Mike Gravel is next.

I’m assuming Rick and Steve aren’t in the crowd.

Each candidate shakes the same five audience member’s hands.

Gets a cut in on being excluded when they were developing the event.

Shane, my partner, is playing with his Wonder Woman toys. Time for a bathroom break, folks.

Gravel gets kudos for mentioning gay friends. Refreshing. They may or may not be in the audience.

Gravel, like Kucinich, supports gay marriage. “If there’s anything we need in this world, it’s more love.”

I’m not sure that anyone has even asked him a question, except for Mellisa wanting to know if there are gay people in Alaska.

Says the front-runners are “playing it safe,” so they don’t lose some votes. “I don’t want those votes.”

“I good politician can tell you to go to hell, and make you look forward to the trip.” Zing.

Gay marriage too soon? Gravel says no. Bert and Ernie would say, “Not soon enough.”

The used to call him “Kooky Gravel.” Used to?!

Wants you to be able to go to a liquor store to get marijuana. And people say Hillary is the GOP dream candidate…

Closing: “You’ve got to assert your rights. No one is going to give you anything from on high.”

Bill Richardson is up.

Here’s my funny Richardson story.

Asks him about saying he’ll do what’s achievable.

Richardson: “The nation is on a path to full inclusion.”

Moves to Don’t Ask, Dont’ Tell. Is it just me or are these candidates all going to the easy-win issues like DADT and DOMA.

Asked why he supported DOMA. He says it was a way to stop something worse.

“What makes sense is a president who recognizes the country is moving in a path for more inclusion.”

Oh, the Spanish fagot comment question. He said it a while back on Imus.

“It was one of those exchanges where I was caught off guard. You need to look at my actions. Not my words.”

Supports gays in New Mexico. No question from Mellisa about whether there’s gays in New Mexico?

“If the New Mexico legislature would hand you a marriage bill, would you sign it?”

Loooooong pause. Awkward answer. Says civil unions are the same thing. “I’m not there yet.”

Bingo! This is what this whole night was for! Not just a sound bite, but a real, thinking man’s answer on these issues.

He says homosexuality is a choice. The poor man is losing the crowd here. “I don’t like to answer questions like that.”

Mellisa: “It’s hard when people tell you it’s a choice when you were born that way.”

Here’s the question. People say that gays and lesbians can choose and change. What does Richardson say.

He says it’s about full equality for everybody.

If anybody blew it tonight, it was Richardson. He has set Hillary Clinton up for a home run.

Oh, I bet John is chatting up the green room about that jacket as we speak.

Why no legislation to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?

“The very simple answer is that we didn’t have a chance with a Republican Congress and George Bush as president.”

Ready to lay the groundwork to get it done. She says DADT was a stop-gap measure.

“We’ve moved a long way on this and other issues. … It was not implemented appropriately.”

She may spend her 15 minutes on this one question.

Same-sex marriage opposition. “I prefer to think of it as being very positive to civil unions.”

“We believe in equality. How we get to full equality is the debate we’re having.”

Says she supports states rights on marriage. It will be where we see our victories. I agree.

“I’m very optimistic.” Polling at 48 percent, I’d be optimistic about a lot of things.

Mellisa: Not so optimistic. “Our hearts were broken. We were thrown under the bus. All those great promises that were made to us were broken.”

Hillary: “I don’t see it quite the way you describe. … We certainly didn’t get as much done as I would have liked.” But she says they got a lot done.

“If I were sitting where you are sitting, having gone through what you’ve gone through, I would feel the same way. … As president, I feel like I have an opportunity to reverse the assaults on people. … That is over.”

Apparently Rosario (the maid, not Dawson) is in the audience.

Hillary: “I’m your girl.” What? No Z-snap?

Closing: “I come to these issues … as a friend. We’re not going to agree on everything, but I will be a president who will fight for you.”

And that’s it. The winner? Well, Clinton and Obama both did well, but Hillary got an unexpected punch from Mellisa, suggesting she has a lot of work to do within the gay community to mend bridges. Advantage: Obama.

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