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CNN, YouTube to
premiere citizen-based presidential debates

CNN, YouTube to
premiere citizen-based presidential debates

CNN and YouTube will host a Democratic debate next month in which questions for the candidates will come entirely from citizens posting video clips, the latest sign of how the Internet has transformed presidential politics.

The two-hour debate, scheduled for July 23 at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C., will be hosted by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. But in a conference call with reporters Thursday, executives from CNN and YouTube said the traditional debate format, in which a panel of reporters grill the candidates, had been scrapped in favor of a more democratic approach.

''Journalists do a really good job asking questions, but there is another world of questions out there I'd like to see,'' said CNN Washington bureau chief David Bohrman, who will produce the broadcast. ''This is wide-open to creativity and the use of sound and pictures. The tone and flavor will be so different from any other debate.''

Anyone who wants to submit a question may do so by uploading a video clip through YouTube. All the videos that are submitted will be posted on the site. CNN will then choose as many as 50 videos to use during the debate.

Asked for guidelines on what kind of questions were most likely to make it on the air, Bohrman said they should be concise--no more than 30 seconds--provocative, and creative.

''We're not going to have anything obscene or inappropriate, but I think we'll get some very inventive questions,'' he said.

A similar debate for Republican candidates will take place September 17 in Florida. (AP)

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