CNN/YouTube Democratic Debate

The 30-second candidate videos ranged from homemade to clever:
BIDEN - The video keeps the focus on Iraq.  The imagery is a dark hole looking up toward the light; this fades to light and then to a close-up black-and-white photo of Sen. Biden.

[SFX: Dripping water] Male Announcer: Imagine you're trapped deep in a hole with a group of politicians debating.
President Bush says the only way out of Iraq is to dig us deeper and deeper.
But what if one leader stood up for us and said, "No, we can get out now without leaving chaos behind."
Joe Biden is the only one with the experience and a plan to end this war responsibly so our children don't have to go back.
Joe Biden: I'm Joe Biden and I approve this message.

CLINTON - The campaign entered into the spirit of the event by asking supporters to submit videos.  It selected "By the Numbers" by Zachary Goode.  The video, which had no narration only music, showed a hand flipping a series of pages with hand-written statements:

"Cost of the War in Iraq: $443 Billion"
"That's Over $200 Million Per Day"
"Americans Without Health Insurance: 50 Million"
"That's Roughly The Populations of California and New York"
"How Long FEMA Took to Start Evacuating Katrina Victims from the Superdome"
"4 Days"
"Number of Weapons of Mass Destruction Found in Iraq"
"Sometimes The Best Man for the Job is a Woman"
"Hillary for President"

DODD - The video showed Dodd talking to an "interviewer" with a white hare sitting on the table in front of him:

Interviewer: Senator I have to ask, what's with the white hare?
Dodd: I don't know why you bring that up.  Bill Richardson, Hillary, Joe Biden and I, we're all about the same age.  I don't think the white hair's an issue.
Interviewer: Well how did you get the white hare?
Dodd: Hard work I suppose.  For example it took me seven years to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act, and I helped end wars in Central America and bring peace to Northern Ireland.  I'm ready to be president.
Interviewer: Uh huh.  Well how many white hares do you have?
Dodd: Hundreds, thousands I presume.
CG: The guy with the white hair for the White House.

EDWARDS - The video, which has no narration, runs directly at the flak that Edwards has taken over his hair (the famed $400 haircut and the much watched clip of him preparing his hair to the accompaniment of "I Feel Pretty");

It opens with the music "Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair..." and about eight seconds with close ups of various hairdos. 

The camera pulls away from a hair close up to show that the photo is of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez testifying before Congress.  The camera pulls away from another hair close up to show that the photo is of President Bush on the aircraft carrier with the "Mission Accomplished" banner behind him.  Scenes from Iraq and Katrina follow.

CG: What Really Matters?

CG: You Choose.

GRAVEL - A fairly conventional talking head ad:

[Music and SFX] [CG: Iraq]   Gravel: George Bush's oil war was a mistake.  We need to stop killing Americans and Iraqis.
[CG: Terrorism]   Been around since the beginning of time.
[CG: War on Terror]   It's not a war.  It should be a police action based on global intelligence.
[CG: Global Climate Change]   The most serious problem facing humanity today.
[CG: Healthcare]   A universal voucher system will provide equal treatment and choice of providers.
[CG: Social Security]   The Congress has to stop raiding the surplus.
[Drip SFX]   On the screen drip hitting water and ripples.

KUCINICH - Appropriately for the YouTube debate, Kucinich's video highlights another relatively new communications mode: text messaging.

Kucinich: You can vote now to end the war in Iraq.  
Text PEACE 73223.
Text PEACE now to send a message to the White House and to the Democratic Congress that now's the time to end the war.
Text PEACE 73223.
Make your vote count and your voice be heard.
Text PEACE 73223.  
To move this country away from war as an instrument of policy and to achieve strength through peace.  Text PEACE.

OBAMA - The Obama campaign presented a high energy video driven by music with a strong beat, audio of Obama speaking at a rally or rallies and crowd cheering sound.  Imagery is mostly Obama and large rally crowds; there are a few Iraq and environment related pictures to make those points: 

[Music.  Cheers.] Obama (clips from speeches): We want an end to this war...and we want diplomacy and peace.
...Not only can we save the environment, we can create jobs and opportunity.
[CG: We can save the planet.]
...We're tired of fear, we're tired of division; we want something new.  We want to turn the page.
[CG: We can save the planet.]
[Cheers]...The world as it is is not the world as it has to be.
[CG: Join Us.]

RICHARDSON - The campaign presented the latest in its series of "Job Interview" ads.  The "staff" are sitting around a table discussing the various job applicants:

Man: All right a lot of candidates here.  Any of them actually been a boss or a governor or something?
Man 2: No.
Woman: None of these.
Man: Any of them create jobs?
Man 3: Well this guy here passed a tax credit for creating jobs if they pay above the prevailing wage.
Woman: Really?
Man 3: And a tax credit for brand new industries like wind and solar.  Ended up creating over 80,000 jobs in his state.  Says that's what he'll do as president.
[Richardson, cup of coffee in hand, walks down the hall, peeks in the room and waves].
One of the Men: Eyh.
[Music sting]

Copyright © 2007  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action