Wednesday, November 28, 2007
First up were the Democrats, and now it's the Republicans' turn. Tonight marks the much-anticipated CNN/YouTube Republican Debate, in which the 8 GOP candidates on our You Choose '08 platform will descend on St. Petersburg, Florida to answer video questions submitted via YouTube. The two-hour debate will be aired live on CNN at 8 PM ET, and all the clips will be hosted soon after on YouTube.
People submitted almost 5,000 questions (4,927, to be exact) to the GOP hopefuls right on YouTube -- 2,000 more than the Democrats got on July 23. In true YouTube style, some of the questions are creative, but most are compelling -- and demonstrate the concerns of voters trying to differentiate between the candidates in a crowded primary field.
Back in July, we broke new ground in presidential debates with our first-ever CNN/YouTube Debate. Thirty-nine questions were posed to the Democratic candidates, and when Stephen Sixta asked a question about whether or not the presidential contenders would speak directly to foreign dictators, a conflict broke out between Senators Obama and Clinton that has matured into the defining difference between these two front-runners in this campaign.
The core concept behind these debates is to let real questions from real people drive the dialogue. The power of YouTube is that it lowers the barrier to entry to engage in the political process, and levels the platform for political discussion. It used to be that a voter had to live in Iowa, New Hampshire, or Florida to engage with the candidates at this stage of the campaign, but YouTube has broken down those barriers, and has brought more transparency and access to the political dialogue than ever before. We think that politics will never be the same (thankfully).