Monday, July 23, 2007
Your take on the YouTube debate
Two hours and nearly 3,000 questions later, the first CNN/YouTube presidential debate is over.

Our goal was to bridge the gap between you and the politicians, to cut through the spin and get the truth. We hope that was accomplished, at least in part.

Mind you, this new platform is a work in progress, and we promise to smooth out the rough spots for the next one.

What matters, of course, isn't what we think of the debate. It's what you have to say that matters.

And we want to hear it. So share with us your opinions of the debate. Who won? Was there an answer that changed your mind about a candidate?

Like I said, let us know.

See you later.

-- By Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 9:22 PM ET
  190 Comments
Excellent job -- herding cats indeed.

Who won? Cooper.
Posted By Mac, San Jose, Calif : 9:47 PM ET
Thank you CNN and Anderson Cooper. I think you have made history today
giving the adverage American a voice in their goverment. Please do this more often.

virginia loeb
Peoria Arizona
Posted By Ryan McCormack : 9:49 PM ET
Did you get the truth? I don't think so. They say whatever people want to hear in order to get elected. After they move into the White House, they do what they want. All the Democratic frontrunners are the same, just packaged differently
Posted By Suzan Robertson : 9:52 PM ET
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".
Posted By James Gill, Bellmore, NY : 9:53 PM ET
I really enjoyed the debate tonight. I thought the new format of letting ordinary citizens post questions that are important to them made the evening interesting all the way through. I found myself looking forward to each new question and the answer it would get out of the candidates. It allowed for some interesting responses from the candidates. I also thought that Anderson did a great job keeping the night moving by making sure the candidates were answering the question asked, and keeping them to the time restriction, but without being obnoxious about it. He was firm but fair, was serious when needed but still kept a sense of humor running throughout the night. Great job CNN and Anderson - I look forward to more debates following the same format (with Anderson continuing to moderate!)
Posted By Jamie, North Wales, Pennsylvania : 9:53 PM ET
Thank you CNN, Anderson Cooper,
You have made history today, giving the advrage American a voice in politics.
Thank you,
virgina Loeb
glendale arizona
Posted By virgiia Loeb Peoria Arizona 85382 : 9:54 PM ET
Your UTube debate was excellent. My 81 yr. old father even liked the format. Anderson Cooper did unsurprisingly well. Hillary Clinton and Anderson Cooper were tonight's winners.
Joe
Posted By Joe Egan, Aliso Viejo,CA : 9:55 PM ET
We got a version of the truth - not the whole enchilada. We were still treated to spin, by and large, rather than straightforward answers. I'm an Obama supporter but also have to give Hillary her props tonight - they were both quite direct. Edwards was trying to color-by-numbers, Richardson looked doddering and weak, Dodd looked like he was mid-filibuster, Biden was direct but dismissive, Kucinich was his usual weird and idealistic self, and Gravel looks like a serious anger management risk.

I wish there was a way to have a round-table discussion with the candidates where they had to monitor themselves and allocate time for each other - I think then we'd really see more in-depth discussion and more of their interpersonal dynamics which will mean so much since collaboration is crucial in this election.
Posted By Kimberly W., Raleigh, NC : 9:56 PM ET
You, Anderson, are to be commended for doing a fine job of keeping the debate going, and for trying to keep the candidates answering the question asked. I think most of the time the candidates did a better job than usual in answering the Youtube questions. So many times in other forums they blow past the question asked and try to make an irrelevant point. This happened somewhat, but you kept trying to bring them back to the question asked. I think it's a great format with a lot of future potential, but I would sure hate to be one of those folks that had to decide which questions to use. As the saying goes, "no good deed goes unpunished." Now, what I'd really like to see is a similar debate with just four or five candidates, the ones that really have a chance at the nomination. Hope you do this again some time before the election.

Richard Armstrong
Hendersonville, NC
Posted By Anonymous : 10:00 PM ET
This was the best debate ever! It was fast moving and Anderson you did a good job keeping them on topic and moving them along.
Posted By Jana Terre Haute, IN : 10:01 PM ET
I liked the format and found it a nice change of pace from the usual debate format. I thought each of the candidates did a good job. I thought Joe Biden's response to the gun control question was the best of the night. Overall I thought that Hillary, Obama and Edwards were the top performers.
Posted By K Kogut Falls Church, VA : 10:01 PM ET
It's not so much that you need to "smooth it out". (It's kind of cool "unedited".) But you need more questions asking for specifics on how these candidates have solved specific problems in their states.

I'd avoid all questions with the phrase:

What would you do...?"

Anyone can say what they would do, but I'd like to hear more of : "what have you specifically done that shows success in leadership...?"

I'd like to hear about budgets they have managed, ways they have specifically shown leadership, and problems they have solved. The key word is specifics, and the main focus should be what specific issues have you already handled that show leadership and what success and what failures have you had solving these problems.
Posted By xtina chicago IL : 10:02 PM ET
Anderson,
Great job moderating debate. This is excellent venue for voters to address questions directly to candidates. I think the YouTube experiment was a success.
Posted By Hanna, San Francisco. : 10:03 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

Bravo! That was the best debate I have ever watched! I do not have the equipment to send an I-Report response, but I hope you will consider my observations just as important.

I loved your opening statement by Chris from Portland, Oregon; that is always my concern during these debates. I am glad it took front and center tonight.

I thought your follow up questions were excellent, especially the ones regarding women’s advocacy and putting troops on the ground in Darfur!

Steven’s question about talking to the leaders of Iran, Syria, and Cuba was an important one. I loved the question about how many of the candidates family members are serving in Iraq. I seem to remember Michael Moore catching a lot of flak when he asked the same question in “Fahrenheit 911.”

I was apprehensive about the comic element of some of the submissions, but the one about Al Gore by the “Deliverance Boys,” and the one on global warming by “Mr. Snowman and son” were great!

Touché on the question about who came in a private jet! I actually applauded it!

You handled the debate beautifully! I particularly enjoyed the moments of humor you injected into it; without sounding disrespectful, you were able to give the rather fast moving debate a needed moment of pause.

This was your shining moment; I knew you would do brilliantly! I’ll be watching your post debate coverage at 10PM.

I look forward to the Republican debate in September.

Again, congratulations on a job well done!

Jo Ann
Posted By Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton,Ohio : 10:04 PM ET
This debate solidified for me that Barry Obama is the next president of this country. His answers were earnest and straightforward without becoming venomous or angry. He projects a presidential aura from every pore. He doesn't accept money from PACs and lobby groups, his mother died of cancer while worrying about how to pay for it for crying out loud. He has the real life experience and youthful vitality that we need in a president so badly. To me he will arguably by the greatest president we've had since JFK. He has the exact same sort of vision and vitality. I will work tirelessly to get this guy into office. Hillary? She's been paid off by the HMO lobbys bigtime.
Posted By Lance M, Los Angeles, CA : 10:04 PM ET
I like this format. While candidates will always hem and haw and try to inject canned sound bites, this format seems to force them to answer the questions more directly.

The only thing I didn't like was that the 30 seconds allotted for each answer was a bit short. I don't know what the right amount is but maybe a minute is better.
Posted By John Nguyen, Atlanta GA : 10:04 PM ET
Thank you CNN!!!! Finally, after years of hearing Anderson say over and over again "Keeping them honest", you have put together a debate format that forced the canidates to answer questions important to everyday Americans with a minimum amount of BS and pandering.

I'm a 28 year moderate Republican from the deep south with a conservative world view. I voted for President Bush during both elections. However, after viewing the YouTube debate, I have a renewed faith in the Democratic candidates in general. I no longer think they are incompetent and unable to produce the much needed change in this country. I would defintely consider voting for John Edwards, Hilary Clinton, or Joe Biden. If my change in opinion is indicitive of others in the country, then the Republicans are in trouble.
Posted By Anna Walker : 10:05 PM ET
Anderson-

Thank you for including questions about education! As an elementary school teacher, I know firsthand the immediate change and attention our education system needs. Education is something that impacts all of us and often it is not a major discussion point in these debates. Once again, great job and thanks!
Posted By Nina, Boca Raton, FL : 10:07 PM ET
I'm still undecided, but was pleasantly surprised by the debate. It was nice to see something different for a change and the format really worked (I wasn't sure it would). Anderson, you did a great job. I feared we'd just get a bunch of stump speeches, but way to keep them in line! I can't wait to see the Republican debate. Okay, I'm lying. But at least in this format I can stomach it.
Posted By Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 10:10 PM ET
Hey Anderson,
I throughly enjoyed the youtube debate even though the video I submitted was never used or apparently considered!! ;-(
I thought Senator Clinton was the clear leader of the debate in her brightly colored coat. All her answers were direct and thoughtful.
John Edwards did a good job too but he needs to jump on over to his wife's side on gay marriage!
Barack Obama also did very well with good answers.
Joe Biden had some interesting answers about education but we all know he is just biden our time!
Anderson, you did a fantabulous job hosting the debate especially the far left remark to Dennis Kucinich!! That was funny!
Ok~ In '08 I predict it will be
CLINTON~OBAMA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!yeah~
Posted By Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX : 10:12 PM ET
What a fence sitting dodge on Gay Marriage! Always careful to say nothing that could not be wiggled out of. To say everyone will be treated equal, but "I am personally against gay marriage." If they say they will not legislate morality or will not allow personal religious views to be "imposed" on others, just did not jive with the avoidance of equality in marriage. I feel confident that most equal rights advocates are not wishing the government to "force" churches to marry people that the specific church policies disagree with. We want OUR GOVERNMENT to stop discriminating between gay and non gay. I believe people get legally married as recognized by the state and federal governments at many places other than at a church. If you have to call the union something other than what the heterosexual couples are afforded (marriage) then it is NOT EQUAL, it is different. I expected more out of you Anderson to hold their feet to the fire of answering this question.
Posted By Jeff. Central NJ : 10:12 PM ET
Tonight's debate was interesting at best and an exercise in more of the same at it's worst. Hillary would have us believe that her 35 years expierence qualifies her as the best candidate. Since all agreed that things need to change, seems to me Hillary is part of the problem and not the answer. Obama is by far the most charismatic but I don't trust that. Edwards - slimey as always.
Posted By Robyn - Georgetown, TX : 10:12 PM ET
Hey Anderson - i'm 32 years old...this was by far the best debate format i have seen since i started following politics at the ripe old age of 9. Even as a Republican, I was riveted by the reaction and comments by the candidates. As a GAY male Republican attorney, i was particularly intrigued by the Democratic responses on that particular issue...i can't wait to see what happens on 9/17 and i hope Giuliani can follow suit on what he did in New York. Thanks for such great coverage as always...

Felix -- Tampa, FL
Posted By Felix -- Tampa, FL : 10:13 PM ET
Anderson,

For me debates are always boring and drag on and on...this one went fast and actually kept my interest! I actuallly enjoyed it! But I think that everyone should get the same or near the same amount of TV time. That didn't happen here! And there needs to be more on the follow up questions. The candidates can actually say what they won't without being questioned!

On the whole I think the debates went great!! And who do you think won...CNN and Coop!!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 10:13 PM ET
i don't know if we got the truth, but at least they pretty much answered the questions for once!(nice job, coop.)

i LOVED the format even more than i thought i would. it was engaging and interesting... and even a little entertaining. yikes.

my vote for best comeback of the night was anderson's comment about not being able to find anyone left of kucinich. nice timing!

can't wait for the republicans!
cathy
riverside, ca
Posted By cathy : 10:15 PM ET
Anderson

You did a fantastic job trying to keep the 8 candidates to stay on track although I must say I was lost in thought a few times when they kept showing you go closer and closer to the edge of the stage. I was yelling at my tv for you to not fall on your butt and be the youtube moment of the debate.

The debate and it's format was fantastic and I don't see it goinging anywhere. Great job on picking questions that were funny, heartfelt and emotional and most importantly, questions that were able to bring out debate

So who won???? I do have to say Mr. Cooper looked very presidential up on that stage. How bout Cooper in '08 :P

Can't wait for September's debate with the Republicians.
Posted By Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada : 10:18 PM ET
Well Anderson you had the "line of the night" when you told Mr. Kucinich that you couldn't find anyone left of him !!

Overall, though it was waaay too general. I want to hear about these candidates' track records, not some idealistic and vague statements about "bold change" and "big change". Anyone can say that.
Posted By DH Lake Barrington, IL : 10:19 PM ET
First and foremost, Anderson you did a phenomenal job tonight. You were fair and respectful to all and I really enjoyed the debate. I really liked the fact that the candidates had to face the American people and answer the questions that they are concerned with and want answers to. It will be interesting to see how this debate format changes debates in the future. As for who won the debate, I thought Sen. Obama did a great job. I was not an Obama supporter before this debate, however after tonight I am going to have to reconsider him as a candidate in my eyes.
Again, Anderson, you did a great job tonight. And by the way, your age is not catching up with your hair...you are as handsome as ever!
Posted By Jessica, Bourbonnais Illinois : 10:19 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

Once again CNN makes important history.

I know that you will be embarrassed by all of the compliments, but seriously, you did a wonderful job Anderson (no surprise there). How you can stay so cool; well, it had to be difficult st times.

Politicians are so cemented in their own agenda's and you steered the ship masterfully, fairly and with great respect for the individuals involved.

CNN has helped to set the bar very high. You set an important precedent that will no doubt be followed in the future (at least I hope that it will be). If the politicians and the government in this country learned to listen more to it's citizenry, we would not be in the shape that we are in today. IMHO.

Thanks CNN, thanks Anderson. Keep doing what you are doing. IT MATTERS. :) You guys have my utmost respect.

Who won?

Yeah, I agree - it was Anderson. I have to say that I was also impressed with John Edwards. Hillary - she sounded like a President, but she has the inside track there.

Hey Anderson - ever think of running yourself? Just kidding...Nah, you are too honest (and thank goodness for that!)
Posted By Pati McMillan, Camp Hill, PA : 10:22 PM ET
I could be wrong, but Barack Obama seemed to have the least air time, not Mike Gravel. Hillary actually looked very good.

Can't wait to see submissions for the Republican debate Sep 17!
Posted By Shud Shalee, Gary, IN : 10:23 PM ET
This was an exercise that insulted the American public. It was a play on the entertainment value of the viewers. I am a public education teacher and this appeared to be like an ploy used by in-experienced teachers to keep the attention of the class. They would pop in a video to keep their attention through entertainment not substance. Let the candidates face off against each other with a substantive discussion. I know that the debates must have approval of the candidates and their camps; I do not believe any of the leading candidates would agree to this format. The American people would benefit the most so we could identify who we really can support by their stance on the real issues.
Posted By Stephen Knowlton : 10:25 PM ET
Anderson,

My roomate and I thoroughly enjoyed the debate. We thought you did a wonderful job of keeping the canidates on track and sticking to the questions.
This is one time I felt that the American people got a chance to ask the questions that concern them. There were many great questions asked tonight that I feel would not come up in another forum.
We are looking forward to the Republican debate.

Thanks again

Julie Enos
April Tucker
Posted By Julie Enos : 10:26 PM ET
John Edwards' hair look especially perfect.

The ' "what role did class play " in Katrina ' was moronic. The "race" question to Barack and "female" question Hillary was ridiculous. Who picked these questions?! Anderson, I have to call you out on the honesty of saying "it wasn't your question!" YOU, CNN and ANDERSON picked these questions!
Posted By Steve, Peoria, Ill. : 10:29 PM ET
That was a fast moving debate. I was very impressed with several of the candidates and their answers. You did a great job of moderating - keeping it moving and on topic.

I had not formed an opinion about who to support before this - like the folks from TN I was holding out for Gore. This debate gave me some things to think about on who else might be worth supporting.

Thanks for all your hard work in bringing this new format to us; hopefully, it will reach more people than traditional ways have in the past few elections. And the best comments of the evening - Edwards on health care and the man with cleft palette, and yours Anderson on the grey hair(!) and no one being to the left of Kunich - fast thinking and witty! Nice touch.
Posted By Annie Kate, Birmingham AL : 10:30 PM ET
I don't think we did get the truth- at least about the war.

As far as I can tell, 65% of the remaining oil reserves are in the middle east. There is NO WAY any candidate- Republican or Democrat will EVER pull ALL the troops out of Iraq. May some, but NEVER all of them.

Why is it not reported in the mainstream media the fact that 14 military bases have been built (or under construction) in Iraq?

I suggest others have a look at the fact that the world has reached "peak oil". The idea that at some point in the near future, worldwide oil production will permanently decline. This has dire implications for the world economy yet not many politicians touch this issue.

I'd be happy to hear what the politicians have to say on this subject but sadly, I think we'll have to wait until there's an oil crisis...

Thank you for the opportunity to post.

Bob
Gilbert, Arizona
Posted By Bob : 10:35 PM ET
I really liked the format and CNN did a terrific job organizing this event. I also appreciated the great job you did keeping the candidates from rambling off topic.
You asked was my mind changed by any of the candidate’s answers. Obama's lack of experience really was apparent to me when he said he'd meet with Chavez, Castro etc during his first year in office. I totally agree with Senator Clinton that you don't give those types of meetings away without getting something in return.
If I had one criticism it was the question CNN chose on gun control. It really played to the stereotype of a fanatical gun owner instead of the responsible sportsman. It makes it difficult to get an unbiased answer when the question is so skewed.
Posted By Phebe Phoenix, AZ : 10:40 PM ET
This debate suffers from the main problem every debate has. When a candidate is asked a question like "how do we fix social security?" they have 15 seconds to answer before being cut off. There's no substance to this, and all you get are bumper sticker slogans and evening news soundbites. But who cares about what potential leaders of our country have to say about things that directly impact our lives when we could be watching re-runs of "Friends" right?
Posted By Josh, Blacksburg, VA : 10:41 PM ET
I think this is pretty groundbreaking stuff. When have any candidates seemed so accessible? Never. I think they need to see the faces of the people who care about the issues and who will be voting. Tonight, they actually answered to the American public, and not through some stiff moderator tossing questions at them. This kind of unpredictable environment illicits the truth because you don't have time to prepare, so your initial answer probably tells a lot about how you think. I wouldn't be surprised if more people actually get out and vote because of this.

I think you also have to take some credit here, although I realize you don't think of yourself as being able to affect change. But there is an accessible quality about you that has been extended to tonight's events. So suck it up and take some credit, will you?
Posted By Debbie, Denham Springs, LA : 10:47 PM ET
I found doing the debate this way was very refreshing instead of the old way.
If Anderson worried about how it would come out he can rest a asured it was very very good.
It looks like using the you tube method is going to be the way of these debates.
I don't know where any one else notice or not but they did not choose a song for tonight, I wonder why?
Other then that everything was excellent- Specially Anderson. I had no doubt he would be.

He looked like he should be the presidential candidate :) at the end Dennis K said himself that Anderson knows more about the war and what's going on then any of them do.

Way to go, Anderson I vote for you !!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted By bluediamond (Jennifer) : 10:49 PM ET
Anderson Cooper is my hero. Always being there in the middle of the heat. Where there is a hot topic so is Anderson Cooper giving us his best. He is a true CNN Warrior in my opinion. *****
Posted By Christina Jean Lelito : 10:53 PM ET
Great job. Who needs Matthews, Blitzer and the other talking heads. All we need is the American public to be heard and someone like Anderson to keep everybody honest. The pundits should stop and learn from this and know that we are tired of their overblown egos.
Posted By Philip, Los Angeles, CA : 10:54 PM ET
Anderson:
BRAVO! BRAVO! CNN and Anderson Cooper!

My eighteen year old son has been IMing with his friends online about the CNN/UTube Democratic debate. They have all decided to meet at Starbucks to talk even more about the debate and the candidates! Who knew he was even interested in politics?

For this younger generation, this new format of a presidential debate was just what they needed to become passionate about what is important to them, mainly their future.

I believe it is going to change how Americans want to view presidential debates. I know I don't want to go back to the stale debates of the past.

Let's see how the Republicans respond on September 17.
Posted By Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 10:56 PM ET
Anderson,

Excellent Job!! I loved the format and the whole debate keep my attention. Some great questions tonight and I felt that the candidates were forced to give more direct responses. I believe this format will help the younger generations become more involved in politics. Edwards, Hillary, and Obama were my top three but YOU were the winner!!
Posted By Haley Auburn, AL : 11:03 PM ET
Excellent... and great job Anderson. It is fundamental for a democracy to have questions coming directly from regular citizens. The only missing item is that somehow you need to allow for follow ups. It would be great if somehow the people that asked questions could have a follow up. In absence of that.. Anderson needs to be more vigilant to do better follow ups.
Posted By K. Kadivar Washington DC : 11:03 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
Pacific time zone curse..I missed most of the debate, because I wasn't home from work yet..So I'm glad to watch the repeat. What I did catch seemed ok, different and new. I did find the sound hard to hear when the questions were asked. But I must commend them all for their efforts. Even the ones clearly seeking 30 seconds of fame. Good job.
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 11:04 PM ET
Overall I really liked the format and thought Anderson did an excellent job of going back and forth between the candidates and the video questions and TRYING to keep the candidates on track.

Biden seemed to have the most to offer and showed he can think quickly on his feet. His answers were direct, sincere, and knowledgeable, giving me a level of confidence that he could step in tomorrow and be President. Clinton also convinced me that she'd be a fine President if given the chance, although I still have some reservations. The rest of the bunch were annoying in one way or the other. In fact, I found myself yelling at the TV several times when candidates failed to answer the question that was asked. Biden has a reputation for being long winded, but we didn't see that here. Instead Obama was the one who went on and on without saying a whole lot about what he'd do in each case. He definitely has charisma but he seems like a rookie when it comes to substance.

I hope the YouTube format is used again because I liked the variety of questions asked! Thanks CNN.
Posted By Liz, Nottingham, NH : 11:09 PM ET
I thought the debates well done and in answer to your question, yes they made a difference in who I would choose to support in this election. I thought Clinton and Edwards did best; Obama seemed too inexperienced. The choice between Clinton and Edwards will be tough.

Anderson did a good job of herding the cats so to speak. The only suggestion I would have is to not assume that every child that submits a question is doing it for their parents. Small ones like the 5 year old, probably yes. However , I work with girl scouts who are 14 years old and older and they are fascinated with the political process and have strong opinions on what goes on. Several of them submitted questions and were very disappointed that because they were not an adult they were not considered. These are tomorrow's voters - engage them today so they will vote tomorrow.

On the whole it was a good debate - fast paced, on topic, feisty at times. Anderson, you did a great job and had nothing to be nervous about - you handled the candidates and the debate like the pro you are. Thank you for an enlightening evening.
Posted By Suzanne, Knoxville TN : 11:15 PM ET
Hey Anderson!

Great job tonight! I really like the format and agree with the gentleman on your show who said it will be hard to go back to the traditional format in later debates.

Question: Do you have plans for the other 2900 plus videos?

I think that more and more, Hillary Clinton is changing my mind. Back in January, I would never have considered voting for her. I agree with David Gergen that she is becoming warmer and more approachable to me. Although I wasn't happy with her answer on Darfur.

I must say, I cannot wait until the debate stage becomes smaller. Mr. Gravel's views are a bit hard to swallow.

Thanks again for a very entertaining and informational evening.
Posted By Annette LaCanna, Alpha, NJ : 11:17 PM ET
Amazing format- the CNN/YouTube Presidential Debate.
You are surely bridging the gap between the people and politicians- something every democracy urgently needs to get a hold on both national and global issues.
Posted By Bhuvana, Kolkata, India : 11:18 PM ET
Anderson:

Congratulations! You were a part of American history tonight.

I have to say I was a little unsure about this debate. I actually thought some of the questions may be too hedonistic or submitted by campaigns. I guess you all weeded those out of the mix. Overall, I would give you an "A" as the moderator.

And finally, how do the 360 viewers and bloggers get a seat at the Republican debates in St. Peterburg, FL? If I send you all a v-mail, can I receive 2 tickets?

What do they say..ask..receive..believe?
Posted By Renee Bradenton, FL : 11:21 PM ET
I enjoyed the debate format and would like more details about how it was put together. I've been watching the debates and my support is leaning the most toward Senator Biden currently. I believe he provides the best combination of experience and being practical. Kucinich is of course genuine, but I don't have faith he is practical. I think he is too idealistic to get anything done.

It seems that all Gravel desires to do is hurt the other candidates. He does not appear to be in touch with the modern democrat. Senator Dodd has never done anything which really impressed me one way or the other. It has been hard for him to energize me one way or the other. I used to be impressed with Senator Edwards, but I do not like his stand on several issues such as gay marriage. Gays or lesbians getting married would in no way hurt me if I were married to my girlfriend. I do agree with him on health care and not Barack Obama currently. I think many young people would opt not to get the plan simply because of not having a clear enough sight as to how important it is. I believe the evidence is how little young people invest for their retirement. I may not know enough about his play though.

Senator Clinton maintained the status quo as expected. Governor Richardson did not impress me as much as he did in previous debates. Senator Obama did not seem as confident in this debate as I felt he should have. I do not believe he has fulfilled his potential by far and I do think his inexperience in government will hurt him.
Posted By Chris Gregory - Bloomington, IL : 11:25 PM ET
Hillary won this debate. She has all of the necessary qualities to be our next President. She is a fine critical thinker and a quick critical thinker. Her instant analysis of the questions and her consise, direct answers showed she understood the issues; the need to proceed through a process before making decisions, ie, meeting with foreign leaders. She understands issues are more complex than a yes/no answer and that the political process is accomplished by building consensus and coalitions with diverse viewpoints. A great night for her!
Posted By Susan Lowell MA : 11:28 PM ET
CNN is a joke in my town.

This thing came off more as a promo for YouTube than a substantial debate.

Most people can't brush their teeth in thirty seconds. How do you expect a presidental candidate to give a meaningful and thoughtful response to a question of domestic or international policy in thirty seconds?

And half the folks who have responded to this blog are just Cooper fans. Ah! Now I understand why you only gave 'em thirty seconds... wouldn't want viewers to actually need to think about what was being said. Better to look good than to have good policy.

I'm sure the professional politicians up on stage tonight ate up the opportunity to pull off such an easy scam instead of a real debate.

Thanks for insulting our intelligence once again CNN.
Posted By Shel, Baltimore, MD : 11:30 PM ET
Congratulations to Anderson for a job well done! You were assertive, articulate, and well prepared. If you were nervous, it didn't show. The joke about no one being to the left of Kucinich was classic.

As for the debate itself, I usually have to turn on the fan to blow away all the hot air, but I liked this format tonight. It was refreshingly different and definitely held my attention. Some questions were better than others, but that could be because we as voters have differing priorities. Who won the debate? I'm not sure that really matters. I've become cynical through these Bush years and sadly don't expect politicians to keep their promises. But if I had to choose the candidate who appeared the most poised and confident and who showed the most leadership skills, I'd have to give that honor to Senator Clinton.

Now that I've seen what you're looking for in a video, I might even submit one for the Republican debate.
Posted By Barbara, Culver City, CA : 11:35 PM ET
This debate was a success in my eyes. Giving a voice to the general public was a smart move on CNN/Youtube's part. Also, I have to commend everyone who was involved in selecting the questions. They were very genuine and thought-provoking. I thought the Reverend's question was a very good one.

The war in Iraq...say what they may, but every candidate leaves details out and we never get the whole story from any of them. How can we when the general public is so reluctant to realize and accept that none of the candidates ,Rep or Dem, will pull out all troops by whatever time they said they would. Sobering, but true.

Good mix of questions, nice format (although of course the time issue is always a factor), very nicely done. And to Anderson - great job moderating; way to keep them on track!

Who won? Anderson Cooper, CNN and YouTube
Posted By Evelyn, Des Moines, IA : 11:47 PM ET
Great job Anderson!

The format was great and you kept everyone focused. The style of You Tube questioner combined with your quick follow up questions served to keep the candidates focused and really didn't allow for their usual canned answers. This was real people asking questions real people care about.
Posted By Mary Kay, Hixson TN : 11:50 PM ET
Tonight's debate was absolutely terrific - fast-paced, stayed-on-target and truly focused on the questions being asked. Thoroughly enjoyed the video questioning (found it much more appealing than the standard pre-selected question being asked by the planted public-citizen). One main concern still lagging in the debate scenario is with regards to the candidate question / answer time, which is never long-enough to satisfy anyones' personal desires.

In this viewers opinion, there wasn't enough airtime in total (not just for Q&A). I truly do not think the viewing public (those individuals who care about the debate and actually watch them) - would mind having a week-long debate (preferably 5-7 days)and each day is broken up into mutiple hour increments with different topics being covered on each day. I'd keep the UTube type questioning, but this type of debate would allow for more detailed focus on the topics that concern the public and allow for a more thorough response.

Tonights winners were without a doubt - the questioning/viewing public with Anderson Cooper and Hillary tied for second place!
Posted By Cheryl - Texas : 11:54 PM ET
Next Sunday we have an election of the members of the House of Councilors in Japan. But we rarely have occasion to ask questions to the candidates directly.
I think YouTube debate is the
most effective way that we can learn the real intention of the politicians.
I wish we could follow this means for our nation.
Posted By Yukako,Aichi,Japan : 11:54 PM ET
Anderson:

Great job to you and your staff!

Being a forty-seven year old woman, and never missed the opportunity to case my vote at a presidential election since the age of 18, I found the You Tube videos informative and well presented. It gave us, the American viewer -- citizens living the everyday issues a chance to ask our questions and express our feelings to the candidates.

Once again, CNN has shown they are the leader in reporting news. CNN definitely has my “vote.”
Posted By Vicki, Long Island, NY : 11:58 PM ET
many candidates seem to say civil unions are all they would put into action if elected to office. Sen. Obama went so far to say it should be up to the denominations to make the rekonition of marrige. This seems to say there is a lack of seperation between church and state. If a church or religious organization, and not the state is to decide the definition of marrige between a man and a woman, then why when married by the state is it a marrige, rather than a civil union.
Posted By jill leesburg, fl : 11:59 PM ET
Thank you CNN Thank you Anderson

This has been the only debate I've ever watched all the way through and I enjoyed it!

Hilary did ok..but there is still something about her that scares me

So its still Obama for me
Posted By JJ Nashua NH : 12:03 AM ET
As an intern on one of the Democratic campaigns I hear all too frequently citizens expressing their apathy towards our country’s future. This apathy is often times driven by a belief that change is impossible and that ordinary citizens have no voice in Washington. I think the YouTube debates made a step in the right direction and showed Americans that their voices are being heard and that their needs, desires, and hopes for the future are being taken into account by political candidates. On the whole, I would say the debate was a huge success. I particularly enjoyed the “keeping them honest” aspect of the debate. Nice job Anderson Cooper.
Posted By Tom Rock Island, Illinois : 12:24 AM ET
Anderson

The Debate was great! Though I realize there were time restrictions it would have been nice to hear from everyone on major issues such as Health care instead of just the front runners. Other than that I am looking forward to the republican Debate in September.

It would also be nice to fly in those who's questions you pick, or try to! so they can stand up and say if the canidate is just spinning the question instead of answering it.
Posted By Mark G / Montana : 12:26 AM ET
Being 18 years old, I have seen (in my opionion) no good example of how government should be run. Being an undecided voter so far I have decided to inform myself of all choices before I help to choose the President next year. Unfortuantely, my age group is losing faith in our government and gaining cynicism towards politicians in general.

Too many politicians get away with simply speaking after a question is asked and not necesarrily asking it. The general idea that "Bush bashing" plus self-admiration is the perfect formula for an "answer" to any question.

Thanky ou Anderson for not letting that happen. Thank you for re-asking the questions after the candidates rambled about how great they are and how terrible Bush is.

Maybe I'll start campaigning now for 2024? :)
Posted By Laura - Long Beach, NY : 12:35 AM ET
it was damned decent.

however... the candidates were still pretty dang slippery, and avoided giving answers where possible 'mistakes' might alienate some parts of the voting constituency. It would have been better for AC to press harder on getting the candidates to DIRECTLY answer the questions instead of tolerating some of the grandstanding, but still, much better than other debates i have watched. ( and CNN...you could have given each candidate the same title graphic you gave the 'frontrunners' - that just made you look... editorial... ok Gravell is nominal... treat him AS fair as everyone else, at least )

the voters want straight, honest answers to their questions. The candidates were dancing. I didn't hear a lot of nuts & bolts specifics, just a lot of very general 'campaign promises'...

it's nice that we dont have a guy in a suit & tie asking the questions, whom we've been told we can 'trust', and nice to see real people asking the questions that concern them, but i felt the hand of editorial moderation in WHICH questions got to be asked. I wonder if CNN will be so delicate with the republican candidates... well, wait and see.

otherwise it was a resounding smash hit, kudos to CNN for hosting it. I would have never watched a democratic candidate debate before this.
Posted By l. johnston, poet : 12:37 AM ET
So Obama says he wouldn't use military force to stop genocide? Would he use military to defend our country? So does he support Clinton in not going into Rwanda? I don't see decisiveness in Obama in national security, and of course he has zero experience in that area.

If a "winner" must be declared, clearly Hillary, but her "redistribution of wealth" theory is socialist. She doesn't want to empower people to help themselves lift up their lives; she wants to simply placate them with social service dollars a.k.a. my taxes and get them dependant on the big government she plans to create. Ugh.
Posted By xtina - chicago IL : 12:46 AM ET
Did we get the truth? Give me a break! The question is WHO chose which questions to air - and WHY didn't that person or group choose a question about the imperialist nature of U.S. foreign policy?

Why was no question chosen about the CORPORATE MEDIA that censors the truth about U.S. FOREIGN POLICY?

Please don't suggest that no questions along these lines were asked!

How can you ask DID WE GET THE TRUTH? if you purposefully keep the hardest questions OUT of the debate!

On a positive note: AT LEAST you allowed the questions to be posed by real PEOPLE.

If you choose the format again try including some real questions about the truth about foreign policy and WHETHER OR NOT EACH CANDIDATE WILL ADMIT TO U.S. IMPERIALISM, and whether or not then they would make some serious changes to that policy.
Posted By Carolyn Gray, Jupiter, FL : 12:59 AM ET
I think it is a brilliant idea. In one of the republican debates the person questioning Ron Paul was an absolute moron and was guiding the debate in order to fulfill his own personal agenda. That was wrong and has led to some misrepresentations of Ron Paul's words (especially on Fox News). Anyways I think this new method will help solve the problem of a biased questioner.
Posted By Nikki from Wisconsin : 1:05 AM ET
Whoops, one more thing...

It seemed like the vast majority of the debate videos were done by men. Didn't you receive good questions from women? Most of the comments on this blog tonight have been submitted by women, so what's happening here?

Come on gals, let our voices be heard on the next debate! Yeah, I know I'm guilty as charged for not having submitted a video this time, but maybe my cynicism is fading just a tiny bit!
Posted By Barbara, Culver City, CA : 1:15 AM ET
Anderson,
I'm happy to see this effort to use our newest media to get the message to American voters, particularly youthful voters. However, I couldn't tell at times if this was a presidential debate or a Super-bowl ad. Next time, the seriousness of the subjects being debated need to be shown more respect - less entertainment, youthful disrespect (I am the mother of teenagers and I see this everyday) and glibness, please. These are presidential candidates, not the latest celebrities on Dancing with the Stars. You need to show Ammerican youth the respect they deserve - give them serious debate, not the sarcasm and glibness of a Comedy Channel program.

Thanks for listening. Keep trying.

Cory Ethridge, Millwood, NY
Posted By Cory Ethridge Millwood, NY : 1:22 AM ET
I was very excited about this format; the questions coming from citizens rather than the media. It had alot of potential.
BUT - as was the case in the previous two debates, the front runners got the majority of the questions. I took a tally, and came up with the following:
Obama 19, Clinton 15, Edwards 14, Dod and Richardson 11, Biden and Gravel 10, and Kucinich 9. Did you have some kind of agreement with Obama or what?!
When will there be equity when it comes to hearing from all the candidates?
I agreed with Senator Dodd, that everyone should be heard about health care. The two front runners didn't say anything specific as to what they would do, but they were given the question.
I'm sick of the media trying to focus the election on the top three candidates. My suggestion is to come up with a few important issues and allow everyone of the candidates to address them. That, in my opinion, would be much more informative to the voters.
I'm disappointed. It could have been much better.
Posted By Aileen, Shoreline, WA : 1:40 AM ET
I like the format and didn't find it any dumber than the people who asked the questions. I also don't see anything wrong with a news organization trying to make things interesting. You could have shown fewer questions to get more in-depth answers, however, and follow-up questions by you.

On health insurance, for example--the person who asked about insuring illegal immigrants. Nobody seemed to say anything straightforward, and then Bill Richardson said, yes, "all Americans" should be covered. Illegal immigrants aren't Americans, but that was the end of that topic. It was a chance for you to make the candidates talk about an issue they really, really don't want to talk about, and you let them off the hook. It's a question like that which would have allowed us to see the candidates outside of a scripted role, as they were squirming, and that's how we would see the "real" person.

As for gay marriage, if the word "marriage" were obliterated from the language and all relationships were "civil unions," there would be a lot fewer problems for people who love each other. There isn't a thing in the bible (that I know of) about marriage, so it's a state made-up thing anyway. People are hung up on a word. You should be more prepared to make the Reps address that issue since they openly discriminate against gay people. Hopefully you'll get a more intelligent question on it.

Anyway, I enjoyed the debate and will be looking forward to seeing the Republicans because there, at least people will competing against each other. The Dems' fate is pretty much locked up, it would appear.
Posted By Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 1:42 AM ET
Mr. Anderson:
I was quite impressed with the You Tube Democratic debate. The Democratic party still needs to become stronger. The candidates are all good, and I have yet to make up my mind. But it was such a relief to hear real questions from AMERICANS who are truly interested in this critical upcoming Presidential election. I am dying with lung cancer so naturally I am interested in the big drug companies and insurance companies who are ruining our health care system. Please continue these debates. America needs them. STAND UP AMERICA AND VOTE!
Posted By Linda Richmond, Independence, Missouri : 1:46 AM ET
I definitely believe that Barack Obama won the debate tonight. His body language exuded confidence, his answers were frank and right on the money, and he has made it a habit to not attack his fellow candidates. I definitely believe also that Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden did well also. I want to finally say that Anderson and YouTube did a wonderful job putting this debate together. The format works, and you should do more!
Posted By James from Watseka, IL : 1:53 AM ET
The debate was interesting, but not as informative as I had hoped. I was disappointed at the lack of time a candidate was given to respond. It was discouraging that specific candidates were given more speaking time than other candidates. Even if some of the candidates are far left they should be given equal time to express their views.

Hopefully, the next debate will have more specific questions and will not allow certain candidates to dominate the debate. How can you determine if a candidate is qualified if they are not given adequate time to express their views? A debate is about each person getting equal time to speak, not on each question, but as a whole. Let's try to remember this for the next debate.
Posted By Pam, Las Vegas, NV : 2:05 AM ET
Extraordinary. This new format will be a turning point in the history of elections. The younger generation has been invited to join the game and they are loving it. This will not only change the election, but their futures, their interests, and their lives!

Excellent. Anderson, CNN, you have an amazing commitment to excellence. It was obvious in this debate. You allowed yourselves to think and play outside of the box and started a revolution!

Energetic. The pace was excellent. Face time for Hillary and Edwards was less than the others, but the fast pace was good, although I would give them just a TAD more time.

The questions were not the best questions, kind of general.

I walked away confirming that Hillary has the most substance, experience, in-depth knowledge of the topics, presidential composure and vision. She was looking at the big picture, not just the one-time debate as was Obama (trying to hard), Biden (straightforward but I think he knows he's not winning), Kucinich (needs to go), Gravel (is aggravating), and Edwards (a real contender but wife is getting too much face time).

Obama's hot, but has ZERO substance. His answers are non-answers, much talk, no real depth. This is not from lack of intelligence, he is brilliant; just inexperienced and it shows.
Posted By VICTORIA, MIAMI, FLORIDA : 2:06 AM ET
Nice job. It was well-balanced and fair. My only complaint was that many of the questions were only given to one or a few of the candidates to answer, and that there was no opportunity for rebuttal.
Posted By Jeff - Pa Furnace, PA : 2:16 AM ET
As a member of a die-hard Democratic family who has been here since 1640, I speak for all of us when I say how impressed we were to finally get to hear some direct questions from the public and see the candidates' reactions to those questions. It was refreshing and fascinating to watch; kudos to Anderson for following up and getting the answers (as much as was possible) to the public's questions. What we find more irritating than any candidates' vagueness in answering questions or any emotionalism in those answers is the aftermath of post-event analysis that highlights two troubling and notable issues. 1. Since when does CNN and the American public require the commentary of a foreign country's reporting superstar on our internal presidential candidate debates? And why is it (in keeping with the bluntness of many of the public's questions) that CNN seems to be slanting the viewing public's perceptions by inequitable commentary on only those candidates who are primarily in the lead? To discuss body language, but only that of certain candidates, and "interpret" intentions and meanings of various candidates comments is to denigrate an awesome experience: this is the first time in my memory (and I still vividly recall the deaths of JFK, Bobby and MLK as a young child), that "the people" were actually allowed to ask direct questions - in front of the nation - of our potential candidates, and then get some answers. To focus on shirt colors and other superficial aspects of this event is to trivialize what was a powerful and emotional viewing experience for many of us who have felt completely shut out of the political processes of this country for low these many years. We found the inclusion of Maria Elena offensive in the extreme; her comments are not warranted nor valuable as a Univision superstar (and I am the parent of a half-hispanic child), a mouthpiece for the ruling elite of the Mexican government. And CNN's comments and "analysis" is, in the main, useless and time-wasting and does not add anything to the experience. We found this format to be extremely valuable. More, more, and more, please?!!! Next time make it even longer and include some of the questions that were omitted this time such as the illegal immigration issue, the dumbing down of our populace, the Constitutional catastrophes perpetrated by the current government, the current incompetence level of the various government agencies and how the candidates propose to fix each and every one. Overall we say Bravo! As to the candidates themselves, we were deeply disappointed in Barack; too young and too acterish - he sounded coached and lacking real emotion. Although we recognize the courage that was displayed by Mr. Gravel during Nam vis a vis the Pentagon Papers, we felt the anger has not been focused well enough to assist change - too much display, although we agree - following the money does speak volumes about a candidate. We found the top and most interesting folks (perhaps in new combinations, hitherto not thought of) were Kucinich, Biden, Clinton and Richardson; all would make great members of the ultimate cabinet. In the future, one change would help; please apply questions equitably between the candidates and don't "pick" the front runners for all or most of the questions. The people - us - want to hear from all of them equally! Thank you for giving us this chance to be heard! Again, MORE!
Posted By Gwyneth, Monterey, California : 2:23 AM ET
Okay, there really is a first time for everything. I can honestly say I have never agreed with anything Xtina has written (I think she's much farther right-wing than I am left, and that takes some doing), BUT she is right that there needs to be more specifics.

For example, when asking a question about the environment: What specifically have you done in the past on this issue? Do you wish you had done more? What would you do SPECIFICALLY and by what SPECIFIC date if you were elected president? How would you get lobbysist-bought--oops!-- I mean reluctant members of Congress to do something? What SPECIFIC regulations would you pass in regards to business and pollution? How would you, in five sentences or less, describe a specific aspect of the environmental problem in a way that makes people give a darn? What do you personally do at home to help the planet?

As for the Republicans, if they blindly back Bush's bad policies, they are not qualified to be president. I know you have to be 35 years old, but isn't it time to start an IQ level? (You must be at least this smart--mark level here-- to ride this ride to the White House). Mind you, when I was teaching students with mental retardation, many of them didn't like Bush and the Iraqi war he started, so maybe it is more of an "emotional IQ" issue.

And any chance we will ever "drop out" of the electoral college? Popular vote just makes sense.

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION THIS TIME, AMERICA!!! As someone who felt I knew Bush was bad (although I had no idea how incredibly bad, as he negatively surpassed all of my low expectations) before he got "selected" (by the Supreme Court), it was just so depressing to see that that many people would even vote for him.

The second time, when we had already gotten a taste of his stupidity and polcies based on hate (in the guise of religion, which should NEVER be used to justify hatred), I damn near lost faith in this country.

Perhaps 2008 will start to bring it back. God, I sure hope so.

In the meantime, we can all call the different campaign offices and deluge them with requests to talk about their specific actions, past, present, and future.

And for crying out loud, please visit the different Web sites and pay attention to the policy statements rather than vote for Clinton because you liked her outfit, etc.! You would think I would be her target demographic as an educated woman (I even went to the same college as Clinton), but I will never be able to forgive her for how long she took (and is still taking) to come around on the Iraq vote. She owes us all--especially those with family serving-- a MAJOR apology. All the news media is talking about how surprising it is that she isn't doing well with women like me, and the reason is simple: We are paying attention, and we don't see her speaking up for what we all think she really believes, and that makes her very untrustworthy. I wouldn't date a guy who wouldn't be passionate about what he believed in, and I sure as anything am not going into a primary voting for anyone who does not have the guts to talk about what is right. But, if she is the Dem candidate, I would very grudgingly vote for her in the general, but I might need to shower afterwards.

I'm leaning towards Edwards. While having the first black, Latino, and/or female prez would be great, I think it has to be the right person, no matter race/gender. And I think Edwards has done and probably will continue to do more on issues that affect women and/or minorities than Obama, Clinton, and Richardson. (Although Richardson does get some bonus points from me for going to Darfur and some of the environmental policies for which he has pushed.) But it is a real shame that Elizabeth Edwards isn't running, because I have always admired the heck out of her; her recent sharing of how she feels about gay marriage is just one of the reasons I think she is a classy, caring lady and not some "cookie cutter," plastic (see: Laura Bush) candidate's wife.

And, yes, I am glad that there was discussion about education issues, as that hasn't been addressed as much as needed.

BTW: To Mr. Cooper and Company: When are you going to come to Philadelphia and do a program about the murder rate here and all of the issues that accompany that problem. Causes (including tax breaks, which lead to fewer services, including education that helps with employment and programs like midnight basketball that help lower crime)? Anyone know of any programs doing good work in addressing the issues of revenge killings and "no snitching"? Gun control (hello, America: wake up and smell the gunpowder!)? There were SIX murders this past weekend.

And what about a series of "keeping them honest" about tax cuts and what that has meant for so many poor and middle-class Americans (everything from welfare services to music/art classes). Follow the yellow-brick chalk outlines: your tax CUTS at work.
Posted By Norah, West Chester, PA : 2:39 AM ET
I am old enough to know that I ought to watch and listen to every single debate, but I just can’t focus. My mind wonders away during most of them. It did not this time, I was able to hear and actually pay attention to almost everything that was said. So that tells me it was a success, maybe not in substance, but in getting my attention and holding it for the duration. The argument can be made that the substance is lost in the methods used to attract and keep attention (like the fast moving pace). But what really is the point of these early debates with so many people on the panel whom everyone know will not make the final cut. It would take an entire day, maybe even more, to have a substantive discussion of the issues. And no one will stay the course, let alone pay attention to what is being said anyway. I think the debates are more of a way to get people involved in the process and to get talking points out so that people can further discuss them. Regardless of what or whom we support I think we can all agree, that the key to a successful democracy is engaging as many people as possible, especially young adults. And in that regard I think this format may have achieved more than anything or anyone has been able to, for a very long time. Congratulations, to you, Anderson Cooper (for the light hearted atmosphere you were able to create as well), to your team and CNN.
Personally, I would even go further and gear debates toward providing one sentence answers and a reference to where a person interested to hear more about the matter can find details, be it on the candidates website, or campaign centers etc… For example, for the question of health care the answer ought to be yes, I have a health care plan called, ABC, that I believe will make health care available to every person, and you can see the details of this plan on my website under health care. Something like that, maybe a one-sentence message about the just of the plan.
Posted By Kokie Melaku, San Francisco, CA : 2:48 AM ET
Here Ye Here Ye! WOW! I am 59 years old. Mr. Cooper YOU have
finally done something that I never expected. YOU have gotten me interested in "THE RACE". The last debate I watched was JFK !

You have even caused me to change my opinion about Hilary..(well a little bit).

THANK YOU ANDERSON! YOU MADE ME CARE. Before tonight I was not even sure who some of these people
were!
Posted By Carol : 3:03 AM ET
Hi Anderson,

I was just about to blog about this myself. I felt this forum, like the others, was still skewed toward the 3 candidates with the biggest war chests. However, in spite if that, I have to say that Richardson's record, common sense, and put-shoulder-to-the-grindstone record spoke to me tonight louder than all the powerful rhetoric of Obama, Clinton, and Edwards. Maybe it's because I'm older and I have seen more than enough of these pretty words coming from the mouths of pretty politicians, but Richardson began to ring truer tonight for me.

God knows, that doesn't mean he'll win a thing, but I'll send you the link to my blog regarding that.
Posted By KarolineSteavenson : 3:17 AM ET
I just finished watching CNN's 2-hour debate and am unimpressed. I am curious as to why questions about our trade deficit, illegal immigration, national security, etc., WEREN'T asked, but there was time for ' videos that summed up the candidates' and the hard-hitting questions like, 'Tell me one thing you like and dislike about the candidate to your left.' Clearly the person(s) responsible for selecting the debate questions had an agenda. I find it hard to believe that no one in America submitted thoughtful questions on any of those issues. Furthermore, I’d like to ask: Why do we place such emphasis on getting to know the candidates on a ‘personal’ level and making the debates entertaining? Shouldn’t our real focus be on their voting records, who’s funding their campaigns, and whether or not they possess the qualities necessary to be an effective president?
Posted By Christy : 3:18 AM ET
At age 62 I can't count the number of times I've heard the "We need to fight big...bla blah blah" line before. What we have today is the result of voting for that "buzz phrase" hype.

I looked and listened for a few things...including,

1. How would a plan/goal be accomplished?
2. Acceptance that it would be a difficult task.
3. Which candidate had tried and displayed that they had learned from their past efforts and had the best chance of accomplishing ...that plan/goal.

Like it or not, this country is in very deep trouble.
Hillary, by what she says, and what she has learned, is the person that can start the process of making us well again.

PS...can you have the guy with the gun on for the Republican debates. Would love to hear their responses to that.
Posted By mark Houston Texas : 3:28 AM ET
We believe that each candidate firmly believes in how they would resolve the issues. We also believe that they are committed to make every effort to do so, if they were president. But actually, they would be unable to accomplish much because of the system, criminal activity, corruption, and the misuse of their powers and laws on both sides of the aisle. That is why most critical bills are blocked. Each candidate on both sides of the aisle, should answer the following questions? What will you do to clean up the government system? What will you do to factually expose all wrongful acts that pertain to political issues and bring those to justice for any criminal activity? Our government must represent the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Only then, will both sides work together, and accomplish great things for our beloved country.
Posted By Bob Vargas Livermore CA : 4:20 AM ET
I thoroughly enjoyed the CNN/YouTube presidential debate for the Democratic candidiates. It invited citizens in all walks of life from across the United States to ask some of the more difficult questions that must be confronted by our next president. I regret not being able to submit a question, since my focus drifts away from the war in Iraq to the other hotspots of the world, namely Southeast/Northern Asia and Africa. It concerns me as an servicemember serving in a region with so many disputes (North and South Korea, China and Taiwan, Japan's foreign relations) that our Democratic candidiates shift all of their focus onto Iraq. Maybe I'll have a chance to submit the question during the Republican debate.
Posted By Dustin, Okinawa, Japan : 6:18 AM ET
I think overall the candidates were straightforward although a lot of them in true politician form wanted to "go back" to previous responses and questions. I am an undecided voter who really would like Al Gore to run but I liked that Hillary said she was a moderate "progressive" not liberal because I fall into that category as well. The format was original and moved along at a nice pace. The moderator did an excellent job as well.
Posted By Michele, Reston, VA : 6:22 AM ET
I just caught a glimpse of the you tube debate and it was businiess as usual when the canditates were asked if the men and woment in Vietnam died in vain. Only one candidate gave an honest answer while all the others danced around the question. I have to agree with the man who said yes and that you can go to Vietnam today and buy a Ben and Jerry's ice cream etc.(I'm paraphrasing here).
But I speak from experience. I spent 1969 in Vietnam, forced by my government to go 12 thousand miles around the world to kill yellow people who had never harmed the United States.
I've since been back 30 plus years later and visited all the places where I served in 1969 and I've got to tell you that aside from all the genetic mutations due to agent orange which are readily observable everywhere, the people are doing quite well.
American businessmen are flying in every day eager to invest in an up and coming robust economy. We're there to make deals with people we told were the very antithesis of capitalism. Who remembers "the domino theory"?
So yes all the poor sods (and i mean poor literally as well as figuratively) DIED FOR NOTHING.
Posted By Ken Wheaton, Tokyo : 6:42 AM ET
I didn't finish my comment but I must have hit the wrong button.
Anyway like I said, I was in Vietnam for the year of 1969. And most of us were just trying to stay alive and most of the people that I new BELIEVED WE WERE THERE FOR NO GOOD REASON!
Posted By Ken Wheaton, Tokyo : 6:45 AM ET
I remain undecided, but the YouTube debate has changed my 'leanings' a bit. The answers about direct talks with 'dictators' really pointed out the experience levels between Clinton and Biden compared with Obama. Yet I remain open- Obama is very smart, Clinton and Biden have some big negatives. Clinton looked the most "Presidential" (at least by the OLD definition of the word (Before Bush)!)
Posted By Sandy, Collegeville PA : 6:57 AM ET
I'm not sure if my first comment went through but I feel strongly enough to try and type the whole thing again. I happened to catch a glimpse of the you tube debates today and when the candidates were asked if those who died in Vietnam,died in vain, only one man had the guts to tell the truth. Everyone else did the same old song and dance "Lets not hurt the feelings of our men and women in uniform.
Well I was forced by my government to "serve" in Vietnam for all of 1969. I've since returned thirty plus years later to visit all the places I was stationed. And I've got to tell you, aside from the readily observable genetic mutations due to agent orange everywhere, the Vietnamese people are doing quite well.
Like the man said (and I'll paraphrase) you can now go out and buy a ben andjerry's cone in Ho Chi Minh city.
As a matter of fact every day planeloads of American business maen land in the pursuit of doing busines with a vibrant up and coming country. A country full of people that we were told were the very anthithesis of capitalists!
Most of the grunts that I knew back in '69 realized that we were there for no reason and that friends who died died for no reason. We knew that then we know that now. It makes my blood boil to listen to all these "lets support our boys candidates" run off at the mouth. An How about the guy when asked how many relatives he had fighting in the middle east went on about how he served in the National Guard when he was young. In the Vietnam era National guardsmen were looked upon as either cowards or people rich or smart enough to avoid the war. I mean look at Doubya!!
Take it from a Vietnam vet, Yes the guys there did die for nothing. At least the Vietnamese died fighting for their freedom.
And I'll say one more thing while i'm at it..The poor kids fighting in Iraq are dying for oil/halliburtan/and ceo's like cheney.
Posted By KEN WHEATON, TOKYO : 7:04 AM ET
What's your take? I thought it was adequate for the first debate of this kind. Everything went smoothly and I'm sure you're relieved that there were no technical issues.

There were a lot of questions that weren't asked. Those would be the tough ones like budget, immigration, global warming and not near enough about the war. To me, it seemed like you were trying to get as many videos shown as possible, and not asking enough follow-up questions so that we can hear from all the candidates.

There were some odd questions that I didn't "get" why they were included, but perhaps it was to lighten the mood and relax the candidates.

Overall a success for the first debate of this kind. I'm sure CNN will be going thru the video of this debate and tweaking it for the Republican debate in September. Oh, and GREAT job keeping them all in line!!
Posted By Kelly, San Francisco, CA : 7:07 AM ET
Anderson,
Great job on the debate! I'm sure it was not easy to keep everyone on topic, but you did a good job.
There was really nothing that the candidates said that changed my mind about them. I am still undecided. I liked that you really tried to get the candidates to answer the questions.
I hope to submit a question for the next debate and also hope that there are more debates like this in the future. It really felt like we were more involved.
Thanks!
Pamina
Posted By Pamina, New Rochelle, New York : 7:33 AM ET
A debate is a discussion of opposing points. Last night was a Q&A, as the previous "debates" have been. While interesting to see what is on the minds of citizens, it is not a debate. That said, perhaps questions from citizens is most appropriate at this stage of the election process.

I hope that debates on one subject such as providing healthcare, balancing the federal budget, improving public education, and global warming will be held closer to the primary selection process. One topic for all candidates to discuss every week. That would be a better way to inform the citizenry of the choices in front of them.
Posted By Libby Wilson, Topsfield, MA : 8:01 AM ET
The program gets high marks for creativity, but it fails in substance.

There was, obviously, a desire to pack as many questions as possible in the alloted time, which AC did.

This format paired very interesting and relevant questions with irrelevant ones, e.g. the two gentlemen from TN asking about the candidates feelings.

A possible compromise may have been to group good questions into a "common theme" and, then, summarize them into A QUESTION for all the candidates, with a follow up question for all of them as well.

This is what you, journalists, function owe to be. Read a tendency, a situation, a trend and then REPORT it.

Again, the idea is, in its essence, good but you may have to work on the delivery.

Thank you and best regards.


Pedro Bastias, Ph.D.
Posted By Pedro Bastias, Nashville, TN : 8:03 AM ET
The only way to differentiate a debate like this from any other standard debate is to assure the viewers that the candidates and their campaigns will have no access to any of the questions prior to them being asked.

Wolf Blitzer told viewers days prior to last nights debate that the challenge in moderating a debate and asking questions is one that involves phrasing interaction in a way that minimizes a candidates abilty to give a scripted answer.

When CNN allows the candidate's campaigns to have access to every question prior to the debate, what can we, the viewers, expect? Can we honestly trust that Obama and Clinton and Edwards didn't know what was coming?
Posted By Jeff S., Fort Washington, PA : 8:22 AM ET
CNN served as a showcase for what they call the "top tier" candidates.

There were bits of truth that came from the less favored CNN candidates like Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich but those were "managed" by Cooper and cast aside as invalid as quickly as possible.

A true debate would allow anyone to participate completely at random and force some of the toughest, harshest questions of all onto the candidates. This didn't happen last night. A true two way system with rebuttal was also obviously missing. In other words, censorship.

This is nothing more than a brand new form of censorship. The fact that they used homemade looking videos from a few people of their own selection speaks volumes.
Posted By Gus Smith, Baltimore MD : 8:30 AM ET
The format was different because at least we are getting questions on issues that matter to Americans. However, I feel as if each question should be answered by each candidate, not just a one or two of them. Also, i think Obama one. I don't dislike Hillary, but she's got this political thing down almost as if it were a programmed response. She's been in politics a long time, and gives very good answers because of that. I don't think they are the honest ones.
Posted By david, north carolina : 8:32 AM ET
Where were the follow-up questions? The candidates could say whatever they wanted without reputal from other candidates and without any follow-up from Cooper. Didn't he do any homework?

By the way, the power of questions from YouTube is a joke, since CNN had the decision of what to include or not include in the final airing.
Posted By Cheryl, Rolla, MO : 8:38 AM ET
Congratulations Anderson! You've helped CNN take yet another step from being a news network to being all-entertainment. Can't wait to see you interview Angelina Jolie, again, about her take on the YouTube debate. We miss you, Aaron. Mr. Murrow, what can we say?
Posted By Joe Vigliano Mechanicsburg, PA : 8:39 AM ET
I enjoyed watching the candidates answer questions that were not "pre-packaged" as they are in most debates. I felt that you did an excellent job at monitoring the debate and keeping the candidates on track when answering a question, although it didn't look like an easy task!

As far as changing my view of a candidate, actually it did. I was leaning more toward Obama before the debate, but I felt more inspired and impressed by Edwards after the debate. However, I'm still not sure where I stand on Hillary as president!
Posted By Phyllis Miller - Lancaster, PA : 8:44 AM ET
The format for the YouTube debate was excellent. It challenged the candidates and definite brought real questions from the general public to the forefront.

A common theme through out the blog comments is lack of time and content from the candidates for answers. I would like to suggest a possible solution. Themed debates. Instead of trying to get questions for every topic limit the debated to a particular topic. For instance a debate about 1)environmental topics, 2)energy conservation and renewable energy, 3)foreign affairs, 4) Education 5) Taxes etc...

A themed debate would possibly give an opportunity for longer answers that give the viewer the opportunity to figure out where the candidate actually stands...
Posted By Mark Kennedy Granby, CT : 8:44 AM ET
YES, THESE DEBATES WERE A SUCCESS. As a 19 year old voting in my first presidential election, this format was invaluable for me. I also feel that the YouTube debate increases DEMOCRACY in America. It is wonderful. Thank you CNN and Anderson Cooper.

[Also in response to those bashing CNN and Cooper's 30 second response policy: I understand your concerns. But the debate was suffiently two hours long - would you tolerate a four-hour debate? I didn't think so.]
Posted By Sarah Merion, Ann Arbor MI : 8:45 AM ET
This was just another step in the transformation of the news media to that of entertainment. It may have satisfied those with a 20-second attention span but brought nothing of substance to the debate process. I felt insulted as a citizen and embarrased for our country at the same time. This is what the world sees of us and it is nothing to be proud of.
Posted By Greg, Baltimore, MD : 9:00 AM ET
Anderson, Great job and what I enjoyed most was you telling Dennis Kusinich you could find no one left of him.
I don't know who won but I like John Edwards view on the drug companies, insurance companies, and oil companies etc. He is so right, just ask those who lost property in Katrina and they will expound on insurance companies.
I also like his honesty.
The format took the boredom out of the debate and put some humor in it and that made it more enjoyable to watch.
Posted By Judy Stage/ Brooklyn MI : 9:01 AM ET
Hi Anderson, great job last night. I bet it was a challenge trying to keep the candidates focused on the questions and stay with the time limit. I think all the top tier candidates helped their cause last night. I was impressed Mrs. Clinton never said a word to attack anyone--all the others did, although maybe she didn't have to resort to this because she's the frontrunner. I admire it nonetheless. I continue to be impressed by Mr. Edwards. His passion when the subject of health care came up, I just loved that moment. Mr. Obama, what can I say, even with his lack of experience, if he is the one nominated by the party, I'm behind him 100%. He's smart, articulate, kind, hard-working, and he's clear where he stands on the issues. Any one of them would be better than the sitting president. And Anderson, I love your humor. Keep up the great work. I look forward to the Republican version of the debate. This YouTube format is a great idea. The people who submitted their questions did so in a very smart and creative way. The one who sang about taxes...how cool is that? Thanks again.

Lilibeth
Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Lilibeth, Edmonds, WA : 9:01 AM ET
Anderson, What a refreshing new format. Quite an interesting debate. I believe this format prevented any one candidate from being too "ready" with a rehearsed answer. I felt as though some of the responses by the candidates were more honest and sincere. I am glad that you did not feature any "staged" questions using children. Listening to children stumble over words that they do not understand has never interested me! Anderson, you did a fine job as moderator. I look forward to the Republican debate in September. Keep up the good work!
Posted By Judy, Hatfield, Pa : 9:07 AM ET
Although you did a commendable job trying to keep the candidates on topic, they often ignored the questions in order to use their prepared talking points.

Thank you for trying this new format. I look forward to the GOP debate and a litle more accountability in answering the questions that are posed.

Good job overall.
Posted By Andrew James, Charlotte, NC : 9:14 AM ET
I loved it. Despite the mostly negative feedback I am receiving from my co-workers, it seems that this is a brilliant way to reach the younger voters and hopefully those not yet old enough to vote. I didn't take the time to submit a question this time but I will surely do it the next. I have been yearning for a way to connect with the candidates for the past two elections. Keep up the good work!
Posted By Marvin, Berrien Springs, MI : 9:15 AM ET
Anderson,
The debate format worked out well, the questions were well selected, straight to the point and most importantly we have an excellent moderator! You did very well in keeping the 8 presidential candidates actually answered the questions.
2 words for CNN, YouTube and Anderson – HUGE SUCCESS!!!
Keep up the good work!
Posted By Yen Li, Penang, Malaysia : 9:19 AM ET
Really liked it, except for all the swoopy camera views. When a video is on, full-screen it, don't slowly zoom in on the projection screen. For those of us with older TV sets, it didn't view very well.
Posted By Justin, Mason City, IA : 9:21 AM ET
I am not sure who 'won' the debate as I am not completely sure americans, democrats, or even bloggers could agree on criteria. However, I see one candidate with an uncany amount of insight, Mr. Gravel from Alaska.
Gravel is an obvious underdog, if not somply a commentator on the other candidates running. He is certainly content distinguishing himself from the rest of the feild by delivering unrehersed responses with an democratic isolationist's slant. While this perspecetive is often seen as too negative to warrant reasonable consideration, he does implicitly present one very positive characteristic, humility.
While Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama exploited every opportunity to mention their supposed plights as currently wealthy minorities, only Mr. Biden with his response to the 'private school' question and Mr. Gravel's response to the 'private jet' question conveyed personal plight without expecting sympathy. Instead, they expressed empathy with the majority of Americans. The very empathy that Mr. Obama, and I agree, as lacking in this country.
So I guess I think Gravel won, but only under the assumption that 'winning' means to express first and foremost understanding, then critical analysis to a system that promotes 'anti-corporate' candidates to accept corporate endorsements in a corporate forum, humility, and a fundamental analysis of a foreign policy that both sides of the ticket deem necessary. But like I mentioned, who fully agrees n anything.
Posted By Nick Einterz Bloomington, IN : 9:23 AM ET
Anderson,

First, great job! Definitely not an easy task keeping everyone on topic.

Second, I love this format! It's easy to answer "theoretical" questions by towing a party line or speaking in sound bites but once you put a human face, a real life to an issue, it stops being theory and becomes real.

BTW, maybe you should run Anderson, you seemed quite popular on the floor after the debate. :)
Posted By Jennifer, Washington DC : 9:26 AM ET
The unprecedented debate format we viewed last night was a stepping stone for citizen involvement in our political debates. The format allowed hardcore and intelligent, yet witty questions to be put right in the faces of our potential presidential candidates; all while capturing the cynicism of the public. However, I feel the debate would have been more informative had the candidates all had the same opportunity to respond to the major topics most of us will base our voting decision on. Had the candidates also had the opportunity to counter-respond to others' responses, we may have been able to get more in-depth and unprotected answers. The less formal format of the debate, and the creativeness of the questions, prompted the personalities of the candidates to show through, which is what, I believe, a lot of Americans base a part of their judgment on. This was an excellent debate format, but there is always the ability to improve. I would have watched a four hour debate in this format; although that would likely change the atmosphere and light-heartedness of the forum we saw last night. That was one of its most attractive features; how often does that many Americans laugh together at one time? Not often when it comes to political debates. Excellent work to CNN, YouTube, and the candidates!
Posted By Natalie Jaqua, Piqua, Ohio : 9:30 AM ET
Hi Anderson,

You did a fantastic job hosting the debate last night. I thought things went smoothly and fast moving. The canidate that impressed me the most was Hilary Clinton. She was confident and clear in her responses.
Posted By Lori, Boston,MA : 9:35 AM ET
As French, I never thought I would have watched, in the middle of the night, a U.S. political debate. Never thought I would appreciate it. Never thought that two hours of political talks could pass so fast (too fast for me, sometimes!). I’m out of practice with short answers from candidates in my country! I am not going to watch a debate the way I did before. You did a great job last night!
Will CNN and YouTube take out a patent for this amazing format and sell it to foreign TV Channels? Just a thought…

I will watch you in September. Thanks CNN and Anderson Cooper!
Posted By Delphine, Paris, France : 9:40 AM ET
The YouTube debate was the perfect way to bridge the gap between generations. What a great way to interest young voters in one of the most important elections in U.S. history. Although some may find the substance of the debate lacking, I felt that it was a wonderful opportunity see these candidates handle themselves in a relaxed atmosphere.

Overall, I found Hillary Clinton to be the most poised and articulate. This comes as no surprise, the woman has many many years of political experience.

The most lacking part of the evening was the "YouTube style" videos each candidate made for themselves. Some of them just didn't make sense and made me wonder if the candidates just felt uncomfortable with the idea or if they even bothered to watch any YouTube videos before production.

Great job, Anderson!
Posted By Geoffrey, NYC : 9:48 AM ET
Anderson, I'd like to believe that all of you at CNN are way smarter than than fluff production I watched last night. Gads. What were you all thinking when you came up with this one? I think in September I'll find a good novel to read during the time of the debate and help save the environment by not wasting electricity turning that nonsense on.
Posted By Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 9:58 AM ET
While I enjoyed the debate as entertainment I really did not think that it offered much in the way of substance or in any way helped me decide who I might vote for.

I would have appreciated more if you had selected questions which were serious and not commical in nature. I didn't care for the Tennasee stereotype of the one comment and a question from a snowman asked to a potential President of the United States seemed a bit "Over the Top".

I can see the headlines in foriegn countries now mocking the debate and also the late night comedy shows will have a field day with this one.

Follow-up to questions by other candidates would have been greatly appreciated. I came away wondering if the candidates were telling the truth or just appeasing me with what I wanted to hear. A little more "Debating" and a little les "Entertainment" is what I am looking for.
Posted By Jim Benner - Toledo, Ohio : 10:08 AM ET
The unprecedented debate format we viewed last night was a stepping stone for citizen involvement in our political debates. The format allowed hardcore and intelligent, yet witty questions to be put right in the faces of our potential presidential candidates; all while capturing the cynicism of the public. However, I feel the debate would have been more informative had the candidates all had the same opportunity to respond to the major topics most of us will base our voting decision on. Had the candidates also had the opportunity to counter-respond to others' responses, we may have been able to get more in-depth and unprotected answers. The less formal format of the debate, and the creativeness of the questions, prompted the personalities of the candidates to show through, which is what, I believe, a lot of Americans base a part of their judgment on. This was an excellent debate format, but there is always the ability to improve. I would have watched a four hour debate in this format. However, in a lengthy debate the atmosphere and light-heartedness of the forum may have been lost; which was one of its most attractive features. How often does that many Americans get to laugh together? Not often when it comes to political debates. Excellent work to CNN, YouTube, and the candidates!
Posted By Natalie Jaqua, Piqua, Ohio : 10:08 AM ET
Just like any other debate in recent history...no one fully answers the question they were asked. And, while no one attacked another candidate, the "love in the air" was sickening. How can a person choose who was best in that debate? How can one determine the better candidate from that love-in?
Posted By Mike (North Texas) : 10:08 AM ET
I think the debate had potential to really expose the personalities of the presidential nominees. However, there is much room for improvement. Giving the candidates exposure to the questions before the debate poses the largest issue, followed by the uneven response time given to the candidates (seemingly according to their poll ratings!). I advise you to keep the voting secret, balancing the response time, and finding ways to put up questions that differ from those typically asked in presidential debates (health care, Iraq, social security). It leads to too much redundancy.
Posted By Dave in France : 10:09 AM ET
It's difficult to get substantive answers from that many candidates in two hours. Yet I thought the format was more creative and the answers more substantial than in "traditional" TV debates, so that is progress!

Hillary won this debate. She showed that she is intelligent and thoughtful (most of us knew that) and was also direct and accessible.

Thanks, CNN and Anderson, for trying something new.
Posted By Debbie, Minneapolis, MN : 10:12 AM ET
The unprecedented debate format we viewed last night was a stepping stone for citizen involvement in our political debates. The format allowed hardcore and intelligent, yet witty questions to be put right in the faces of our potential presidential candidates; all while capturing the cynicism of the public. However, I feel the debate would have been more informative had the candidates all had the same opportunity to respond to the major topics most of us will base our voting decision on. Had the candidates also had the opportunity to counter-respond to others' responses, we may have been able to get more in-depth and unprotected answers. The less formal format of the debate, and the creativeness of the questions, prompted the personalities of the candidates to show through, which is what, I believe, a lot of Americans base a part of their judgment on. This was an excellent debate format, but there is always the ability to improve. I would have watched a four hour debate in this format. However, in a lengthy debate the atmosphere and light-heartedness of the forum may have been lost; which was one of its most attractive features. How often does that many Americans get to laugh together? Not often when it comes to political debates. Excellent work to CNN, YouTube, and the candidates!
Posted By Natalie Jaqua, Piqua, Ohio : 10:15 AM ET
I loved the You-Tube format. However, I watched the debate for over an hour and all of the questions were from a liberal perspective. Major soft-balls! I know this debate is for the democratic primary but I'd be shocked if the Republicans debated with this format the questions would be so light. I'm surprised the candidates weren't asked "Tell me all of the reason why George Bush is so bad?". CNN should be ashamed at the question selection. We learned nothing. And the candidates were not challanged. I heard nothing about immigration or how they plan to protect us from terrorism.
Posted By John Lindros, Westfield NJ : 10:18 AM ET
The format was good. It gave us average people a chance to speak up. ALthough I wish some other questions would have been asked, it was alright. I think they should have been given more time to give an answer because in 30 seconds... they could just make something up that sounds "right".
But honestly I still think that we need to hear the truth from these candidates. They only say what we want to hear. Many of them keep going on and on about what they have done in the past, but what can they do for us now in the future? A blind man cannot lead a blind man walking. Our country is in trouble.. we have many problems in our towns and cities, so how can we go to other countries and help them if we need help ourselves? I would just like to hear more accurate answers from these candidates.
Posted By Stephanie Toms River,NJ : 10:58 AM ET
Anderson did a good job in hosting the debate and i thought it was a very lively debate. I think the selection of the question could have been slightly better. Also, how come there was not a single question about the Palestinan and Isreali crisis. I wanted to see where the candidates stand on this ongoing crisis and how they think they can pressure both sides into peace talks.
Posted By Johannes,MD : 10:59 AM ET
More refreshing format than prior "debates", but hardly a debate. Questions are selected by CNN, but the public doesn't know what questions might have been asked out of 3000. The candidates respond briefly to the question posed and then are allowed to ramble on without substance, or challenge, about the same platform slogans we hear over and over ad nauseum.
Posted By Tim Miller,Pacific Grove, CA : 11:04 AM ET
Anderson,
I give CNN and YouTube an A for the idea of user-generated questions, but a C+ for the execution. Here's what CNN messed up (although the Democratic Party and candidates may have been responsible for the format):

1. There was no opportunity for real debate or exchanges among candidates. The candidates had only 1 minute or 30 seconds to answer questions. No substantive question was asked of each of the candidates--meaning we never got the chance to compare all the candidates on a single question, even though many of the YouTube users posed their questions specifically to the entire group of candidates. For a 2 hour debate, that's pretty appalling.

CNN, however, chose not to allow all the candidates a chance to answer. Sen. Dodd even expressed frustration at not having a chance to answer the important question about global warming. The only question that CNN posed to the entire group of candidates was the stupid last question in which the candidates were asked to say something they liked about the candidate on their left, and then something they didn't like. Are we back in 1st grade?

2. Anderson Cooper played favorites with the candidates and skipped over Senator Gravel. Sen. Mike Gravel protested not getting asked many questions compared to the other candidates repeatedly during the debate. By my count, Gravel got only 9 questions (often trivial ones), while Barack Obama got 19 questions. Don't even include the guy on stage if you are not really going to include him in the debate.

3. CNN excluded all questions from children, but then included a question from a snowman. Cooper said that he thought the parents were using their children to ask their questions. So what? The guy who used the snowman got on CNN's debate. Remember, from the mouth of babes.

4. CNN used only 11 questions from female questioners, but 28 questions from male questioners. OK, I don't know the relative breakdown in the pool of 3,000 questions. But the disparity in questions between male and females was very noticeable to me.

5. Having follow up with 2 of the questioners live in the audience only wasted time. This really didn't work. Anderson Cooper asked, "Did they answer your question?" One of the guys basically said he couldn't hear the answer because someone next to him was making noise. The other guy used his follow up to say that he wanted to have the question asked of Hillary Clinton.

6. CNN chose some pretty gimmicky questions for laughs and even wasted more time showing questions not used for more laughs. CNN wasted precious time on videos shown to generate laughs--a snowman asking a question, a guy singing and asking for a pardon on his parking ticket, two country guys asking if the talk about Al Gore running for president hurt their feelings, the last question asking each candidate to say something good and bad about the person to the left. There probably were more, but you get the picture.

7. The 30-second campaign videos were nice, but took time away from the debate. I liked the campaign videos, but just have people go to YouTube to watch them. CNN shouldn't take away precious time from the debate.

Try to get it better for the Republican debate. Best wishes.
Posted By Ed, Columbus, Ohio : 11:10 AM ET
It was a lively & spontaneous debate.It was good to hear the candidate's views regarding the most serious issues like the war. You did a great job as moderator and so did the others at CNN who worked diligently to put it together.
Posted By Carol B., Frederick, MD : 11:10 AM ET
CNN/AC

Here I am, on the less popular end of another issue!

I congratulate CNN for having the guts to take that leap of faith and give us something we've never had before, the chance for the average person to participate in a nation wide forum.

This wasn't about rebuttal, or stating what one thought was so "bad" about Bush. If everyone had been allowed to respond to each question we would have had the same endless disagreements between candidates and would have gained nothing.

The fact that no one knew what was coming up, and who it was for, made for a more truthful reply. Fidgeting and stalling would have been a dead give away.

Contrary to what many believe, these choices were made fair and square. Those question most asked and those never asked dominated, as they well should have. It may be sad but potential voters are not just looking for the person who might do the best job, they also have to look to the person who has the better chance of defeating the GOP in 2008.

I have never sat down to a debate and stayed with it until last night, and I will definitely watch the next one.

Anderson did an excellent job. There was a time or two when the candidate didn't stop at the word "time" and he gave what I call the "squint and glare". Hey, whatever works!

To not move forward with this now would be a travesty. It's new, it's daring, it's the future and CNN had it first!

Maggie
Posted By Maggie, GVMO : 11:14 AM ET
Dear Anderson,

I have a few more comments since I watched the debate for the second time. I wanted to retest my feelings about it.

Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge the military, in particular the graduates of the Citadel that have served and lost their lives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I thought you handled the debate perfectly, by moving the candidates along and for the most part, not allowing them to digress from the questions asked. However, I noticed some of them were a bit rude when you tried to tell them their time was up. It makes the viewer uncomfortable and leaves a bad impression.

The only question I had was how you determined how many questions each candidate would be permitted to answer. Was it based on how many video questions were sent in for each candidate?

Also, Except for the one question regarding health care, I was surprised that there weren’t any real immigration questions since it is a big issue.

Although I was not overly impressed with any one candidate I thought there were a couple of standout responses. One response was given by Dennis Kucinich when he reminded everyone that even though some candidates, I am certain he meant Senator Obama, may not have voted for the war they have voted to continue funding it. Kucinich also made a good point regarding China, NAFTA and the WTO.

I also appreciated and agree with Joe Biden’s “from the gut” response regarding the gun question. I found that video disturbing to say the least.

The questions regarding health care were outstanding; those videos, seen as a group, made the biggest impact of the night for me.

We may not agree with everything he says, but many of us here in Ohio like and respect Dennis Kucinich. Your remark at the end of the debate was both appropriate and humorous! I agree; there may not be anyone more to the left than Dennis, but at least he keeps the front-runners on their toes!

By the way, I thought the flag with the pictures of the You Tube questioners was very clever.

How does it feel to be part of history by moderating this debate? I think the days of the “traditional” debate are over. From now on debates will be forced to incorporate some type of viewer video participation or they will lack credibility. Thanks to you and CNN for trying something new.

If nothing else, I hope that the candidates now realize that the American people are more intelligent and informed than they may have thought.

Again, thanks for a job well done! I think I see another Emmy award in your future!

Jo Ann
Posted By Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 11:19 AM ET
Watching the debate left me both frustrated and hopeful. I was frustrated, just as some of the candidates were, because not everyone was given the chance to answer each question, or even to speak on each topic. I know that sheer number of candidates makes this an impossible dream, but how am I to decide if I can't hear all of their opinions an each topic?

On the other hand, I was hopeful because, for the first time in this election cycle, I saw someone who spoke, looked and acted presidential. Six years ago I would never have thought that Hillary would be my candidate, but between the dearth of republican candidates and the good, but not great, crop of democrats, Hillary stands head and shoulders above the rest.

One question stood out. When asked if they would meet with the leaders of nations that the Bush administration has deemed the "axis of evil," my two favorites, Obama and Clinton, came out with very different answers. Obama responded with a resounding yes, chastising the administration for refusing to talk to those it deems enemies, and evoking the memory of Ronald Reagan and JFk. I though this was a good answer, and truly showed how he thought. But Hillary...Hillary looked and spoke like an elder statesman. She acknowledged the need to speak with these parties, but that it must be done in a careful and measured manner.
Posted By Jared, Washington DC : 11:19 AM ET
I loved the format but not the camera-work. I don't understand why wide shots were used when I really need to see that teeny screen on the wall. For instance, the camera did not tune in to Hilary's ad until it was half over...I have no idea what I missed. This also happened with some questions that were not audio, but had cards or dryboards with music accompianment.

The audio is another issue...several times, we missed a name or part of the question while the camera was still zooming in. And for the debaters, sometimes their microphones were not turned on until well after they started speaking.

Anderson, I thought you were the best debate host I have seen...firm, but respectful. You also showed your senbse of humor a couple of times, which is nice to see.

I saw the winners as Obama and Biden. I was impressed with both of them. What I found out about Edwards is that he is two separate people...public and personal. These questions did him damage and I am no longer interesed in anything he has to say. Hillary looked bad...couldn't answer the questions and deflected this with her sound bytes about women and her rallying cries for Americans. No substance to anything she said and she needs to watch her face...when other are talking she looks like she is smelling something bad. Tells me about her inner person...bitterness and ambition.

Obama and Biden really shined. They are both great speakers...Biden better at answering questions, though. Obama making reparations for slavery scares me...where will something like this end. Will illegals get reparations next? Sounds like they are all going to get free healthcare without taxes going up. This is going to be very interesting! (like impossible)
Posted By Debra McCullough from Centerville, Georgia : 11:28 AM ET
The winners of the debate were the viewers. A number of issues were addressed in an informal atmosphere, giving us all insights into the candidates'plans, positions, and ability to think on their feet. Anderson kept everyone on track.

In fairness to the candidates, I would recommend that they each get the opportunity at the end to give closing remarks so that they can highlight important points and address issues they may not have had a chance to discuss.
Posted By Tom Bertrand, Providence, RI : 11:33 AM ET
I have never voted for a democrat for President but next time I will so I am watching Clinton and Obama closely. Hillary appeared fearless, projected experience and confidence but nonetheless left me feeling uninspired. Obama impressed me as being the best hope for America and he demonstrated a firm command of the issues and the depth and breadth of his responses confirmed that. I really liked this format. It really got some great information out in a down-to-earth, real world sort of way.
Posted By Paul Michaels, Valencia, CA : 11:33 AM ET
I can just imagine all the hard work put into the debate. Just screening all the YouTube questions alone would be a daunting task... Overall, very well done and the hard work and effort paid off. I'm not sure that I'm decided yet but I have the debate Tivoed and want to watch again more closely. Yes, it was Tivo worthy for sure. Hard to tell who won, I think overall I would have to say Hillary. The questions were interesting. The only negative critique was that at times, it was hard to read some of the videos/questions that had things in writing. Keep up the good work... How many months until the election. Hey, what is the latest on the song (did you pick a winner.... maybe I missed the unveiling...)
Posted By Mary H. St. Louis, MO : 11:47 AM ET
I'd like to know how the placement on stage was decided. All of the candidates were in the same position as the last debate, which places the three front runners front and center. It hardly seems fair to those stuck on the end, and makes for far too many edwards/clinton/obama photo opps.
Posted By Michael, San Marcos, TX : 11:47 AM ET
Great debate Anderson! I liked how you managed to (most of the time) keep the candidates on track with answering questions. A few comments though:
1) Considering silencing microphones when time is up. I know no politician wants to be silenced, but if you show them that they MUST keep to within the time limit, they will. This will allow for more questions.
2) When a YouTube question is playing, the camera should zoom in on the question so those of us at home can see it.

All in all, it was an excellent debate. Go Biden!
Posted By Jonathan Mueller : 12:02 PM ET
I thought this was an unique, and innovative format. And of course, as you know by now, it worked! Even my mom, who is 77, really liked it. I did come away with some different opinions of the candidates. I thought we got to see how they react to the unexpected, and isn't that and important factor to consider in a president?

Also Anderson, I admire your patience in bringing them "back to the fold" when they went off target or started random political ramblings (RPR's). Maybe you should get a stun gun for the next one, and give them a little "zip" when they get out of line. Just tell them "This is MY baby."
Posted By Jill Granger, Pittsburgh, PA : 12:05 PM ET
Liked the debate but felt that CNN lost its neutral bias by ultimately selecting the questions.

Alternative, ask YouTube to vote on pertinate questions and follow up with an independent team of Republican / Democratic / Independent representatives to develop the short list of questions.
Posted By CJ Erie, Colorado : 12:06 PM ET
I liked the format, although I was disappointed with the candidates performances completely.
Between Gravel complaining wanting more attention like a small child and Hillary constantly trying to get people to applaud as opposed to answering questions, this was very disappointing.
In addition, it should be rehearsed how to answer a separation of church and state question (Edwards), what it's like to be the female candidate (Clinton), and how to respond to direct meaningless attacks (Gravel, Kucinich, Richardson's attacks).
What's sad about this is that the Republican candidates have two months to read these responses and attempt to say something to the people, but they will dance around questions just the same.
I think a better solution would be to have a four-hour live event where individuals get to come to the stage, ask a question they want answered, and now relent until someone answers that question.
Instead of Hillary and the others talking about the Bushes, maybe she should spend more time talking about herself. I'm very disappointed that she can do no better than she did last night and yet she's still winning in the polls. Perhaps people don't actually watch these events.
Or perhaps, maybe people disagree with John Edwards on his opinion of Hillary's salmon colored jacket.
Posted By David in Liberty, MO : 12:10 PM ET
I liked the format, although I was disappointed with the candidates performances completely.
Between Gravel complaining wanting more attention like a small child and Hillary constantly trying to get people to applaud as opposed to answering questions, this was very disappointing.
In addition, it should be rehearsed how to answer a separation of church and state question (Edwards), what it's like to be the female candidate (Clinton), and how to respond to direct meaningless attacks (Gravel, Kucinich, Richardson's attacks).
What's sad about this is that the Republican candidates have two months to read these responses and attempt to say something to the people, but they will dance around questions just the same.
I think a better solution would be to have a four-hour live event where individuals get to come to the stage, ask a question they want answered, and now relent until someone answers that question.
Instead of Hillary and the others talking about the Bushes, maybe she should spend more time talking about herself. I'm very disappointed that she can do no better than she did last night and yet she's still winning in the polls. Perhaps people don't actually watch these events.
Or perhaps, maybe people disagree with John Edwards on his opinion of Hillary's salmon colored jacket.
Posted By David in Liberty, MO : 12:12 PM ET
Thank you, CNN, for the YouTube debate last night. The biggest surprise to me was Joe Biden's candor and passion. My biggest disappointment was Hillary Clinton's advocacy of caution--caution covering so many subjects. To me that means she will be same-old, same-old, which, for me, does raise the issue of the Bush and Clinton families having such a long and similar leadership of the country. I also was surprised that she interrupted Anderson Cooper, speaking over him not once but twice, and that she leapt to deflect what she perceived as "blame" for Chelsea having gone to a private school. That reminded me of how both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton have a history, like the current president, of an inability to take ownership of their decisions. The candidate who reassured me the most that he would take the country in a new direction and bring America to the forefront of moral national and world leadership: Barack Obama.

I loved the YouTube format, and I really appreciated Anderson Cooper's talent in pulling the candidates back to the question and calling them on the times they did not answer a question. He and Travis Smiley are the best moderators so far of all the debates. Thanks again for a great night of political importance.
Posted By Nancy in Connecticut : 1:04 PM ET
I believe the You Tube debate went "Down the Tubes!!" I was really excited about this forum and thought that for once the young, American people such as myself, would really have a voice in a major election. Most of the videos that were chosen were primarily of sex, race, religion and gender which is always used to divide our nation. The real issues that affect ALL AMERICANS were truly not addressed such as affordable healthcare, tax reform, outsourcing of middle class jobs,illegal immigrants, improving education and pay for teachers, home insurance, and stopping these greedy corporations and pharmaceutical companies that are destroying the middle class in the United States!!! There needs to be a major change in this country before Americans start stealing, killing and committing crimes to either protest the governement or to survive poverty.The increase of crimes is evident and seen everyday on the news. Many innocent Americans will be the victims to this ridiculous government that is "chosen for the people and by the people?"
Cooper PLEASE ADDRESS THE REAL ISSUES IN THE NEXT YOU TUBE DEBATE before it's TOO LATE!!!
Posted By Odalys Miami, FLorida : 1:05 PM ET
Anderson, i thought the debate was a great idea to get all generations involved........i just don't think the canidates had enough time to answer the peoples questions...i'm an undecided voter, but i did get alot from the debate, as far as,being truthful, or answering the same as others, and i really like the idea of the people getting to play a big roll in this election...........i'm so suprised that no one asked a question on our borders...not just illeagal immagrants but, our airports and any other way people get in our country and have no idea where they are or how to keep up with them....that scares me, knowing that there's still ways to get in and over stay their visits, even after 9-11.........no wonder Bush is scared that terroists will come here........they will 'cause they can, with no protection on our borders..........thank you
Posted By Jennifer in indpls, in. : 1:05 PM ET
Anderson, i thought the debate was a great idea to get all generations involved........i just don't think the canidates had enough time to answer the peoples questions...i'm an undecided voter, but i did get alot from the debate, as far as,being truthful, or answering the same as others, and i really like the idea of the people getting to play a big roll in this election...........i'm so suprised that no one asked a question on our borders...not just illeagal immagrants but, our airports and any other way people get in our country and have no idea where they are or how to keep up with them....that scares me, knowing that there's still ways to get in and over stay their visits, even after 9-11.........no wonder Bush is scared that terroists will come here........they will 'cause they can, with no protection on our borders..........thank you
Posted By Jennifer in indpls, in. : 1:05 PM ET
Joe Biden, if you're reading this:

although you had the only sensible answer on Iraq, you spoiled it by completely missing the point with "Michigan Gun Guy." You called him something like mentally unstable, and I think that's wrong of you. He has constitutional rights to have that big gun. He has freedom of speech, too. He has another little-known right to call his gun, his "baby". OK I made that one up, but it shows your true colors that you resort to insults and name-calling.

We may not all agree with "Michigan Gun Guy", but isn't America about defending his constitutional right to bear arms and speak his mind freely.
Posted By xtina chicago IL : 1:08 PM ET
I'm not sure if it's because I'm 23 and really starting to take politics seriously or what, but I was actually able to sit through this debate, on my own volition. In lieu of anticipating a softer, less serious format with the YouTube submissions, I was instead moved and humbled by the courage and foresight of the American people in their questions. Further, I thought CNN did a excellent job dispersing the questions by topic and diversity of audience. I felt Obama was the strongest contender, followed by Hillary, then Dodd. As a liberal when it comes to social issues and a conservative when it comes to fiscal matters, I'm still not sure who, if any, I'd vote for. John Edwards was unimpressive to me, and failed to truly answer the questions presented. Anderson Cooper was a perfect moderator and truly tried to keep things on track. Well done, CNN and Anderson.
Posted By Alli, Washington D.C./Raleigh N.C. : 1:16 PM ET
I found a debate in this format very informative. I am a person who votes for candidates based on their stand on issues that I feel that are important. This format allowed me to view these issues not only how they pertain to me, but to see how the nation as a whole perceives their importance through the questions asked by real working Americans not by political strategists. By, for the most part, limiting their response time candidates had to answer by stating their own views instead of the usual not answering the real question asked and only pointing out the negative views of other candidates. I look forward to watching the Republican’s turn in this type of debate. I also have a proposition to CNN. Once the most likely candidates from each party are defined and before their prospective nominating conventions are held, hold another debate in this format. Help inform the American public on how these candidates would act to improve our country. Let true bipartisan begin with the American people by how they cast their votes. Let us a nation not define the best Democrat or the best Republican to lead our country, but the best American to do so.
Posted By Debbie, Topeka, Kansas : 1:27 PM ET
I think the debate was really good. I personally don't think that any one of the "candidates" won, but by all means, I give major props to CNN and YouTube: this is a fantastic way to reach a younger generation that is looking for fast answers and not willing to settle for anything less than what they want.

Thank you CNN and YouTube. I laughed, I sighed and when the whole thing was over, I couldn't believe I actually sat through the whole thing without wanting to move or be bothered.

The only thing that did concern me a little was the fact the no questions on IMMIGRATION were asked. I know that the Democrats are really NOT trying to talk about it, but isn't that the exact reason why they should be asked? I'm a 4th-generation Latin-American and really care about this issue. I was saddened at the end to realize that illegal immigration, undocumented workers, or whatever you want to call the "issue" never came up.

Aside from that, it was all good. I particularly lean toward Edwards for the Dems and think this debate did well for him. Altogether, they all still tried to dance around the questions, but Anderson did an awesome job moderating.

I can’t wait till the Republican debate in September!
Posted By Jesse, St. Louis, MO : 1:37 PM ET
thank you Mr. Cooper for connecting the people with the presidential candidates.

The best debate I have ever watched in my 60 yrs. I feel the people were heard for the first time in the history of elections.

you're a TV jewel!
don't stop!
thank you,
sam wright, FW, TX
Posted By sam wright, FW, TX : 1:38 PM ET
Dear Mr. Cooper,
I think that you did a fantastic job last night witht eh You Tube debates. There was a vigor and comraderie that has not been seen in quite a while.

You presided over the debate with a confidence and presence that was very tasteful. The candidates basically stayed in their time boundaries and did not get too out of hand. Kudos to you!

I think that Sen. Hillary Clinton won. She is going to be hard to beat in any debate format. She is an excellent debator.

There was a tie for second between Sen Barack Obama and Sen Edwards. I really saw the strength of character in Sen. Edwards last night. He is a very noble man.

Sen. Christopher Dodd was third place. He gave good answers and good face. he needs to work his campaign harder.

I enjoyed the honesty of Rep. Dennis Kucinich. I think he tried to use this debate to drum up more support for his candidacy. He never waffled, and really wants to change things.

Sen. Gravel is too angry to be taken seriously. He yells and gets upset about things. He does this in every debate I have seen him in. I don't think he will get very far with this yelling strategy!

Again, Mr. Cooper, you did a splendid job last night. The vice president of CNN, the senior aids, and you deserve a pat on the back for formulating a new debate format that works. Congratulations.

Madeliene Bolden; Atlanta, Georgia
Posted By Madeliene Bolden, Atlanta, Georgia : 1:46 PM ET
Brilliant and hot.
Posted By Karen, Boston, MA : 1:49 PM ET
I liked the format over past "debates". The questions had a more personal and heartfelt tenor. By asking for honest responses, many of the questioners indicated their low expectations for responsive answers. I thought CNN did a poor job when it came to the tax questions: waiting until near the end of the debate and then only addressing them to single candidates. We therefore heard nothing on how the various programs, especially health care, much less social security, would be financed. If these candidates are not beholding to special interests, how come we didn't hear anything about repealing tax cuts to the rich, and why did Obama (who's otherwise my candidate of choice) not support not capping the income limit on social security taxes ?

Thanks,

John
Posted By John, Huntsville, AL : 1:55 PM ET
I enjoyed watching the debate and the fact that it held my attention the entire time. It is great to see the candidates being asked questions by those that should be asking the questions - potential voters. If anything is accomplished by the format and partnering with YouTube hopefully it will generate more interest in the younger demographic to encourage them to really take an interest in the presidential, continue to become informed on the issues and most importantly when the time comes to go out and vote.
Posted By Karen Columbus, Ohio : 2:16 PM ET
I think the debate and new format was very successful. I think CNN and Anderson Cooper brought the required integrety and credibility necessary to the new more informal format of the questions.
Posted By nancy worlock, new orleans, la : 2:30 PM ET
Well done, Anderson. I was only disappointed in hearing that in choosing questions, all questions from children were ruled out. While I agree that a 5-year-old is not sincerely concerned about social security, older children certainly have legitimate concerns that they can articulate. As an educator and community volunteer, I have worked hard to teach children to be 'active' citizens, meaning asking questions of leaders and seeking solutions to problems. I think the omission gave the wrong signal that citizens' voices do not count until they are voting age. It is exactly the opposite of what I have being trying to teach.
Posted By Susan Robertson, Austin, TX : 4:13 PM ET
Really great debate. I stayed up untill 3 a.m. CET to see this 'new' event and I was totally amazed. I have to confess that I was a little sceptical about the concept first, but you prooved that it was a good idea. There were a lot of smart, interesting and sometimes even funny questions and the candidates, especially Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama, could face them without any problems. But I think some candidates were not treated equally as they didn't have the chance to answer as many and as important questions as some of the others. Nevertheless it was a great debate which could bring especially young people closer to politics - and I think this is something very special.
So all of you did a good job and Anderson was the best host for this event. Hope to see more like that in the future.
Posted By Verena, Cologne, Germany : 4:25 PM ET
Your CNN/YouTube Presidential debate was both informative and enjoyable to watch. It did reveal more about the personalities and beliefs of the candidates. Next time, please enlarge the video screen, the art work could be dropped
.
Here are two areas where I need information so I can make a choice when the Presidential Election takes place: 1. POSSIBLE CABINET MEMBERS
( I want to know in advance whose opinions and advice they might seek. Who has been helping them with their campaigns whom they might reward with a position in the new government?)
2. COURAGE TO CUT PROGRAMS?
What can be CUT from recent government budgets so we can keep our country solvent and financially support needed changes in programs, like health care, education in poverty areas, environmental needs, Medicare , advances in scientific studies to produce new industries and jobs etc. (To name a few!) Which candidate has a plan that means positive change, good plans, and financial health for the country. Ideas are not enough. . . Who can produce enthusiasum for good programs and the willingness to let go of self interests for the better good. We need a respected diplomat at home as well as aboard, a remarkable cheerleader and a master planner with an exceptional sense of accounting.
Posted By Patty in Chula Vista, CA : 4:28 PM ET
Whatever happened to an equal playing field? As I've watched the Democratic and GOP Primaries unfold up to now, it’s been extremely disheartening for me to see the media decide for the American people which candidates are worthy of airtime, consideration and ultimately their vote. Why are Senators Clinton and Obama front-and-center both in the news and on the debate stage? I didn’t hear the entire comment, but the remark about no one being to the “left” of Representative Kucinich (during his response to the last question of the night), while clever, was also pointing out a much bigger problem, i.e. the constant manipulation of the American psyche by a news media more and more driven by dollars than “sense”. While very disappointed in the uneven handedness with which last night’s debate was carried out, I was impressed by Senator Biden’s respectful behavior despite being undeservedly buried somewhere between the second and third tier of Democratic Presidential candidates by CNN and other news media outlets. Is anyone really listening to this guy? Biden’s not on the fringe, he knows how to reach across the isle, his platform is impeccable and I’m still voting for Obama. This Democratic race should intuitively be much closer than it is, but why would people who decide to get their news from silly things like newspapers, magazines and television ever decide to “waste” their vote on someone like Joe Biden? “Yah” said Mr. Hypothetical, “I saw a story about Biden a few months ago. Apparently, he called Barack Obama ‘clean’. I can’t believe the nerve of some people…”
Posted By Nick Dornak, Cheyenne, WY : 4:31 PM ET
I was wondering why the Democrats. Keep on spending our tax dollars on the judges that were dismissed when nothing has been said about Clinton when he had all of them fired? Why doesn’t the Republican? party form a committee to look into the Clinton firings? What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Posted By Robert Jenkin- Mesquite Texas : 4:36 PM ET
I thought the debate went well and really raised my interest in seeing the Republicans respond to the same format. Now that have an idea of how the videos should look, maybe I'll have the courage to upload a question of my own.

I was confused today when the New York Times concluded that CNN must have made an agreement with the candidates not to ask any show-of-hand questions. As I understand it, there was no agreement with the candidates before the debate, was there? I just thought that when Anderson said that they weren't going to do too many of those questions, he referred to a decision CNN had made, not an agreement with the candidates prior to the debate.

Michele
Posted By Michele Jackson, Northridge, CA : 4:47 PM ET
I don't usually watch political debates because -- well, frankly, they're boring. But, last night's YouTube debate was not (boring, that is). It was great! I SO enjoyed the questioners. And the responses, even though to be expected, were somewhat informative and I feel as if I have a better insight into the candidates. Guess what? I am looking forward to the YouTube Republican debate.

And Anderson, you did it again, as usual. What a great job!
Posted By Dianne B. - Vernon, CT : 4:48 PM ET
I thought this new format was much more entertaining as well as informative. The candidates were not as scripted as in other debates and really had to think on their feet. Quick thinking, at least for the most part, means a more honest answer. I thought that of all of the candidates John Edwards was the most honest, even when his answer was not what many voters wanted to hear. Mike Gravel's responses on the other hand were a little too hostile for my tastes. I really appreciated your follow-up questions and the fact that you didn't allow candidates to ramble at their leisure. Overall, it was the best debate I have watched and I hope to submit questions for the next round.

Kimberly Miller
Student Senate Secretary
Hiram College
Hiram, OH
Posted By Kimberly Miller - Lancaster, PA : 4:50 PM ET
Nancy Black, San Marcos, CA
I liked the format, but I was frustrated that not all the candiates were able to freely respond to questions. I'd like to see a utube debate that focuses on perhaps 1-2 top issues (e.g.health care, Iraq war)with questions posed from various angles that can be freely debated by all candidates within the time frame of 2hours.
Posted By Nancy, San Marcos, CA : 5:07 PM ET
And this is why I continue to watch CNN. I'm 26 years old, and I've never been more interested in politics. You rock Anderson!

Michelle, Atlanta, GA
Posted By Michelle, Atlanta, GA : 6:14 PM ET
I agree with the guy above who says do away with the candidates' own video. They're straight up propaganda. Time is precious for voters' questions to be answered.
Posted By Maggie.S., Arcola, IL : 6:41 PM ET
I liked the debate. It gave the average citizen a chance to particapate -that's a good thing. I
am looking foward to the Republicans in September. Do you
think after the primaries are over
and we know who is going to be the
candidates actually running you can
have those candidates debate each
other. You did an excellent job
moderating. For this to have been
a first time things really went petty good.
Posted By Barbara-dalton ga : 8:07 PM ET
To Cooper and Cnn you guys did it. A success I must say. I do not think it was your fault anderson that some did not answer the questions but choose to instead say a comment for an applaud and fed their egos. I must say that was entertaining to watch. You had guts and pointed it out because your cool man. I am nineteen years old and will vote in the next election and the youtube debate did spark my interest. Cnn has manage to capture the attention of many young voters. I have a better idea who my vote will go towards as of now. Next time it will be even better, I can not wait to watch the republians woot. Great job Mr. Cooper and CNN.
Posted By allexandra chapilliquen garfield nj : 9:28 PM ET
I felt like the people had a voice for the first time and I thought most of the questions were good.
HOWEVER, I think debates in general are unfair toward the politicians as much as they are unfair to the people watching them.
The entire format needs to be changed in order to have an event that truly informs the voters of the politician's intentions and opinions. We need to get away from this pressure-cooker format, where only one or two candidates get to speak for only a few seconds!
We need to hear all of them answer the same question and let them talk for a few minutes, so they don't feel so pressured to give bumper-sticker answers.
Instead of having one debate where every subject gets covered superficially and by only some of the candidates, I'd like to see several debates that go on for a couple of days in a row, where only 2 or 3 subjects get covered in depth by ALL candidates (f.e. health care , education, taxes in one evening, next evening 3 other subjects) . Only then will we truly get to know the candidates and the candidates will be able to get their points across.

The discussion about the body language after the debate was not necessary, to be polite. Why does the media make hair styles (or the prices of them ) and which color the tie had relevant?

All in all, as far as debates go, this was the best one!
But, give them more time to answer and have fewer questions instead.
Posted By Minou, New York,NY : 9:29 PM ET
Great job Anderson! It should be known to Americans that these candidate's answers to the policy questions in the debates will ever be signed into a bill plus receiving proper funding. Normally always due to a non-bipartisan Congress. Therefore, on the basis of character Joe Biden in my eyes won this debate due to the fact that he was very honest and personable. His answers were straight forward and to the point.
Posted By Brian Lawton, OK : 10:36 PM ET
I think the canidates were more worried about telling us what we wanted to hear. None of them stayed on the topic at hand, and seamed to be more worried about the war. Althought the war is a big issue, they should have been more focused about the inequality here at home. Gays and Lesbians are denied the right to get married, because they like someoen of the same gender. African americans and women are now treated better then they were, by makeing them equal with everyone around them. Makeing homosexuals unequal now, is hypocrytical. If homosexuals cant get married, then no one should be able to get married.
Posted By Steven Aurelia,IA : 11:29 PM ET
I really liked this debate, because it gave us a glimpse of who these people really are. I didn't really change my viewpoint on any of the candidates, but I got to know more about some of the lesser knowns. I do have a couple suggestions:

1) Make the debate 3 or 4 hours. This allows for questions on multiple sides of a topic to be asked.

2) Give everybody 1 minute to respond.

3) Give everybody equal air time.

4) Show the viewers the videos, not just a square on a projection screen.

5) At the end of the debate, let each candidate respond to one question they weren't allowed to answer earlier.

6) At the end of the debate, have each candidate give a question they wish had been asked but was not. Don't give them time to answer it. Just have them ask the question.

Overall, I really liked this format, especially this early in the election process. I don't think the regular debates will disappear, but this format won't either.
Posted By Sarah, South Bend, WA : 11:36 PM ET
I am so impressed by the thoughtfulness of the video questions I've seen so far. People clearly put tremendous thought into their videos. This was a brilliant idea, Anderson, brilliant. It reaches so many people where they live, literally, which is on the Internet. It could open the doors for millions of people to participate in the political debate and to vote in the next presidential election who have rarely been involved before. That would be a great thing for our country. I can't wait to see the statistics on voter participation in November 2008.

As for the overall format of the debate I agree with the others who have asked for more discussion between the candidates. Two minute answers give us a sense of how quick people are on their feet but still only give us soundbites.

I'm looking forward to the next debate that Anderson moderates. I have every confidence that he will learn a lot from this experience to make the next one even better.
Posted By Karen, Morristown, NJ : 11:43 PM ET
3/4 of the videos were left-wing people asking questions. So does that mean that 3/4 of the videos for the Republican debate will be from conservative viewers to balance it out? We shall see if CNN is fair.
Posted By Ty , Oak Brook , Ill. : 11:53 PM ET
Hey Anderson

Well Done! You and the team did an excellent job getting all aspects of the debate organized and ready; and you did awesome during it. The format was great; it brought a personal level to it. As you said Monday-it adds another dimension to the debate.

Great work!

Tracy-Marie Anderson
Posted By Tracy-Marie Anderson, N.S. Canada : 12:15 AM ET
Anderson,

I was thrilled to see the debates with questions coming directly from the people, not from the media. I think this is truly a revolutionary idea and hope that all major televised presidential candidate debates are fuled by questions from the people of America.
However I do think that it was unfair that you only asked certain candidates the majority of the time. I realize this may have been for a good reason, like a time issue. But I still think that after every question is asked, even if it is directed at a specific candidate, all candidates should get a fair chance to respond.
I also think that when the candidates time has run out to answer a question their microphone should be turned off so that it really will be equal, and you wont have to get into a polite tug of war asking them to stop talking. Granted a few more seconds for a candidate may not seem like much, but a few more seconds can make a huge difference in a political debate.
Overall though, I'm very very impressed with the debate, can't wait for the Republican one in September and hopefully more YouTube debates in the future.

Thank you CNN and Anderson
Posted By Josh, Harrodsburg, KY : 12:24 AM ET
I don't have a voice because I have ALS so I can only write my message. I was extremely disappointed that so little time was spent on health care and stem cell issues. I realize that the Iraq War is important but more people with my disease, ALS, alone have died than in the total that has died on 911 and the associated wars. These people and those with similar diseases have died utterly in VAIN because only pennies have been spent to help us and the utter destruction that is allowed to happen to us and our families because of our diseases. This is not solely for selfish reasons since the quickest way to solve the Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security and budget problems is to have a JFKesk call for a real war to solve/cure these terrorist diseases.
Posted By Jeff Lester (Ragingbear) : 2:53 AM ET
The "debate" was terrible. Anderson Cooper did a horrific job. He never followed up, he allowed candidates to get away with anything they said without challenging them.

I would like to see if Republicans will get the same softball questions when they debate on CNN.

I swear that I saw Anderson Cooper drool every time that Obama or Hillary spoke. It was pathetic and CNN has a bunch of sycophant followers for Hillary and Obama.

CNN chose the questions, it would have been better if the questions would have been asked live!! Not pre-recorded and pre-screened by CNN.

Why didn’t CNN put the candidate on the spot and allowed questions asking Hillary about her scandals while she was First Lady? Why didn’t they ask questions to Obama about his voting record in the Illinois Senate, which is quite communist?

Anyone else notice that the Democratic candidates never mentioned the words, terrorists or terrorism? Did you also notice that Anderson Cooper never mentioned these words either?

Makes one wonder if CNN and the Democratic Presidential candidates believe if we are at war against Islamic terrorists, quite scary to think that one of these clowns may become our next President.
Posted By C.J.-Chicago : 12:04 PM ET
Regarding the Clinton/Obama war that began yesterday, my take is that Obama, being a junior senator, does not have the foreign policy experience to meet with these leaders right out of the box.

I would be anxious to send him off to meet with Castro, Iran, or some of the other hostile heads of state who could sell him a line that he's not prepared for because he hasn't had the foreign policy exposure. In truth, it was a little premature for any of the candidates to answer this definately because they don't know the state of world politics 2 years down the road, or who the US might piss off, or cut-off relations with by then.

I do agree that Hillary's answer was a bit of a cop out. It came out a little too arrogant when she said she didn't want to be used for propoganda purposes...the moderatory should have asked a follow-up question about why she felt that way?

For someone trying to distance herself from her husband's reputation, she put him right back into the mix.
Posted By Kelly, San Francisco, CA : 1:08 PM ET
This debate was interesting and even fun. Richardson was disappointing and Biden was the winner. I would have liked to see more specific questions asked that would give the candidates a chance to show their true abilities and weaknesses. I'd like to hear their answers to:
1. If we pull out of Iraq now, would you consider it a win or a loss for the US and why?
2. You want to help Darfur and abandon Iraq. Are the people of Darfur more important to you than the Iraqis are?
3. Great Britain and Canada both have universal health care and severe doctor shortages. Under your universal health care plan, how will you encourage American students to pursue the medical field when they will have to work for less money than they could earn under private practice? How will we avoid recruiting doctors from the Middle East like the terrorists in the recent London car bombs and the Glasgow bombing?
4. What do you anticipate will happen in Iraq when we pull out under your pull out plan?
Posted By Lois, Mesa AZ : 1:24 AM ET
I liked it that you aired the videos that didn't make the cut. There were really many good questions and it's a shame that because of time constraint, those topics couldn't be discussed.
All of you should give yourself a pat on the back because this new platform worked and probably better if it's allocated more time.
You got me to wake up early in the morning(though I only planned to give it a quick peek) and had me glued to my seat for two hours when normally I would have already crawled back into my comfy bed(I'm not a morning person). And I'm not even American.
It was uncomfortable to watch some of the candidates having a tough time keeping to the 30 seconds and some got a little testy. Since you've got only 2 hours I guess that's the best you could give. Good practice though for the candidates. Keep to what's relevant. Give straightforward answers and less beating around the bush.
Mr. Cooper, you did very well as the moderator.
A funny thought just came to mind; if this is used in certain countries you would probably have to dodge shoes or maybe more thrown your way.
Posted By lpfoong, Penang,Malaysia : 3:06 AM ET
After reading through several postings on the debate I found myself wondering if we all watched the same program. Don't misunderstand me, Anderson did an excellent job, it was the politicians that disappointed me.
Given the fact that our fellow citizens and not the media were asking the questions, I was hoping we would hear an answer commensurate with questioner's intent. What I heard too often was more political rhetoric, campaign slogans, and relatively nice trash talk about republicans and other presidential candidates but no straight answers. No tough talk except unfortunately from the ones who'll never get elected in this country. I’m sick to death of the tap dancing and finger pointing. Stop bashing and blaming the problems away and fix this country and get us out of Iraq. Give us a definitive plan that will be executed upon your election to office. Why does this seem so impossible for candidate to do in an election? America wake up and demand this of your elected officials, then hold them accountable to execute their plan.
Obama, Hillary, and John if you wish to continue as the frontrunners and win at least my vote, tell the truth, the hard truth. Taxes will be raised on all of us. Yes that means the rich now but also continued hardship and strife on the poor. But to get us out of this mess, there are no cheap options. Maybe just one! We should charge all of the people who voted for this president in the last election (he stole). Tax them under the new law; “You broke it; you buy it”. Similar to the philosophy at work in the present administration as they privatize the entire United States government and most of the middle east!
My voter registration card may indicate I’m a Democrat but trust me when I say, if this is the best the party has to offer...that designation can easily be change to independent.
I only hope that in the next debate the critical issues will be addressed and the hard truths will be spoken! No wait a minute, isn’t it the republican's turn next? Never mind then! Anderson, CNN and You Tube great job! Can you do something about the quality of candidates next time?
Chris
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posted By Chris Gorman : 1:40 PM ET
Hey! Great job Anderson! YOu and your team did a great job putting everything together. The debate was great. It helped me realize which canidates have the most potential to be president. Im glad the questions were asked from people, it helped our voices be heard. I was a little disappointed because no questions about immigration were asked since this is a HUGE issue going on now. Maybe Republicans will get some questions about that. Cant wait to vote since it will be my first time! I feel like a grown up! Later
Posted By Nallely, Miami, Fl : 2:35 PM ET
Hi, first let me start off by saying that before this debate the only democratic candidates I knew that were eyeing the Whitehouse were Hillary and Obama, but then again who doesn't know that right?? Well,as you have guessed I am not so tuned into the world of politics (which I am ashamed to admit) but I wanted to commend CNN/YouTube for changing things up a bit and letting "real people" ask the questions for a change! And of course Anderson Cooper did an excellent job as host/moderator, I believe Anderson did a great job at, "keeping them honest." As for the candidates, what can you say? Some seem to answer truthfully but at times I felt some answered in ways that would get the most votes! I must say that I am looking forward to the Republican Debate in September, this has definitly opened my eyes to the world of politics and those who lead this great nation. Thanks for giving us something that feels real!!
Posted By Deborah, Savannah, GA : 10:47 PM ET
WOW! Wow, wow, wow!

Anderson, CNN Team:

I just read through most of the responses (which I never do. Normally, I select a few to read and call it a day. No offense to anyone. It’s a time factor), to the YouTube debates. But I just couldn’t help myself tonight. I must say I’m just totally dumbfounded.

We, all of us, have got ISSUES. Real issues! And, they are all legit!

My mind is spinning sitting here trying to figure out how to workout, fix, correct all OUR ISSUES. But you know, a thought JUST occurred to me, our issues are not mine to fix. They are OURS to fix. Nor are they any one the presidential candidates either. Instead, they are ours, all of ours!

YES, WE NEED TO HEAR WHAT THE CANDIDATES HAVE TO SAY. But they can SAY anything and they will. But talk is cheap and action speaks louder than words. Unfortunately, we have to wait until after one makes it in to office to find out if they will be true to their word or at least try in earnest. Moreover, the candidates can go on and on until they are blue in the face about how they feel, what they believe in and what they are going to do once they’re in office, etc., etc…

However, the greater question at hand is, and what I want to know is what are you, America, what are you, what are WE going to do about OUR issues? Go to polls and Vote, you say?! Well, is that all? Is that enough? Why wait until then? Do we have that kind of time? I say, No! We do not. TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE!

Wake Up! Dang on it! And seize the day!

AMERICA IS A JOINT ACCOUNT!

America is and has always been an ENSEMBLE effort. WE (all of us) share joint responsibility IN GETTING OUR ACT TOGETHER. We are running on borrowed time. The dress rehearsal is over and places have been called.

What I want to know is are YOU or I in place now, today, so when the curtain goes up on whomever (just don’t let it be another Republican, especially that Gulliani guy) the leading male or female is in 2008, are we as the supporting members, prepared in our roles? When called upon, are we ready to deliver as individuals, followers of Christ, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, neighbors, citizens, citizens of the world? Do you even know what our role is?
Do you even know how greatly an individual single act by a single person, not to mention when we act en mass, greatly affects our neighbor? That is veryone mentioned above.

We’ve got to stop thinking in “I” and “Me” and begin to think in the “Us and “We.”

I’m sorry I know I’m rambling, venting. But I am upse-- no, frustrated. Exasperated!

LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! I KNOW, I KNOW: TAKE A TICKET AND STAND IN LINE, LADY! I got it!

Oh, anyway, I don’t know! I began writing this reply at around midnight. It’s now almost 7AM. So, I know I’m rambling.

Anderson, Guys, maybe what we need is a CNN Hosted OPEN FORUM or Town Hall Meeting to vent our issues. Our Issues need to be aired-out and heard. HEARD NOT READ. NOT VIDEO-TAPED. But Up front and in person with real everyday people and the candidates present. Don’t get me wrong, you guys are doing a splendid job. The YouTube debates were great. But it’s a first step.

What I mean is I think we need an OPEN-FORUM or perhaps a series of Town Hall meeting(s), emphasis on the “s” because one or two will not be enough, throughout the states and cities of America, particularly the poorest ones. A forum where the people speak and the candidates do the LISTENING for two or however many hours it takes. They should be forced to listen. Let them take notes if they want to then go home sleep on, ponder, mull over, discuss with their loved ones, or whatever, all that they have heard.

This can be done remotely. It should be LIVE, for authenticity on TV, RADIO, and of course, YouTube, whereas, we the people get to stand up and show & tell the candidates who and what we are; what it is that we need and want and expect of and from them. This forum should be TOTALLY unscripted void of prescreened questions or statements, but in a controlled and safe environment, OF COURSE.

For the most part, I pretty much know who I’ll be voting for, I think I know who the CHARACTERS verses the REAL POLITICIAN for THE PEOLPE are. Our lives are at stake! The WORLD is at stake! AND THE DRESS REHEARSAL IS OVER!!!

Anderson, CNN, you are innovators. Keep up the good work! So, what say you?

-Time to catch some Zzzz
Posted By JPHowell, NY : 6:50 AM ET
Sorry to be the wet blanket (more like a damp cashmere throw, you get the idea) but…

Entertainment factor: Better than Army Wives or Desperate whatever…but let’s face it…there isn’t much competition

The video clips: I’m concerned about my fellow Americans…deeply, deeply concerned

The candidates: flippant and annoying at best…I kept turning down the sound and answering in interesting voices to keep myself entertained…have them use sock puppets next time

The host: I love you but…um…nice suit. Okay, okay, you’re excused since I’m weighing in what you had to work with, freakin’ politicians…try garden gnomes next time. Okay maybe love you is a bit of a stretch but I definitely like you better than Larry King…what’s up with that guy?! Sorry, sorry, off topic

Conclusion: Would I watch it again? I’ll wait for the book, soft cover. I’m thinking that I’m going to stop recycling and start burning tires in my back yard. I’m hoping for a better form of life after the impending ice age. Hmmm, final thought…the debate made me grouchy.
Posted By ELECTIONGRRRL : 1:46 PM ET
U-TUBE debate is not for all Americans, low-income people cannot afford a computer or dial-up internet connection, let alone high-speed internet; SDL, CABLE, HI-FI. They are simply digitally unconnected. Some refer this as "internet ghetto" community. Is this not the "2 Americas" that John Edwards talks about? an America for the rich and an America for the poor.

The question is.. How can everybody be included in this presidential debates?
Posted By Jane, Hamilton, NJ : 9:57 AM ET
CNN's 2-hour YouTube Debate?
On 7/23/07 Anderson Cooper posts on his BLOG that this new platform is a work in progress, with promise to smooth out the “rough spots”.
Here’s help Anderson. Selling America this circus as a technical “debate” is falsely indicating that these Democrats really can debate the issues. They did not. To be accurate the “YouTube Debate” was actually a CNN staged, high tech Q & A and not a debate at all.
Viewers are now concerned as to why questions about massive illegal immigration, or the globalization melt down of our middle class wealth etc… were totally avoided or not even strongly debated by these flimsy politicians.

Sure there was time for ' video commercials spot lighting the candidates' and those oh so “hard-hitting” questions like, “Where did little Chelsea Clinton go to school”……or 'Tell me one thing you like and dislike about the candidate of your LEFT’. (Hey, was this the Dating Game? Or what? )
These “Rough spots” seem to be convenient ways of avoiding issues supporting the CNN Left sway agenda.

Oh yes, Anderson I’m sure you plan on “smoothing out the rough spots ”by getting real hard ball questions out there for the next You Tube (so called) Debate, because this one would be directed to the competition candidates on the Right.

Although it was CNN (not the Dems) that were responsible for rigging the debate questions, it clearly uncovers the CNN bias Leftist agenda. Can you say backfire Sen. Biden?

Yes. YouTube did set a new (albeit biased) standard.
Now CNN, do you really think the Republicans should walk into your ambush and do a YouTube style Q & A anywhere excepting on FOX news channel? Seriously.
Posted By Chas Youngs : 3:35 PM ET
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