Are Republican presidential candidates more popular than Democrats on YouTube?

December 2, 2007

News: The CNN-YouTube debate for the presidential candidates this past week was surprisingly good — much better in my book than the first Democratic debate. From the first question in which Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney questioned each other’s toughness on illegal immigrants, the debate exposed very sharp differences between the Republican candidates.

Within less than a week, the videos from the Republican debate have generated hundreds of thousands of views — far more than the videos from Democratic debate (which have been on YouTube for four months). If you look below, the Republican debate videos dominated YouTube’s “Most Viewed” videos for the past few days.



Analysis: Bravo to CNN and Anderson Cooper. I criticized you soundly for botching the Democratic debate with gimmicks and favoritism. Much better this time around.  Some excellent questions and revelatory moments.  The number of views on YouTube confirm how good the debate was.

The Dick Cheney question was asked during YouTube debate

November 29, 2007

Hey, I predicted one of the questions that would be used last night from among the thousands submitted. Here’s the Dick Cheney question.  Fred Thompson’s one-liner was hilarious!

Mitt Romney and John McCain fight over water boarding as torture during YouTube debate

November 29, 2007

They should show a video of water boarding.

John McCain attacks Ron Paul during YouTube debate (going beyond question asked)

November 29, 2007

Was this a cheap shot?

Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney attack each other over illegal aliens during YouTube debate

November 29, 2007

Who won?

CNN YouTube debate for Republican candidates

November 28, 2007

News: Tonight it’s the Republicans’ turn to field questions from YouTubers sent in on video. The debate starts at 8 p.m. tonight on CNN. The questions used will later be singled out on YouTube. Here are a few questions that might be asked tonight.

Mike Huckabee – Ron Paul exchange in FOX debate

September 7, 2007

News:  Fox had its second debate this week for the Republican presidential candidates.  The best, most substantive exchange occurred between Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul. 

Analysis:  The debate format should allow more of these exchanges, where the candidates can engage each other in a more open debate.  CNN and YouTube should take notes for their Republican debate in December.   If you’re wondering, the FOX Internet poll after the debate had, you guessed it, Ron Paul winning the debate.

Video of the week: The YouTube presidential debate in cartoon

August 31, 2007

Republican CNN/YouTube debate postponed

July 28, 2007

News: After front-runner Rudy Giuliani said he had a scheduling conflict and Mitt Romney said he might not go, the CNN-YouTube debate on September 17 for the Republican presidential candidates in Florida apparently has been postponed.

Analysis: Let’s hope Giuliani and Romney can clear their schedules. Let’s hope that this doesn’t mean it’s cancelled.

Video of the week: Did the YouTube debate just lose Barack Obama the nomination?

July 27, 2007

This question turned out to be the biggest question of the YouTube debate. Hillary Clinton’s camp said it shows Barack Obama’s inexperience. Obama said a day later that it shows his new thinking (although in the question he invokes Ronald Reagan). You be the judge.

Republican candidates slow to join YouTube debate

July 27, 2007

News: So far, only Ron Paul and John McCain have agreed to participate in the CNN YouTube debate on September 17 co-sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida. Apparently, Rudy Giuliani won’t join. And Mitt Romney took a pot shot at CNN/YouTube, stating, “I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman.” (more from Wash Post)

Analysis: Cowardly.

CNN-YouTube debate available for downloading

July 26, 2007

News:  CNN has posted the debate online for viewing and downloading.  YouTube also has the debate up on its site.

YouTubers blast CNN, Anderson Cooper over presidential debate

July 24, 2007

News:  I guess I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed in yesterday’s presidential debate co-sponsored by CNN and YouTube.  Just read all the negative comments on YouTube.

Here are just a few:

1.  “The worse thing that ever happened to CNN was when Ted Turner sold out to Time Warner. This was no debate. The questions were good, but Cooper/CNN did an injustice to the YTubers by marginalizing some candidates. This top tier/bottom tier labeling by the media hurts the discussion the public wants. It’s the public that decides who is the top candidate, not the media. CNN should stay out of the debates if it can’t do better.”

2.  “There was not equal time given to all, the only candidate who in my opinion spoke the truth (Sen. Gravel) was given very little time, Anderson Cooper,was as bad as Wolf Blitzer”

3.  “There was a CNN debate? You call that a debate. What ideas did we hear. On top of that, you did a great job of putting Mike Gravel in the corner and only asking him to respond on questions that were asked to him. Bias, no there is no bias. I bet $1,000,000 that Ron Paul will be on the end, who wants to bet against me??? ”

4.  “Why did CNN / YouTube bother to invite the other candidates? It seems the powers that be have made the decision for us.  Clinton, Edwards, and Obama keep preaching how things will change. But since the 2006 election all we have had is a lot of hot air, submision to Bush demands, and blaming the Republicans. Why should we trust either side?
Isn’t it time the independent parties put aside their differences and form a coalition. This may be the only way the people’s voice will ever be heard.”

5.  “Extremely disappointing!! It was a frikken Hillary-Obama show, the questions were obviously filtered and very weak reruns, so called non top-tier candidates get setup questions,, What else can I say?

Candidate, total exchanges, total words, average words per exchange:
Obama, 14, 2050, 146
Clinton, 12, 1794, 150
Edwards, 12, 1661, 138
Biden, 7, 1019, 146
Rich., 7, 910, 130
Dodd, 8, 1645, 206
Kucinich, 7, 985, 141
Gravel, 7, 580, 83”

6.  “We were VERY disappointed in the YouTube debate because, for the most part, the same old questions were asked for the most part. The war, education, Dafur and health care. There were several questions that were submitted to YouTube that have never been asked to a candidate in any debate, yet these questions were not chosen by CNN.”

7.  “Could have been so much better”

How CNN botched the YouTube presidential debate

July 24, 2007

News: The first “experiment” is over. Today, we have time to reflect on what happened — and didn’t happen — in last night’s presidential debate for the Democratic candidates. As I said in my last post, 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.

CNN-YouTube debate over — thankfully

July 24, 2007

News: After 2 hours, the debate is over. You can see all of the 39 video questions asked of the candidates here.

Analysis: I just did a BBC radio interview about the debate. I’ll try to get a link. CNN-YouTube get an A for the concept of user-generated questions. But I give them a C+ for execution. Hopefully, things will improve for the Republican debate.

The 1-minute and 30-second format for answers was far too restrictive, allowing very little interchange among the candidates, and most of the debate just looked and sounded like a conventional debate. And the parts that were unconventional were often gimmicky. YouTube’s Steve Grove, aka CitizenTube, probably could’ve done a better job than Anderson Cooper in moderating.

I don’t want to sound too negative because several of the questions from YouTubers were quite effective, particularly the ones that were just a little more personal.  The questions were different and, I believe, better than standard questions from journalists.  The questions were, for example, the minimum wage question from two young women, the gay marriage question from two lesbian women, the question from the pastor to John Edwards about the use of religion on the issue of gay marriage, the question from the parent who lost his son in Iraq, and the questions about health care from several people dealing with cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s.

[I’ll try to follow up with a fuller write-up.]

Last chance to ask question in CNN presidential debate

July 20, 2007

Debate is on Monday, 7 p.m.  Submit your question here.