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The YouTube Debate: Will Romney Log On?

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The CNN/YouTube debate for Republicans is back on, rescheduled for Nov. 28. Or at least the YouTube debate for some Republicans: Mitt Romney, reportedly, is still holding out, having said–in reference to the Democratic debate last month–that “the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman.”

Oh, spare me. If any candidate wants to get that sniffy about the indignity of fielding questions from actual voters in a debate, I had better not see him holding a pancake spatula or barbecue tongs between now and Election Day. It’s bogus, anyway, to claim that the question he refers to came “from a snowman”; it was a highly produced–if corny–question from a potential voter, packaged with the same slickness and humor you see all the time in political ads. In other words, Romney’s objection is to taking questions from the American people, armed with the kind of resources once available only to the major media and to big campaign organizations.

Anyone want to lay odds, by the way, on the possibility of a YouTube debate in the general election? Obviously those are traditionally more stingily allocated, and more furiously negotiated over, than primary debates. But if Romney ends up nominated, I could see his reluctance becoming a harped-upon issue–the equivalent of the campaign worker in the chicken suit dogging a debate-shy rival. And candidate Romney could be surprised how quickly chickens can multiply on YouTube.

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