Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tonight's CNN/YouTube Debate
St. Petersburg, Florida (CNN) -- The final countdown has begun. Members of the audience have started to arrive at the Mahaffey Theater at the Progress Energy Center in St. Petersburg. Hundreds of audience members are waiting to pass through the metal detectors and take their seats inside the debate hall. Outside the building, in the CNN Election Express Bus, the mood is serious as Anderson goes through the questions and his follow-ups. It's not lost on any of us that eight men taking the stage tonight are running to become the leader of the free world. In our mobile control room, the director and her team are making sure everything is perfect with the set, cameras, lights and microphones.

In live television, everything has to go like clockwork. When the candidates and their entourages arrive they will go directly to their green rooms for any last minute preparations. Then, at 8 pm eastern time, they will join Anderson on stage to answer your questions. As these things go, the candidates hope for a win, will settle for a draw - but a loss at this point, with voting in Iowa and New Hampshire early next month, could be a major setback. It promises to be an exciting night. We'll have complete reaction and analysis immediately following the debate on a special edition of AC 360. See you at 8pm.



-By 360 Associate Producer Jack Gray
Posted By CNNBLOG: 6:35 PM ET
  16 Comments
Well...it looks like you all have done everything that you can to get ready for these debates. I guess now the cards will fall as they may. Now the only thing left to do is let the good times roll!! LOL

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 6:49 PM ET
Hello Jack,

Thanks for the interesting behind the scenes info regarding tonight's debate. Your descriptions are so detailed, I can just picture all of this taking place, I would love to be there to observe it firsthand.

Frankly, I cannot imagine what it takes to bring something like this to live TV. You all have my utmost respect and gratitude. This is the most important election of my lifetime and I deeply value the blood, weat and tears that you all at 360 and CNN put in to keep us educated and well informed. You are providing a service of immense importance. Thanks for that.

Can't wait - one more hour! Best wishes for a successful telecast to Anderson and all of the crew!
Posted By Pati McMillan, Camp Hill, PA : 6:52 PM ET
Do you see the squeaky snowman, Jack?
Posted By michelle b - springfield, mass. : 6:57 PM ET
I love this format. It's a great exchange between the candidates and people who never in their lifetimes get to interact with a Presidential hopeful .
Posted By jenny p. , chapel hill, n.c. : 7:00 PM ET
There is something disconcerting about a talking dog or a snowman who comes to life. The Republicans should know better than to fall prey to such nonsense.
Posted By Carl K --- Ft. Pierce, FL. : 7:07 PM ET
Welcome to Florida Anderson. Im glad for this way that gives the average person a chance to participate in the campaign season. This shows that citizens can be heard. And whether citizens have this opportunity because of a novel use of new technology or because they simply feel that Washington is responding, the CNN-Youtube debate is great for the process.
Posted By Joanna C - Naples, Fl. : 7:15 PM ET
Im glad for this chance to see what the candidates have to say and for having regular folks ask questions rather than journalists. Nothing against journalists.
Posted By mary cross , manchester, n.h. : 7:18 PM ET
I'm so excited! I'm still at work but am about to go home to see it. I just wish I can be there in person.

Good luck! I'm sure everything will be fine! And I'm sure Anderson will do a great job!

Take Care,
Lilibeth
Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Lilibeth, Edmonds, Washington : 7:18 PM ET
I think this YouTube thing and technology in general has truly given people a voice.

p.s. Nice photo but what no laptop, Anderson ?!
Posted By krystal j, boston, ma. : 7:21 PM ET
I wasn't that impressed with the last video debate mainly because the "living in mom's basement" demographic is irrelevant . The last thing the next President has time for is someone whose idea of a hobby is video games.
Posted By james h., wilmington, sc. : 7:26 PM ET
Nice picture--- oops got distracted there for a second.. ! I think this video debate is unbelievably cool . It helps you to envision the different concerns of voters, and it's a wonderful blend of old and new media.
Posted By Donna S , Atlanta, Ga. : 7:37 PM ET
It's a good thing for American citizens to take an interest in the political process but is something better because it's entertaining? I'd just as soon read these candidates' resumes, cast my vote and go do other things with my time.
Posted By Jennifer S -- Bethpage, NY. : 7:45 PM ET
Fasten your seatbelts, the final countdown is near. As with most things in life, it will either be a bumpy ride or a smooth sail..Hope all goes well.
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 8:00 PM ET
I'm really not liking the distracting "audience reaction" overlay. I understand that people want to know and understand how others feel about issues, however, I would rather see this sort of information post-debate. If you want to do it live, please find a less distracting way to do so.
Posted By dee : 8:17 PM ET
Im not thrilled with the celebrity aspect. They get enough face time with being in show biz. The shots of Chuck Norris in the audience reminded me of how on "Dancing with the Stars " it started off with a generic audience, but with each season we see more and more celeb shots from the audience. Yuck !
Posted By Riley R. - Exeter Ma. : 8:59 PM ET
Questions being asked are great; CNN did a good job picking them. It bothers me that the audience boos at times cutting off the candidate; they need to listen to the whole answer before they decide to boo.

Good format so far to see how the candidates differ; this debate is tougher than the one the Democrats did. Guess as time winds down the slapdowns get harder.

Annie Kate
Birmingham AL
Posted By Annie Kate : 9:05 PM ET
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