Still Waiting on GOP YouTube Debate
The Republican CNN/YouTube debate may still be on -- but so far two of the biggest names in the GOP field have yet to sign up for the Nov. 28 event.
Aboard CNN's new state-of-the-art bus that serves as its portable news bureau, David Bohrman, CNN's Washington honcho, said CNN hasn't received a definite confirmation from Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.
"We're still waiting for it," Bohrman said, as he showed off the new bus that is partly a newsroom, a studio and a satellite truck for CNN. The 30 or so YouTube videos that will air on Nov. 28 will be transmitted off the bus.
Romney made headlines following the Democratic CNN/YouTube debate in July, when he criticized the format and took special note of one of the questioners -- a snowman asking about global warming. Romney told the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader: "I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman."
Initially, only Sen. John McCain and Rep. Ron Paul agreed to participate in the debate, co-hosted by Republican Party of Florida in St. Petersburg. But conservative bloggers started a Web site (SavetheDebate.com) and a Facebook group that put pressure on the candidates. Then Rudy Giuliani, who leads the Republican field in national polls, said that he'll take part in the event, leaving Romney, who trails Giuliani in national polls but leads in the early primary voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, on the spot. And Thompson, too. But the former senator just recently officially announced his candidacy and has yet to take part in any debates. Both Romney and Thompson, however, have effectively used online videos in their respective campaigns.
"We haven't made any decisions on November debate invitations yet," said Kevin Madden, Romney's spokesman.
Added Karen Hanretty, Thompson's spokeswoman: "We haven't committed to debates beyond October yet."
As of Monday afternoon more than 1,850 YouTube videos have been uploaded for the Nov. 28 debate.
-- Jose Antonio Vargas
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