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Democratic Presidential Debate Winners and Losers

Aired July 23, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Thanks very much for watching.
A quick reminder: If you missed any of the debate or simply want to watch your video one more time, we will be replaying it from beginning to end at the top of the next hour, so one hour from now.

Before we do, we have got the best political team on television here to recap tonight's history-making experiment, for voters and candidate alike.

There was a lot to talk about tonight. Beyond the format, this debate matters because 46 percent of South Carolina Democrats tell us they still could change their choice between now and the primary. In other words, many are still shopping.

We will examine who, if any, of the candidates helped themselves close the deal tonight.

Also tonight, a quick thumbnail sketch of the -- the evening from CNN's Candy Crowley.

Let's take a look.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No open warfare, but the two leading Democratic contenders circled each other time and again.

Obama on Clinton's call for a Pentagon plan for withdrawal from Iraq:

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The time for us to ask how we were going to get out of Iraq was before we went in.


OBAMA: And that is something that too many of us failed to do.

CROWLEY: Clinton after Obama said he would meet with the leaders of countries like Cuba and Iran in the first year of his presidency:

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... because I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you know what the intentions are. I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes. CROWLEY: It was a debate that covered the waterfront, with questions from a mother with a son headed for a second tour of Iraq, aid workers in a refugee camp near Darfur, and a same-sex couple looking to get married.

Hoping for a little traction out of his third-place position, John Edwards repeatedly returned to populist themes.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Big insurance companies, big drug companies, big oil companies, they are not going to negotiate. They are not going to give away their power. The only way that they are going to give away their power is if we take it away from them.

CROWLEY: Gender, race, taxes, education, even a melting snowman asking about global warming -- the debate was often humorous, and, more often, passionate.

MIKE GRAVEL (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's only one thing worse than a soldier dying in vain; it's more soldiers dying in vain.

EDWARDS: Here's my question. While the Iraqi parliament is on vacation, is George Bush going to be on vacation in Crawford, Texas?


COOPER: Candy, who won?

CROWLEY: You know, I really think...

COOPER: Candy? Let's go to this camera.

CROWLEY: I really think the stars of the...


CROWLEY: I really think the stars of this show at this point were the questioners. I really think they did bring out something a little different in these candidates. I thought the variety of the questions gave us new looks at not just the top tier, but the lower tier, as well. So, you have got to hand it to the questioners at this point, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, we have three of the questioners with us.

And YouTube got nearly 3,000 video clips. Thirty-nine of them actually made it into the debate. Believe it or not, that's actually a bunch of them.

Joining us now, the producers of three of them, Melissa, who asked about election reform, Remy, who was the singing taxpayer, and Stephen, who asked whether the candidates would meet with some of the country's top adversaries around the world.

Stephen, were you surprised at all by the response, that they said they actually would? Obama said he would. STEPHEN SIXTA, YOUTUBE QUESTIONER: I was pleased, certainly, with Barack Obama's response, less pleased with Hillary's.

But I think she's coming perhaps from a slightly different place than Obama, a little more old school, a traditional way of approaching things, but a dramatic change from what we have currently going on.

COOPER: I want to play for our viewers who didn't see it your -- your question.


SIXTA: would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

OBAMA: It is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them. we have been talking about Iraq. One of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they're going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses.

CLINTON: I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes. I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy. And I will purse very vigorous diplomacy. And I will use a lot of high-level presidential envoys.


COOPER: So, you think -- you were disappointed in her answer?

SIXTA: I wouldn't say disappointed. I didn't agree with her answer as much as I agreed with Obama's answer.

COOPER: Remy, you had one of the more creative questions that got in tonight. Let's play that for our viewers.


REMY MUNASIFI, YOUTUBE QUESTIONER: This here is a two-part question.

(singing): Pay taxes on my clothes and food, pay taxes on my place, pay taxes on my moisturizer, I pay taxes on my weights. I pay taxes on my land. Every year, y'all make me pay. I pay tax on this guitar so I can sing for you today.

My taxes put some kids in college I can't afford to send myself. Now, tell me, if you were elected president, what would you do to help?

Also, I got a parking ticket last week. Could one of y'all pardon me? (LAUGHTER)


SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My dad used to have an expression -- don't tell me what you value; show me your budget.

And the budget we have here is we all dance around it. We need more revenue to be able to pay for the things the governor and everybody else talks about.

And there's only one way to do it. You either raise taxes or take tax cuts away from people who don't need them. I would take them away from people who don't need them.



COOPER: What did you think of senator Biden's response?

MUNASIFI: Well, I certainly appreciated that he responded to the question, and didn't avoid it in any sort of way. I wouldn't stop at saying I liked his response. I mean, as -- I own my own business, and all my clients are rich people. So, I happen to like them.


COOPER: What -- what did you want to hear? What kind of -- what -- I mean, your question was about taxes. You're saying you're overtaxed. You're paying for education.

MUNASIFI: I kind of liked -- it wasn't a direct response to my question, per se, but Mike Gravel had mentioned a fair tax plan.

And I, myself, I do my taxes on my own. I don't have, you know, some high-priced accountant. And I also don't cheat on them. So, you know, I report earnings from eBay auctions. So, you know, I don't have a way of avoiding paying any sort of taxes. I think that would be the most fair way is somehow just spread out the tax burden on everybody. Don't let anybody get out of it, and don't -- don't sort of just get at the rich people.

COOPER: Melissa, you asked -- you actually submitted a bunch of questions to YouTube. Became very familiar looking at you, as I looked at all these tapes.


COOPER: The one that we selected was about voting reform.

Let's -- let's play it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MELISSA COMPAGNUCCI, YOUTUBE QUESTIONER: In recent years, there's been so much controversy regarding dangling chads and no paper trail with electronic voting systems.

I know it costs money to amend things like that, but, if I can go to any state and get the same triple grande, non-fat, no foam vanilla latte from Starbucks, why I can't I go to any state and vote the same way?

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D-NM), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to have same-day registration. We need to have an effort to get the Republican Party to stop suppressing minority voters. And, lastly, a verifiable paper trail with optical scanners is going to improve turnout, democracy, and it's going to get a lot of young voters in the polls.


COOPER: What did you think of Governor Richardson's response?

COMPAGNUCCI: Well, I really appreciated him responding so honestly.

He mentioned a couple things I hadn't thought of, optical scanners. I never thought of that. I -- I kind of wanted to hear something more along the lines of maybe extending the voting period to a couple of days, because not all of us, if you work hourly in retail, can get out to vote on one specific day.

COOPER: Overall, just very quickly, how do you rate this debate? I mean, were you pleased? Were you...

SIXTA: It -- it seemed very entertaining here in the hall. This is obviously the first debate I have ever seen from the location. I have watched a lot on TV.

But, with the videos and with the videos you produced, seemed much more entertaining. Now, was it informative? I certainly think it was as informative as any other of the debates that I have seen.

COOPER: Do you guys agree with that?


MUNASIFI: One hundred percent.

I think it's going to be difficult to go back to the more traditional type of debate after seeing something like this.

COOPER: We appreciate you guys participating.

Are you going to submit questions for the Republican candidates?

COMPAGNUCCI: Of course we are.


COOPER: All right.


COOPER: Can you come up with another song?


MUNASIFI: I don't know. I'm sure I could.

COOPER: All right. Well, thank you all for -- for participating.


COOPER: Those 2,900 -- or those 2,989 questions posted on YouTube, it's certainly a lot. It's really just a drop in the bucket for the site. Here's the "Raw Data."

YouTube is watched by hundreds of millions of people every day. Also, in one day, hundreds of thousands of new videos are uploaded. "TIME" magazine named it the best invention for 2006. It is the fourth most trafficked destination on the Internet. Number one, of course, is Yahoo!.

Joining me now, CNN national correspondent John King, also David Gergen, former adviser to Democratic and Republican presidents, Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Donna Brazile, and conservative analyst Amy Holmes.

Good to see you all.

David, can debates go back after this? Can debates not have some sort of user-generated context?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: It's a darn good question, Anderson. The clear winner tonight was this format, because the questions were fresh. And they -- they seemed authentic. And they brought out an empathic quality from the candidates. The people responded both from their heads and their hearts.

And I think it made a -- a -- just a more interesting, lively session. So, I -- I would think, as you told Wolf Blitzer about an hour ago on CNN, the interactive quality of this is likely to become a staple of many debates in the future. They may lose their freshness or novelty after a while, but tonight certainly was -- it was a -- a much more appealing and, in many ways, gripping and informative debate.

COOPER: Donna, Iraq was certainly a major issue during tonight's debate. I want to play some of the exchanges we heard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITCH, YOUTUBE QUESTIONER: How do we pull out now? And isn't it our responsibility to get these people up on their feet? Do you leave a newborn baby to take care of himself?

COOPER: Senator Obama, how do we pull out now?

OBAMA: At this point, I think we can be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in. But we have to send a clear message to the Iraqi government, as well as to the surrounding neighbors, that there is no military solution to the problems that we face in Iraq.

Begin a phased withdrawal; have our combat troops out by March 31st of next year.

BIDEN: The truth of the matter is: If we started today, it would take one year, one year to get 160,000 troops physically out of Iraq, logistically.

That's number one.

Number two, you cannot pull out of Iraq without the follow-on that's been projected here, unless you have a political solution. I'm the only one that's offered a political solution. And it literally means separate the parties; give them jurisdiction in their own areas; have a decentralized government, a federal system.

CLINTON: And it's time for the Republicans to join us in standing up to the president to bring our troops home.


COOPER: Donna, is there really much of a distinction between the front-runners on this issue?


Look, I thought Senator Clinton had a great answer, when she said that we must withdraw our troops safely, carefully, and in an orderly fashion. So, I thought Senator Clinton not only gave a great answer to that question, but, overall, her -- her debate performance was spectacular.

She was in command of the facts. She understood the issues, and I will tell you, I was worried a little bit about John Edwards. Could he get back in there? But he seemed to be able to talk about, you know, what he's done to champion the causes for ordinary people. And Senator Obama, I also thought, did himself a great deal of good tonight as well.

COOPER: I want to play, Amy Holmes, another clip. This one went to Clinton and Obama about race and gender.


QUESTION: This question is meant for Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. Whenever I read an editorial about one of you, the author never fails to mention the issue of race or gender, respectively. Either one is not authentically black enough, or the other is not satisfactorily feminine.

How will you address these critics and their charges if one or both of you should end up on the Democratic ticket in '08?

COOPER: Senator Obama, how do you address those who say you're not authentically black enough?


OBAMA: Well...

COOPER: Not my question; Jordan's question.

OBAMA: You know, when I'm catching a cab in Manhattan in the past, I think I have given my credentials.



OBAMA: But let me go to the broader issue here. And that is that race permeates our society. It is still a critical problem.

But I do believe in the core decency of the American people, and I think they want to get beyond some of our racial divisions.

COOPER: Senator Clinton, you have a minute as well since this question is to you.

CLINTON: Well, I couldn't run as anything other than a woman.


CLINTON: I am proud to be running as a woman. And I'm excited that I may...


CLINTON: ... you know, may be able, finally, to break that hardest of all glass ceilings.

But, obviously, I'm not running because I'm a woman. I'm running because I think I'm the most qualified and experienced person to hit the ground running in January 2009.


COOPER: Amy, they both did a very clever, a very adept job of turning the question. How important will race and gender be in the Democratic primary race?

AMY HOLMES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Oh, I think it's very important. And I think both candidates knocked it out of the park.

I mean, as someone who can speak on both of those issues, I thought that those were high moment, especially when Barack Obama, he referenced the fact that he believes in the core decency of the American people. I think that holds him in good stead in the Democratic primary, but even more importantly, in the general election, where, if were to be the Democratic nominee, he would be campaigning for all of America, not just black America.

And, also, on the side of Hillary Clinton, she's softened her rhetoric since 1992, when we had the year of the woman; I am woman; hear me roar; as if she was leading a feminist charge here in Washington. And now she's asking -- her -- to certainly acknowledge it, but to see all of her experience and her credentials.

So, for me, as a conservative, I was very happy to hear this language and hear this rhetoric.

COOPER: John King, how concerned were some of these candidates coming into this debate? How do you think they -- they feel about how they did?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's quite interesting, Anderson, the question, because, here in the spin room, all of the candidates who have come through here and all of their advisers are saying they love this format. They hope it is repeated in the future down the road.

I can tell you, if we asked that question 12 hours ago, most of them were saying that publicly. And, privately, they were worried, because the last thing a politician wants is anything unpredictable. But what you saw tonight, I think, is, whether you -- whichever candidate you might like or dislike in this Democratic field, it's largely an experienced field.

They have been through difficult settings before. They have been through terrible town halls before. They have dealt with off-the-wall questions. And, so, after the debate, they much more were in love with this format, if you will. Publicly, they said so beforehand, but they were worried about the unpredictability. But they all liked it quite a bit.

COOPER: Coming up, we will have more with our panel. We will also look at some of the -- the more exciting moments of tonight's debate, also a fact-check on what the candidates say. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Plus, see what a group of viewers thought of their answers moment by moment. It's called dial testing. It can be full of surprises -- the raw reaction and more live from the Citadel coming up on 360.

First, a YouTube video produced by the Clinton campaign.





QUESTION: If you had to pick any Republican member of Congress or Republican governor to be your running mate, who would it be?

BIDEN: At the risk of hurting his reputation -- and it will hurt him -- but I would pick Chuck Hagel, and I would consider asking Dick Lugar to be secretary of state.


COOPER: Back with our roundtable, CNN's John King, former presidential adviser David Gergen, conservative analyst Amy Holmes, and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.

David, do you think the -- the format kept the candidates a little more honest, forcing them to answer the questions that were actually asked, or do you think they pretty much evaded asking -- answering directly?

GERGEN: Well, you know, I felt, Anderson, because the questions were so unpredictable, that, in some ways, they were more on their toes. They were faster. There was a -- a periodic wit.

You know, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, they all got off very good lines. Joe Biden was fast on his feet. So, I -- that's what I thought made it more interesting.

The questions were also unpredictable for the audience. You know, usually, in a -- in a press conference -- you and I have both been through this -- a candidate or a president can generally predict 80 percent to 90 percent of the questions, and they tend to get scripted towards those questions.

Here, you couldn't -- you couldn't script your candidate in advance very well. And, therefore, I think they were relying more on their own instincts. And it made it more interesting.

COOPER: Let's take a look at another one of the exchanges.


QUESTION: My name is Rob Porter, and I'm from Irvine, California.

I have a question for Hillary Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton, how would you define the word "liberal?" And would you use this word to describe yourself?

Thank you.


CLINTON: I prefer the word "progressive," which has a real American meaning, going back to the progressive era at the beginning of the 20th century. I consider myself a modern progressive.

COOPER: Senator Gravel, are you a liberal?

GRAVEL: I wouldn't use either word (OFF-MIKE) better than that. We have had Zach (ph) ask about change. You're not going to see any change when these people get elected. We were asked about that we're united. We're not united. I'm not united on many of their views.

And I want to take on Barack Obama for a minute, who said he doesn't take money from lobbyists. Well, he has 134 bundlers. Now, what does he think that is?

COOPER: Senator Obama, I'm going to have to let you respond.

OBAMA: Absolutely.

Well, the fact is I don't take PAC money and I don't take lobbyists' money.

And the bundlers, the reason you know who is raising money for me, Mike, is because I have pushed through a law this past session to disclose that.


COOPER: Donna, how toxic has that word "liberal" become? I mean, none of them would say that they were liberal.

BRAZILE: Extremely toxic, for all of the -- the right reasons. The Republicans have redefined liberalism as somewhat out of the mainstream, a big spender, big government.

So, I think the fact that Senator Clinton was able to answer it in a way that brought about what Democrats care about -- we care about all Americans. We care about the least of these. We also care about the safety and security of our country. So, I thought she gave a great answer in saying that she's a progressive.

COOPER: A lot of the questions we got tonight were about same- sex marriage and equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans. Let's look at one of the questions.


QUESTION: If you were elected president of the United States, would you allow us to be married to each other?



COOPER: Congressman Kucinich? KUCINICH: Mary and Jen, the answer to your question is yes. And let me tell you why.


KUCINICH: Because -- because, if our Constitution really means what it says, that all are created equal, if it really means what it says, that there should be equality of opportunity before the law, then our brothers and sisters who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered should have the same rights accorded to them as anyone else.

SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D-CT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

But my state of Connecticut, the state of New Hampshire, have endorsed civil unions. I strongly support that. But I don't go so far as marriage.

RICHARDSON: I would level with you. I would do what is achievable.

What I think is achievable is full civil unions with full marriage rights.


COOPER: Amy, is this going to be used as a wedge issue again in this presidential election by Republicans?

HOLMES: I -- I think it certainly will be.

I -- it will also be used as a wedge issue among Democrats in trying to accuse Republicans of being bigots when they hold a view that is, you know, pretty properly held by Americans, which is tolerance for gay couples, but, you know, some discomfort with that idea that marriage, as we know it, you know, in church before a priest, is something other than between a man and a woman.

I thought that John Edwards' answer was surprisingly non- political and pretty heartfelt, when he said that he personally has trouble with this issue. It doesn't help him in a Democratic primary. It may a little bit in a general election. But, obviously, the Republican candidate is more likely to be a little bit to the right of that. But I thought the way that the video was presented was great. And it was interesting to hear what the candidates had to say.

COOPER: John King, you have seen a lot of these debates over the years. What surprised you most about tonight? Anything?

KING: I think what surprised me most about tonight -- maybe not a surprise, but what we saw tactically tonight was -- every candidate comes into a debate, you try to accentuate -- accentuate your strengths and protect yourself on a weakness.

And you saw, from Hillary Clinton, from above Barack Obama, and the Senators Dodd and Biden and Governor Richardson from below Barack Obama, if you will, in the poll, all trying to raise his experience as an issue. That's believed to be his -- his weakness. If you're the front-runner, Senator Clinton, you want to keep Barack Obama below you.

And, if you're the other people trying to get into a confrontation to be viewed as the alternative to Hillary Clinton, you need to take Barack Obama down. So, I thought, on the foreign policy question, Hillary Clinton hit him hard on that. Some of his rivals tried to hit him hard on that.

We have been at this a while now, and the other campaigns, especially those who have seen the Clinton-Obama dynamic stay consistently the same in the polls, the ones down below that, three, four, and five, are trying to shake this race up and doing anything they can do it.

COOPER: Guys, stick around. We're going to have more from you in a moment and more from -- from the debate.

A quick programming note: You can catch the Republican version of the CNN/YouTube debate from Florida on the 17th of September. And you can start submitting your questions on YouTube already.

At the top of the next hour, 12:00 midnight East Coast time, we will replay the Democratic debate tonight in its entirety. Maybe you missed a chunk of it or so. Perhaps you just want to feel the two hours younger. Either way, we have got you covered. You can watch that at the top of the hour.

Tomorrow, a "Keeping Them Honest" story you will not want to miss on 360. CNN's Kathleen Koch reports on a jail in Mississippi under fire for allegations of beatings, torture, and now murder.

Take a look.


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The county autopsy found that Lee Smith died of natural causes, a -- quote -- "massive recent pulmonary embolism," a blood clot in the lung. But the young man had never before had health problems. Then, as if in confirmation of their suspicions, Smith's grandmother had a disturbing dream.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said: "Momma, I was murdered. They killed me."

And it just ran chills all through my -- my body. I just woke up instantly.


COOPER: That is just the tip of the iceberg. What happened in Mississippi, we will bring you the special 360 investigation tomorrow night. Up next tonight: more of the debate, more feedback from our panel after the break, but, first, a YouTube video produced by the Obama campaign.


OBAMA: We want an end to this war. And we want diplomacy and peace. Not only can we save the environment; we can create jobs and opportunity.

We're tired of fear. We're tired of division. We want something new. We want to turn the page.


OBAMA: The world as it is, is not the world as it has to be.




QUESTION: This question is to Senator Hillary Clinton.

The Arab states, Muslim nations, believe as -- women as being second-class citizens. If you're president of the United States, how do you feel that you would even be taken seriously by these states in any kind of talks, negotiations, or any other diplomatic relations? I feel that is a legitimate question.

CLINTON: Thank you, John, and thank you for your service to our country.

You know, when I was first lady, I was privileged to represent our country in 82 countries. I have met with many officials in Arabic and Muslim country. I've met with kings and presidents and prime ministers and sheikhs and tribal leaders and certainly in the last years during my time in the Senate, I have had many high-level meetings with presidents and prime ministers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Pakistan and many other countries. I believe that there isn't much doubt in anyone's mind that I can be taken seriously. I believe that ...


COOPER: More from earlier tonight, from tonight's debate. More now from our round table, CNN's John King, former presidential adviser David Gergen, conservative analyst Amy Holmes and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.

Donna, at this point in the campaign how important are national polls? How important is the national race? Is it simply all about Iowa and New Hampshire and to a lesser extent South Carolina?

BRAZILE: Well, the national polls are important. Clearly they help you to raise money and the whole name recognition but it's those statewide polls in those early states that really matter and that's why the candidates tonight are probably sending e-mail messages to their supporters in those early states and tomorrow they will be hitting the ground running once again.

COOPER: And John King, looking at the polls in Iowa, John Edwards feels confident of where he is, but it is certainly a long road to actually, you know, caucuses in Iowa?

KING: It is a long road and while some polls have shown Senator Edwards ahead, other polls have showed Senator Clinton moving up there as well and Senator Obama doing well.

Look, John Edwards, if you're behind Hillary Clinton you need to beat her in one of the early state of the you need to pick Iowa or Nevada or New Hampshire and try to put quite a few resources in there to try to take her out. And that's one of the reasons you always watch the front-runner in the debates and if you watched Senator Clinton tonight, you saw her experience.

Whether you like her or don't like her as a candidate, she's been through a lot of elections, not only her own elections to the Senate but Bill Clinton's elections for president and more importantly, I think, in my view, Bill Clinton's very rough and tumble elections for governor, he lost once back in Arkansas, you learn a lot from experience. Experience matters in politics. Will it be enough to get her the nomination? We don't know but it certainly does help her in a debate setting like this and you can see, Anderson, the other candidate getting frustrated that they are having time chipping into her lead whether the issue be the national polls or most of the state polls which show her to be ahead.

COOPER: Dave, we have another question about the war asking about what date U.S. troops will leave Iraq? Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So those three flags over my shoulder, he they covered the coffins of my grandfather, my father and my oldest son. Some day mine will join them. I do not want to see my youngest sons join them.

I have two questions. By what date after January 21st, 2009 will all U.S. troops be out of Iraq, and how many families members do you have serving in uniform?

COOPER: Senator Dodd.

DODD: Well, I've advocated, again, that we have our troops out by April of next year. I believe that the time frame is open to do that.

RICHARDSON: I've been very clear. Six months, but no residual forces.

BIDEN: There's not a single military man in this audience who will tell this senator that he can get those troops out in six month if the order goes today.

Let's start telling the truth.

CLINTON: The best estimate is that we can probably move a brigade a month if we really accelerate it, it maybe a brigade and a half or two a month. That's a lot of months. My point is they are not even planning for that in the Pentagon.

KUCINICH: The underlying assumption here is that we're going to be in Iraq until the next president takes office and I reject that totally. People can send a message to congress right now and this is a convention of this appearance. They can text "peace" and text 73223, text "peace," send a message to Congress right now. You want out. I introduced the plan four years ago, Anderson, that it was a full plan to remove our troops ...


KUCINICH: I'm the only one on this stage. Excuse me, who not only voted against the war but voted against funding the war.


COOPER: David, you know, a couple months ago everyone was talking about how Senator Clinton was vulnerable on the question of Iraq. Has she been able to overcome whatever vulnerability existed?

GERGEN: Well, so far she has, Anderson. This is one issue about whether you leave a residual group of troops there or not, as many Republicans do, as the Baker/Hamilton report does. Baker/Hamilton envisions leaving anywhere - maybe 100,000 troops maybe and on this issue Democrats are divided. Hillary Clinton is much more towards the Baker/Hamilton report, but I must tell you that the overall impact of tonight's debate was there was no clear winner, and even though the rest of the candidates were better, the fact that Hillary Clinton continues to deliver a superior performance I think is really beginning to set in now an making it much tougher to beat her.

She is chipping away at the stereotype of being cold and strident. In these debates she's gradually becoming warm and more gracious, and I must tell you I think these debates are helping her a whole lot.

COOPER: Interesting. Amy, I want to play something that former Senator John Edwards said on health care. Let's listen.


EDWARDS: The only way to provide universal coverage is to mandate that everyone be covered, but I want to say, I came out with a universal plan several months ago, a couple months later, Senator Obama came out with a plan. He's made a very serious proposal. I'm not casting aspersions on his plan. I think it's a very serious proposal. It just doesn't cover anybody. The only way to cover everybody is mandate it. When are we going to stand up and do something about it? We've talked about it too long. We've got to stand up to the insurance companies and the drug companies that Barack just spoke about. It is the only way we're ever going to bring about change.

We should be outraged by these stories.


COOPER: Amy, what's happened to Senator Edwards in South Carolina? Back in 2004 he won the South Carolina primary by 15 points over John Kerry. He's now trailing badly, way far in the back in third place?

HOLMES: Well, what happened to Edwards was Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I think that's what happened and tonight finally you did see John Edwards firing up and going back to who won this debate I would say that the anti-war left of this party won this debate and as a conservative listening to the tax question neither Biden nor Kucinich would say they would lower taxes for middle class taxpayers. They said tax the rich and wouldn't talks about middle class taxpayers. John Edwards, you might start see get on that bandwagon but I also think Kucinich is out-populisting him right now.

But again, John Edwards saw more energy tonight than he has in previous debates. Maybe that will help him on the margins.

COOPER: Coming up next we'll have more on tonight's debate here at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, we're keeping the candidates honest. Our raw politics guru Tom Foreman paid close attention to their answers to your questions. He'll join us with a fact check. First another YouTube video produced by the Edwards campaign.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm Dunlap (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we're from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This here's question is for all you candidates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mainstream media seems interested in Al Gore these days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he losing weight, what's it say in his book is he still worried about (inaudible)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They interpret all these signs he may or may not run. They really want to know if Al Gore is going to run again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we want to know is, does that hurt y'all's feelings?

COOPER: Anybody have their feelings hurt here?


COOPER: You're all right about that?

BIDEN: I think people in Tennessee just had their feelings hurt.


COOPER: Certainly got a lot of laughter tonight. There are actually a lot of laughs in the hall tonight here at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. The first CNN-YouTube presidential debate is over, and as we've been showing you tonight the Democratic candidates had a lot to say on the record tonight, but were they accurate? That's the question we wanted to figure out and we're keeping them honest. CNN's Tom Foreman joins us with a fact check. Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, very much in the spirit of "Raw Politics" we kept looking at the facts as they talked and so often is the case in politics they didn't say anything that was exactly wrong but they left out things that would have made it perhaps more understandable to people. Let's start with Barack Obama. He took a lot of credit for campaign finance reform. Listen to this.


OBAMA: The fact is I don't take PAC money and I don't take lobbyist money and the bundlers, the reason you know who is raising money for me, Mike, is because I helped push through a law this past session to disclose that.


FOREMAN: Helped push through a law. That's true and it's not true. Yes, the House approved a version of a law like this. Yes, the Senate approved a version, but in conference in the committee in the middle where they have to reconcile the two and make them work it has stalled so in the sense that most of us understand a law to be pushed through, it has not reached that point despite what he says.

Let's look at another point here. Governor Bill Richardson says America must care about Africa and other poor nations. Listen to him.


RICHARDSON: The answer here is caring about Africa. The answer here is not just thinking of our strategic interests as a country as oil and Europe and the Middle East. It should be Africa, Asia and Latin America doing something about poverty, about AIDS, about refugees, about those that have within left behind. That's how we restore American leadership in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP) FOREMAN: Aid to Africa under President Bush has quadrupled. In the last six years and in 2003 the State of the Union address he pledged $15 billion to fight AIDS, much of that in Africa. Again, the impression you'd have from Mr. Richardson's comment nothing is being done when in fact quite a bit has been done and Senator Clinton, she's got a lot of praise tonight and the she portrayed herself very much as a uniter. Listen to her.


CLINTON: And during the time that I've been privileged to serve as first lady and now as senator I've worked to bring people together to find common ground where we can and then to stand our ground where we can't.


FOREMAN: Now she may indeed have worked to bring people together but look at this. In a recent poll she gets very high positive ratings, 39 percent, but her negative rating is even higher, 42 percent, the highest of all these candidates, so she may be working to be a uniter, for many people in this country she's still very clearly a divider. Anderson?

COOPER: Tom Foreman, thanks for that. It is your chance to weigh in on tonight's debate. Just go to, click on the I- Report link, see how you can send in your own take on things. We want to hear from you.

We also want to remind you again that CNN is going to reair the entire debate starting at -- yeah, 11:00 p.m., I think I said midnight before. 11:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. Pacific, see it in its full, that's about 15 minute from now.

Just ahead raw reaction to tonight's debate. We've got instant feed back from voters like you while the debate was happening. The result of our dial testing, it's actually a fascinating process. We'll be right back with that.



COOPER: How many people here took a private jet or a chartered jet to get here tonight?

You're not sure? Yesterday. OK.

Senator Gravel, what was that? You took the train in.

GRAVEL: I took the train. And I took the bus. And maybe one of these will give me a ride some day.


COOPER: Maybe. That was one of the lighter moments in tonight's Democratic debate. It came out of a viewer question about global warming. CNN-YoutTube received nearly 3,000 submissions covering a wide range of issues. The candidates answered and while they were answering we were actually measuring the raw reaction of some viewers. We used a technique called dial testing, it's a way to track a group of viewers. They were in New Hampshire to see how they were responding. CNN's Randi Kaye was monitoring it all. Randi?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the raw reaction from tonight's debate is a real time account of the audience's opinion of the candidates.

Here's how it works. This line here, this represents the reaction. A mark above 50 is favorable, below 50 unfavorable and 50 means no opinion whatsoever. The group rating the debate was made up of undecided Democrats and non-partisan independents. Now let's turn to some of the raw high loyalty and what we like to call the raw lowlights. One of the peaks in audience reaction came in response to Senator Barack Obama on the issue of diplomacy and Iraq.


OBAMA: Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them be a evil empire, and the reason is because they understood ...


KAYE: All right, now during that answer the audience meters cruised up to, oh, I don't know about 80 or so. The viewers apparently liked his idea of talking with Syria and Iran to solve problems in Iraq. Obama also scored high on the question of race and how his would play in this election.


OBAMA: If children feel as if the fact that they have a different surname or they have got a different skin color is not going to impede their dreams, then I am absolutely confident that we're going to be able to move forward on the challenges that we face as a country.


KAYE: On that one the Obama meter hit above 70. You can see that line right there. See what happens next when Senator Hillary Clinton responds to how her gender will play.


CLINTON: I'm excited that I may -- you know may be able to finally break that hardest of all glass ceilings but obviously I'm not running because I'm a woman. I'm running because I think I'm the most qualified and experienced person to hit the ground running in January 2009.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KAYE: Well, that was a low point for the Clinton camp. The meter took a dive to around 50 actually before it started to climb again. The biggest spike of the night went to John Edwards. He may be trailing Clinton and Obama but on health care, one of his key issues, the meter movers thought he was tops.


EDWARDS: We have got to stand up to the insurance company and the drug companies that Barack just spoke about. It's the only way we're ever going to bring about real change. We should be outraged but by those stories.


KAYE: Take a look at that. Did you see that? The meter hit 90, all the way up to 90, that was the most favorable reaction of tonight. Now because of this first of a kind format tonight, we asked our raw reaction viewers to rate questions as well as answers like with this question about reparations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is African-Americans ever going to get reparations for slavery? I know y'all are going to run around this question dipping and dodging so let's see how far you all can get.


KAYE: Now the only thing that dipped there actually was the meter, all the way down to 30, the low point of the entire night, and when the debate ended the same group moving meters actually rated each candidates overall performance. And here's how they stacked up. Take a look, Obama, Biden, Edwards and on the bottom Clinton. Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: And it's always fascinating, I think, to see that instant reaction. Randi, thanks. It's not too late to send in your reaction. We want to hear from you. Go to and click on the I-Report link and see how you can spend in your own analysis and opinion of the debate. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Let's get you updated on some of the other headlines out there. Randi Kaye joins us with 360 news and business bulletin. Randi?

KAYE: Hi again, Anderson. Severe flooding, the worst in 60 years is swamping western England. Tonight the Royal Navy is struggling to save a power station serving half a million homes. Thousands of people are already without lights and water and 10,000 homes are at serious risk. Helicopters and boats have had to rescue hundred of residents.

Atlanta Falcons QB star Michael Vick has been told not to return to training camp. The league says it first wants to reveal the federal indictment against him alleging he participated in a dog fighting operation. The goal of the review, to determine whether Vick violated any league policies. The Falcons go to camp on Thursday, the same day Vick is scheduled to be arraigned in a Virginia courtroom.

And Drew Carey is the new host of "The Price is Right." The comic replaces Bob Barker who retired last month after 35 years on the job. Congratulations to Drew. Anderson?

COOPER: Wow, there you go. Randi Kaye, thanks very much. Up next, if you missed tonight's groundbreaking debate or you want to see it again. You're in luck. CNN is going to air the whole thing coming up at the top of the hour in just a few hours. I'll be back with some final thoughts after the break.


COOPER: That was right before the debates began. All the candidates right on the stage having photographers take pictures of them. I think a lot of candidates weren't sure what to expect tonight when the debate began. I think a lot of viewers, I know myself included, weren't sure what to expect. I hope you enjoyed watching it at home.

We covered a lot of topics tonight in the debate. We certainly tried to cover a lot of topics. September 17th we're going to be having a Republican debate in Florida. Start submitting your videos to YouTube right now at You can just go and click on the link. We'll try to get in as many videos as possible. Thanks very much for watching this special edition of 360.

If you want to catch the entire debate, it's going to start right now.