CNN/YouTube Democratic Debate
Monday, July 23, 2007 at the Citadel in Charleston, SC from 7:00 to 9:00 PM (ET)
[YouTube debate page]

Sponsors: CNN and YouTube.

Candidates: Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Chris Dodd, former Sen. John Edwards, former Sen. Mike Gravel, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and Gov. Bill Richardson  participated.  [all 8 of the candidates].

Moderator: CNNís Anderson Cooper.

Audience: Approximately 2,000 in the audience.  The majority of the tickets went to the SC Democratic Party, DNC and The Citadel -- in that order.  Google/YouTube and CNN had a handful.

Broadcast: Live on CNN; simulcast on, CNN International, CNN en Español, CNN Radio and CNN Airport Network. CNN.comís Election Center, available at

Format: Two-hour debate featuring video questions submitted to YouTube.  Additionally each of the campaigns provided a 30-second video that was shown during the course of the event.

Background: This was the first debate officially sanctioned by the DNC.

Additional Notes:
-All told 38 YouTube video questions were asked (plus one stage-setter) from the 2,989 questions submitted starting on June 14.  These ranged from the first entry, in which "The Resident" in Brooklyn, NY asked about the candidates' views on net neutrality, to entry number 2,989 in which Tommy Wenzlau from San Marino, CA asked what the candidates would do to ensure that all Americans rich and poor have an opportunity for an equal education.  RNC chairman Mike Duncan submitted a question asking Senators Clinton and Obama about their views on a date certain for withdrawal from Iraq.  Various interest groups sought to mobilize their activists and supporters to submit relevant questions. >  Moderator Anderson Cooper mentioned the Biden campaign's effort > to get its "What then?" question asked in his introduction.

CNN Senior Vice President David Bohrman and CNN Political Director Sam Feist led a small group that reviewed all the questions and selected those to be asked.  There was some grumbling in the netroots that YouTube users should have been allowed to select the questions from among those submitted.  (A site called Community Counts by David Colarusso allowed visitors vote on the questions they wanted asked; this drew some attention but did not affect the debate).

-The Dodd campaign provided this breakdown of the time each candidate spoke:
Biden:  7:05
Clinton:  12:26
Dodd:  8:39
Edwards:  10:30
Gravel:  4:10
Kucinich:  6:01
Obama: 15:11
Richardson:  9:18
Cooper: 11:37

-The candidates' positions on the stage also favored the frontrunners by placing them in the center:
(l to r) Gravel, Dodd, Edwards, Clinton, Obama, Richardson, Kucinich.  (note)

Summary of campaign press releases from the debate
CNN press releases 1, 2, 3

Other primary debates and forums

Copyright © 2007  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action