Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Almost time....
St. Petersburg, Florida (CNN) -- Morning has turned to afternoon in St. Pete. The debate begins at 8pm ET and it is crunch time here aboard the CNN Election Express Bus. We're huddled with Anderson going over questions and follow-ups. Some are getting cut. Others are getting added. And, of course, there is always the "maybe" pile. Inside the Mahaffey Theater at the Progress Energy Center the debate set looks outstanding. The candidates will begin to arrive shortly for their individual walk throughs on the stage. Then, presumably, they'll gather with their advisers for last minute preparations. Security is extremely tight --- roads and entrances to the building have been sealed off and metal police barricades line the streets around us. Hopefully everything out there will be peaceful and the heated moments will be confined to the stage. Everyone seems to be expecting sparks between the candidates. Perhaps CNN's John King put it best when he said on 360 that tonight Anderson has the best job in political journalism. More to come later today...
By 360 Associate Producer Jack Gray
Posted By CNN: 1:48 PM ET
  40 Comments
I am looking forward to watching the debate tonight. Hopefully they don't act as if they are on an episode of Jerry Springer.
Posted By Anonymous : 2:14 PM ET
There's still a "Maybe" pile? I plan on watching the debate. Hopefully, I'll hear solutions to real problems..I hope..I'll add a maybe to the maybe pile! Maybe sparks won't fly too high, after all as they say, "Always keep your words soft and sweet...Just in case you have to eat them. Good luck tonight.
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 2:15 PM ET
Jack,

I know all of you must feel the added pressure of trying to make this debate as successful or even more so than the first You Tube debate.

Even though the GOP candidates did finally agree to take part in this debate I don’t think they are looking forward to tonight’s format. I just hope the selections you make will aggressively challenge them on the issues and that Anderson will keep them on topic. I am also expecting and looking forward to seeing sparks fly on stage tonight, but I am also confident that Anderson will keep it all under control.

Good luck!
Jo Ann
Posted By Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 2:36 PM ET
Yes, indeed, Anderson has the best job...seeing all those candidates argue with each other, yet he has control over who gets to speak, for how long, who gets to make a counterpoint, what follow-up questions to ask, squint and glare to whoever didn't answer the original question (OK, I made that up :)) Can you tell I love debates?

Hmmm...how do I get that job? CNN, do you have any openings? LOL! :)

:)
Lilibeth
Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Lilibeth, Edmonds, Washington : 2:49 PM ET
I just hope the public don't mind that the disproportionately young Youtubers will tend to ask questions such as "Boxers or Briefs" rather than say, about agricultural subsidies.
Posted By Ron R. - Lowell, Ma. : 3:13 PM ET
I think the cnn youtube debates are a step forward. I'm glad that the Republicans finally came to their senses and decided to participate.
Posted By danielle p. - boone, ia. : 3:15 PM ET
doesn't the world already have enough goofy videos? spare me the exhibitionism calling itself the 'voice of the people.'
Posted By Janet D, Little Rock AR : 3:17 PM ET
Since so much has been said about the unfairness of these debates, maybe we can conduct them like the Miss USA contest. We stick all the candidates in a soundproof booth and parade them out one at a time and ask the same question.
Posted By Helen, NYC : 3:20 PM ET
Hi,
I can sense the excitement in your post! It will be interesting to hear the candidates answers to the questions posed. I still hope to see the inside of that bus!
Good luck tonight!
Posted By Pamina, New Rochelle, NY : 3:20 PM ET
Im expecting the same nonsense as CNN's Youtube debate last time, with people taking three minutes to ask one stupid question and with people singing their questions.
Posted By Liza C, Kenosha Wi. : 3:22 PM ET
It will be interesting to see if any "gotcha" vids will appear like they did on the YouTube-Dem debate-doubt it!
Posted By Anonymous : 3:23 PM ET
Just follow these rules:

don't use big words, keep it simple and use a breathless delivery. We'll see lots of hot button issues like what to do about those "illegal immigrants" and "gun control." No one should expect to hear any questions of substance. And of course all the republicans will try to outdo one another in toughness and masculinity.
Posted By Frances A, Dallas, Tx. : 3:25 PM ET
I have issues with the Youtube debate. Mostly younger people are web/video savvy. The younger generation lack maturity and experience, and the younger population don't vote in as large numbers as older people. Why are they given special preference? Usually younger people ask frivolous questions which just detracts even more from the issues.
Posted By Carole J, Santa Rosa, Ca. : 3:30 PM ET
Hi Anderson ! I think you should set a few ground rules about the candidates' answers. For ex. you can't answer: "well, it's a complicated issue..." or "I have great respect for my opponent, BUT..."

If it's a YES or NO question you have to answer YES . or NO.
Posted By Lauren C, San Antonio, Tx. : 3:37 PM ET
Unfortunately bothparties are guilty of faking their answers, as they are all beholden to their constituencies, while they wish to retain votes. Good luck getting through the debate without hearing some lies.
Posted By Rosemary - Jacksonville, FL : 3:40 PM ET
Please tell me that the CNN Youtube "Snowman" melted with all the warm weather we've had this past autumn. . . ??
Posted By Tom Reilly , Deer Park, IL : 3:43 PM ET
I hope CNN does a better job weeding out the stupid videos. I thought the last one was unprofessional. This is a good opportunity for the GOP to show what classy people they are.
Posted By John, Clearwater, Fl. : 3:47 PM ET
I looked at about 1,000 of the videos and I think my IQ went down about ten points .
Posted By Rod F--- Virginia Beach, VA : 3:50 PM ET
Anderson - people who think it's a disgrace for CNN to pick the youtube videos have never spent time on youtube. You need to go ahead and explore their big booty dancing videos to fully appreciate exactly what might get voted to the top of the list for the debate.
Posted By Robin T -- Toledo, OH : 3:57 PM ET
I think the public should be more involved in selecting the videos. It doesn't matter that SOME or even a majority of them are dumb. No one is suggesting that a majority of the videos be used during the debate. The point is to select the best questions from the videos sent in. AND the best way to do that is to have the public VOTE on the them.
Posted By Stacy D - - Midland, TX. : 4:02 PM ET
Looking forward to the debate tonight. From reading some of the posted comments, many people seem
concerned about the "creative" video some use to ask their ?s,
whose cares as long as the ? asked
is serious. I say enjoy and let yourself be informed. I know Anderson will do a good job.
Do you think after we know who will
be running CNN & youtube can have
a debate between the two.
Posted By Barbara-Dalton Ga : 4:06 PM ET
Why don't we just cut to the chase and have Mitt Romney wrestle the snowman. A little man-on-smowman action will be more entertaining than a bunch of politicians elbowing for attention.
Posted By jordan b, minneapolis, mn. : 4:15 PM ET
I'd like to see each candidate given a laptop computer and told to navigate to the Youtube site to access their next question. See how long it takes some of these geezers to figure it out.
Posted By Andrea J , Springfield, MA : 4:20 PM ET
I've been hiding under a rock and didn't know about this debate but got information via my RSS feed. From the hype , it seems this event serves the sponsors not the people. AND it's used to garner ratings.
Posted By cheri frame , yountville, ca. : 4:25 PM ET
OK kudos to anyone who brings more exposure of the candidates to the grass roots. We need to know more about them as people, not as mouthpieces for the agenda or for the party. We are the deciders.
Posted By Jim C , Seattle, Wa. : 4:28 PM ET
Ohhh, I'm so excited. I've got a bottle of crown royal. Steaks for the grill, and plenty of munchies. My friends and I have been joking that this is almost like when we get together to watch football games.
Posted By Harley D, Cleveland , OH : 4:35 PM ET
We will be going to the debate, and GOP straw poll nearby. And then off the to Meetup straw poll location and we'll also be meeting some people for sign waving in front of the debate location. Ron Paul is supposed to show up for his supporters , I believe. Otherwise I've been practicing my screaming for nothing!

Good Luck Anderson !
Posted By Pat Mc C., St Petersburg , FL. : 4:43 PM ET
Reading the comments of some of the naysayers has dropped my IQ 20 points. If the questions are so horrible, maybe instead of whining you should have sent a question in for review. I know that's what I did. Whether it's picked or not, at least I made an attempt and didn't think i was too good to participate and maybe make someone think if only for a few minutes about my topic. And by the way, I am almost 40, a cradle Republican from an upper middle class family, have a PhD in the social sciences, am a published author, have been awarded federal grants to conduct major research, and don't need to get on the air to feel good about myself or push my career. I did it because I have a nephew and niece and younger cousins and students who are part of the You Tube generation and need to know participating in the politics of this country isn't a right but a requirement if they want any say at all in what happens to America now and in the future. If a snowman gets them involved, so be it. And Anderson does have the most awesome job a political journalist can have tonight. All I hope is that the gentlemen remain gentlemen.
Posted By Anonymous : 4:53 PM ET
CNN's editors will select which questions to ask.... What about injecting democracy into the debate. The only thing CNN and Youtube should be doing is filtering the questions for obscene language. Other than that the questions should be left alone and not "weeded out", thereby giving us real democracy.
Posted By Richard , Dubuque, Ia. : 5:10 PM ET
Well, if worse comes to worse, just vote for Anderson Cooper .
Posted By marti allende , tempe az. : 5:13 PM ET
Sometimes the truth hurts, people. CNN is biased towards the front runners (whether that be Dems or Republicans)but it has nothing to do with favoring the person, it has to do with money. The front runners will generate the most viewers and the most money, and thus will spend the most money on ads (including those on CNN). I know I worked in media for many years. If you think politics is all about money and business, you'd better believe that the media is all about money - even more so.
Posted By j. stanfish st. paul, mn. : 5:37 PM ET
Just like the last debate CNN trots out the "undecided " voters who turn out to be anti-war, pro-union, into race politics, or Democratic party activists. That's CNN's idea of voters speaking out, but would they also let conservatives who don't tend to wear pink paper crowns and bloodied t-shirts, have as much of a voice if Youtube wasn't partnering with them?
Posted By nelson h. , stowe, vt. : 5:48 PM ET
This has got to be the 450th debate of this "season". It's possible the cable stations and the candidates themselves are fresh out of substance at this point.
Posted By Sharon - Franklin, TN. : 5:51 PM ET
These CNN debates are like TV talk shows without the screaming and chair-flinging.
Posted By Stacy M, Davis, CA. : 5:53 PM ET
The runtime of the debates is a concern of mine. They only allot two hours to size up the next President of the United States, but let football, baseball and basketball games go on as long as they need to! You'd think the leader of the free world would be more important than the Super Bowl , no?

I could go six, seven hours but let the format remain the same. I think they should give each candidate three minutes to answer, but don't interrupt them before the three minutes is up. In other words, "give 'em enough rope to hang themselves."
Posted By Danette C, Tyndall SD : 6:01 PM ET
It's close to the caucuses -we're ready to hear serious questions , not overly-emotional teenagers crying about Congress not doing anything about polar bear habitat. We're under the biggest threat to our country with illegals pounding on our doors and Islamo-fascism making it dangerous to walk in large cities. People who watch Youtube don't get that fact since they're much more affluent and insulated than previous generations. Please, cnn , let's hear some serious discussion.
Posted By edmund b. , san francisco, ca. : 6:08 PM ET
I will make a couple predictions about this evening's debate. First, CNN staff will not be able to discern the difference between a video submitter who understands the benefit of limited government and someone who does not. In fact, the concept of limited government to the mainstream media is so foreign, that CNN will probably choose videos exclusively on social issues and religion.

For example, I have no doubt CNN received hundreds of videos from apolitical independents who simply want the government to pay for their healthcare, to fix education by increasing funding and to increase social services all across the board. To tax the rich, to force people to drive electric cars, to grow the government and to tax people in many more areas . None of the CNN staff who screen the videos will recognize that most people who vote Republican do not agree with the premise that it's the government's role to manage these areas.

Moreover, CNN will select few, if any questions from people asking the candidates to reduce the size of government by decreasing spending and lowering taxes. CNN may even select questions from people who claim to be Republican but ask questions as if they were liberal Democrats. I just hope the candidates will not pander to these people.
Posted By Jay Pearson - Orem, UT. : 6:27 PM ET
I question why a for-profit entity such as CNN gets to choose which questions are pulled from Youtube. Why were the questions not picked by a bi-partisan organization for both the July Dem debate and this upcoming Republican debate?
Posted By natalie s. , grosse pointe, mi. : 6:32 PM ET
I'm actually excited ...about a debate! Woah..
Thank you all at CNN for working so hard to put together a pioneering event that gives the people a voice!
Posted By Minou, New York,NY : 6:34 PM ET
Im all about using the internet smartly, but isn't there a smarter way to do it, one that isn't so gimmicky? I thought the last Youtube debate was not very Presidential.
Posted By Crystal, Carefree, Az. : 6:41 PM ET
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