Live Updates: The Des Moines Register Democratic Debate

Coming about 2pm, we’ll being some live blogging of the Democratic debate. Thanks to the ridiculous snowstorm today in the northeast, I’ve got to spend the next hour and half snow blowing.

Here’s a story from the AP:

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — It’s the Democrats’ turn to take center stage in the final debate before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3. Six presidential contenders will take part this afternoon in the 90-minute debate sponsored by The Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television.

Yesterday, the Republicans squared off. They called for deep cuts in federal spending and agreed the reductions didn’t require painful sacrifice by millions of Americans who rely on government services.

The debate punctuated a remarkable period of turmoil in their race for the presidential nomination.

We’ll be back here around 2PM to give live updates to this post. The debate can be seen on Fox and CNN nationally at 2PM Eastern.

See you then.


We’ll now be providing live updates throughout the debate starting at 2pm.

Click on “Read the rest of the story” for the live updates.. too long to keep on the main page…

Ok.. Live updates will appear below this..

Update – 1:57pm

Starting shortly… There will be Kucinich or Gravel in this round which. Apparently Keyes somehow met the requirements for yesterday’s debate.

Update – 2:01pm

Opening video done.. starting now..

Update – 2:02pm

Same moderator, same boring format, no interesting topics… *YAWN*

Update – 2:03pm

Similar topics, dopey questions..

“Would it be a priority to balance the budget?”

Obama says pretty much yeah.. “get the long term fundamentals right”

Update – 2:5pm

Richardson would balance budget and get line-item veto, I agree.

Update – 2:07pm

Dodd blasting Richardson, Fox graphs going way down, he mentioned Reagan.

Then he mentioned ending the war, high ratings in the Fox viewer graphs.

Update – 2:08pm

Edwards says having trouble creating jobs because of corporate greed… Right, because corporations provide zero jobs, right?

Update – 2:09pm

Hillary, “fiscal responsibility is a high priority for me”, then she drones on about the fiscal discipline in the 90s..

Update – 2:10pm

New question, “When are tax increases appropriate?”

Richardson says get rid of “tax cuts for the rich”.. shock.. Admits you can’t balance budget during war or emergency..

Update – 2:12pm

Edwards, “tax policy established by big corporations and wealthy”.. Does Edwards blame anyone other than corporations? Answer: No.

Update – 2:13pm

Hillary, “Americans feel like they’re standing on a trap door”

Bias alert, moderator asking an Iraq question! She refused to ask the Republicans yesterday about Iraq.

Update – 2:14pm

“How will you pay for new ideas with ongoing Iraq war?”

Obama says every proposal he’s put forward can be paid for

Apparently according to Obama, $75k is the new “rich” in America..

Update – 2:16pm

Richardson says beef up the military

Dodd says 37 million people living in poverty, use tax credits to lift people up

Update – 2:17pm

Next question, “How should we manage complicated relationship with China differently?”

Richardson, “recognize China is a strategic competitor”, he’d be tougher with them. He’d also “ban all these toys they’re bringing in”

Update – 2:19pm

Dodd, “Americans are tried of China’s business as usual”, says we need to get tougher..

So they all agree, get tough with China..

Update – 2:20pm

Next question, “Sen. Clinton, how do we change entitlements for the future?”

Clinton says deal with Medicare, get back to “fiscal responsibility”, advocates price controls on drugs.. control health care costs, etc..

Update – 2:21pm

Biden, “we could save $100 billion if we modernized Medicare but we have to act”

Update – 2:22pm

Obama says reduce obesity, save money in Medicare

Richardson, “universal health care is a human right for every American”, says we should reduce disease, shocking proposal

Update – 2:24pm

Time for 30 second “open statements”

Obama talking about Dr. King, and acting on the urgency of “now”, our country’s at war, world’s at peril..

Edwards, “so much at stake in this election”, then goes on to blame “corporate power”. I’m betting if John Edwards stubs his toe, it’s because of “corporate power”.

Update – 2:26pm

Next question, “how should we alter trade agreements with countries that violate human rights?”

Biden says get tough.

Richardson, “human rights is fundamental tenant of American foreign policy, trade policy”

Update – 2:28pm

Dodd, “should be seamless with foreign policy”

Update – 2:29pm

Edwards, “human rights should be central to how we deal with countries”, then blames “corporate power”, I kid you not

Update – 2:30pm

Next question, “Should NAFTA be scrapped/changed?”

Clinton, “should be changed”

Update – 2:32pm

Time for free statements

Biden says he’s got meaningful experience and leadership skills, he’ll end the war in Iraq. “There’s a hymn in my church”

Richardson, says he’s going to thank the people of Iowa. “Somehow, in the last debate, the Iraq war wasn’t discussed”, well who’s fault was that? *moderator*

Richardson goes on to say we must beef up the VA system for veterans

Update – 2:34pm

Next question, “energy independence, what would you do to turn it into a benefit for the economy?”

Biden, “increase fuel mileage standards, ensure that in 2009 all new cars are hybrid flex fuel vehicles, “president must make this a moral crusade”

Richardson, “it’s gonna take an energy revolution”

Update – 2:36pm

Richardson, still going on, “fuel standards should be 50MPG, 36MPG is nothing”, “reduce greenhouse gas emissions”

Update – 2:37pm

Dodd, “we’re borrowing a billion dollars everyday to buy foreign oil”, advocates a “corporate carbon tax” – And who does he think will pay for it? The consumer, that’s who.

Clinton, “yes it will effect the average American”, she’ll try to enlist the American people.

Obama, “this is a moral imperative”, also says there will be initial increase in energy prices

Update – 2:40pm

Edwards, “oil companies, power companies stand in the way of solving the problem”

Update – 2:42pm

Halftime report: It’s about as boring as yesterday but more friendly, that’s for sure.

Hillary, “do you want to ask us to raise our hands on global warming?”

Moderator, “I wasn’t going to do that today”

Hillary, “Well we believe in it”

Update – 2:44pm

Question, “how would you have voted for subsidies?”

Obama, “I would cap subsidies”

Biden, “you’d think you’d see a farmhouse every 800 acres or so in Iowa”

Clinton, “I would have followed Senator Harkin’s lead on that bill”

Update – 2:48pm

Clinton, “When I’m president, we’re going to finally make these changes”

Last 30 second free statements

Clinton, “I’m touched by Iowa stories, especially by Iowa caucus goes”, goes on about how to get change. She’ll end the war in Iraq, get quality health care for every American, will not rest until every child has the chance to live up to their God-given potential.

Dodd says he’s got the experience to make the changes necessary, “On jan. 3rd, I ask for your vote”

Update – 2:49pm

Next topic, education, “Describe features of best education system in the world”

Edwards, “starting place is get children young and get them on the right track”, advocates “universal pre-k”, wants a national teaching university. Now saying we have two public school systems. Wants to create “one school system”

Richardson, “I would make it top priority”, would revise and strengthen curriculum. “we disregard and disrespect our teachers”, advocates minimum starting wage of $40k

Update – 2:52pm

Follow up to Richardson

Richardson, “we’ve made enormous progress in my state”

Update – 2:53pm

Obama, “a lot of good ideas have been mentioned, we need to close the achievement gap, give teachers more money”, says parents need to do their job too in encouraging children.

Dodd, “Education is the key to everything, to who we are”, agrees with Barack totally

Clinton says she’ll use the bully pulpit to improve education. “Bill and I were focused on our daughter’s education”, wants a “holistic view”

Edwards advocates free college if you work while you attend.

Update – 2:57pm

Biden, “start kids at school earlier”, provide access to college

Update – 2:58pm

Next question, “What could you accomplish in your first year as president?”

Obama, “new mission for military, end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home”, then he’ll bring in his attorney general and review Bush’s executive orders, provide health care, etc…

Biden, says he’ll implement the “Biden plan” to end the war. Says he’ll make a speech to the world that we’re abandoning the Bush policy and would provide universal health care.

Richardson, “I’d end the war, all troops out, no residual forces”, says universal health care would take a couple years. Wants to reduce foreign dependency on oil. Says he’ll bring back habeas corpus, will stop eavesdropping on terrorists.

Update – 3:01pm

Dodd, “Try to change the discourse in this country, we’ll have better leadership”, says he’ll use executive power to “give you back your constitution”

Edwards, “There are an awful lot of promises being made here”, “I will end the war, close Gitmo, restore liberties, attack global warming, get health care, etc…” Then says it’s corporate power.. big surprise..

Update – 3:03pm

Clinton, “I will begin to end the war in Iraq and bring troops home, the era of cowboy diplomacy is over”, she’ll end “Bush’s war on science” and recover stem cell research.

Update – 3:05pm

Next question to Biden about the foolish comments he’s made.

Biden, “I have my whole career because of the Civil Rights movement, I phrase those things wrongly”, says minorities start out with disadvantage. “It may be because I speak so bluntly that people mis understand me”

Obama, “I have no doubt about what is in Biden’s heart”

Update – 3:08pm

Next question, “how will you accomplish agenda after calling corporations corrupt?”

Edwards says they won’t give power away easily. Says he’s been fighting corporations his “entire life”.

Update – 3:10pm

Dumb question to Dodd, “Are you trying to rebuild your father’s name after he was censured?”

Dodd, “I’m motivated by public service”

Question to Richardson about lapses in nuclear security during his time as energy secretary.

Richardson, “I’ve made other mistakes as well today”. Says he’ll stand behind his record as energy sec.

Update – 3:13pm

Next question to Obama on his lack of foreign policy experience. Moderator asks how Obama will be a change with so many Clinton advisors helping him?

Hillary says, “I want to hear that one”

Obama, “I’ll be looking forward to you advising me too Hillary”

Finally, something entertaining.

Obama, “I want to gather up talent from everywhere, there are good advisers from many sources”. Says he wants the best ideas.

Update – 3:15pm

Next question, “Would you use signing statements?”

Clinton, “I’d use them the way they were used before this president used them”, wants to reverse the legacy of Bush.

Edwards, “Bush has expanded executive power too much”, says he’d go back too.

Update – 3:17pm

Question, “New years res for 2008”

Clinton, “Mine is multi-part, I have things I think about resolving, spending time with family, exercise, do best I can in the campaign”

Edwards, “To remember that a child will go to bed hungry in America tonight, somewhere Americans will have to go to the emergency room and beg for health care”.. something about corporate power..

Dodd, “That Iowans caucus correctly”.

Richardson, “Mine’s to lose weight yet again”, wants to end war, etc.. Wants to continue staying positive

Biden, “I make the same ever year, remember where I came from”

Obama, “Don’t be timid, make a real difference”.

Update – 3:22pm

Last question, something about remembering Iowa.

They’ll trying to appeal to the Iowa caucus goes and thanking them for the hospitality.


Here’s analysis and video clips:

Debate analysis and highlights


Here’s the entire debate video:

Video: 12/13 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate From Johnston, Iowa