(CNN) – Sen. Barrack Obama, D-Illinois, took a lot of credit for campaign finance reform tonight.
"I don't take PAC money and I don't take lobbyist money, and the bundlers, the reason you know who is raising money for me, Mike, is because I have pushed through a law this past session to disclose that," Obama said.
Well, that law hasn't actually gone through. The bill that would force lobbyists to disclose more of their activities, including what's known as "bundling," has not become law because it has not passed Congress.
The House and the Senate are trying to hammer out differences between their bills before the August recess.
– CNN Producer Justine Redman
(CNN) - Who kept talking about the future? Who kept talking about the past? Who had the most harsh words for their fellow candidates? And who wins for politeness?
CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider has the numbers:
Bill Richardson uttered the phrase "What I will do" a total of 16 times, followed by Barack Obama (15 times) and Chris Dodd (11 times).
Hillary Clinton led the field in saying "What I have done" 11 times, followed by Joe Biden (9 times) and Dodd (7 times).
Clinton also wins the Miss Congeniality award - she led in complimenting the other candidates (6 times), followed by Obama (5 times) and Edwards (4 times).
"What do they have in common? They are all the front-runners," Schneider said. "They are all doing well. They can afford to be generous. There's no reason to attack their fellow candidates."
So, which candidates did attack each other?
"Actually, not many did," Schneider said. Mike Gravel led in putting down or attacking the other Democrats a total of four times. Biden and Dennis Kucinich tied for second place, with two times each.
"It wasn't that kind of a debate, because citizens were asking the questions," says Schneider. "They didn't invite attacks."
– CNN Associate Producer Stephen Bach
(CNN) - Sen. Joe Biden said he would get rid of tax breaks for "people who don't need them" if elected president, saying the extra money is needed for all the things his fellow Democratic candidates have said they would do.
"My dad used to have an expression - don't tell me what you value, show me your budget," he said during Monday's CNN/YouTube debate in Charleston, South Carolina. Biden said Americans in the top 1 percent of incomes "got an $85 billion a year tax break. It is not needed."
"We need more revenue to be able to pay for the things the governor and everybody else talks about," the Delaware senator said. "And there's only one way to do it. You either raise taxes or take tax cuts away from people who don't need them. I'd take them away from people who don't need them."
– CNN Political Researcher Xuan Thai
(CNN) – Gov. Bill Richardson, D-New Mexico, said the U.S. needs to have a paper trail from the voting machines on election day.
"My state was one of those... that because of the touch tones there was uncertainty about the elections," Richardson said.
He says the paper trail would not only fix the problem of uncertainty but it would help improve low voter turnout.
"We have close to 50% of those Americans eligible to vote voting. That is inexcusable compared to many other nations. We need to have same-day registration."
Richardson also took aim at the GOP. "We need to have an effort to get the Republican party to stop suppressing minority voters."
– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
(CNN) - Univision reporter Maria Elena Salinas told CNN's Wolf Blitzer after the debate that she was "disappointed that there was not more talk and not more debate on the immigration issue."
Salinas said that there are millions of Hispanic voters in the United States that "were hoping to hear a little bit more from the candidates on these different issues that affect the hispanic community."
–CNN Associate Producer Natalie Apsell
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Some of the Democratic presidential frontrunners said that although their faith is important to them, they promised they would keep their beliefs separate from their politics.
"It is crucial that the American people know that as president it will not be my job - and I believe it would be wrong - for me to impose my personal faith beliefs on the American people or to decide any kind of decision, policy decision, that will affect America on the basis of my personal faith beliefs," former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards said.
The candidates were asked if they would back the agenda of evangelical Christians or other religious groups as strongly as the current administration. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama agreed with Edwards.
"I am proud of my Christian faith, and it informs what I do," Obama said. "And I don't think that people of any faith background should be prohibited from debating in the public square. But I am a strong believer in the separation of church and state."
– CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
(CNN) - In what is becoming a consistent message of Sen. Barack Obama's campaign, his YouTube video included a popular line in his stump speech, "We want something new. We want to turn the page."
Obama, Democrat from Illinois, wants to paint himself as a candidate of a younger generation who will not get caught up in the partisan battles in Washington. The video also prominently showed the line "we can change the world" onscreen. It was the final campaign-style YouTube video of the night.
What did you think of Obama's video?
– CNN Producer Ted Metzger
(CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, says Congress should not a raise until the lowest paid Americans get more.
"Congress should not get a salary increase until minimum wage is raised," she said in Monday night's debate.
Does she mean another increase? The first minimum wage increase in 10 years was approved recently and takes effect Tuesday. The wage goes from $5.15 an hour to $5.85 an hour, and then over the next two years increases to $7.25.
A senator currently makes just over $165,000, and unless enough senators like Clinton vote to block it, the Senate will get a raise next year.
– CNN's Katy Byron and Craig Broffman
(CNN) – Eyebrows raised and many candidates shifted their feet, licked their lips or rubbed their hands after Cecilia Smith presented her question to the candidates.
"If you're elected to serve, would you be willing to do your service for the next four years and be paid the national minimum wage?," Smith asked in her video.
Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska was first to respond that he would work for the minimum wage and all other democratic candidates joined suit.
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said Sen. Dodd 'is doing all right' and that most of the candidates, including himself, could afford to work for minimum wage. But as well as the Democrats are doing, Obama said there is one candidate, a Republican, who is doing even better.
"I mean, we don't have - we don't have Mitt Romney money," Obama joked, referring to the wealthy candidate from Massachusetts.
But then it was Obama's bottomline that became the punchline for another joke.
"I don't have Barack Obama money either," Biden said, adding he'd need to work a second job to afford living if his salary was minimum wage.
Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Connecticut, also said he could not afford to live on minimum wage with two young daughters he is "trying to educate."
The national minimum wage will increase 70 cents on Tuesday, from $5.15 to $5.85. While a minimum-wage worker will earn about $12,168 a year before taxes, the current presidential salary is more than $190 per hour or about $400,000 per year in addition to benefits.
– CNN contributor Ebonne Ruffins
(CNN) - "Please wake up" and read the New York Times, Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel pleaded near the end of Monday's debate.
The former Alaska senator once again jumped at the opportunity to slam the top three Democratic presidential candidates, criticizing Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama, and former Sen. John Edwards for collecting large amounts of money from "hedge funds" and "Wall Street bankers."
"The Democratic Party used to stand for the ordinary working man. But the Clintons and the DLC sold out the Democratic Party to Wall Street," Gravel said. "Look at where all the money is being raised right now, for Hillary, Obama and Edwards. It's the hedge funds, it's Wall Street bankers, it's the people who brought you what you have today."
"Please wake up," Gravel said. He pointed viewers to a July 17 article in the New York Times, which breaks down some of the larger fundraisers to Obama's campaign.
Read the story here
– CNN Associate Producer Stephen Bach