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Thursday, April 12, 2007
YouTube launches online forum for presidential candidates

Romney is the first presidential candidate to participate in the YouTube forum.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The popular video-sharing site YouTube is hoping to bring its users closer the presidential candidates this election cycle, launching a new forum Thursday where voters and candidates are able to interact virtually.

Called the "You Choose '08 Spotlight," the new forum allows one presidential candidate a week to post video asking users to respond to a specific question of the candidate's choosing. Viewers will then be able to post response videos, which YouTube says the candidate will monitor and respond to at the end of the week.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the first presidential candidate to participate in the forum, posting a video Wednesday with the question, "What do you believe is America's single greatest challenge, and what would you do to address it?

According to YouTube's latest statistics, Romney's video has been viewed 14,464 times so far. Eight people have posted video responses to the Massachusetts Republican's question, and 79 people have commented in text form.

YouTube says eleven presidential candidates have agreed to take part in the forum in the coming weeks, including Democratic candidates Sen. Joseph Biden, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Chris Dodd, former Sen. John Edwards, Gov. Bill Richardson and Rep Dennis Kucinich.

In addition to Romney, GOP presidential candidates who plan to participate include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Sen. John McCain, and Rep. Ron Paul.

-- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
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