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CNN/YouTube presidential debate open thread

[UPDATE: A full transcript is up. I’ll have a wrap on the debate in another post.]

Anderson Cooper will moderate the event, which will be broadcast from The Citadel military college in Charleston, South Carolina starting at 7PM.

CNN journalists are screening the questions, rather than letting Internet users select them with their votes. Plus, candidates frequently handle questions from their constituents and from individuals in town hall formats.

But that’s where the intimacy comes in, Cooper said, arguing the video format allows people to show a side of themselves that may be masked by the nervousness or rehearsed nature of town hall formats.

“What makes them so interesting is clearly they’re very personal,” Cooper said.

You all get to try out the new Blend chat room for play-by-play reactions to the Dem debate — Blend Coffee Klatch (this link opens it in a smaller separate window). There’s also a Pam’s House Blend Facebook Group that you can join — if you add the Group Chat application, you can chat in there as well.


UPDATE: Here, from PoliticsTV.com (which is uploading the Q&As as they are completed), the question from the Rev. Longcrier about marriage equality, and the response, first from John Edwards (left). On the right, another question on marriage equality, answered by Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd, and Bill Richardson:

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CNN Internet reporter Jacki Schechner encourages folks to contribute post-debate video responses  at CNN’s ireport (cnn.com/ireport).

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And the John Edwards camp has announced that the former NC Senator will hold a 30-minute webcast immediately following the debate, taking questions submitted prior to and during the event. You can view the questions being submitted here. You can read more — and watch the live event — after the jump.

“Debates too often do not provide voters with the type of comprehensive responses they want or deserve on important issues,” said Edwards’ spokeswoman Colleen Murray. “John Edwards has built a strong grassroots movement to change the direction of the country, and that will only grow by offering voters an active role in the debate process.”

In the days leading up to and during the debate, people will be able to submit questions directly on JohnEdwards.com or by text messaging the word DEBATE to 30644. The campaign will also include questions from social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Care2, and Twitter in a live feed on JohnEdwards.com.

By taking questions from third-party sites, a larger and more diverse audience will be able to participate in the live webcast. Many of these sites will also co-host the live webcast with Edwards, allowing their communities to view the webcast without leaving their own site. The post-debate webcast will air live on the following websites: the campaign website (www.johnedwards.com), Edwards’ MySpace page (myspace.com/johnedwards), CommunityCounts.us , Ustream.tv, and Care2.com. Additionally, Edwards will answer the two videos on CommunityCounts.us that receive the most votes from its community.

This is hosted by USStream.TV:

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And this is a great response to the fixation on hair:

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You can view the videos of these exchanges above, but here they are from CNN’s transcript:

QUESTION: Hi. My name is Mary.

QUESTION: And my name is Jen.

QUESTION: And we’re from Brooklyn, New York.

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.

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, 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.

(APPLAUSE)

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.

(APPLAUSE)

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.

And the question to John Edwards:

QUESTION: I’m Reverend Reggie Longcrier. I’m the pastor of Exodus Mission and Outreach Church in Hickory, North Carolina.

Senator Edwards said his opposition to gay marriage is influenced by his Southern Baptist background. Most Americans agree it was wrong and unconstitutional to use religion to justify slavery, segregation, and denying women the right to vote.

So why is it still acceptable to use religion to deny gay American their full and equal rights?

(APPLAUSE)

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.

And Obama said this:

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.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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