Former Sen. Edwards believes the world needs to be rid of nuclear weapons.
(CNN) - Democratic candidate John Edwards said during the CNN debate that if he were elected president, he would "lead a long-term international effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons."
"It's the only way to keep the world secure," the former senator of North Carolina said in response to a question about national security.
"As president, I'll do everything that is required to make sure nuclear weapons don't fall into the hands of extremists," Edwards said.
Related video: Get rid of nukes
- CNN Political Assignment Editor Katy Byron
Sen. Obama called the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants a "wedge issue."
(CNN) –Responding to a question at the Democratic debate from CNN's Campbell Brown regarding his past support of benefits for illegal immigrants, including drivers licenses and in-state college tuition, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said "the problem we have here is not driver's licenses. Undocumented workers do not come here to drive." "They don't go - they're not coming here to go to the In-N-Out Burger," he added. "That's not the reason they're here. They're here to work. And so instead of being distracting by what has now become a wedge issue, let's focus on actually solving the problem that this administration, the Bush administration, had done nothing about it."
But when pressed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer whether he supports a policy allowing drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, Obama said "I am not proposing that that's what we do."
Blitzer then asked the other candidates on stage whether they supported a policy that would allow drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York all said they did not.
When it was New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's turn to answer he said he did support the idea. "Well, my answer is yes, and I did it," Richardson said. "You know why? Because the Congress, and I notice Barack mentioned the president, but the Congress also failed miserably to pass comprehensive immigration."
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said he disagreed with the way Blitzer phrased the question. "I take issue with your description of people being illegal immigrants. There aren't any illegal human beings," he said. "You give people a path to legalization and you work to make sure that you don't criminalize their status any further."
Related video: Drivers licenses for illegals
- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
Sen. Dodd suggested that true democracy in the Middle East may not be in the interests of the United States.
(CNN) - Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, warned that jihadists could win the majority of votes in free elections in a number of countries.
"Be careful what you wish for," Dodd told the audience at Thursday's CNN Democratic debate. "If there were totally free elections, in many of the countries we're talking about today, the Islamic Jihad or the Islamic Brotherhood would win 85 percent of the vote."
Dodd also told the audience that national security outweighs human rights in priorities for the president.
- CNN Political Producer Xuan Thai
(CNN) - Another question, another laugh line from Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware.
When asked by moderator Wolf Blitzer whether he would support the Democratic nominee "no matter who that nominee is, no ifs, ands or buts," Biden jokingly replied, "Hell, no. I wouldn't support any of these guys."
When the laughter died down, he said he would indeed support them all. The other candidates unequivocally answered in the affirmative, except for Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who said, "Only if they oppose war as an instrument of policy."
- CNN Contributor Jamie Gray
(CNN) - Gov. Bill Richardson, D-New Mexico, accused his Democratic rivals of wanting to start a variety of wars at CNN's Democratic presidential debate on Thursday.
"It seems that John [Edwards] wants to start a class war. It seems Barack [Obama] wants to start a generational war," Richardson said. "It seems that Sen. [Hillary] Clinton, with all due respect on her plan on Iraq, doesn't end the war. All I want to do is give peace a chance."
Richardson, a former United Nations ambassador, continued, "Let's stop this going after each other on character and trust. Let's debate the issues that affect the American people."
- CNN Political Producer Xuan Thai
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, fought back against her top rival, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, for saying she didn't give "straight answers to tough questions" during a CNN debate Thursday night.
After Obama criticized Clinton for saying she didn't give a "clear answer" on the issue of providing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, she turned around and said Obama wouldn't take a strong enough stance on universal health care reform.
"He talks a lot about stepping up and taking responsibility and taking strong positions, but when it came time to step up and decide whether or not he would support universal health care coverage, he chose not to do that," Clinton said.
- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
Sen. Clinton was immediately the center of attention at the beginning of Thursday's debate.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) - Frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton was asked to respond to her opponents’ charges that she avoids taking firm positions on controversial issues, in the first question served up in the CNN/Nevada Democratic Party Presidential Debate.
Campbell Brown, who made her CNN debut Thursday, directed the question to the New York Democrat.
- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
(CNN) - Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean downplayed Democratic presidential nominees' attacks on each other and emphasized their unity in positions as they head towards the 2008 elections.
"No matter who our nominee is, they're going to be better than the Republican nominee," Dean said.
In a pre-debate interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Dean said Americans are sick of divisive politics, and the Democratic nominee will be prepared to "heal America."
Dean wrote off recent fighting between candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, and focused on issues like health care and Iraq.
"Our candidate will get us out of Iraq, their candidate will keep us there. That ought to be enough for most of the American people."
The former frontrunner for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination also warned that despite what the polls say, it's "never wise to anoint the frontrunner until the voters actually vote."
- CNN Contributor Adam P. Levy
A new poll shows a close race in Iowa.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With less than two months to go until Iowans cast the first votes of 2008, a new KCCI-TV poll released Thursday shows that the Democratic race is up for grabs in the Hawkeye State.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, holds a statistically insignificant 2 percentage-point lead over Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois (27 percent to 25 percent.) Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards falls just behind the frontrunners with 21 percent. But 11 percent of Iowa voters said they are still undecided, which makes the outcome unpredictable on Election Day.
A CBS/New York Times poll released Wednesday also showed Clinton, Obama and Edwards closely vying for the top spot in Iowa. That poll put Edwards in second place behind Clinton and Obama in third.
On the Republican side, the KCCI-TV poll showed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee gaining ground in Iowa. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was comfortably in the lead with 27 percent, but Huckabee had 18 percent and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani got 16 percent. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson got 10 percent, but 15 percent of GOP voters said they were undecided. The CBS/New York Times poll had similar results.
The KCCI poll surveyed 600 likely Iowa voters from November 12-14. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) - There's little glamorous about the concrete basement of the Thomas and Mack Center. On a normal day, the only people in this area would be deliverymen, sanitation crews and student-athletes cutting through to the locker rooms.
But as anyone who's been on the University of Nevada-Las Vegas campus can attest, there was little normal about Thursday.
This tunnel below the arena was the entryway for the Democratic presidential candidates arriving for the debate. Secret Service agents and campus police officers were posted next to red curtains and black screens that cut the area off from the rest of the arena. Just a few dozen feet away is the basketball court where the Running Rebels play.
The sounds of basketballs dribbling and shoes squeaking could be heard through the divider.
As they arrived, the candidates made their way down a narrow hallway decorated with basketball signs and oversized posters commemorating the many concerts held here. The first one they'd see would be AC-DC if they were checking out the walls. A slightly racier Mariah Carey poster was on their left.
Taped onto doors normally marked "Locker Room D" were signs with each candidate's name. The locker rooms had been turned into "green rooms" where the candidates, their advisers and in some cases family members waited to move into the debate hall.
It was close quarters down here - Sen. Hillary Clinton's room was right next to Sen. Barack Obama's, separated by a brick wall.
Six candidates were in the dressing rooms. But one got lucky. Sen. Joe Biden's room is normally a cafe for sports reporters and VIP's at the arena. Laid out in the room were curry chicken triangles, southwestern dipping sauce, snacks and hot Starbucks coffee. Even if he wasn't hungry, he could enjoy the much bigger space before taking the stage.
The most eventful part of the arrival was the dance of the SUVs. The candidates were dropped off one at a time in a small area, and the cars had to quickly make their way back up the ramp. It was easy with some - Rep. Dennis Kucinich arrived in a slightly faded maroon Saturn that was so unassuming it surprised those waiting for a candidate. It was a little more complicated when the motorcades of Clinton and Obama arrived minutes apart. Agents for a moment became traffic cops, having one SUV pull ahead and back out while another moved forward.