Alex Blaze

YouTube/CNN debate highlights

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 23, 2007 11:51 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, CNN, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards, presidential debate

The YouTube/CNN debate happened tonight. Two LGBT/queer-related questions were asked, both about marriage. Here's the first:

The answer and two other questions are after the jump.

Here's the response (Transcript here):

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

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 transgender should have the same rights accorded to them as anyone else, and that includes the ability to have a civil marriage ceremony.

Yes, I support you. And welcome to a better and a new America under a President Kucinich administration.


COOPER: Senator Dodd, you supported the Defense of Marriage Act. What's your position?

DODD: I've made the case, Anderson, that -- my wife and I have two young daughters, age 5 and 2.

I'd simply ask the audience to ask themselves the question that Jackie and I have asked: How would I want my two daughters treated if they grew up and had a different sexual orientation than their parents?

Good jobs, equal opportunity, to be able to retire, to visit each other, to be with each other, as other people do.

So I feel very strongly, if you ask yourself the question, "How would you like your children treated if they had a different sexual orientation than their parents?," the answer is yes. They ought to have that ability in civil unions.

I don't go so far as to call for marriage. 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.

COOPER: Governor Richardson?

RICHARDSON: Well, I would say to the two young women, I would level with you -- I would do what is achievable.

What I think is achievable is full civil unions with full marriage rights. I would also press for you a hate crimes act in the Congress. I would eliminate "don't ask/don't tell" in the military.


If we're going to have in our military men and women that die for this country, we shouldn't give them a lecture on their sexual orientation

I would push for domestic partnership laws, nondiscrimination in insurance and housing.

I would also send a very strong message that, in my administration, I will not tolerate any discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation.


Here's the question we posted earlier about religion and politics that was directed towards Edwards on the issue of marriage:

Watch as he dodges every which way on it. A preview of the HRC/Logo debate, perhaps?

EDWARDS: I think Reverend Longcrier asks a very important question, which is whether fundamentally -- whether it's right for any of our faith beliefs to be imposed on the American people when we're president of the United States. I do not believe that's right.

I feel enormous personal conflict about this issue. I want to end discrimination. I want to do some of the things that I just heard Bill Richardson talking about -- standing up for equal rights, substantive rights, civil unions, the thing that Chris Dodd just talked about. But I think that's something everybody on this stage will commit themselves to as president of the United States.

But I personally have been on a journey on this issue. I feel enormous conflict about it. As I think a lot of people know, Elizabeth spoke -- my wife Elizabeth spoke out a few weeks ago, and she actually supports gay marriage. I do not. But this is a very, very difficult issue for me. And I recognize and have enormous respect for people who have a different view of it.

COOPER: I should also point out that the reverend is actually in the audience tonight. Where is he? Right over here.

Reverend, do you feel he answered your question?


QUESTION: This question was just a catalyst that promoted some other things that wrapped around that particular question, especially when it comes to fair housing practices. Also...

COOPER: Do you think he answered the question, though?

QUESTION: Not like I would like to have heard it...


COOPER: What did you not hear?

QUESTION: I didn't quite get -- some people were moving around, and I didn't quite get all of his answer. I just heard...

COOPER: All right, there's 30 seconds more. Why is it OK to quite religious beliefs when talking about why you don't support something? That's essentially what's his question.

EDWARDS: It's not. I mean, I've been asked a personal question which is, I think, what Reverend Longcrier is raising, and that personal question is, do I believe and do I personally support gay marriage?

The honest answer to that is I don't. But I think it is absolutely wrong, as president of the United States, for me to have used that faith basis as a basis for denying anybody their rights, and I will not do that when I'm president of the United States.


COOPER: Senator Obama, the laws banning interracial marriage in the United States were ruled unconstitutional in 1967. What is the difference between a ban on interracial marriage and a ban on gay marriage?

OBAMA: Well, I think that it is important to pick up on something that was said earlier by both Dennis and by Bill, and that is that we've got to make sure that everybody is equal under the law. And the civil unions that I proposed would be equivalent in terms of making sure that all the rights that are conferred by the state are equal for same-sex couples as well as for heterosexual couples.

Now, with respect to marriage, it's my belief that it's up to the individual denominations to make a decision as to whether they want to recognize marriage or not. But in terms of, you know, the rights of people to transfer property, to have hospital visitation, all those critical civil rights that are conferred by our government, those should be equal.

Here's an interesting question on identity politics. I think that the one benefit of this format for a debate is that there isn't a journalist with a reputation on the line while asking the questions, and they can just pick out a question from a YouTuber that people want an answer to that would normally be inappropriate to ask. Consider:

The first two answers are Obama's and Clinton's standard answers. But then it gets interesting when Edwards chimes in. Enjoy!

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've given my credentials.



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.

Unfortunately, we've had a White House that hasn't invested in the kinds of steps that have to be done to overcome the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow in this country.

And as president of the United States, my commitment on issues like education, my commitment on issues like health care is to close the disparities and the gaps, because that's what's really going to solve the race problem in this country.

If people feel like they've got a fair shake, if children feel as if the fact that they have a different surname or they've 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.


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.


I am proud to be running as a woman.

And I'm excited that I may...


... 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.

And I trust the American people to make a decision that is not about me or my gender, or about Barack or his race or about Bill and his ethnicity, but about what is best for you and your family.

We have big challenges...


... and big needs in our country. And I think we're going to need experienced and strong leadership in order to start handling all of the problems that we have here at home and around the world.

And when I'm inaugurated, I think it's going to send a great message to a lot of little girls and boys around the world.

COOPER: Senator Edwards...


Senator Edwards, earlier this week, your wife said that you would be a better advocate for women than Senator Clinton. Was she right?

EDWARDS: Well, let me say first that on the question that was just asked to Senator Obama...

COOPER: We prefer you stay on the question...

EDWARDS: I'm going to stay on your question. I promise I'll answer that question. But the first thing I want to say -- and I want to speak for everybody, I believe, on this stage -- anybody who's considering not voting for Senator Obama because he's black or for Senator Clinton because she's a woman, I don't want their vote. I don't want them voting for me.


I think what Elizabeth was saying was -- to answer your question, what Elizabeth was saying was there are very important issues facing women in this country. More women are affected by the minimum wage than men are affected by the minimum wage. I have been the most aggressive -- in fact, I would challenge every Democrat on this stage today to commit to raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by the year 2012.


Second, there are more women in poverty than men in poverty.

And I have made this a central cause in my life and a central cause in my campaign. More women have difficulty getting the health care that they need than men do. And I was the first person to come out with a comprehensive, truly universal health care plan.

COOPER: So do you think you're a better advocate for women than Senator Clinton?

EDWARDS: Those are issues -- listen, Senator Clinton has a long history of speaking out on behalf of women. She deserves to be commended for that. But I believe that on the issues that directly affect women's lives, I have the strongest, boldest ideas and can bring about the change that needs to be brought.

COOPER: Senator Clinton, is he a better advocate for women?


CLINTON: Anderson, I have a great deal of admiration for Elizabeth Edwards. And I appreciate greatly John's comments. You know, I have spent my entire life advocating for women. I went to Beijing in 1995 and said that women's rights are human rights, and I've done everything I can to make that principle come true.

And, specifically on issues, I got to vote to raise the minimum wage.

I put in legislation which said that Congress should not get a salary increase until they did raise the minimum wage, and I am putting that back in, because I agree that by the time we got it raised after 10 years, it was already out of date.

And as to women in poverty and women with health care needs, I have been on the forefront of both advocating and creating change in my public service, in my time in Arkansas, the White House, and now in the Senate.

But I think it is terrific. We're up here arguing about who's going to be better for women, because isn't that a nice change for everybody to hear.


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It was a facinating debate--as much for the very direct (and extremely clever) questions asked as for the very clever (and mostly indirect) responses given.


Be sure to weigh in at the AVA:

I missed most of the debates - I was walking the dog, doing dishes and having dinner. Who does everyone think won the debate?

I will say up front that I have pitched my tent in Camp Obama. But, I think that top three Democrats showed the strength of party's candidates. Clinton was commanding and knowledgeable, Edwards was sharp and focused on his message about bridging the gap between the two Americas, and Obama was inspirational.

Steve Ralls | July 25, 2007 8:55 AM

Senator Obama's response to the marriage question was woefully disappointing, and put on full display exactly why so many of us think he just doesn't have enough substance and experience to be president. Obama clearly doesn't get that same-sex marriage is about rights, not religion. No religion has ever been required to marry anyone they did not want to . . . but government recognition of marriage is another thing.

Federal recognition of same-sex unions would not force the Pope to marry Ellen and Portia, but that's a distinction Senator Obama doesn't seem to grasp. He's far too far off the mark.