CNN/YouTube Debate Live Blog! Part 4

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A question in the form of a rap song about No Child Left Behind. Kind of cringe-inducing, but kind of neat. Richardson and Biden, who have differences on Iraq, as documented below, both agree on scrapping it. This is Bush’s single greatest domestic accomplishment! What an awful legacy!

Wait, Biden’s wife and daughter were killed? Did he just say that? How can everyone talk about John Edwards’ dead son without ever mentioning the fact that Biden has lost his wife and daughter? I’m hitting Wikipedia.

Okay, here’s what Wikipedia says (authoritative source, I know): “In 1966, while in law school, Biden married Neilia Hunter. They had three children, Joseph R. III (Beau), Robert Hunter, and Amy. His wife and infant daughter died in an automobile accident shortly after he was first elected to the U.S. Senate [in 1973]. His two young sons, Beau and Hunter, were seriously injured in the accident, but both eventually made full recoveries. Biden was sworn into office from their bedside.” Biden remarried in 1977.

We just had a question from two fake hillbillies and a question from a snowman. CNN’s producers are punchy tonight. (Boy, awkward transition.)

The candidates on stage are trying to illustrate how their environmental positions can be distinguished from one another. Gonna be tough — they’re all just about the same, which is to say, equally excellent.

Clara Jeffery, MoJo’s Editor-in-Chief, writes in, “Dennis Kucinich just asked us to text peace! Arrrgh I want my computer.” Yes, Kucinich did ask us to text peace, but I’m not exactly sure what that means — maybe DK’s website has more? Also, two girls with incredibly bright smiles just spoke on behalf of raising the minimum wage and then asked everyone on stage if they would work for the MW. Pretty much everyone said yes. And now there’s a question about taxes in the form of a song, with a joke about a parking ticket pardon at the end. This is shaping up to be the most entertaining and yet substantive debate ever. I am fully, completely on board with YouTube politics. This is awesome.

Other notes: Everyone loves God. Seriously, everyone on stage looooves God.

Richardson is surprisingly inarticulate for a man who has spent a lifetime in public service. It’s so disappointing that he’s less than the sum of his parts. Biden, who looked sad and defeated frequently tonight, is the source of fantastic one-liners. Barack Obama can’t reach rhetorical heights in this clipped format.

And we’re going to go out on a lovefest. The final question — the 36th, I believe — asks the candidates to look to their left and say something positive and negative about the person standing there. Everyone is thanking each other for their courage and lives of service. Everyone loves everyone, Joe Biden especially loves Dennis Kucinich’s wife!

Fun night; maybe the best debate I’ve ever seen. Honest.

Postscript: John Edwards is answering additional questions in a live webcast right now, which is pretty neat. You can vote on the questions he should answer. Also, Chris Dodd is in the spin room answering questions from reporters; that’s being fed live here.

More live blog: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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