WASHINGTON (CNN) - The most powerful moment of the Tuesday's presidential debate, according to CNN's Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, was Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, responding to a question by a New Hampshire audience member named Erin, whose brother died in Iraq. The question focused on how the candidates would bring the conflict in the Middle East to a point where U.S. troops can safely return home.
Hunter thanked the audience member for her brother's service and spoke about his own son's service. "My son, Duncan, the day after 9/11, joined the Marine Corps, quit his job and did two tours in Iraq. He's in Afghanistan right now. First of all, I want you to know it's worth it. What he did was worth it," Hunter said.
The audience member's brother, First Lieutenant Michael Joseph Clearly, was killed in Iraq eight days before he was to return home in December, 2005.
Sen. John McCain also thanked the audience member for her brother's service and spoke to her directly about the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq. "I'm going to give you a little straight talk. This war was very badly mismanaged for a long time. And Americans have made great sacrifices. Some of which were unnecessary because of this mismanagement."
McCain also said he believes the U.S. has a strategy for Iraq will succeed so that "the sacrifice of your brother would not be in vain."
Fmr. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was the third candidate of the night to thank the audience member for her brother's service and said that her brother's sacrifice is "is one of the reasons we're safe now in the United States."
–CNN Associate Producer Natalie Apsell