Wednesday, November 28, 2007

youtube debate

It's not a united party. They can't even agree on a tie color. Hunter and Rudy are red, Paul and Tancredo are stripes, Huckabee's blue...

Boy, CNN, big fan of the show-the-whole-auditorium shot, huh?

Anderson Cooper says no questions from animals, stuffed or real, nor children.

The first is a guy singing. Chris Nandor, from the same neck of the woods as where Twin Peaks was filmed, and it's suitably weird.

Okay, this is not a promising start.
As the GOP's CNN/YouTube debate draws near, a few notes from the scene
Tune into CNN, surf over to or come back here to USA TODAY On Politics at 8 p.m. ET if you're interested in tonight's CNN/YouTube debate starring the eight leading Republican presidential contenders. Jill is planning to live-blog the proceedings, as she did when the Democrats had their turn at the CNN/YouTube format back in July.

(Need a refresher on who the eight GOP candidates are? In alphabetical order: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Sen. John McCain, Rep. Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rep. Tom Tancredo and Fred Thompson.)

Meanwhile, USA TODAY's Kathy Kiely and Gannett News Service's Chuck Raasch are at the debate site in St. Petersburg, Fla. They've both sent along some notes, and Kathy included a photo too:

From Kathy.

• CNN producer David Bohrman will have between 60-70 questions cued up from the nearly 5,000 submitted to YouTube. Some of the questions are directed at specific candidates; others are more general. Moderator Anderson Cooper from CNN will decide which candidates get first crack at those questions.

Candidates will have 90 seconds to respond to a question. Cooper's job will be to make sure they stay on point. "We won't let them stray off to another topic," says Bohrman. Other candidates may signal if they want to jump in; it will be up to Cooper to decide whether to recognize them, or move on to another question. Bohrman said producers managed to squeeze 39 YouTube questions the Democratic debate.

Even if they manage to do as well this time, they'll still be leaving a lot on the cutting room floor. The buzz from the Democratic YouTube debate appeared to increase interest in tonight's session. YouTube got 2,000 more questions for this debate than they did for the Democrats.' Bohrman says there are "some interesting productions" and "some very hard questions" but adds that "as a group, they're probably less irreverent" than the questions submitted for the Democratic debate.

Bohrman says the CNN team is steering away from "gotcha" questions that appear to have been submitted by Democrats. Instead, they're focusing on questions that illuminate differences among the eight Republicans. "The idea here is to help Republican voters and caucus-goers make a choice among these eight guys," he says. Political VIPs -- even Republicans -- do not have a special edge. Bohrman told reporters Monday that he will NOT be using a question submitted by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

• Flush-with-campaign-cash candidate Ron Paul rented a 1,000-seat arena, the Palladium, several blocks from the debate site for a party. One of his enthusiastic supporters, Paul Tompkins of St. Petersburg, was patrolling the downtown area with a sign this afternoon. Tompkins said his slightly risqué outfit is meant to be a Boston Tea Party costume.

• Across the street from the Mahaffey Theater, where the candidates will be, there's a homeless encampment. James King, one of the protesters, says they are trying to call attention to a shortage of shelter space in St. Petersburg. "We hope the mayor will at least listen to us," King says.

• Chad Hurley, 30, one of the three friends who founded YouTube just three years ago says YouTube has no specific plans for its future role in the campaign but adds that, "we would hope the discussion would continue on our site after the debate is over and that the politicians will stay involved in the process. Our whole goal is to engage more people in the political process."

• Google, owner of debate sponsor YouTube, sponsored a lunch at a downtown restaurant for some of the folks who have been contributing politically themed videos to the site.

One of them, 38-year-old Dennis Trainor, says YouTube literally changed his life: The former high school teacher was a struggling writer and actor when he began experimenting with YouTube. He developed such a following that he's just been hired by the Dennis Kucinich campaign.

"I was able to reach more people in the first month on YouTube than in 10 years as a stage actor in New York," says Trainor. True to his theatrical roots, he uses an alter ego on YouTube: Davis Fleetwood, the name of a character in Trainor's plays.

From Chuck.

• If recent debates are predictive, the post-debate "spin" room tonight will be populated with youthful video bloggers there to record the hired guns that the Republicans candidates have brought in to tell reporters why their guy won.

In the not-so-distance past, spin rooms had a more of the feel of a sedate conversations between consultants and the so-called "mainstream media." Thanks to Internet journalism and the campaigns' desire to get their video spins out to the masses, though, the spin rooms are getting more and more intense.

The changes brought to these events by these new technologies show up in much more subtle was as well. The YouTube and Google-sponsored "vloggers lounge" just outside the journalists' filing center here includes the usual coffee and other adrenaline-producing sustenance vital to reporters on deadline.

But the lounge also includes bins of red hots, M&Ms and Gummy Bears -- just the fare for a younger, more Web-driven cast of characters.

Posted by Mark Memmott at 05:22 PM/ET, November 28, 2007 in Debates, Presidential race, 2008, Republicans, Web/Tech | Permalink
By posting a comment, you affirm that you are 13 years of age or older
What would Jesus do about the death penalty? Mr. Huckabee: "Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office."

9:12 p.m. | Abortion On abortion, the candidates are asked if Roe v. Wade were overturned and congress passed a federal ban on abortion, would you sign that bill? Mr. Thompson said overturning Roe versus Wade "should be our number-one focus now." Penalties should be as they are now. Mr. Giuliani said "I probably would not sign it, I would leave it to the states to make that decision." Mr. Romney said he would be "delighted to sign that bill."

9:11 p.m | Assessing the Videos, Part 3: O.K., we were really focused on that outdoor scene with Jay Fox, in camouflage pants, from Boulevard, Calif., who said, "Like in any small town, we like our big guns," and then pumps the chamber of a shotgun. That was a pretty powerful moment to ask the candidates about their beliefs on gun control, in a very striking setting.
Then of course, two more videos show up — both from men indoors to talk about gun control. One of them, from a person in Louisville allows Mr. Giuliani to make distinctions about the need for stricter gun laws in an urban environment like New York as opposed to Kentucky.
But finally, a father-son team, from Atlanta, want the candidates to talk about black-on-black crime, and while Mr. Romney gets in a nice line about mothers and fathers and family values, none of the candidates really address the issue that the young son raised. — Kate Phillips
9:10 p.m. | Guns A series of questions about gun control and gun ownership. Mr. Giuliani hints at "reasonable" regulations against guns and gets booed. Then concludes, "People will be allowed to have guns, I won't interfere with that." Mr. Cooper notes that Mr. Thompson has said that Mr. Giuliani never supported the second amendment. Mr. Thompson links Mr. Giuliani with the Clinton administration.
Who owns a gun, and what kind? Everyone but Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Romney, who notes that the guns in his home are owned by his son.

9:05 p.m. | Assessing the Videos, Part 2 Unlike the Democratic YouTube debate, where the candidates featured themselves — remember John Edwards's spoof using the theme song from "Hair" or Chris Dodd's "hare" and his white mane? Well this time, the G.O.P. candidates are using other candidates to make their points. Tom Tancredo's video flips on and off with Hillary Rodham Clinton to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." And then Fred Thompson got a great laugh by featuring Mitt Romney's "flip-flops" on abortion, to the point at the beginning of his video where viewers had no idea it was Mr. Thompson's campaign spot. And then Mr. Thompson jumped in live, to say, well he just wanted to give his rivals more air time. Yeah, we're all laughing. — Kate Phillips
9 p.m. | Candidate Video Fred Thompson's video targets "flip-flops" made by Mr. Romney and Mr. Huckabee. One shows Mr. Romney supporting abortion rights. He says, as he has before, that this was a mistake. The other shows Mr. Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, saying that a surcharge on the income tax and a sales tax are fine with him. He says that the income tax is the same, which isn't exactly a denial, and that the sales tax is one cent higher, but here's the point he wants to make: Getting attacked isn't always bad, he says, quoting a preacher friend of his (a subtle reminder that Christian conservatives support him, even if fiscal conservatives do not): "When they're kicking you in the rear, it's just proving you're still out front."
8:49 p.m. | Non You-Tube Question: Anderson Cooper notes that a story broke earlier today on The Politico about questionable expenses that were billed to city agencies while Mr. Giuliani was mayor, and he would be remiss in not asking him about it. Mr. Giuliani flatly denies the story. "It's not true," he said. He said that as mayor, he had 24-hour security because of threats that he had, then and now. "I had nothing to do with the handling of their records," he says of the police.
8:42 p.m. | Assessing the Videos, Part 1: The videos so far — at least the first three beyond the sing-a-long introducing the candidates (wasn't that cute?) — managed to elicit quite heated exchanges among the G.O.P. candidates. But the first two were dark and gloomy. A New Yorker from Dyker Heights sat in a nondescript place and asked former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani about sanctuary cities; a man in sunglasses in a very dark place and who later shows up in the audience (he wears his sunglasses at night) and grades the answers — asks whether the candidates will veto any legislation that grants "amnesty" to illegal immigrants.
The third, by far the best in a visual sense, took the viewers and the candidates to the scene of an employer — Jack Brooks of Cambridge, Md., who worries about what will happen to his seasonal workers, and then videotapes his workers worrying about their jobs and the business.
Take the cameras outside, please, we're begging. We were then treated to the Penn State student on the deficit, warming to the fall colors of the leaves that provided a backdrop to her question. Uh-oh. Here comes Uncle Sam…

Hmm… CNN let a Washington Beltway insider — Grover Norquist — who insists candidates sign his no-new-tax pledge — offer up a video in this so-called leveling of democracy through YouTube. And has Mr. Giuliani really signed that pledge yet? We thought he hadn't.

Next, O.K. we don't think eating food — corn on the cob, for example, with that stringy stuff caught in your teeth, is a way to talk about subsidies. Didn't your mother teach you, don't talk with your mouth full? Don't talk while you're chewing? – Kate Phillips
8:42 p.m. | McCain Hits Paul Mr. McCain must be worried about Ron Paul taking independents away from him. He veers off-question and attacks Mr. Paul, who opposes the war in Iraq, telling him that his kind of isolationism "is what caused World War II."
He gets booed and applauded. He goes on: "We allowed Hitler to come to power with that kind of isolationism." He brings up his Thanksgiving trip to Iraq and says the message to Mr. Paul from the troops is "Let us win." Mr. Paul notes in response that he gets the most money from active duty military personnel. He says Mr. McCain has distorted his views and that he doesn't understand the difference between non-intervention and isolationism. Mr. Paul concludes, We don't need to use force to tell people how to live.
8:41 p.m. | Federal Spending Good question about what three spending programs the candidates would cut to reduce spending. Mr. Thompson seems to cite Social Security and Medicaid entitlements, but then says that's not what he's saying. Ron Paul names the Education Department, Energy Department and Homeland Security. Mr. Huckabee, who has been accused by opponents of raising taxes as governor of Arkansas, says he'd get rid of the I.R.S. and that would get rid of most of the problem.

8:39 p.m. | A Question for McCain Everyone else gets tough questions, so why the softball to John McCain? He's asked what he'll do to reduce the national debt. He has a litany of pork he has long opposed.

8:33 p.m. | Life is a Superhighway Ron Paul is asked whether he believes that the government is building the rumored "Nafta superhighway" between Mexico and Canada. Mr. Paul says yes, even though "they" are not talking about it. Mike Luo noted back in July that this is a popular question for Republicans on the campaign trail.

8:29 p.m. | College Tuition Mike Huckabee is asked if he supports a law to give military families the same tuition breaks as illegal immigrants. He says the voter is misinformed, that he didn't pass such a law when he was governor of Arkansas. He says he wants a veterans' bill of rights that would give them "exceptional" services, but doesn't specify. Mr. Romney then attacks Mr. Huckabee as a liberal — an attack that suggests Mr. Romney takes Mr. Huckabee as a serious threat.
8:26 p.m. | Still More Immigration We're 26 minutes in and we've got another immigration question. This debate seems like an extension of the Lou Dobbs show, with the candidates' fierce positioning against illegal immigrants.

8:18 p.m. | More Immigration Fred Thompson steps in and throws a sharp elbow. He's ostensibly talking about immigration but veers off the question to note Mr. Giuliani's previous reference to people being responsible for whom they hire. He is alluding to Mr. Giuliani's hiring of Bernard Kerik, the recently indicted former police commissioner of New York and long-time Giuliani friend. But, says Mr. Thompson, "we'll address that later."

8:11 p.m. | Immigration First question to Rudolph W. Giuliani about whether he will continue to aid and abet the flight of immigrants into this country. The whole thing turns into a heated spat that is the pattern for these debates — take your hits in the first few minutes, while viewers are still watching. Mr. Giuliani seemed prepared for the question, or at least is throwing a lot of numbers out there. But he said that New York was not a sanctuary city. Anderson Cooper, the moderator, threw the question to Mitt Romney, who said New York was a sanctuary city. Mr. Giuliani stepped back in, unprodded, to assail Mr. Romney, who had a "sanctuary mansion" not just a sanctuary city because he had illegal


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home