“Very simply. Change our tax structure.”

That’s former Sen. Mike Gravel’s response to a question about how to get the American people to conserve energy.

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The Hottest Ticket In Town
Tuesday afternoon, the local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community was out in force, glad to volunteer and help the Democratic Party, after new state chairperson Carol Fowler pledged recently to include and recognize them in state party affairs, even going so far as to designate three LGBT delegates.
Spoleto Festival USA Finance Director Tasha Gandy organized a volunteer squad to help check in debate attendees at the Joe and usher people to their seats at The Citadel’s McCallister Field House. The friendly folks from the Alliance For Full Acceptance, Stonewall Democrats, and the S.C. Equality Coalition were happy to help.
“I think it’s incredible that the LGBT community has shown up today,” said volunteer Warren Redman-Gress. “I think this event is significant because every one of the candidates here today at The Citadel is opposed to ‘Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell’ and proclaims their support for the military at the same time.”
Roughly 30 people worked at the ballpark to register ticket-holders, another 30 or so served as ushers, and another hundred filled the void in the “go-fer” capacity.
The thing about Democratic Party events is that everybody gets a seat at the table: old school white Southern Democrats, African-Americans who were participants in the Civil Rights Movement, the gay community — you name it, they were there singing for their supper, as all volunteers were guaranteed a ticket to the debate.
Columbia College student Kara Simmons lives in Hampton Park and said she wanted to help out because, “At school, we’re very interested in the election and as a single-gender institution, we think it’s time there was a woman running, and I think Hillary will get the job done.”
Greg Smith of Charleston said, “I’m really looking forward to the format
of the debate and I think it’ll show what some of these folks up there are made of.”
As attendees were being checked in by the volunteers, a small plane droned overhead, dragging a “Stop Her Now” banner, but the anti-Hillary sentiment didn’t seem to dampen anybody’s spirit. —Delia Smith

3

The number of times former Sen. Mike Gravel complained about not getting enough air time. Gravel talked for more than four minutes, according to the Chris Dodd campaign’s talk clock, 60 seconds of which was likely wasted complaining.

Five asides in the YouTube questions
• “What’s up? I’m running out of tape; I have to hurry.”
• “It’s a question in the back of everybody’s head. You know, in some people, it’s further back than others, collecting cobwebs.”
• “And the follow-up, are we watching the same blankin’ war?”
• “I’ve been growing concerned that global warming, the single most important issue to the snowmen of this country, is being neglected.”
• “I got a parking ticket last week. Could one of y’all pardon me?”

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Rate the candidates:
• Hillary Clinton: ***** Remained above finger-pointing, but quickly took opportunities to improve on other candidates’ responses. She let a prize opportunity to talk about pay disparity slip away. But she said, “The issue is: Which of us is ready to lead on day one?” And she knows we know the answer.
• Bill Richardson: ***** Played up his experience with diplomacy and gave a straight-talk response to a question on gay rights, saying he’s ready to do what’s doable.
• Barack Obama: **** Obama didn’t fail, but he faltered from the commanding presence he set in past debates. He was outdone on diplomacy and gay rights, but did well on Iraq and the question of his level of blackness.
• John Edwards: *** Not a campaign-changing performance, but Edwards held his own. If only he hadn’t bad-mouthed Hillary’s outfit. That’s our job!
• Joe Biden and Chris Dodd: *** Two senators with responses pulled right off the Senate floor. They were forceful at times and contemplative at times. Fine statesmen. Presidential? Maybe not.
• Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel: ** Well, they do provide the entertainment. Kucinich and Gravel pressed the centrist candidates on their viewpoints. Good. Then they yelled and hollered. Bad.

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Moment we knew Hillary beat Obama:
A questioner asked if, during the first year of their administration, would they meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba,
and North Korea.
Obama said he would. “And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous.”
Clinton said no. “I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort because I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you know what the intentions are. I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes.”
Five reasons why there’s no one to the left of Dennis Kucinich (and one on why he’s not)
• On Iraq: “(I’m) the only one on the stage that actually voted against the war, and also the only one on the stage who voted against funding the war 100 percent of the time.”
• On Reparations: “The Bible says we shall be and must be repairers of the breach. And a breach has occurred.”
• On Gay Marriage: “Our brothers and sisters who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered should have the same rights accorded to them as anyone else, and that includes the ability to have a civil marriage ceremony.”
• On Texting: “Text ‘Peace,’ 73223.”
• On the Environment: “Well, we have to understand the connection between global warring and global warming.”
• On Silly Media Assumptions: “There’s no one more mainstream on the war and on health care and on trade than
I am.”