Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) answers a question submitted though his campaign website as to why he said, in a September Democratic debate, that credit card companies deserved to get "stuck" with his $90,000 of debt when he declared bankruptcy.

Gravel says the bankrupted credit cards had been used for The Democracy Foundation, a group Gravel founded, and not for personal expenditures. Gravel cites undergoing several medical operations in one year as a precipitating cause, and says he may have answered the original question too glibly for the well-paid debate host, Tim Russert.

Gravel says he has impoverished himself over the years in support of The Democracy Foundation, adding that he does not own any property. According to Gravel, Presidents Harry Truman and Thomas Jefferson both, like Gravel, were bankrupt at one point.