(CNN) -- Monday night's presidential debate started on the Web, and it will end on the Web, in the thousands of conversation threads, uploaded videos, comments and even cartoon responses to the two-hour television broadcast.
Matthew Rankow asked, "Who keeps inviting Gravel to these things? What is he yelling about?"
The eight Democratic presidential candidates fielded questions in Charleston, South Carolina, from a giant video screen that projected questions from videos uploaded to video-sharing site YouTube.
Seconds after the candidates answered, CNN.com users weighed in online regarding candidate performance, the groundbreaking format, questions they liked and questions they wished were asked.
There was a heated discussion during the debate on CNN.com's Political Ticker blog about a question from Rev. Reggie Longcrier of Hickory, North Carolina, who asked former Sen. John Edwards whether it is acceptable to use religion to "deny gay Americans their full and equal rights."
Edwards said he feels "enormous peronal conflict" on this issue, and does not agree with same-sex marriage.
"It was beyond a brilliant question," commented Matthew Baysinger of Charlottesville, Virginia.
I-Report contributors added their voices to the post-debate spin room, filing video responses the moment the broadcast finished. Mary and Jen of Brooklyn, New York, whose YouTube question on same-sex marriage was part of the debate, put themselves on camera to call the debate an "exciting new opportunity for democracy." Check out the I-Report video responses to the debate »
And that's just the beginning. Here's a round-up of some of the reaction CNN.com users sent to the public-video-driven debate:
Brenna of Bella Vista, Arkansas (from CNN Political Ticker)
"I feel that [Sen. Hilary] Clinton and [Sen. Barack] Obama came across as the most confident and capable candidates. However, I feel that Obama performed the best. Clinton came across almost too controlled and a little flat at times. Obama was by far the most engaging of all candidates."
Clarence Flanders of Boston, Massachusetts (from CNN I-Report)
"As a young American I must say that was the best debate I have ever seen. ... Hillary really stole the show for me. ... Also me and my friend think it is really cool that [former Sen. Mike] Gravel took the train."
Elizabeth of Los Angeles, California (from CNN Political Ticker)
"Finally -- someone has a plan for Darfur. ... My vote is for [Sen. Joe] Biden."
Diane Mullins of Lincoln, Nebraska (from CNN I-Report)
"If there was a 'winner' I'd say it's between [former Sen. John] Edwards and Obama because they both crafted their responses without high emotion to emotionally charged questions."
Jeff Hedrick of Cumberland, Maryland (from CNN I-Report)
"I have struggled with my choice for a presidential candidate until tonight. John Edwards responses choked me up several times, he speaks with conviction the way Bill Clinton spoke."
Diane Collins (from CNN.com Sound Off)
"This is the most exciting, innovative, fun and substantive approach to speaking to candidates yet conceived."
James Gill of Bellmore, New York (from AC360 blog)
"That was the WORST debate I have ever seen. An animated snowman asking questions of contenders for the Presidency of the United States? No follow ups? The candidates could say anything with impunity, and without follow ups, people are left to believe they are telling the truth. This was a joke, but I guess in modern America, substance is trumped by personality and 'humour.'"
Harold Sandstrom of Bloomfield, Connecticut (from CNN I-Report)
"This is a terrific debate. The YouTube questions are hard hitting and right at the core of what we need to know from the candidates. The candidates have to face 'in your face' questions directed straight at them. Thank you, CNN and YouTube!"
Mat (from CNN.com Sound Off)
"I love the idea of letting every person in the world have the opportunity to field comments for the presidential candidates but I am ashamed at how CNN has handled the debate. There are more candidates on the stage than just Obama, Clinton, and Edwards. Give the other candidates equal opportunity to speak and set up the stage so that the candidates with the most money aren't the only ones that are focused on the entire time. Poorly handled CNN."
Jon Johnson of Hurricane, West Virginia (from CNN I-Report)
"The questions from ordinary folks are as good as or better as what we usually hear from the news professionals and the questions are phrased in such a way that the candidates are having a tough time ducking them."
THE QUESTIONS NOT ASKED
Matthew Allen of Annandale, Virginia (from CNN I-Report)
"Where were the questions on immigration???"
Norman Thompson of Naples, Florida (from CNN I-Report)
"I am very surprised that tonight's debate did not include any reference or questions regarding the gross abuse of the Constitution of the United States by the current administration/executive branch."
Dave of Columbus, Ohio (from CNN Political Ticker)
"The Hispanic community was ignored. This was highlighted by the question dealing with extending health care to undocumented workers in America. The candidates avoided answering this question completely. This demonstrates how divisive this issue is, even in the Democratic Party. I would like to give Rep. Kucinich and Sen. Gravel points for their honesty, and I found Mr. Edwards' tap dancing around every question exasperating."
Jeffrey Schneider of New York, New York (from CNN I-Report)
"Sen. Obama's comments on gay marriage (i.e., proposing civil unions) is simply a 'Separate but Equal' policy. Just to play devil's advocate, how would Sen. Obama react to creating a 'Separate but Equal' policy for blacks and whites? Would he mind using 'Separate but Equal' water fountains, washrooms, buses, etc. than white citizens?"
Christine (from CNN.com Sound Off)
"I am shocked that all of the candidates asked suggested that women be registered for the draft as every man. ... I do not think that any of them were speaking as honestly as they would like to come across."
S.A. from Pennsylvania (from CNN.com Sound Off)
"I am a die-hard Democrat [liberal], and I was OUTRAGED that all of the candidates said that they would all work their terms for the minimum wage. Barack Obama was the only one who came close to a legitimate answer in saying that they all have enough money, not to work, to be able to tough out the minimum wage. The answer that SHOULD have been voiced was that the minimum wage is OUTRAGEOUS, and that NO ONE should have to work for such a slave wage. To say they would gives off the idea that 'if they can do it, so can you.' They should have spoken the truth, that NO, they WOULD NOT work for the minimum wage." E-mail to a friend
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