Quotes From Monday's Democratic Debate

By: AP
By: AP

Excerpts of exchanges between New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards at the Democratic debate Monday in Myrtle Beach, S.C. CNN's Wolf Blitzer moderated.

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Clinton and Obama's testy exchange after Obama tried to defend his comments about Republican ideas and Ronald Reagan:

OBAMA: Now, let's talk about Ronald Reagan. What you just repeated here today is ...

CLINTON: Barack ...

OBAMA: Wait. No. Hillary, you just spoke.

CLINTON: I did not say anything about Ronald Reagan.

OBAMA: You just spoke for two minutes.

CLINTON: You said two things.

OBAMA: You just ...

CLINTON: You talked about admiring Ronald Reagan and you talked about the ideas ...

OBAMA: Hillary, I'm sorry. You just ...

MODERATOR: Senator ...

CLINTON: I didn't talk about Reagan.

OBAMA: Hillary, we just had the tape. You just said that I complimented the Republican ideas. That is not true.

What I said - and I will provide you with a quote - what I said was is that Ronald Reagan was a transformative political figure because he was able to get Democrats to vote against their economic interests to form a majority to push through their agenda, an agenda that I objected to. Because while I was working on those streets watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart.

I was fighting these fights. I was fighting these fights. So - but I want to be clear.

So I want to be clear. What I said had nothing to do with their policies. I spent a lifetime fighting a lifetime against Ronald Reagan's policies. But what I did say is that we have to be thinking in the same transformative way about our Democratic agenda.

We've got to appeal to independents and Republicans in order to build a working majority to move an agenda forward. That is what I said. Now, you can dispute that, but let me finish.

Hillary, you went on for two minutes. Let me finish.

The irony of this is that you provided much more fulsome praise of Ronald Reagan in a book by Tom Brokaw that's being published right now, as did - as did Bill Clinton in the past. So these are the kinds of political games that we are accustomed to.

CLINTON: Now, wait a minute.

Wolf, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Just a minute.

MODERATOR: Senator Edwards, let them wrap up. Then I'm going to come to you. Yes?

CLINTON: I just want - I just to clarify - I want to clarify the record. Wait a minute.

EDWARDS: There's a third person in this debate.

MODERATOR: Wait a minute, Senator Edwards. Hold on. There has been a specific charge leveled against Hillary Clinton, so she can respond. Then I'll bring in Senator Edwards.

CLINTON: I just want to be sure ...

OBAMA: Go ahead and address what you said about ...

MODERATOR: We have got a long time to. You'll have a good opportunity.

CLINTON: We're just getting warmed up. Now, I just - I just want to be clear about this. In an editorial board with the Reno newspaper, you said two different things, because I have read the transcript. You talked about Ronald Reagan being a transformative political leader. I did not mention his name.

OBAMA: Your husband did.

CLINTON: Well, I'm here. He's not. And ...

OBAMA: OK. Well, I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes.

CLINTON: Well, you know, I think we both have very passionate and committed spouses who stand up for us. And I'm proud of that. But you also talked about the Republicans having ideas over the last 10 to 15 years.

OBAMA: I didn't say they were good ones.

CLINTON: Well, you can read the context of it.

OBAMA: Well, I didn't say they were good ones.

CLINTON: Well, it certainly ...

OBAMA: All right, Wolf.

CLINTON: It certainly came across in the way that it was presented, as though the Republicans had been standing up against the conventional wisdom with their ideas. I'm just reacting to the fact, yes, they did have ideas, and they were bad ideas.

OBAMA: I agree.

CLINTON: Bad for America, and I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago.

OBAMA: No, no, no.

MODERATOR: Hold on one second. Hold on. Senator Edwards - Senator Edwards has been remarkably patient during this exchange. And I want him - I don't know if you want to get involved in this, Senator Edwards.

EDWARDS: What I want to say first is, are there three people in this debate, not two? And I also want to know - I also want to know on behalf of voters here in South Carolina, this kind of squabbling, how many children is this going to get health care? How many people are going to get an education from this? How many kids are going to be able to go to college because of this?

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Edwards challenged Obama after Clinton noted that Obama had voted "present" 130 times while he was in the Illinois Senate:

EDWARDS: What I didn't hear was an explanation for why over 100 times you voted present instead of yes or no when you had a choice to vote up or down.

OBAMA: I'll be happy to answer it. Because in Illinois - in Illinois, oftentimes you vote present in order to indicate that you had problems with a bill that otherwise you might be willing to vote for. And oftentimes you would have a strategy that would help move the thing forward.

Keep in mind, John, I voted for 4,000 bills. And if you want to know whether or not I worked on tough stuff, I passed the first racial...

EDWARDS: I don't question whether you worked on tough stuff.

OBAMA: No, no, no. Hold on a second.

EDWARDS: I don't question whether you worked on tough stuff.

OBAMA: No, no. But you...

EDWARDS: The question is, why would you over 100 times vote present? I mean, every one of us - every one - you've criticized Hillary. You've criticized me for our votes.

OBAMA: Right.

EDWARDS: We've cast hundreds and hundreds of votes. What you're criticizing her for, by the way, you've done to us, which is you pick this vote and that vote out of the hundreds that we've cast.

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