Democrats deliver Des Moines debate

Corey Aldritt

Democratic presidential hopefuls agreed to disagree on many hot button issues such as the war in Iraq at the Iowa Democratic Debate.

All eight Democrats running for president were present for the debate Sunday, which took place at Drake University in Des Moines.

The candidates all agreed that the war in Iraq needs to be ended, but there was a difference of opinion on how U.S. troops should be brought home.

“Any Democratic president will end this war, this much we know,” said former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.

Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., wants all the troops to leave at once because he believes any troops left behind would become targets of violence.

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., disagreed with Richardson, saying it will take time for all of the troops to safely leave Iraq.

“I think we also can all agree that it’s going to be messy,” Obama said. “There are no good options, there are only bad options and worse options, and we’re going to have to exercise judgment in terms of how we execute this.”

Biden said if all the troops left, Iraq would be engulfed in a regional war.

During the 90-minute debate the candidate, the one who faced the most criticism from other candidates was Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

“I’ve never taken money from a Washington lobbyist, and I’ve said why don’t we all make an absolutely clear statement that we are the Democratic Party. We’re the party of the people, we are not the party of Washington insiders,” Edwards said. “We can say it clearly and unequivocally, by saying we will never take another dime from a Washington lobbyist. I’ve asked the other candidates to join me in that. And at least, until now, Senator Clinton’s not done it.”

Clinton responded by saying Edwards and the other candidates are taking money from the people who employ and hire lobbyists.

All the candidates were asked if they believe in a personal God and if they believe through the power of prayer that disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the Minnesota bridge collapse could have been prevented.

All of the candidates expressed their belief in faith and prayer, but most candidates dodged the question.

“The answer to the question is no,” Biden said. “All the prayer in the world will not stop a hurricane.”

Edwards also said prayer doesn’t prevent bad things from happening.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, wasn’t included in much of the debate. However, he did answer the prayer question.

“I’ve been standing here for the last 45 minutes praying to God you were going to call on me,” he said.

Also participating in the debate was Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and former Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Ala.

“All the candidates up here are capable, and whoever wins the primary I believe is going to win the general election,” Obama said.