Wolf Blitzer left viewers curious about the next CNN-sponsored debate when he closed June 5’s Republican battle by saying a Democratic debate on July 23 would mark a "revolutionary" new debate style, in partnership with YouTube.
Today, the two media giants said that the big change in the standard question-and-answer format will be that some questions will be taken directly from the American people, via YouTube.
In a recently added YouTube channel, users are encouraged to submit questions for the upcoming debate in 30-second video clips. A sample video shows users asking about health care and predatory check cashing companies.
CNN will screen all submissions and select a handful to air for candidates to answer live during the debate. Those who presented selected entries will also be flown out to the debate site.
The Democratic debate on July 23 will be held in South Carolina, and will be followed by a Republican debate in Florida on September 17. CNN’s move to incorporate YouTube in its presidential debates came after a similar deal was struck between Yahoo, The Huffington Post, and print magazine Slate.
The three will jointly host their own presidential debates later this year. The debates will be simulcast between Yahoo and The Huffington Post and are labeled the first online-only debates. Users will be able to submit their own questions for these debates as well.
The 2006 election was labeled as the first to be impacted by the constant attention and on-demand gaffs from candidates because of sources like YouTube. With the continued rise of YouTube and other sites like MySpace and , and the higher level of attention for a presidential election, the 2008 voting season will have an online presence like never before.