[Republished from 2008Central.net. This live blog will be updated periodically on Donklephant. For the latest, please visit the active post.]

We are ready to go! The debate starts at 9pm EDT. It will air on both MSNBC and on MSNBC.com and will be moderated by Brian Williams with supplemental questions from Tim Russert. The debate is taking place at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

8:05: Less than an hour to go. Currently working on getting some pictures from the press photo pool, although they’re usually just taking the preliminary pictures about now, so it may still be too early…

8:11: Candidates from left to right: Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson. And, if you’re just dying to know, Brian Williams is indeed “happy to be back in Philadelphia.”

9:02: Brian Williams introduces Drexel University by talking about the school’s mascot, Mario The Dragon.

9:03: First question to Obama about whether or not he’s going to get tough with Hillary Clinton. He gives a solid response about changing politics. Hillary’s rebuttal was sure to ignore the fact that Obama even spoke and to note that the criticism she receives from the right is ample evidence that she is very different from the right.

9:06: John Edwards makes a point to use a positive tone when asked about using the harshest rhetoric in the campaign against Clinton. Clinton responds by referring to her record in very generic terms, and refers vaguely to battles in the 90s. She’s referring more and more to the policies of the 90s, and she only does that when on defense.

9:08: Russert doesn’t let Hillary dodge the question and frankly asks her about her Iran policy. She adimately denies that the vote is a pretext for war. Clinton loses her cool a bit and sounds like the guy that flipped out on the Bobs in that movie, Office Space.

9:13: It’s Doddtime! Dodd calls for leadership and notes that although the Kyl-Lieberman amendment is not an overt pretext for war, the 76 votes in favor of it could be used down the line in order to pressure support for military action. Dodd notes that it was critical to oppose it in order to stop the trend.

9:14: Biden says, the president already had the authority to do everything that amendment called for and contends that the real harm in passing the amendment was that it feeds into the negative impressions of the United States abroad. Says it was a bad foreign policy. Ultimately, Dodd and Biden frame their answers on Kyl-Lieberman in a way that significantly hurts Clinton and adds credence to the attacks that Obama and Edwards have been laying.

9:15: Obama is asked about attacking Iran, and says it should not be the focus or the concern, and focuses on diplomacy while referencing the points Dodd and Biden made. He eventually concedes that should Iran be on the verge of acquiring a nuclear weapon that war would be an option.

9:17: Clinton notes that the amendment didn’t give Bush any special powers. Calls for action on Sen. Jim Webb’s legislation, which explicitly requires the President to get approval from congress before taking military action in Iran. somehow claims to agree with Biden on Iran, even though he spent his whole time criticizing her.Clinton reiterates that she will not let Iran get nuclear weapons, stresses diplomacy and economic sanctions. Specifically, she mentions economic sanctions in regards to Libya and North Korea but does not mention the elephant in the room with sanctions – Iraq.

9:20: Edwards asks the obvious question of why Clinton voted for the resolution if she’s as demanding for diplomacy as she claims. Edwards goes on to chide Democrats for not standing up to the Bush administration. I imagine that’s a lot easier to do when you’re not in the Senate any longer.

9:22: Kucinich gets to speak. Invokes Article 2 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution and calls for the impeachment of President Bush.

9:24: Russert asks for a pledge to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. Hillary pledges that she will do everything she can do to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, John Edwards says he would take every responsible notion. Obama notes that all of them likely want to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, says “let’s short circuit this” and begins talking about the politics of fear and how they impact foreign policy and erode civil liberties. Biden pledges to keep the U.S. safe and notes that “it is complicated stuff” (because, stuff really demonstrates just how complex it really is). Biden goes on to put things into perspective and says that there are other more immediate problems that need to be considered when considering Iran. Dodd talks about experience and says Pakistan is more immediate problem. Richardson takes the bate and pledges to ensure that Iran does not get a nuclear, then points to his experience in foreign diplomacy. He points to one of the hostages from Iraq whom he negotiated the release for (during the 90s, not now). Kucinich asks the media to be more cautious with their rhetoric; calls for nuclear nonproliferation.

9:32: Hillary Clinton opposes the Iraq War, but not the soldiers (duh). Says that there is no military solution and that she will begin withdrawal as soon as she takes office. Clinton criticizes Bush for only relying on a small group of people for advice (Pot, meet Kettle, he’s black too).

9:35: Edwards draws a dichotomy: ‘If you believe that combat missions should continue in Iraq, if you believe that there should be no timetable for withdrawal’ then you should support Clinton; but if you want the combat missions to end within the first year (so he won’t immediately stop them?) and if you want the troops out then you should support Edwards. Edwards criticizes Clinton for her general election strategy and says that there should only be one type of rhetoric, the truth as opposed to rhetoric for the primary and rhetoric for the general election.

9:38: Clinton clarifies the combat missions critique. Notes that she will have a responsible withdrawal and that troops will remain to protect our embassy and pusue al-Qaeda. Says that combat missions will continue in a limited way so that soldiers can defend themselves while the withdrawal is occurring.

Continued at 2008Central.net

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