Commentary

Pumped about the YouTube debate

Despite the fact that I often find myself following upcoming campaigns closely, I have to say I’ve been pretty detached from the 2008 Presidential Campaign extravaganza thus far. I watch the coverage; I have my opinions; but I’ve not been terribly proactive. That is, until the YouTube Debate. For two hours, my roommate and I were mesmerized by what we both considered to be the most exciting debate we’d watched. Ever. Now niether one of us is an avid YouTuber; we really only watch the links others send us randomly. But I felt this debate was targeted to me and- let me tell you- it was engaging enough to get me really excited about the upcoming election.

This debate lacked some of the gnashing of teeth and name calling which marks debates of this caliber, with so much upfront, multi-platform publicity; however, the candidness with which the presidents-to-be spoke in itself made the debate worth watching. Political spin and campaign were present, but were called out by Cooper more often than not, and I feel any insincerity shown was overshadowed by the fact that calm, understated inquiries by my fellow Americans were finally given a face, a name. It seemed harder for the candidates to deliver polished answers to these faces, and I think that was the landmark change in this debate.

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It was obvious some candidates were more comfortable than others; some were outright hostile towards one another and Cooper. Because I can, I figured I would offer my opinions on who did the best…

Clinton: because she was so calm, well researched, and had some impressive answers which made my roommate and my feminist hearts grow to three times their normal size

Obama: because of his grace, composure, and definite stance on issues like education and poverty, though he was much more likely to fall into the politician lines than other candidates

Biden: a surprise, because neither one of us had researched or heard much about him, but he was calm (save anytime referring to the military) funny, and strong in his policies

Dodd: another surprise, however we felt he held his own and had solid policy plan

It seems like our opinions were not typical considering we watched The Situation Room and 360 after the debate aired. The people meters (dail in?) showed that our opinions diverged from what many felt in response to certain answers. But in my focus group of two, we overwhelmingly agreed that the candidates who seemed comfortable with the format, and were well researched in their answers were the people to beat.

I have to admit that after this debate, I am pumped to watch the Republican debate. However, my fear is that we won’t see the range of topics posed to this group and conversation will generally surround the Iraq War- a very important topic, but not the only pressing issue on the table right now. I would love to see the topics stay varied, the candidates stay calm-ish and the questions to be as equally entertaining and serious as they were this time.

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