YouTube Debate Live Blog Thread

Update (02:44 | July 24): Michele at ReformedChicksBlabbing has some video clips of questions and the responses from candidates.

Update (00:52 EDT | July 24): For an overview of the overwhelming left-wing skew of the debate questions, check out Matthew Balan's blog post, complete with video clips, here.

I'll be live-blogging the YouTube debate. Fell free to do the same in the comments field.

At least you can do so with a stiff drink in hand. [sigh]

SEE BELOW for closing observations and some links to other live-blogs of the debate.

7:01: That was a lame introduction.

7:02: "What you're about to see is untried."-- Anderson Cooper.

7:03: Looked like Anderson had trouble with the prompter for a second there.

7:03 "smart, thoughtful, heart-felt" as descriptors for the YouTube questions to be featured tonight.

7:03: Using kids as political props? For a Democratic debate? Naaah.

7:04: Five minutes describing all the deficiencies of turning over debate questions to the great unwashed doesn't seem like a way to sell America on this concept.

7:05 Zach Kempf, Provo, Utah: "What's going to make you any more effectual... how are you going to be any different."

7:06: Cooper follows up asking of Dodd "can you be any different" given his 30 years of service in the Senate. FUN FACT: NBC's Conan O'Brien gave Dodd $500 in 2004.

7:07: Cooper turns to Obama, saying critics say he is "inexperienced"

7:08 question for Kucinich from David Fleetwood, Groton, Mass: "We have a very important decision to make comoing up soon... Congressman Kucinich... how would we be better off with you as President" as opposed to Obama or Clinton.

7:09: Cooper lets Clinton respond to Kucinich's swipe about Clinton's Iraq record.

7:10 Cooper lets Obama respond.

7:11 Question for Sen. Clinton, Rob Porter, Irvine, Calif. "Mrs. Clinton, how would you define the word liberal, and would you use this word to describe yourself?"

7:11 Clinton "...I prefer the word progressive..." [yelling at TVs commences at MRC headquarters]

7:12 Cooper to Mike Gravel: "Sen. Gravel, are you a liberal?"

7:13 Cooper lets Obama respond to Gravel saying Obama takes money from lobbyists who bundle campaign contributions for him.

7:13 Saheed Badmus, Brentwood, Missouri: "If you had to pick any Republican" to run with you as a running mate, who would it be?

7:14 Biden: "I would pick Chuck Hagel"

7:15 Edwards: "Actually, I think Chuck Hagel is a good choice."

[NB: Hagel and other liberal Republicans are media favorite on Sunday morning shows]

7:16 Candidate videos, starting with Chris Dodd [man is his video lame, especially with the "white hare" double entendre]

7:17 Will from Boston, Mass. "Is [sic] African-Americans ever going to get reparations for slavery?"


7:19 Kucinich is the first one tonight to cite the Bible to justify left-wing policies... "Yes I am for repairing the breach. Yes I am for reparations."

7:20 Morgan, Atlanta, Ga. asks if race played a role in the Katrina response.

7:22 Cooper to Richardson notes that NOLA's mayor, Louisiana's governor are Democrats and they had a role in the poor Katrina response.

7:23 Jordan Williams, Lawrence, Kansas: "How will you address" critics who say Obama isn't "black enough."

7:23 Obama answers

7:24 clinton answers "I am proud to be running as a woman..."

7:25 Cooper asks Edwards if his wife was right when she said he would be a better advocate on "women's issues" than Hillary Clinton.

7:27 Cooper to Clinton: "Is he a better advocate for women?"

7:28 Mary & Jen, Brooklyn, NY: "Would you allow us to be married, to each other?"

Kucinich: "The answer is yes, and let me tell you why. Because if our Constitution means what it says..."

Cooper: "Sen. Dodd, you supported the Defense of Marriage Act, what's your position?"

Dodd says yes to civil unions, no to marriage.

Richardson says civil unions, anti-discrimination laws, do away with "don't ask, don't tell"

7:31 Rev. Reggie Longcrier, Hickory, NC, Exodus Missionary Outreach Church: "Why is it still acceptable to use religion to deny gay Americans their full and equal rights?"

John Edwards answers.

7:32 Cooper: The Rev. is in the audience tonight.

7:32 Longcrier in audience with mic asks followup.

7:32 "Not like I would have liked to heard it" said Longcrier to if he liked Edwards answer.

This is a total setup. A bit unfair to Edwards. Typical ambush maneuver. Are there other ambush questions in order for tonight? For Clinton? Obama?

7:33 Cooper asks Obama about difference between banning same-sex marriage and banning interracial marriage

7:35 Clinton campaign YouTube video shown leading out to commercial break.

Malkin is live-blogging the debate here.

7:39 Edwards video coming back from commercial.

7:40 question from Darfur: "What action do you commit to to get these children back to a safe Darfur?"

Cooper to Richardson: Would you commit troops?

Cooper follow up to Richardson: You say UN troops, does that mean [include] American troops?

Richardson emphasizes diplomacy.

Cooper to Biden: "What about American troops?"

Biden: "Absolutely. Positively... why Darfur? Because we can... Those kids will be dead by the time diplomacy is over."

7:43 Gravel: "We haven't owned up to our responsibilities to a sense of global governance... [African nations] are flat afraid of us."

Cooper to Clinton: Do you agree with Sen. Biden that American troops should go to Darfur?

Cooper to Clinton: What about NATO? ... Does that mean no ground troops?

7:44 shows photo of first US serviceman to die in Iraq, Cooper shows 12 Citadel grads who died serving in Iraq, acknowledges service of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

<Audience applause>

First question on Iraq, Barry Mitchell, Phila., Pa " do we pull out now? Government's shaky. Bombs daily... Isn't it our responsibility to get these people up on their feet?"

Obama answers first.

7:48 Cooper to Biden: " Sen. Biden, how do we pull out now?"

7:49 Mother of soldier deployed presses Dems from left on the war, saying 2006 elections were a mandate for pulling out of Iraq.

Clinton answers first.

Clinton accuses Pentagon of accusing her of being unpatriotic for asking about plans for a timeline with drawing down troops.

Cooper to Kucinich notes its been seven months since Dems took over Congress but "nothing has changed on Iraq."

Cooper to Dodd: "you've been in power for seven months now, nothing's changed."

Dodd links Iraq to inaction on Darfur.

7:52, Cooper to Richardson: "Are the Democrats playing politics?"

7:53 John Cantees, Huntington, WV to Mike Gravel on his statement about Vietnam War and how he defends it

Gravel "our soldiers died in Vietnam in vain... what did all these people die for..."

7:54; Cooper to Obama: "Sen. Obama, are our soldiers in Iraq dying in vain?"

7:55: Cooper presses Obama: Are the troops dying in vain.

7:55 Cooper asks same question of Edwards, "are the troops dying in vain?"

7:56 Tony Fuller, Wellston, Ohio asks if women should have to register for the draft (sic) when they turn 18.

Dodd answers first.

7:58, Cooper asks Clinton if women should have to register for Selective Service.

7:58 Cooper asks same of Obama.

7:59 Cooper asks same of Edwards, who dodges answering the question, celebrates women serving "courageously and honorably," points to female veteran seated with Elizabeth Edwards

8:00 Cooper asks Gravel, Gravel.

8:00, John McAlperin, Okinawa, Japan to Hillary Clinton: "If you're president of the United States, how do you feel that you will be taken seriously" by Arab states that look down on women.

8:03, Stephen Sorta, Diamond Bar, Calif asks if candidates would meet with Iran, Syrian, North Korea, without any preconditions

Cooper notes Sorta is in the audience.

Obama answers first, cites President Reagan as meeting with Gorbachev to slam Bush's tack on Iran, North Korea, Syria, et al.

Sorta wonders what Clinton will say

Clinton says she won't promise to meet before knowing what intentions are, doesn't want to be a propaganda tool of foreign leaders.

Edwards says he would meet with Chavez or Castro but would make sure work is done in advance to prevent said meeting being a propaganda tool.

8:06, Gary Berry "But what date after Jan 21, 2009 will all US troops be out of Iraq, and how many families members do you have serving in Iraq?"

Dodd, Richardson, Biden, Clinton, Kucinich answer.

Another good live-blog by Allahpundit is available at

8:12, Mike Gravel candidate video leads out to commercial, which apparently was so long they had to clip it into soundbites that make no sense strung together.

8:15 Bill Richardson video leads back in from commercial

8:16 Sheena Currell, Blythewood, SC: "Who is your favorite teacher and why?"

Gravel, Obama, Biden, Edward answer

8:18 Randy McGirr, Trona, Calif with a music video about what candidates will do about No Child Left Behind (NCLB) "scrap entirely or revise?"

Cooper asks Richardson if he would "scrap" or "revise?"

8:20 Cooper notes overwhelming approval in Congress of NCLB when it passed.

Biden notes he voted for it but out of respect for Ted Kennedy.

8:20, Mike Green, Lexington, SC: Would you send your kids to public school or private school

Cooper notes Clinton, Obama, Edwards sent kids to private school. "is that correct"? Edwards and Clinton say no.

Clinton says press would never leave Chelsea alone in DC public schools

Obama says "ordinary parents can't work the system" to get kids in private school.

Biden says kids were in private school, says as a practicing Catholic it was important to him.

Kucinich says his child Jackie (a reporter for went to public school

Gravel answers.

Dodd answers.

8:25, Anne Lair, Pennsylvania, works for planned parenthood asks if candidates have given their children age appropriate sex ed. [Not holding my breath for a question about the candidates and if they favor any restrictions on abortion]

Edwards answered first.

Cooper to Obama, brings up Romney's charge, asks if Romney was right.

8:26, Jackie Broyles and Dunlap, Murfreesboro, Tenn. about Al Gore possibly running again.

8:26 Greg and Nathan Hamel,Minneapolis, Minn. with global warming "snowman" question.

Kucinich answers. Cooper asks if he thinks other candidates are not as "green" as he is on the environment.

8:28 Stephanie Mackley, San Fran, "How is the US going to decrease energy consumption in the first place?"

Gravel answers first. Then Dodd. Dodd calls for a tax. First tax called for tonight, a carbon tax.

Cooper says to Dodd the question was about "personal sacrifice"

Cooper: How many took a private jet to get here tonight? Wide screenshot shows only 3 or 4 holding up their hands.

8:31 Shawn Jackson, Ann Arbor, Mich. asks about nuclear power "I believe it's safer, cleaner... quicker avenue to energy independence." Asks what they believe.

Edwards says he doesn't favor nuclear power.

Obama. "we should explore nuclear power" but "there are no magic bullets"

8:33, Cooper to Clinton: "Why is Sen. Edwards wrong on nuclear power?"

8:34 Melissa Compagnucci, san luis obispo, calif, "why can't I go to any state and vote the same way..." asks about standardizing ballot formats.

Richardson answers first.

8:36, Biden video leads out to commercial break.

8:40 lead in from commercial with Kucinich ad that sounds like a Head-On commercial. Text peace. 73223. Text Peace. 73223. Text Peace.

8:40 Cecilia Smith and Ashanti Wilkins on minimum wage and if candidates would be willing to work for it?

8:42 Nancy McDonald, Wilmington, Del. asks "what's up with that" about the ceiling on taxing social security being $90,000.

8:44 Fulano Del Tal, San Juan, PR with another Social Security question "There are two solutions... raise taxes or cut benefits. Which would you choose and how would you convince the public to support them?"

8:45 Remy Munasifi, McLean, Va. singing video about heavy taxation. [Remy's Web site accessible here.]

8:46 Marcus Benson asks if taxes will rise like "they usually do" if a Democrat is elected.

8:47 Mark and Joel Strauss, Davenport, Ia. on fighting Alzheimers.Charity Woods, SC about diabetes prevention. "How do each of you plan on addressing chronic disease... in your health plans"; Kimn Friedrich, Mastic, NY, a cancer patient, "what would you as president do to make low cost" medicine available. Mike Sharley of Morgantown, WV with a music video and including disabled in health plans.

8:54 Lucia Brawley asks about if health plans cover "undocumented workers," the first mention of illegal immigration for the night.

Cooper asks Dodd if his plan would cover "undocumented workers"

Cooper asks same of Richardson.

Richardson: "It should cover everybody."

8:55 Cris Nolan, Mundelein, Ill. about same two families running the country if clinton wins and is reelected in 2012, making two families in charge of the country for 28 years in a row.

8:58 Zennie Abraham, Oakland, Calif. "What do those words mean toyou" referring to Liberty and In God We Trust.

8:59 Stephen Marsh, Thousand Oaks, Calif. "I'm worried about the amount of time given to evangelical concerns..." questioner worries about dems paying lip service to evangelicals.

9:01 Jered Townsend, Clip, Mich. "Tell me your position on gun control..."

Cooper: Gov. Richardson, you have one of the highest NRA ratings.

9:03 Biden talks smack aboutTownsend and assails his mental stability.

[9:03 YouTube video by Obama Campaign.]

9:05, Jason Koop, Colorado Springs, Colo. to all the candidates "I'd like for each of you to look to the candidate to your left and tell the audience one thing you like and one thing you dislike about him or her"

Gravel, Dodd, Edwards, Clinton, Obama, Richardson, Biden, Kucinich answer in turn.

Biden says best thing he likes about Kucinich is his wife.

Cooper makes joke about not being able to find anyone to the left of Kucinich.

9:08 debate ends.


Closing observations:

  • There were no questions on stem cells, abortion, the Supreme Court/judicial appointments, or illegal immigration (aside from the health care coverage question). Nothing on border enforcement or the global war on terrorism.
  • Both "gotcha" questions featuring the questioners live in the auditorium for follow up questions were from the far left and directed mainly at Edwards and Obama. No such questions for Hillary Clinton.
  • Cooper did press candidates on some questions where they fudged the answers, but on others (women being compelled to register for selective service), he did not.
  • No question was raised about Hillary Clinton's strong defense of the war in Iraq in 2003.
  • No questions were posed about the hypocrisy or incongruence of urging troop deployment to Darfur in light of the anti-war stance in Iraq.
  • No mention was made of radical Islamists being at the heart of genocide in Darfur, which is largely directed at the Christian minority.
  • No questions were rendered about the threat of radical Islam

Hawkins and Althouse also blogged the debate here and here. (update added 23:08 EDT)




Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.