(CNN) - Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama rallied a room full of supporters as he stopped by a debate watching part in Charleston, South Carolina, late Monday night.
“When your name is Barack Obama, you’re already the underdog. So we’re going to have to work extra hard," the Illinois senator told the cheering crowd. They "might not pronounce my name right. They might call me 'Alabama.' They might call me 'Yo, Momma.' But here’s what I know. If everyone here is as energetic and enthusiastic about the prospects for a better America, then we’re not just going to win an election, we’re going to transform the country.”
–CNN Political Desk Editor Steve Brusk
(CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic candidate John Edwards, has made news in her own right this year - from her public battle with cancer, to taking on conservative commentator Ann Coulter, and most recently, because of a comment she made to Salon.com's Joan Walsh about Sen. Hillary Clinton that "sometimes you feel you have to behave as a man and not talk about women's issues."
Clinton praised Elizabeth Edwards during Monday's debate, saying she has "a great deal of admiration" for her.
When asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer after the debate who she thought would be a better president - her husband or Sen. Clinton - with respect to women's issues, Mrs. Edwards said, "With respect to women's issues, she's in the right place on most everything that I know her positions about. But the truth of the matter is, at this time, American women need a leader, somebody who is not just going to be in the right place, but is going to lead us to the right place."
Mrs. Edwards also said she never accused Clinton of behaving like a man.
- CNN Associate Producer Natalie Apsell
(CNN) - In response to a question about whether nuclear power plants are something the U.S. should consider for the future, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, said, "this issue of energy and global warming has the promise of creating millions of new jobs in America."
Clinton continued by saying that "it can be a win-win, if we do it right."
But she agreed with former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, who, in his response, said there is currently no solution to the waste and cost associated with nuclear power. Clinton said this was an area that can be explored and solved through new technology.
Edwards, however, disagreed, saying these problems were too hard to overcome and that he would not support creating nuclear energy plants.
"Wind, solar, cellulose-based biofuels are the way we need to go," Edwards said. "I do not favor nuclear power. We haven't built a nuclear power plant in decades in this country. There is a reason for that."
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said he'd be open to nuclear solutions.
"I actually think that we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix," Obama said. Shortly after that, he criticized what he said was Vice President Dick Cheney's way of creating an energy plan.
"He met with environmental groups once," Obama said. "He met with renewable energy folks once. And then he met with oil and gas companies 40 times. And that's how they put together our energy policy. We've got to put the national interests ahead of special interests."
- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
CHARLESTON, South Carolina (CNN) - Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean called Monday's presidential debate a success and predicted the format that allows voters to directly ask candidates questions through the use of video technology as the wave of the future.
"I think is was. One hundred percent homerun," Dean said.
The former Vermont governor, who many considered a pioneer in using the Internet for political purposes, said one of the best things about the debate was the type of questions people asked and the fact it reached out to the young electorate.
"This is one of the best things that has happened since I have been chairman," he said about the debate that was the first DNC sanctioned event of the 2008 presidential election season.
- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
(CNN) - Former Sen. Mike Gravel's 30-second spot during the debate was, um, different . . . to put it mildly.
In black and white video footage, Gravel looked directly into the camera and said a series of sound bites that are separated by the ringing of a bell and the dissolving of Gravel's image.
The long-shot Democratic contender's spot covered the Iraq war, the global war on terror, universal health care, and Social Security.
It ended with an image of the ripples caused by a drop of water in a crystal blue pool of liquid with the web address for Gravel's campaign superimposed on top of the spot's final image.
Gravel's recent Internet videos garnered a lot of media attention for their randomness. Did you think these were similarly random in keeping with the image Gravel has cultivated for himself?
- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
(CNN) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson played off a previous campaign ad during the CNN/YouTube debate Monday, drawing comparisons to a job interview in his YouTube candidate clip.
The clip showed Richardson's resume being discussed by a group of managers sitting around a table. They list his qualifications as Richardson walks by their office.
"Ended up creating 80,000 jobs in his state. Says that's what he'll do as president," one of the managers says.
In a previous campaign advertisement, Richardson is seen sitting for an interview with a potential employer who lists his qualifications with a punchline of, "So, what makes you think you can be president?"
What do you think about Richardson's YouTube video?
- CNN Political Researcher Xuan Thai
Nancy McDonald from Wilmington, Delaware
(CNN) - Nancy McDonald from Wilmington, Delaware asks: "We all know that social security is running out of money. But people who earn over $97,500 stop paying into social security. What's up with that?"
What did you think about the candidates' response to the question? What would you have asked? Add your comment below, or better yet, turn on your camera to record your commentary and reaction video and send in your I-Report. Your comments below or you I-Report video could be part of CNN's post-debate coverage.
CHARLESTON, South Carolina (CNN) - Sens. Joe Biden and Chris Dodd are here. So's Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Senator Mike Gravel. There are dozens of top campaign surrogates milling about, but the person who may be most in demand for interviews right now is the so-called Obama Girl. You remember her from the video "I've got a crush on Obama" that was a smashing success on YouTube.
Well, Amber Lee Ettinger is here, making the rounds in the spin room, and from the look of it, she's grabbing the attention of a lot of the media and bloggers. And right now, she's acting like one of us. She's interviewing Dennis Kucinich. And with her two-inch plus heels, she's just about eye to eye with the congressman from Cleveland.
I just spent a few minutes chatting with Ettinger, who was invited to the debate by YouTube. She says that we'll be seeing a lot of her on the campaign trail over the next few months. And she says stay tuned for another political music video on YouTube.
As for who she's backing, no change in her stance. While she may have a crush on Obama, she's not ready to commit. She told me that while she really likes the Senator from Illinois, she's not endorsing him or any of the other presidential hopefuls just yet.
Stay tuned. I sure will.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
(CNN) - Jerry Townsend of Clio, Michigan calmly told the candidates in his video he had sincere concerns about protecting his baby.
"To all the candidates, tell me your position on gun control as myself and other Americans really want to know if our babies our safe," Townsend said.
But Townsend's baby doesn't need health care reform, protection from terrorists or No Child Left Behind. His 'baby' was a gun.
"I'll tell you, if that's his baby, he needs help," Sen. Biden, D-Delaware, said. He went on to say that efforts should be focused on making sure people who are mentally imbalanced or who have a criminal record don't get their hands on guns.
Gov. Richardson, D-New Mexico, said instant background checks are key, in addition to "attacking poverty, bringing people together, dealing with those kids in the ghettos that are heavy users of gun violence, and they are victims of gun violence, to make sure that this country attacks the core problems of poverty, having childcare, bringing people together."
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards clashed the issue of healthcare reform when answering a question from a 36-year old woman named Kim who is battling breast cancer and is uninsured.
Obama said his healthcare plan offers universal coverage but disagreed with Edwards on whether the government should mandate coverage.
"John and I have a disagreement," Obama said. "John thinks that the only way we get universal coverage is to mandate coverage. I think that the problem is not that people are tryng to avoid getting healthcare coverage."
CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Edwards whether Obama's healthcare plan provides universal coverage.
"No, because the only way is to mandate that everyone be covered," Edwards responded.
- CNN Associate Producer Natalie Apsell