(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