it? And what will weactually do on the day after?
EDWARDS: Well, let me say first, this is the very point I wasmaking a few minutes ago.
In the short term, we're faced with very, very serious threatsabout the possibility of these nuclear weapons getting in the hands ofa terrorist group or somebody who wants to attack the United States ofAmerica.
The first thing is we have to immediately find out who'sresponsible and go after them. And that is the responsibility of thepresident of the United States.
Because if someone has attacked us with a nuclear weapon, itmeans they have nuclear technology, it means they could have gottenanother nuclear weapon into the United States that we're unaware of.We have to find these people immediately and use every tool availableto us to stop them.
EDWARDS: Secondly, it is the responsibility of the United States-- and by the way, what I'm about to say doesn't just apply to anuclear attack. It applies to this crisis that exists in Pakistanright now with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
It is the responsibility of the president in times like this tobe a force for strength, principled strength, but also calmness.
It is enormously important for the president of the United Statesnot to take -- to react and to react strongly, but to do it in a waythat is calming for the American people and calming for the world.
Because it would be an enormous mistake for the president of theUnited States to take a terrible, dangerous situation where millionsof Americans or thousands of Americans could have lost their lives,and to ratchet up the rhetoric and make it worse than it already is.
GIBSON: Let me come to the two Sam Nunn questions to you,Senator.
OBAMA: Well, as I said, I've already been working on this. AndI think this is the most significant foreign policy issue that weconfront.
We would obviously have to retaliate against anybody who struckAmerican soil, whether it was nuclear or not. It would be a much moreprofound issue if it were nuclear weapons.
That's why it's so important for us to rebuild the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that has fallen apart under this administration.
We have not made a commitment to work with the Russians to reduceour own nuclear stockpiles. That has weakened our capacity topressure other countries to give up nuclear technology. We have notlocked down the loose nuclear weapons that are out there right now.
These are all things that we should be taking leadership on. Andpart of what we need to do in changing our foreign policy is not justend the war in Iraq; we have to change the mindset that ignores long-term threats and engages in the sorts of actions that are not makingus safe over the long term.
GIBSON: And I know, Senator Clinton, you've worked on this, aswell.
CLINTON: Yes, I have.
GIBSON: But in terms of retaliation, this is not likely going tobe a state that sets off a nuclear attack (inaudible), it's going tobe a stateless group.
CLINTON: Well, the first part of your question was, what wouldwe wish we had done. And I have worked on this in past legislation tomove in the direction that I think we should go to have a very highlevel of commitment from the White House, including a personresponsible in our government for marshaling our resources against theproliferation of nuclear weapons.
CLINTON: There has to be a better organizing effort to make surethat every part of the United States government is working together.I don't think we've done what we need to do on homeland defense. Youstarted that segment talking about the ease with which ABC smuggledthings into this country. We haven't done enough on port security.We have not made the kind of commitment that is necessary to protectus from this kind of importation.
But let me just add that when you look at where we are, thestateless terrorists will operate from somewhere. I mean, part of ourmessage has to be there is no safe haven.
CLINTON: If we can demonstrate that the people responsible forplanning the nuclear attack on our country may not themselves be in agovernment or associated with a state, but have a haven within one,then every state in the world must know we will retaliate againstthose states.
There cannot be safe havens for stateless terrorists who are inthese networks that are plotting to have the proliferation of nuclearweapons and be smuggling into our country or elsewhere the kind ofsuitcase device that could cause such havoc.
So I think we have to be very, very clear. You know, deterrenceworked during the Cold War in large measure because the United Statesmade it clear to the Soviet Union that there would be massiveretaliation.
We have to make it clear to those states that would give safehaven to stateless terrorists, that would launch a nuclear attackagainst America that they would also face a very heavy retaliation.
GIBSON: Final word, Governor?
RICHARDSON: Charlie, when I was secretary of energy, that wasone of my responsibilities: securing nuclear stockpiles, nuclearmaterials, mainly with the Soviet Union.
RICHARDSON: I went there many times. We made progress.
But since then, there has been a proliferation of loose nuclearweapons, mainly in the hands of terrorists, that could cross,presumably, a border; that could be smuggled in in a cargo ship withour very weak port security.
If I'm elected president, I will do two things. First, I willseek immediate negotiations with the Soviet Union and other nuclearstates to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, but also a treaty onfissionable material, where you have verification, where you try tosecure those loose nuclear weapons from states like North Korea andothers that could be drifting into the international community.
RICHARDSON: But most importantly, I think we have to realizethat the challenges America faces internationally, they'retransnational. They're stateless.
It's international terrorism. It's nuclear terrorism. It'senvironmental degradation. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Makingus less dependent on fossil fuels. Those are the transnationalchallenges that are going to require international cooperation.
And this president believes in unilateralism. This presidentbelieves in going military first. This president believes inpreemption. You discussed this in the Republican debate. My foreignpolicy would be different.
GIBSON: I'm going to...
RICHARDSON: There would be realism,...
GIBSON: I'm going to move on.
RICHARDSON: ... human rights and principles.
GIBSON: I'm going to move on.
And I'm going to move on to domestic policy, how much thegovernment is spending, how much you would spend with the programsyou've proposed and the promises you've made.
GIBSON: And some of that is entitlements. For a littlebackground, ABC's Betsy Stark.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABC BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT BETSY STARK: Every hour of this newyear, another 400 baby boomers will turn 60, swelling the ranks ofthose soon eligible to collect Social Security and Medicare. Theforecasts are foreboding. By 2017, the Social Security surplus runsdry and the system begins taking in less tax revenue than it pays outin benefits.
For Medicare, the problems are even more severe. By 2013, theprogram's Hospital Insurance Fund is expected to fall into the red andthe insurance premiums seniors pay for doctor's visits andprescription drugs are projected to keep rising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARK: Many young Americans simply assume there will be nothingleft for them to guarantee the security of their old age.
GIBSON: So I hope we have time to get to some of that, butbefore we get to it, talking about domestic policy, I want to get tothe concept of change, because 60 percent of the people going into theDemocratic caucuses in Iowa said they were going to go there forchange, and that seemed to redound to your benefit, Senator Obama.
GIBSON: And arriving here in New Hampshire, Senator Clinton, youcalled into question, really, what that means.
And you said, and I'm quoting you now, "On a lot of issues, it'shard to know where he," referring to Senator Obama, "stands. Andpeople need to ask that. Everybody needs to be vetted."
So let me have a little dialogue between the two of you.
What does he need to be vetted on? And what questions are thereabout Senator Obama that are unanswered?
CLINTON: Well, let me say, first, that I think we're alladvocating for change. We all want to change the status quo, which isGeorge W. Bush and the Republican domination of Washington for so manyyears.
And we all are putting forth ideas about how best to deliver thatchange.
But I don't think you make change by, you know, calling for it orby demanding it; I think it is a result of very hard work, bringingpeople together, stating clearly what your goals are, what yourprinciples are and then achieving them.
And I do think that, you know, part of what this primary processis all about, and New Hampshire voters are, you know, famouslyindependent in making their judgments, is to look at our records, toevaluate where we stand and what we stand for.
And I think that there is a lot of, you know, room to ask all ofus questions.
You know, Senator Obama has been -- as the Associated Pressdescribed it, he could have a pretty good debate with himself, becausefour years ago, he was for single-payer health care. Then he movedtoward a rejection of that, a more incremental approach. Then he wasfor universal health care. Then he proposed a health care plan thatdoesn't cover everybody.
CLINTON: I think that's relevant. I mean, I think that whatwe're looking for is a president we can count on, that you know wherethat president is yesterday, today and tomorrow. And I think that,you know, there are questions that should be asked and answered fromeach of us. And I certainly have no problem with whatever scrutinycomes my way.
GIBSON: Senator Obama?
OBAMA: Well, you know, I think the Associated Press was quotingsome of your folks, Hillary, so let's talk specifically about healthcare, since you mentioned that.
I have been entirely consistent in my position on health care.What I said -- and I have said on the campaign trail this time -- isif I were designing a system from scratch, I would set up a single-payer system, because we could gain enormous efficiencies from it.
OBAMA: Our medical care costs twice as much per capita as anyother advanced nation.
But what I've also said is that, given that half of the peopleare getting, already, employer-based health care, that it would beimpractical for us to do so, which is why I put forward a plan thatsays anybody can get health care that is the same as the health carethat I have as a member of Congress -- similar to the plans that youand John have offered.
We do have a philosophical difference. John and yourself believethat, if we do not mandate care, if we don't force the government toget to -- if the government does not force taxpayers to buy healthcare, that we will penalize them in some fashion.
I disagree with that because, as I go around town hall meetings,I don't meet people who are trying to avoid getting health care.
OBAMA: The problem is, they can't afford it. And the costs aretoo high. And so, as a consequence, we focus on reducing costs.
Now, this is a legitimate argument for us to have, but it's nottrue that I leave them out.
Your premise is, they won't buy it even if it's affordable. Idisagree with that.
Now, let me just make one last point, because you say thatsomehow I have not been specific. Social Security is a great example,something that you just raised, Charlie.
And here's an area where John and myself were actually quitespecific and said if we are going to deal with this problemspecifically, what we need to do is to raise the cap on the payrolltax so that wealthy individuals are paying a little bit more into thesystem.
OBAMA: Right now, somebody like Warren Buffet pays a fraction of1 percent of his income in payroll tax, whereas the majority of theaudience here pays payroll tax on 100 percent of their income.
And I've said that was not fair. You criticized me for that,which is fine. We have a disagreement on that, but that's hardlybecause I wasn't specific on it. I was very specific on it, and...
CLINTON: Well, but I want to go back to health care and makeanother point. You have a mandate in your health care plan.
OBAMA: For children.
CLINTON: You mandate parents to have health care for children.
OBAMA: That's exactly right.
CLINTON: And, obviously, you did that because you want allchildren covered. So...
OBAMA: Because they don't have a choice.
CLINTON: Well, they don't have a choice, and you're going tomake sure that parents get health care for children. So, you know,you stopped short of going the distance to make sure that we had asystem that could actually deliver health care for everyone.
But it's not only about health care. You know, I think that twoweeks ago, you criticized Senator Edwards in saying that he wasunelectable because he had changed positions over the course of fouryears, that four years ago he wasn't for universal health care; now,he is.
Well, you've changed positions within three years on, you know, arange of issues that you put forth when you ran for the Senate, andnow you have changed.
CLINTON: You know, you said you would vote against the PatriotAct. You came to the Senate; you voted for it. You said that youwould vote against funding for the Iraq war. You came to the Senate,and you voted for $300 billion of it.
So I just think it's fair for people to understand that many ofthe charges that have been leveled, not just at me, but also atSenator Edwards, are not totally, you know, unrelated to the veryrecord you have. And you've said records matter.
CLINTON: And I think that we should get into examiningeverybody's record.
OBAMA: I want John to be able to get in on this, but since thiswas directed at me, let me just make sure that I address this.
First of all, I never said John was unelectable. Somebody askedme specifically what did I think was the difference between myself andJohn, and I pointed out some areas where I thought we had somedifferences.
CLINTON: And you said that he had changed positions, did younot?
OBAMA: And I did, because I thought that I'd been moreconsistent on those positions.
I have no problem, Hillary, with you pointing out areas where youthink we have differences. But on health care, for example, thereason that I mandate for children is because children do not have achoice; adults do. And it's my belief that they will choose to havehealth care, if it is affordable.
Now, that's a perfectly legitimate policy difference for us tohave. And that is different from saying that I will refuse to coveror leave out a bunch of individuals.
And the last point I just want to make on this, Charlie, is, youknow, these are all good public servants. And everybody has greatqualifications and has done good things.
But what I think is important that we don't do is to try todistort each other's records as election day approaches here in NewHampshire. Because what I think the people of America are looking forare folks who are going to be straight about the issues and are goingto be interested in solving problems and bringing people together.
OBAMA: That's the reason, I think, we did so well in Iowa.
GIBSON: You've been very patient.
OBAMA: You were. And I appreciate it.
EDWARDS: Thank you. No, you're welcome. You're more thanwelcome.
Let me just say a quick word about this.
You know, Senator Obama and I have differences. We do. We havea difference about health care, which he and I have talked aboutbefore.
We have a fundamental difference about the way you bring aboutchange. But both of us are powerful voices for change.
And if I might add, we finished first and second in the Iowacaucus, I think in part as a result of that.
Now, what I would say this: Any time you speak out powerfullyfor change, the forces of status quo attack. That's exactly whathappens.
It's fine to have a disagreement about health care. To say thatSenator Obama is having a debate with himself from some AssociatedPress story I think is just not -- that's not the kind of discussionwe should be having.
I think that every time this happens, what will occur -- everytime he speaks out for change, every time I fight for change, theforces of status quo are going to attack -- every single time.
EDWARDS: And what we have to remember -- and this is theoverarching issue here, because what we really need in New Hampshireand in future state primaries, is we need an unfiltered debate betweenthe agents of change about how we bring about that change. Because wehave differences about that.
But the one thing I do not argue with him about is he believesdeeply in change. And I believe deeply in change.
And any time you're fighting for that -- I mean, I didn't hearthese kind of attacks from Senator Clinton when she was ahead. Nowthat she's not, we hear them.
And any time you speak out -- any time you speak out for change,this is what happens.
GIBSON: With apologies to Governor Richardson, I think(inaudible).
CLINTON: Well, making change, making -- wait a minute. Now,wait a minute. I'm going to respond to this.
Because obviously -- obviously making change is not about whatyou believe. It's not about a speech you make. It is about workinghard.
There are 7,000 kids in New Hampshire who have health carebecause I helped to create the Children's Health Insurance Program.There are 2,700 National Guard and Reserve members who have access tohealth care because, on a bipartisan basis, I pushed legislationthrough over the objection of the Pentagon, over the threat of a vetofrom President Bush.
CLINTON: I want to make change, but I've already made change. Iwill continue to make change. I'm not just running on a promise ofchange. I'm running on 35 years of change. I'm running on havingtaken on the drug companies and the health insurance companies, takingon the oil companies.
So, you know, I think it is clear that what we need is somebodywho can deliver change. And we don't need to be raising the falsehopes of our country about what can be delivered. The best way toknow what change I will produce is to look at the changes that I'vealready made.
EDWARDS: Can I respond briefly to that?
GIBSON: Let me -- I'll let you respond. Let me -- in allfairness to Governor Richardson.
RICHARDSON: Well, I've been in hostage negotiations that are alot more civil than this.
You know, I think one of the things that we need to remember --I'm going to say this again because I said it at a previous debate --let's stay positive. You know, there will be plenty of time to getnegative with the Republicans.
RICHARDSON: You heard them earlier.
Let us talk about how we're going to make sure that we deliverhealth care for the American people, how we change America's foreignpolicy, how we make schools better and pay teachers better and get ridof No Child Left Behind.
Look, what we need is change. There's no question. But, youknow, whatever happened to experience? Is experience kind of a leper?What is wrong with, you know, what is wrong with having -- what iswrong with having been, like myself, 14 years in the Congress, twoCabinet positions?
I mean, I've gone head-to-head with the North Koreans. We gotthe remains of soldiers back. We persuaded them to reduce theirnuclear weapons.
What is wrong with being a governor and going to a state andgiving health care to kids under 12 and creating jobs and balancingbudgets?
What is wrong with being a secretary of energy who has madeAmerica, or tried to make America a land of clean energy (inaudible)?
My point is this: We want to change this country, but you haveto have -- you have to know how to do it.
RICHARDSON: And there's nothing wrong with having experience.
So, you know, I love change. We all are for change. But thequestion is, examine the record of those that, in the past, haveproduced change and that has taken responsibilities. We need somebodythat has been tested.
GIBSON: I'm going to go to Senator Edwards and then SenatorObama, then we'll move on.
EDWARDS: Thank you very much.
What I would say in response to the discussion that just tookplace is we have to understand what's at stake. Nobody cares abouthearing a bunch of politicians fight. They're not the slightest bitinterested in that, and they shouldn't be interested in it.
What's at stake here is a fight for the future of the middleclass. And we do have different perspectives on how we fight for themiddle class, how we fight for jobs, how we fight for health care.
And I believe, and I believe it very strongly, that there areentrenched special interests very well-financed -- some examples aredrug companies, insurance companies, oil companies, et cetera -- thatstand between America and the change that we need.
EDWARDS: And I think if you defend the way the system works,it's very hard to take those people on.
I believe -- and it's -- I've fought these people. I'm 54 yearsold. I've been fighting these people, these irresponsiblecorporations -- and there are good corporations in America, Charlie,and I want to point that out, good corporations, good employers.Costco. AT&T, for example, is now working to help unionize some oftheir offices and to bring jobs back...
GIBSON: We'll get -- we'll get to the commercials later.
EDWARDS: Let me finish this, though. I want to finish this.
The point is this: I think there are differences between usabout how we fight for the future of the middle class. And I believeyou have to be willing to take on these entrenched special interests.And I think if you're not willing to do it, it is impossible to bringabout the change that the country needs.
GIBSON: Final words, Senator.
OBAMA: And just to wrap up, part of the change that'sdesperately needed is to enlist the American people in the process ofself-government.
And one of the areas that I have constantly worked on is not onlypushing aside the special interests -- this past year, passing thetoughest ethics reform legislation since Watergate -- but also makingsure that the government is transparent and accountable.
OBAMA: And that's what I think people were responding to inIowa. We saw it here in New Hampshire today. They want somebodywho's talking straight to them about the choices that are ahead.
And they want to make sure that government is responding to themdirectly, because folks out there feel the American dream is slippingaway. They are working harder for less. They are paying more forhealth care, for college, for gas at the pump. And they are having atougher time saving and retiring.
And what they don't feel is that the government is listening tothem and responding to them. That's the kind of change that I thinkwe need.
GIBSON: I'm going to move on to our third subject before I runout of time. And I want to turn to Iraq.
We started the surge early this year. You all opposed it. Butthere are real signs it has worked. So from background, our man inBaghdad for ABC, Terry McCarthy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRY MCCARTHY, ABC BAGHDAD CORRESPONDENT: It has been a tough12 months in Iraq, with more U.S. troops killed than in any previousyear of the war. But overall, the addition of an extra 30,000 troopshas helped to reduce violence substantially. Civilian killings aredown 65 percent in the last six months. U.S. deaths are down from 126in May to 23 in December.
MCCARTHY: General Petraeus has repeatedly said the solution inIraq must be political, not military. So far, political progress hasbeen frustratingly slow.
But a year ago, many Americans, and the Iraqis, too, thought thecountry was a lost cause. Today, with improved security, life isreturning to the streets of Baghdad.
Nobody yet says the war is over. But Iraqis are finally able tohope that things might be getting better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIBSON: So, I want to ask all of you: Are any of you ready tosay that the surge has worked?
And Senator Clinton, let me start with you, because when GeneralPetraeus was in Washington in September, you said it would take awillful suspension of disbelief to think that the surge could do anygood.
CLINTON: And that's right. Because, remember, the purposebehind the surge was to create the space and time for politicalreconciliation, for the Iraqi government to do what only it can do andtrying to deal with the myriad of unresolved problems that confrontit.
CLINTON: And as your report said, you know, we have the greatestmilitary in the world. We send in more of our troops, they will beable to dampen down the violence.
But there has not been a willingness on the part of the Iraqigovernment to do what the surge was intended to do, to push them tobegin to make the tough decisions. And in the absence of thatpolitical action, 23 Americans dying in December is totallyunacceptable.
You know, there is no more cause for us to be there if the Iraqisare just not going to do what they need to do to take care of theirown country.
CLINTON: So it's time to bring our troops home and to bring themhome as quickly and responsibly as possible.
And unfortunately, I don't see any reason why they should remainbeyond, you know, today.
I think George Bush doesn't intend to bring them home. Butcertainly I have said when I'm president I will. Within 60 days, I'llstart that withdrawal.
RICHARDSON: The policy's a massive failure.
Here are the measurements that we should look at. Thirty-ninehundred Americans have lost their lives.
RICHARDSON: There are 60,000 Americans today that are wounded,mainly mentally wounded.
Tell that to the family that only 23 died in December.
Look, here are the barometers that we need to look at.
First, there is no military solution. There's a politicalsolution.
Secondly, has there been progress in any political compromises orreconciliation between the Sunni, the Shia and the Kurds? Zero.
Has there been progress in sharing oil revenues? Zero.
Has there been any regional elections? Zero.
Is the Maliki government intensifying its efforts to train theIraqi security forces more than they have? No.
Is there any end to Iran's efforts to bring terrorist activitiesto Iraq? No.
Iran, Syria -- no one has participated in a regional solution.
RICHARDSON: No, Charlie, I mean, this is why I'm running forpresident. Because until we end this war, we cannot talk about theissues that need to be dealt with here: universal health care,improving schools, bringing people together.
RICHARDSON: You can't have change until you end the war, andthat means bringing all of our troops home within a year and leavingnone behind.
GIBSON: I'm going to take this to Senator Obama and to SenatorEdwards.
But -- and I'm not here to debate -- the parliament meets, an oillaw is under consideration, de-Baathification has progressed to someextent, and were it not for the surge, instead of counting votes, we'dbe counting bodies in the streets.
RICHARDSON: But this has been going on for years, Charlie.
GIBSON: And all of you -- all of you wanted the troops out lastyear.
RICHARDSON: There is no serious progress.
GIBSON: Would you have seen this kind of greater security inIraq if we had followed your recommendations to pull the troops outlast year, Senator Obama?
OBAMA: Let me respond.
I think the bar of success has become so low that we've lostperspective on what should be our long-term national interests.
It was a mistake to go in from the start, and that's why Iopposed this war from the start. It has cost us upwards of $1trillion. It may get close to $2 trillion. We have lost young menand women on the battlefield, and we have not made ourself safer as aconsequence.
Now, I had no doubt, and I said at the time when I opposed thesurge, that given how wonderfully our troops perform, if we place30,000 more troops in there, then we would see an improvement in thesecurity situation and we would see a reduction in the violence.
But understand, we started in 2006 with intolerable levels ofviolence and a dysfunctional government. We saw a spike in theviolence. The surge reduced that violence, and we now are, two yearslater, back where we started two years ago. We have gone full circleat enormous cost to the American people.
OBAMA: What we have to do is to begin a phased redeployment tosend a clear signal to the Iraqi government that we are not going tobe there in perpetuity. Now, it will -- we should be as carefulgetting out as we were careless getting in.
I welcome the genuine reductions of violence that have takenplace, although I would point out that much of that violence has beenreduced because there was an agreement with tribes in Anbar province,Sunni tribes, who started to see, after the Democrats were elected in2006, you know what? -- the Americans may be leaving soon. And we aregoing to be left very vulnerable to the Shias. We should startnegotiating now.
That's how you change behavior. And that's why I will send aclear signal to the Iraqi government. They will have ample time toget their act together, to actually pass an oil law, which has been --they've been talking about now for years. They will actually be ableto conduct de-Baathification.
We will support them in all of those efforts.
OBAMA: But what we can't do is to continue to ignore theenormous strains that this has placed on the American taxpayer, aswell as the anti-American sentiment that it is fanning, and theneglect that's happening in Afghanistan as a consequence.
GIBSON: I'm going to go to Senator Edwards. But all of youserve in Congress or did serve in Congress. You know how slowlegislatures can move; you've all experienced it in the United StatesCongress.
But, Senator Edwards, let me go to you. Some of you -- GovernorRichardson, Senator Obama -- you have talked about a timetable forwithdrawal, getting all troops out by the end of 2009, 2010. If thegenerals in Iraq came to you as President Edwards and said, "Mr.President" -- on January 21, 2009 -- "you're wrong, you can't do this.You're going to send Iraq back into the kind of chaos we had before,"are you going to stick with it?
EDWARDS: It is the responsibility of the president of the UnitedStates and the commander in chief to make policy decisions.
EDWARDS: It is the responsibility -- of course, I would alwayslisten to my uniformed military leadership -- directly. Not filteredthrough civilians -- directly.
But if you look at what happened in Iraq when the Brits began topull their troops out, in the part of Iraq where those troops werelocated, there was a significant reduction in violence.
What the whole purpose -- just to be clear with people -- thewhole purpose for the surge was to create some environment where therecould be political progress and political reconciliation between Sunniand Shia.
Everyone believes -- even George Bush acknowledges that that'swhat we're trying to accomplish.
The question is, how do you get there?
Look at the loss of American lives; $600 billion and counting;and there's been essentially no political progress.
I don't believe -- and I think others would agree -- that therewill be political progress until we make it clear that we're going tostop propping the Sunni and Shia up with American lives and withAmerican taxpayer dollars.
So what we need to do -- and let me be very specific -- and thisis what I will do as president: In the first year that I ampresident, I will pull 40,000 to 50,000 troops out very quickly.
EDWARDS: I will continue a steady redeployment of combat troopsout of Iraq until they are all out within about nine to 10 months.
If my military leadership says we need some more time to makesure that we can do this in the most effective way and the mostefficient way and the safest way for my troops, of course I'd belistening to what they have to say.
But I will end combat missions in Iraq in the first year, andthere will be no permanent military bases.
We have to end this war, and the only way to end the war is toend the occupation, which is what I will do as president.
GIBSON: I've got one minute left, and I owe each of you 30seconds.
RICHARDSON: Well, John, you can't end the war without -- you'vegot to get all the troops out to end the war because they becometargets. And if you leave a small force behind, then you cannot bringthe political reconciliation that is needed; you cannot bring apeacekeeping force by the United Nations or a donor conference to takeover the $570 billion that we've spent on this war on resources thatshould be spent on health care and education for our own people.
RICHARDSON: This is where, with all due respect, we differ. I'dbring the troops back within a year. I don't want, in five years --because I did, in another debate, some of you said you would keeptroops, you wouldn't say you wouldn't get them out by 2013.
I don't want, in five years, to have to look at an 8-year oldtoday -- an eighth grader, an American eighth grader today who isserving, five years from now, in Iraq. I don't want to hear about thedeath of an American.
You know, as a governor, I fly the flags half-mast upon a death.I'm sick of doing that. We need to stop that. We need to think ofour veterans that are coming back with PTSD, with traumatic braininjuries, with mental anguish. We have a crisis on our hands.
And my whole point is that this whole campaign, everything wetalk about -- universal health care, improving schools, helping kids-- cannot happen until we get out of this war, because the Congressand the president basically have a dysfunctional relationship wherenothing gets done.
RICHARDSON: And I can see that as a governor from my state as Itry to deal with health care and education.
So this is why it's so fundamental, and this is why I'm runningfor president. End this war, and the way you do it is by getting allthe troops out in one year.
GIBSON: I owed you 30 seconds. Now, you owe me 45, butthat's...
GIBSON: Senator Clinton?
CLINTON: I think we're in vigorous agreement about getting ourtroops home as quickly and responsibly as we possibly can, servingnotice on the Maliki government that the blank check they've had fromGeorge Bush is no longer valid.
We're going to have to have intensive diplomatic efforts in theregion. I don't think anyone can predict what the consequences willbe.
CLINTON: And I think we have to be ready for whatever they mightbe.
We have to figure out what we're going to do with the 100,000-plus American civilians who are there working at the embassy, workingfor not-for-profits or American businesses.
We have to figure out what we're going to do about all the Iraqiswho sided with us, you know, like the translators who helped theMarines in Fallujah whom I met, who said they wouldn't have survivedwithout them. Are we going to leave them?
You know, this is a complicated enterprise, so it has to be doneright. And last spring, I began demanding that the Bushadministration tell us whether they were undertaking the kind ofplanning that is necessary for the withdrawal.
And, clearly, they're not. So as soon as I am elected, I willtask the Joint Chiefs and the secretary of defense and the securityadvisers to provide such a plan and to begin to execute it within 60days.
GIBSON: All right. Let me thank all of you. We're going totake a commercial break, three minutes. I'm going to bring ScottSpradling from WMUR up here, and we'll continue with some questions.
The Democratic debate from Manchester, New Hampshire, continues.
GIBSON: I am joined, for the last half of this debate, as I wasfor the Republican debate, by the political director here inManchester, New Hampshire, Scott Spradling.
And I appreciate all of you, again, being with us. It's good tohave the four leading Democratic candidates with us. Just toreintroduce them, Senator John Edwards -- former Senator John Edwards,Senator Barack Obama, Governor Bill Richardson, Senator HillaryClinton.
SPRADLING: Senator, I'd like to start with you.
I was watching the exchange in the first half and saw what lookedlike a little bit of a double team that's probably going to have a lotof people talking tomorrow morning.
CLINTON: I'm glad you noticed.
SPRADLING: Yes, I did notice.
And I'd like to ask you this.
The University of New Hampshire Survey Center has beenconsistently trying to probe the minds of New Hampshire voters and geta sense of what they think about all of you. I'd be happy to reportthat the experience vs. change debate seems to be sinking it.
And what I'd like to get is to this: New Hampshire voters seemto believe that, of those of you on this stage, you are the mostexperienced and the most electable. In terms of change, they seeSenators Obama and Edwards as the agents of change, in New Hampshiremindset.
My question to you is simply this: What can you say to thevoters of New Hampshire on this stage tonight who see a resume andlike it, but are hesitating on the likability issue, where they seemto like Barack Obama more?
CLINTON: Well, that hurts my feelings.
SPRADLING: I'm sorry, Senator. I'm sorry.
CLINTON: But I'll try to go on.
He's very likable. I agree with that. I don't think I'm thatbad.
OBAMA: You're likable enough, Hillary.
CLINTON: Thank you...
You know, I think this is one of the most serious decisions thatthe voters of New Hampshire have ever had to make. And I reallybelieve that the most important question is who is ready to bepresident on day one.
You know, the problems waiting, some of which we have talkedabout already, are huge and the stakes could not be higher.
And, you know, in 2000 we, unfortunately, ended up with apresident who people said they wanted to have a beer with; who said hewanted to be a uniter, not a divider; who said that he had hisintuition and he was going to, you know, really come into the WhiteHouse and transform the country. And, you know, at least I thinkthere are the majority of Americans who think that was not the rightchoice.
So I am offering 35 years of experience making change, and theresults to show for it.
I, you know, respect and like both Senator Edwards and SenatorObama.
CLINTON: But I think if you want to know what change each of uswill bring about, look at what we've done. And there are a lot ofdifferences that I think need to be aired for the voters of NewHampshire.
Because I stand on my record of experience, and I appreciateGovernor Richardson's long history of serving our country.
But I think I am an agent of change. I embody change. I thinkhaving the first woman president is a huge change...
... with consequences across our country and the world. And thaton the specific issues that I have worked on for a lifetime and theplans I have put forth, I believe I am more prepared and ready toactually deliver change.
CLINTON: And I think that ultimately is what Americans want toknow and believe.
SPRADLING: Senator, thank you.
Senator Obama, I don't know if your ears were ringing during thefirst debate. I asked a question about you earlier, and am interestedto hear your response to what the Republican candidates for presidentlaid out in arguments for you not being elected president.
I revved up the Republican attack machine. Please respond.
OBAMA: Well, you know, I have to admit that I was going back andforth between the Republicans and football.
GIBSON: How did the Redskins do?
OBAMA: The Redskins lost.
But, look, I think there's no doubt that any of the candidates onthis stage would represent significant change from George Bush. Andwe've seen a disaster, in both foreign policy and domestic policy,over the last seven years.
But what the people in Iowa were responding to, what I think thatwe're seeing here in New Hampshire, is a hunger for a different kindof politics that is very specific about pushing aside specialinterests that have come to dominate the agenda and the debate,reducing the power of lobbyists; something that I have done.
OBAMA: I think people are very concerned about making sure thatthe American people are let back into their government.
So when I, for example, worked with a Republican to set up asearchable database, so that every dollar of federal spending -- wewould know. If there was a bridge to nowhere, you'd know who wassponsoring it, and hopefully embarrassing them. If there was a no-bidcontract to Halliburton, you'd know about that.
Those are the kinds of steps that will actually lead to realchanges in people's lives.
And that's how I worked at the state level, bringing Republicansand Democrats together to provide health insurance to people whodidn't have it.
OBAMA: That's how we were able to provide tax cuts to workingfamilies. And that is what I intend to do as president of the UnitedStates of America.
SPRADLING: Senator Thompson referred to your support asendorsements by some of the most liberal groups in the nation, tryingto paint a picture that you would be way left of center.
OBAMA: Of course. But Scott, that's what they're going to do toany Democrat. I mean, we've seen this movie before. We know theRepublican playbook.
Here's what I'm betting on, though, is that regardless of whatthe Republican candidates are talking about, I think that there are awhole host of Republicans, and certainly independents, who have losttrust in their government, who don't believe anybody is listening tothem, who are staggering under rising costs of health care, collegeeducation, don't believe what politicians say.
And we can draw those independents and some Republicans into aworking coalition, a working majority for change.
OBAMA: And the fact of the matter is I think that SenatorClinton has done some good work. I think Bill Richardson has donesome good work, as has John Edwards.
But what we haven't seen over the last many years, even precedingGeorge Bush, is tackling the big issues -- getting health care reformfinally done, getting an energy policy that works.
And that's going to require a working majority for change. We'restarting to build that. We saw it in Iowa. We're going to build ithere in New Hampshire. And I think we can build it across thecountry.
SPRADLING: Governor Richardson, I'm curious: Do you think to bepresident of the United States that prior executive experience isnecessary? And is relative youth a detriment?
RICHARDSON: Well, I think prior executive experience is veryimportant. I'm the only governor here. I'm the only person here whohas actually balanced budgets.
RICHARDSON: I've balanced five. I've created 80,000 new jobs.I've lowered taxes for everybody. I've insured kids under 12 in mystate. I've improved education.
You know, you want somebody in this position that has hadexecutive experience.
And I will also say, Charlie, since, you know, I noticed Scottmentioned everybody else in the poll, he didn't mention me...
But that's OK.
GIBSON: Did that hurt your feelings, too?
RICHARDSON: Well, a little bit.
SPRADLING: Would you like to know?
RICHARDSON: You know, let's face it -- the next president isgoing to have to have foreign policy experience. And of all thecandidates here, I'm the only one that's negotiated with foreigngovernments, I'm the only one that has faced down the North Koreansand Saddam Hussein, I'm the only one that has had the highest nationalsecurity clearance.
You know, so there's something about having experience and beentested and represented...
SPRADLING: Can I follow up on that, then...
SPRADLING: ... with your resume.
I don't mean to interrupt, but I remember you as energy secretarycoming to Boston for an energy summit way back in February of 2000,when the dialogue then was very similar to the dialogue that it isnow: rising fuel prices, a struggling supply, frustration in thehomes across New England and a call for some help.
SPRADLING: Here we are this past Thursday -- we've establishedit -- that it's $100 a barrel. Is it fair to say to you, in thisexperience argument, that you, as energy secretary, you didn't get itdone then, so why believe you'd get it done now because we're havingthe same debate?
RICHARDSON: Look, both parties have been failures in dealingwith energy policy, but you know -- and I remember meeting you there.Remember what I did, Scott. I went to OPEC countries and tried to getthem to increase production so prices would go down.
At the time, there was a home heating oil crisis here in NewEngland. I created reserves of home heating oil. Look at the pricenow in New Hampshire, $3.20, something like that. It's the highestever.
You know, what we need is an energy revolution in this country,not some of the bills that the Congress has passed.
RICHARDSON: We need to go to 50 miles per gallon fuelefficiency. We need to have 30 percent of all our electricityrenewable. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percentby the year 2040.
And we need the American people to sacrifice a little bit. Iwould ask the American people, when it comes to being more energy-conscious, to be cognizant of appliances, of fuel efficiency, thevehicles we drive, mass transit.
You know, I -- and I did when I was energy secretary, airconditioners 30 percent more efficient. I started the renewableportfolio. So, I did some things, Scott.
The problem -- you're right. We need a bipartisan approach. Butwe need to reduce fossil fuels by 50 percent by the year 2020, becauseour planet is getting damaged. And Al Gore has been right.
RICHARDSON: He deserves the Nobel Prize. I'm glad he stayed outof the race.
GIBSON: I'm going to go to Senator Edwards for just a moment.
You answered the first part of my question about executivetraining. You didn't talk about whether relative youth is adetriment.
RICHARDSON: I didn't hear that.
GIBSON: When I asked you the question, I said, is priorexecutive experience a key requirement for being president and isrelative youth a detriment?
RICHARDSON: Relative youth? No. You know, John F. Kennedy was42 years old when he was elected president. He's my hero, and I thinkhe was one of our greatest presidents because -- because he inspired,because he said he'd go to the moon in 10 years, because he said thatwe all collectively have to do something for the common good.
GIBSON: Senator Edwards?
EDWARDS: What's my question?
No, I'm glad that people like me, Hillary. I'm glad they like...
GIBSON: The prior executive experience. And is relative youth adetriment?
EDWARDS: No, I think what matters -- we've had a lot ofconversation about the first day in the White House. I think we oughtto picture what that first day in the White House would be for each ofus.
EDWARDS: I'll just speak for myself. You know, I'm thecandidate up here who's never taken a dime from a Washington lobbyistin my entire time in public life or a dime from a special interestPAC.
The first day that I'm president of the United States, there willbe no corporate lobbyists working in my White House. There will be nolobbyist who's lobbied for foreign governments.
And this is a very personal cause for me, because I come from afamily -- my father is in the audience tonight -- where my fatherworked for 37 years in the mills. He didn't get a chance, like I did,to have a college education.
And this is a fight for the middle class and families just likethe one I grew up with. My grandmother, who helped raise me, had afifth or sixth grade education, came from a family of share-croppers,she worked in the mill every day so that I could have the chances thatI've had.
And this -- I spent 20 years fighting irresponsible corporationsin courtrooms.
EDWARDS: I know what it takes to fight these people and win.
But here's what I would want people to know. What I want peopleto know is, this battle is deep inside me and it is personal.
And it matters whether it's personal or not, because is if it'seither academic or political, when the tough fight comes, you'll walkaway from it. You'll do what's political.
This fight is deeply personal to me. I've been engaged in it mywhole life, to fight for the middle class, to fight against powerfulspecial interests. And it is a fight I will wage on behalf of theAmerican people as president of the United States and win, as I havefor 54 years.
SPRADLING: Senator, I'd like to follow that up then.
SPRADLING: You served six years in the U.S. Senate.
SPRADLING: And on the campaign trail, it seems like you don'ttalk a lot about the six years. The people of New Hampshire probablyremember you talking about your war vote and explaining later on whyyou weren't happy about that.
SPRADLING: Can you give New Hampshire voters a guide ofsomething significant that you accomplished in your six years as aU.S. senator...
SPRADLING: ... that would give us some guide as to what kind ofpresident you're going to be?
EDWARDS: Absolutely. I could tell you exactly one -- I'll giveyou one very specific example, a big example.
When the Democrats finally took over the United States Senate,the first issue that was brought to the table was the so-calledpatient's bill of rights, so that patients and families could maketheir own health care decisions.
EDWARDS: What's happening now is insurance companies are runningall over people. I mean, the case of Nataline Sarkisyan, which a lotof the audience will be familiar with -- 17-year-old girl who lost herlife a couple of weeks ago because her insurance company would not payfor a liver transplant operation.
She had health insurance, but the insurance company wouldn't payfor it. They finally caved in a few hours before she died.
We need a president who will take these people on. What we did-- and I didn't do it alone, don't claim to have done it alone -- butI, Senator McCain, who was here earlier, Senator Kennedy, the three ofus wrote the Patient's Bill of Rights. The three of us took on thepowerful insurance industry and their lobby, every single day of thefight for the Patient's Bill of Rights. And we got that bill throughthe United States Senate and got it passed.
EDWARDS: And I'm proud of having done that.
But that's just an example of why this battle is personal for me.You know, we need a president who believes deeply -- in here --believes deeply in this battle.
And it is personal for me. When I see these lobbyists roamingaround Washington, D.C., taking all the politicians to cocktailparties, I mean, the picture I get in my head is my father and mygrandmother going in that mill every day so that I could have thechances I've had.
Where is their voice in this democracy? When are they going toget heard? They need a president who will stand up for them, and sodoes every American who's listening to this debate.
OBAMA: I just want to add, I agree with John, which is why Iprohibited lobbyists from buying meals for members of Congress...
EDWARDS: Good idea.
OBAMA: ... because -- and some of them complained. They said...
OBAMA: They said, "Where am I going to eat?"
GIBSON: They can now buy food for members of Congress if themembers of Congress are standing up. That's my understanding of whatthe rules have changed. You can't sit down and eat, but you can standup and eat. Tell me why that's change.
OBAMA: Here's what we did. They can't buy meals. They can'tprovide gifts. They can no longer lend corporate...
GIBSON: They can have huge parties for you as long as you'restanding up.
EDWARDS: They can't eat as much if they're standing up, Charlie.
OBAMA: That's true.
Look, we are now disclosing if they're bundling money for membersof Congress. They've got to disclose who they're bundling money fromand who they're giving it to.
But here's the critical point that I want to make. Not only doesthis have to be personal, John -- and I completely agree. When Ithink about health care, I think about my mother, who when she wasdying of cancer had to read an insurance form because she had justgotten a new job and they were trying to figure out whether or notthis was going to be treated as a preexisting condition, and whetheror not they would pay her medical bills.
So I've seen the costs of a health care system that is broken invery personal terms.
But what I also believe, if we're going to bring about realchange, then we have to bring in the American people. We have to beton them.
OBAMA: And that's what's been lost. People, I think, feel thatthey are not heard at all, they are not involved. And the only waywe're going to muster enough power over the long term to actually getsomething done is if we've got a working majority, which is why it'sso important...
CLINTON: Can we just have a sort of a reality break for aminute? Because I think that it is important to make some kind of anassessment of these statements.
You know, Senator Edwards did work and get the patient bill ofrights through the Senate -- it never got through the House. One ofthe reasons that Natalie may well have died is because there isn't apatient's bill of rights. We don't have a patient's bill of rights.
EDWARDS: Because George Bush killed it.
CLINTON: Well, that's right. He killed it.
So, we've got to have a plan and a real push to get it through.
You know, when it comes to lobbyists, you know, Senator Obama'schair in New Hampshire is a lobbyist. He lobbies for the drugcompanies.
So, I think it's important that all of us be held to the samestandard -- that we're all held accountable.
CLINTON: You know, the energy bill that passed in 2005 waslarded with all kinds of special interest breaks, giveaways to the oilcompanies. Senator Obama voted for it. I did not because I knew thatit was going to be an absolute nightmare.
Now we're all out on the campaign trail talking about taking thetax subsidies away from the oil companies, some of which were in that2005 energy bill.
So, you know, words are not actions. And as beautifullypresented and passionately felt as they are, they are not action.
You know, what we've got to do is translate talk into action andfeeling into reality. I have a long record of doing that, of takingon the very interests that you have just rightly excoriated because ofthe over-due influence that they have in our government.
And, you know, probably nobody up here has been the subject ofmore incoming fire from the Republicans and the special interests. SoI think I know exactly what I'm walking into. And I am prepared totake them on.
SPRADLING: Senator, does that mean that you're further down theroad than your opponents in this? Or are you saying that you can dothings that these folks can't do, when it comes to being an agent ofchange?
CLINTON: Absolutely. Because I've been an agent of change. Youknow, you go back 35 years, you know, I worked to help make the casefor the law that, thankfully, required that public schools give aneducation to children with special needs. I worked to reformeducation and health care in Arkansas against, you know, some prettytough odds.
In the White House, I helped to create, you know, health care forkids and, you know, reform a lot of the other programs -- like takingon the drug companies.
SPRADLING (?): And to be clear, they can't. You're saying theycan't.
CLINTON: Well, I'm not saying that -- I'm only making my case,that this is what I have done.
GIBSON: I'll come to all of you.
I didn't want to get into this, but I've covered Washington for along time. And I know President Clinton came to Washington talkingabout change. President Bush came to Washington talking about change.
So many people in the administrations and in Congress sayWashington is set up to resist change...
GIBSON: And God love all of you for making this argument.
CLINTON: Can I just say, if you're going to mention PresidentClinton, I'm going to respond?
EDWARDS: Let Hillary talk. Let her talk.
CLINTON: President Clinton -- wait, President Clinton inheriteda deficit, a debt that had been quadrupled in the previous 12 years.
Now, anybody who doesn't think taking on the special interests toraise taxes on corporations, raise taxes on the wealthy, begin towhittle away at the deficit, to be able to leave with a balancedbudget and a surplus -- if that didn't take a lot of change thatactually produced results, then I think we've got amnesia.
CLINTON: You know, change is hard, but change is possible...
EDWARDS: OK, can we speak to this? Can we speak to this?
CLINTON: ... if you're prepared to work hard and follow through.
EDWARDS: I want to say -- I just want to say a quick word aboutthis.
You know, it is true that these entrenched interests -- whetheryou're talking about oil companies, drug companies, gas companies,whoever, these entrenched interests are literally stealing ourchildren's future.
They have a stranglehold on this democracy. And they are havingan incredibly destructive force on the middle class, on families beingable to do what my family has done, and so many who are sitting herehave been able to do.
And the problem is you can't be with those people, take theirmoney and then challenge them. It doesn't work.
You have to be willing to actually stand up and say no, no tolobbyists' money, no to PAC money, no corporate lobbyists working forme in the White House.
EDWARDS: If you intend to take them on, and if it is personalfor you -- and this is extraordinarily personal for me -- if it'spersonal for you, then you can be successful bringing about thechange.
Teddy Roosevelt -- just one quick example -- Teddy Roosevelt --Teddy Roosevelt, a great American president: He didn't make dealswith the monopolies and the trusts. Teddy Roosevelt took them on,busted the monopolies, busted the trusts. That's what it's going totake.
We have a battle in front of us. We do.
I don't think we have a problem with politicians in Washingtonspending enough time with lobbyists and going to cocktail parties.They do it all the time. They do it every single day.
And I'll tell you who's paying the price for those cocktailparties: Ed and Nataline Sarkisyan, every single American who doesn'thave health care coverage, everybody who's going to the gas pump andpaying so much for their gas.
When are we going to have a president who actually takes thesepeople on? That's what I'm going to do.
GIBSON: I'm going to go Senator Obama, and I'll come to you.
OBAMA: Look, I think it's easy to be cynical and just say, "Youknow what? It can't be done, because Washington is designed to resistchange."
But in fact, there have been periods of time in our history wherea president inspired the American people to do better.
OBAMA: And I think we're in one of those moments right now. Ithink the American people are hungry for something different and canbe mobilized around big changes; not incremental changes, not smallchanges.
I actually give Bill Clinton enormous credit for having balancedthose budgets during those years. It did take political courage forhim to do that.
But we never built the majority and coalesced the American peoplearound being able to get the other stuff done.
And, you know, so, the truth is, actually, words do inspire,words do help people get involved, words do help members of Congressget into power so that they can be part of a coalition to deliverhealth-care reform, to deliver a bold energy policy.
Don't discount that power.
OBAMA: Because when the American people are determined thatsomething is going to happen, then it happens. And if they aredisaffected and cynical and fearful and told that it can't be done,then it doesn't.
I'm running for president because I want to tell them, "Yes, wecan," and that's why I think they're responding in such large numbers.
RICHARDSON: You know, this is the kind of Washington bickeringthat the public turns off to. And, you know, with all due respect, asa governor, I'm frustrated every time you guys and the president getnothing done because then the burden is on us.
And, you know, John, I understand your frustration. Iunderstand, you know, that it's personal. But, you know, to resolveproblems, you got to bring people together. You got to heal thiscountry.
You can't -- you know, it's great to say, "We're going to takeeverybody on." But, you know, it's going to take coalitions of peoplebacking us. It's going to take public financing to get the specialinterests out of politics. It's going to take bipartisanship.
You know, what I've said is that if I'm elected president, I'mgoing to have a Cabinet of Republicans, Democrats and independents.
Now, I won't overdo the Republicans.
RICHARDSON: But my point is, it's how you govern. It'scoalition-building. It's bringing the public -- a citizens corps ofactivists. It's asking the public to sacrifice, to do something forthe country like being more energy efficient, like national service.
You know, I've got a program, two years the government pays foryour college loans, your tuition, you give one year of nationalservice to the country.
It's emboldering (ph) the electorate. You can't do it by justfighting and taking everybody on. You got to bring people together.And that's a frustration.
EDWARDS: Give me 30 seconds on this, because you just saidsomething...
GIBSON: I'll hold you to it.
EDWARDS: I actually completely agree that it's theresponsibility of the president to unite and galvanize the Americanpeople. It is also the responsibility of the president, and I will doit, to work with members of Congress to get things done.
EDWARDS: But these entrenched monied interests that have astranglehold on the middle class, that are doing incrediblydestructive to American jobs and the health care system, energy, alltaxes, trade, they're in everything -- absolutely everything, youcannot nice these people to death. It doesn't work.
I have been in the trenches fighting them for my whole adultlife. And it takes strength, backbone, fight and you have to takethem on.
Yes, Barack, I agree with you completely that the best -- we needto unite America and we need to galvanize the American people.
And, Bill, I completely agree with what you just said. This isnot a fight with politicians. And this is certainly not a fight withthe American people.
It is a fight for the American people against those people whoare stopping the change.
GIBSON: All right. Let me turn to something else.
Reversing -- you invoked the name of Al Gore a few moments ago --reversing or slowing global warming is going to take sacrifice.
GIBSON: I'm sort of sorry Chris Dodd isn't here because he'stalked a lot about a carbon tax in this election. Al Gore favors acarbon tax.
None of you have favored a carbon tax. Is it a bad idea, or isit just so politically unpalatable that you guys don't want to proposeit?
RICHARDSON: Can I answer?
You know, I was energy secretary. It's a bad idea. Because,when you have a carbon tax, first of all, it's not a mandate. Whatyou want is a mandate on polluters, on coal companies, on those thatpollute, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a certain target.
Under my plan: 30 percent by the year 2020; 80 percent by theyear 2040. It takes international leadership. The better way to doit is through a cap-and-trade system which is a mandate.
Furthermore, a carbon tax, that's passed on to consumers, that'spassed on to the average person, that's money you take out of theeconomy.
RICHARDSON: So it's a bad idea.
Cap-and-trade is a mandate, but it's also going to takepresidential leadership. It's going to take all of us here, everyAmerican, you know, to think more efficiently about how we transportourself, what vehicles we purchase, appliances in our homes.
It's going to take a transportation policy that doesn't justbuild more highways. We have to have commuter rail, light rail, openspaces. We've got to have land-use policies where we improve people'squality of life.
GIBSON: Senator Obama?
OBAMA: Well, I agree with Bill that I think a cap-and-tradesystem makes more sense. That's why I proposed it: because you canbe very specific in terms of how we're going to reduce the greenhousegases by a particular level.
Now, what you have to do is you have to combine it with a 100percent auction. In other words, every little bit of pollution thatis sent up into the atmosphere, that polluter is getting charged forit.
OBAMA: Not only does that ensure that they don't game thesystem, but you're also generating billions of dollars that can beinvested in solar and wind and biodiesel.
I do disagree with one thing, though, that Bill said, and that isthat on a carbon tax, the cost will be passed on to consumers, andthat won't happen with a cap-and-trade.
Under a cap-and-trade, there will be a cost. Plants are going tohave to retrofit their equipment. And that's going to cost money, andthey will pass it onto consumers.
We have an obligation to use some of the money that we generateto shield low-income and fixed-income individuals from higherelectricity prices.
But we're also going to have to ask the American people to changehow they use energy. Everybody is going to have to change their lightbulbs. Everybody is going to have to insulate their homes. And thatwill be a sacrifice. But it's a sacrifice that we can meet. Over thelong term, it will generate jobs and businesses, and can drive oureconomy for many decades.
CLINTON: Charlie, let me make a connection here that I think isreally important.
CLINTON: I think the economy is slipping toward a recession --the unemployment figures on Friday hitting 5 percent, the $100 abarrel oil that we also hit this week, the fall of the dollar.There's a lot of pressures on middle-class families, and the kind ofcosts that they have to keep up with have all gone up astronomically.
I mean, you know, the energy costs for the typical family in NewHampshire since George Bush has been president have tripled. Andthat's far beyond what the costs of the tax cut that they got fromGeorge Bush.
So, what we've got to do is use energy as an opportunity toactually jump-start economic recovery. We need to quickly move towardenergy efficiency. We should require the utilities to begin to workfor energy efficiency and conservation, costs that will be shared anddecrease the pressure on families.
We need a weatherization and low-income heating emergency programthat is out there now helping families in New Hampshire and elsewhereto cover their costs.
And we need to look at how doing what is right about energy isnot only good for our security and good for the fight against globalwarming, but it will be essential in dealing with the economicchallenges that we face.
GIBSON: Senator Edwards, I will take this question to you.
But you raised the issue of the economy right now. And we have ahousing crisis in this country.
CLINTON: Yes, we do.
GIBSON: We have an energy problem -- in the cost of energy. Andwe now have a jobs problem.
We have, when we are -- and you raised "R word," recession --when we are approaching recession, it is consumers who have spent usout of recession in most cases.
You're all talking about letting some of the Bush tax cuts lapse.And yet...
CLINTON: Yes, but, Charlie, the tax cuts on the wealthiest ofAmericans; not the middle-class tax cuts. One of the problems withGeorge Bush's tax policy has been the way he has tilted it for thewealthy and the well-connected.
GIBSON: If you take a family of two professors, here at SaintAnselm, they're going to be in the $200,000 category that you'retalking about lifting the taxes on.
CLINTON: That may be NYU, Charlie. I don't think it's St.Anselm.
GIBSON: Two public school teachers in New York?
But that is -- you're in a situation where you're taking moneyout of the economy, is what I'm saying.
CLINTON: Look, if we set the cap where I'm saying, at $250,000and above, that's a very small percentage.
And what I want to do is fix the alternative minimum tax, createthese new job opportunities primarily through clean renewable energy,but also get back to where middle class families get the kind of taxrelief that they deserve, which they really haven't been getting underGeorge Bush.
GIBSON: Go ahead.
EDWARDS: Thank you.
What you see happening in America today, if you're president ofthe United States and as you are looking at this from altitude, is yousee a very few Americans getting wealthier and wealthier; you see thebiggest corporations in America's profits through the roof.ExxonMobil just made $40 billion -- record profits.
All of that happening at the same time that we have 47 millionpeople with no health care; 37 million who will wake up in thiscountry tomorrow worried about feeding and clothing their children.Tonight, 200,000 men and women who wore the uniform of the UnitedStates of America and served this country honorably will go to sleepunder bridges and on grates.
EDWARDS: It's time for us to say -- and it's time for thepresident to say -- enough is enough.
This is a battle for the future of our children. This is abattle for the middle class.
Let's take jobs, which we haven't talked about. We've touched ona lot of other things; we haven't talked about jobs. We've had atrade and tax policy that is bleeding American jobs. And all it hasdone is pad the profits of the biggest multinational corporations inAmerica.
You talk about professors here, at this college. Let me say aword...
GIBSON: Well, I shouldn't have done that, apparently.
EDWARDS: Yes, it was a mistake.
But we are -- I saw a projection, just a week or so ago,suggesting that America could lose as many as 20 million to 30 millionmore jobs over the next decade.
Think about that for a minute: 30 million.
And who's the most at-risk group?
EDWARDS: College graduates. This is not just people who areworking in mills and working in factories who have been devastated bythis -- completely devastated. These are middle class families.These are college graduates and their jobs at risk.
We need a different tax policy, a different trade policy wherethe first question is -- and this is what I will ask when I ampresident of the United States -- is this trade proposal, is this taxproposal, is it good for working, middle class Americans? That's thequestion.
GIBSON: Senator Obama?
OBAMA: There is no doubt that the economy has been out ofbalance. It's been out of balance throughout George Bush's tenure.And some of the trends from globalization preceded George Bush.
That's why I have proposed specific tax relief now, immediately,so that we would offset some of the payroll tax, that we wouldimmediately put some additional dollars in the pockets of Americanfamilies, working families typically making $75,000 a year or less, tonot only stimulate the economy, but also to balance out a tax code.
And I would pay for it very specifically, by closing taxloopholes and tax havens. You've got a building in the Cayman Islandsthat supposedly houses 12,000 corporations.
OBAMA: That's either the biggest building or the biggest taxscam on record.
But the larger point is that we have to get back to a notion thatopportunity and bottom-up economic growth is what the president shouldbe fighting for.
And what we've had is a top-down agenda that is skewed toward thewealthiest Americans. It is making worse some of the trends ofglobalization that are already out there.
And one of the benefits of this campaign has been to listen andtalk to the folks all throughout New Hampshire who are tired of it andwant to see something change.
SPRADLING: Just very quickly, just for the governor -- I knowwe're running out of time. And I'd like to get this to you. You'regoing to say what you're going to say on this topic. But just, couldyou please address, as a governor, the small-business owners, in thistax talk, who may fit the category that we're talking about, but whoare also providing the payrolls, proving the health insurance and areworried that if they lose out on this, that they could, too, be hurt?
SPRADLING: That's 75 percent of New Hampshire's economy we'retalking about.
RICHARDSON: Well, also, like Governor Lynch here, I'm the onlyone that's actually run a state economy. I'm the only one that'sbalanced budgets and created jobs.
So, here's my response. You asked about how we improve theeconomy.
One, you got to balance the budget. I mean, this is $9 trilliondebt to China, to commercial banks.
We got to have line-item veto authority for the president.
We've got to get rid of $73 billion in corporate welfare.
The second thing we need to do is, what ever happened to theDemocratic Party? We used to be the party of jobs and economicgrowth. We should be investing in science and innovation and in greenenergy.
Tax incentives -- if a company pays over prevailing wage, givethem a tax incentive.
RICHARDSON: And, lastly, we have not talked about education inthis whole debate. We've got to improve our schools. We've got topay our teachers better. Invest in science and math. Get rid of NoChild Left Behind. We've got to have arts in the schools.
We have to be an America that recognizes we're 29th in the worldin science and math, and countries like China and India are graduatingmany more times engineers than we are. That's competitiveness.
GIBSON: We have just a couple of minutes left. And it's been avery interesting evening, I would say. And I've been fascinated. Ihope people who have watched have been, as well.
There have been an awful lot of debates. I think is debate 681.You guys may have counted. I've lost.
EDWARDS: At least.
GIBSON: Tell me one thing you've said in those debates that youwish you hadn't said. And it's your chance to take...
GIBSON: ... and it's your chance to take it back.
CLINTON: Oh, you're going to start with me?
CLINTON: Well, you know, we've had -- I don't exactly know howmany -- 13, 14. And I've lost count.
CLINTON: You know, I feel like they've been good exchanges amongus. You know, there have been one or two moments that I would havetaken back.
But what's really most important about these debates is that theDemocratic Party stands in such contrast to the Republicans.
You know, the Republicans have a totally different approach towhat we need to be doing. They're not talking about the mortgagecrisis and trying to solve it. They're not talking about what I fearto be a slide into recession.
They're not talking about global warming. They're not talkingabout science and innovation. They're not talking about what reallyis going to face the next president.
So, I think that we've done in our debates a much better job inactually getting out the issues that are going to be on the desk inthe Oval Office when the president walks in.
And, beyond that, I will leave it to the pundits to decide what Imight or might not have said at any one of the debates.
GIBSON: I will let you off on specificity of take-backs...
CLINTON: Thank you.
GIBSON: ... since we're running out of time.
RICHARDSON: Well, I made a lot of them. One that I particularlyremember -- I think it was here in New Hampshire, the first debate. Iwas asked who my favorite Supreme Court justice was. And I said,"dead or alive?"
I said -- I should've stuck to the alive, because I then said"Whizzer" White because I idolized John F. Kennedy, and I figured ifhe appointed "Whizzer" White, this was a great Supreme Court justice.
Well, then I find out that "Whizzer" White was against Roe v.Wade, against civil rights. You know, so that's -- that wasn't --that wasn't a good one.
GIBSON: Senator Edwards, I'll go to you, just with the passingcomment that you haven't talked about Mrs. Clinton's attire recently.
EDWARDS: I was about to say...
EDWARDS: I already figured this out...
OBAMA (?): That was a good (inaudible).
EDWARDS: If you're going to pick the one for me, it was when Imade the horrendous mistake of teasing Hillary about her jacket.
And I want her to know, I think you look terrific tonight.
GIBSON: And Senator Obama?
OBAMA: Well, I -- you know, there have been all kinds of aspectsto my debate performance that I'd love to correct or sharpen.
But, overall, actually, here's an area where I agree withHillary: that there has been a stark contrast, generally, between thefour of us and those who aren't debating with us now but werepreviously.
There is going to be a fundamental difference between theRepublican nominee and the Democratic nominee: ending the politics offear that has so dominated our political debate, making certain thatwe're actually listening to the American people and the struggles andhardships that they're going through.
OBAMA: And I think the opportunity to bring the American peopletogether and to push back those special interests, to actually deliveron meaningful differences in their lives, that's something -- that's aprospect that I think all Democrats should be excited about.
GIBSON: I want to thank all four of you for being here. And Iwant to thank the six Republicans who preceded you.
No matter who people across the country are supporting, whetherit's in this party or the other, we wish all of you well and we thankyou for being here. All the best.
We're going to take a commercial break. When we come back, DianeSawyer, George Stephanopoulos.
Thank you for watching.
SAWYER: Here with George Stephanopoulos. And there we're seeingthe handshakes afterwards, everybody examining the body language.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Everybody playing nice.
SAWYER: That's right. Everybody is playing nice, a short, butfriendly exchange between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton.
Let me ask you, George Stephanopoulos, here we are, the rumble atSt. Anselm is over.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But they weren't playing nice throughout thewhole debate.
SAWYER: No, they were not.
What about the Democrats? What were the moments that mattered?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, here's the one that I think mattered rightnear the top. Hillary Clinton took some shots at Barack Obama earlyon. And remember at the beginning of the debate, I posed thequestion, what is John Edwards going to do tonight? Is he going tofocus on Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? He made his decision. Herose to the defense of Obama, took on Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARDS: Every time he speaks out for change, every time I fightfor change, the forces of status quo are going to attack -- everysingle time. Now, I didn't hear these kind of attacks from SenatorClinton when she was ahead. Now that she's not, we hear them.
CLINTON: Now, wait a minute. I'm going to respond to this,because obviously making change is not about what you believe, it'snot about a speech you make. It is about working hard.
I want to make change, but I've already made change. I willcontinue to make change.
I'm not just running on a promise of change. I'm running on 35years of change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Boy, did he push her buttons there. I don'tthink it was her best moment of the night.
On the other hand, I do think she came back later on in thedebate. And probably her best moment came when WMUR's politicaldirector, Scott Spradling, basically told her, you know, New Hampshirevoters like Barack Obama more than you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Well, that hurts my feelings.
SPRADLING: I'm sorry, Senator. I'm sorry.
CLINTON: But I'll try to go on.
He's very likable. I agree with that. I don't think I'm thatbad.
OBAMA: You're likable enough, Hillary.
CLINTON: Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not a good moment for Barack Obama there. Ithought he looked a little peevish, a little small.
SAWYER: I'm not sure what he meant by that. I expect he'll beaddressing that tomorrow.
Nice smile from Chelsea Clinton...
SAWYER: ... out there in the audience.
But what about your question your raised earlier, which is yousaid that Barack Obama had to show up and not make mistakes on keypolicy issues and on the details of policy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And he avoided that. I don't think he made anybig mistakes tonight, particularly on national security policy.There's no question about that. He showed himself as sober andserious.
But I have to say, Diane -- and we did talk about this earlier aswell -- you look at those candidates tonight, there is so much fatigueon that stage. Look at them when they weren't answering questions,when they were just in repose, and their faces were glum, down. Imean, we see a little bit of it right there.
I think the -- there's Barack Obama. He's looking like, "Wheream I? How much more time do we have on this tonight?"
And I think that was a real factor tonight, the fatigue there.
The exception was John Edwards. I think he showed passion andvitality and energy tonight. We was on message. He had a strategytonight. I think this was one of his best debates.
SAWYER: And you said that he took a run.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's right. His staff took care of him thisafternoon. He took care of himself. He took a break after the eventsand he did take a run this afternoon, and I think that made adifference for him tonight.
SAWYER: Right. Well, as somebody has written, it is the longestleadership selection process in the world. And you could see it onthose faces tonight.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You really could.
SAWYER: When we come back after the break, we're going to checkin with Facebook and see what you've been saying to us on Facebook.
We'll be back.
SAWYER: Time now to check back in with our political pros insidethe spin room to see how the Democratic contenders and their teams arefinessing tonight's headlines.
Starting off, Kate Snow, who's been covering Senator HillaryClinton. Kate, take it.
KATE SNOW, ABC ANCHOR: Well, spinning, finessing, here we go.Senator Clinton's campaign is saying that she had a great night.They're saying that she was tough; she was firm. They think that sheshowed strength and passion up there on that stage.
And they say that Obama looked weak. In fact, they say "Prettytalk won't be enough." And they say that, you know, all of his bigideas aren't going to be enough and that he showed that tonight.
He has not done enough to make change is their spin on this wholeevent. They think that she showed, tonight, some contrasts with him.
And interesting, Diane, they kept sending e-mails throughout thedebate to all of us reporters, sending e-mails about everything shewas mentioning -- Senator Clinton was mentioning, on stage, in termsof things that they think that Senator Barack Obama has beeninconsistent on, some of the items that she mentioned throughout thedebate.
Those e-mails were coming into our inbox.
And one more thing: They think that it was a great line when shesaid that she would be the first woman president and that in itselfwould be a big change.
SAWYER: Sending you e-mails throughout? The precision team atwork there.
OK, David Wright with Senator Barack Obama?
DAVID WRIGHT, ABC CORRESPONDENT: Diane, the Obama campaign isvery pleased with this debate. After the hype of Iowa, he really hadto do two things: One, he had to convince the New Hampshire votersthat he's for real -- that there's substance behind the celebrity.And they feel like he did that, no major gaffes.
Also, he had to defend himself from incoming attacks. No doubt,he was helped by the fact that Edwards was there as a sort of de factotag team.
But they feel that Clinton did not lay a glove on him -- ifanything, that her attacks bounced back on her.
SAWYER: Right. And I should just point out that, with CharlieGibson, at least, he had to be pleased that he got the results of theRedskins game, even...
SAWYER: ... from Senator Obama, even he didn't like the resultsof the Redskins game.
OK, David Muir is up next with Senator Edwards.
DAVID MUIR, ABC ANCHOR: You know, Diane, you talked about thatimmediate access these campaigns had with the reporters covering them.
I got this BlackBerry message almost immediately after thatmoment you and George talked about, when Edwards aligned himself withBarack Obama in reference to Hillary Clinton saying that when agentsof change start talking about change, the status quo shouts back.
And there were bloggers already talking about this.
And so, the Edwards campaign sent out the blog with thisheadline: "RIP, the Clinton era, 9:34 p.m. Eastern Time." That wasthe moment that Edwards aligned himself with Obama.
Edwards knows that his survival depends on Hillary Clinton'sdemise. And that's the story headline that they would like, the dreamheadline that he defeated the Clinton machine in Iowa and did so againtonight, Diane.
SAWYER: OK, moving onto Jake Tapper now, Governor Richardson.
JAKE TAPPER, ABC SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The view fromCamp Richardson is that the governor did draw some very strongdistinctions with the other candidates in terms of being the one toend the war in Iraq most immediately, with foreign policy and nationalsecurity strength.
They said he had the best line of the night and rose above thefray, when, after that unusual moment with Senator Clinton, he said,"I've been in hostage situations that were more civil."
TAPPER: And then of course they feel that he made the casestrongly for his executive experience.
SAWYER: All right, well, thanks to the four of you. I know it'sgoing to keep coming there, that you'll be e-mailing us and of coursebe online for everybody out there to hear more.
We thank you so much. And we're going to turn now to theFacebook command center, co-sponsors of course of tonight's debate.And Bianna Golodryga is there. Now that both debates have concluded,what are you seeing from the audience participating on Facebook?
GOLODRYGA: Well, a lot of people weighing in right now. I wantto start with your question on what people's responses were to thesurprises in the Republican debate. The one thing people were sayingis that Romney, they were surprised at how beaten up he was a lotthroughout the debate.
Another person said, "I was surprised at how much mudslingingthere was going on, stemming from this Romney." And another personsaid, "I'm surprised at how out of touch these politicians are. Theyhave no understanding of poverty."
Lastly, a person said, "I'm surprised there was no more talkabout the environment."
Now let's go to what surprised us.
We're going to start with the Democrats' response, on to thecharge now, what issue do you wish the Democratic candidates spentmore time on. This surprised us because still, just like theRepublicans, the economy was a key issue here -- 44 percent said theDemocrats didn't spend enough time talking about the economy. Healthcare followed that, by 13 percent.
Moving on, could a Democratic president keep America safe?Sixty-six percent of you said yes; 27 percent, no.
And lastly, is tonight's debate giving you a better sense of whoyou'd vote for? Eighty percent said yes; 20 percent said no.
Diane, this is just beginning. And of course people can weigh inon Facebook until the elections in November.
SAWYER: So both Republican and Democrat sides said that theeconomy was what they wanted to hear.
GOLODRYGA: The economy. Surprising, yes.
SAWYER: All right. Thanks, Bianna.
We'll take a break. Closing thoughts when we come back.
SAWYER: Want to turn now to George Stephanopoulos for a closingthought.
STEPHANOPOULOS: My big question coming in is did the debatesmake any difference tonight?
I think on the Republican side, I didn't see anything thatstopped John McCain's momentum. In fact, I think Mitt Romney probablywas hurt tonight.
But I also think in the crossover that John McCain probablyhelped Barack Obama...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... because he spoke to Republicans tonight, notto independents in New Hampshire, and that's a very important votingbloc.
On the Democratic side, it's a clear battle, change vs.experience, Edwards and Obama for change, Hillary Clinton forexperience.
SAWYER: Yes, some 44 percent of the voters are independents.They can vote either way there...
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's right.
SAWYER: ... Democrat or Republican.
Thanks to you, George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you.
SAWYER: And thanks to all of you.
We want to remind you we'll have more on "Good Morning AmericaWeekend." George will have more tomorrow from New Hampshire, and also"ABC News Now" will have the debate again in cased you missed it, anddon't forget ABCNews.com.
Thank you for being with us. Thank you for voting. And we'llsee you tomorrow.