Republican YouTube Debate a Snoozer

How was the first Republican CNN-YouTube debate? So exciting I fell asleep! I missed the last six questions, and had to catch them in YouTube’s helpful playlist from the night. There’s also live-blogging coverage from The New York Times, ABC News, and Mahalo.

There were no melting snowman questions to trivialize Mitt Romney’s participation, but there was some goofiness, like this homemade candidate roundup ditty. As for content, CNN’s efforts to make sure the questions weren’t too left-leaning — a.k.a. “weed[ing] out the obvious sort of Democratic gotcha grenades” — meant that things like health care and climate change weren’t even mentioned.

The Republicans were a bit stiff about the whole engaging-with-regular-YouTube-people thing, and when given the opportunity to contribute “YouTube-style” campaign commercials, they chose to contribute what were basically standard TV ads. Fred Thompson even played an attack ad that was harsh enough on his fellow debaters for host Anderson Cooper to delay a commercial break in order to give them a chance to respond.

Other thoughts from what I jotted down in my notebook:

  • Chuck Norris is in the audience! So why did Mike Huckabee elect to show a standard ad instead of his HuckChuckFacts video, which has some 860,000 views on YouTube?
  • Man, they didn’t fix the crappy video display in a too-small box projected against the wall. Candidates are having trouble hearing the videos and the questioners’ lips have not once lined up with their words. Huckabee tried responding to a questioner by talking to the wall on which she had been projected, and it was really awkward.
  • I think they censored Duncan Hunter saying “damn good.” Wow, that’s harsh.
  • It’s a very vocal studio audience — lots of boos and whoops.

Some 5,000 video questions were submitted, more than double the number that came in for the inaugural YouTube debate that the Democratic candidates participated in way back in July. But yeah, I still fell asleep.