Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Democratic 'YouTube' Debate -- Unlike some bloggers, I found very little reason to cheer the format of Monday night's Democratic Presidential candidates debate -- at least, I didn't see it as incredibly groundbreaking and revolutionary. There has always been a place for questions from the audience. This was just a flashy new way to do it. Some bloggers see it as a great challenge to the mythic power of the mainstream media. Ironically, what made this format work was that the media sponsor, CNN, had a chance to review the submissions, and selected the most interesting or most creative, or some combination of the two. There was nothing revolutionary in this, except that the questions were presented in a more entertaining way. For the most part, the answers were still the same old rehearsed political pablum.

Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama have gotten into an unnecessary pissing match. Obama answered a question about meeting with our 'enemies,' by making a point about using diplomacy. Clinton used the question to imply that Obama's answer was not a good one -- that her vast experience would lead her to be more cautious. Clinton's answer was the one that everyone was talking about, and she should have let it go with that small victory. Instead, she was quoted today as saying Obama's answer was "naive." Now, she looks like she is playing politics. Of course, that's what she was doing in the debate, but she came off as statesman-like. Now, she's killed that impression.

Without a doubt, the real highlight of last night's debate was "Hair" -- the John Edwards campaign's brilliantly conceived and executed 30-second spot, with images set to the strains of the title song from the '70s musical. If you haven't seen the clip, you should -- click on the link above to see watch it at YouTube. It's one of the finer political ads I think I've ever seen. Bravo to everyone who had a hand in it.

This ad is so good that Edwards should take whatever funds he's got and blanket the airwaves with it. Not just in Iowa. There could be a series of similar ads with images touching on different issues. It can even be made into a radio spot -- sans images, but with John himself talking about issues -- and then a voice-over asking about "what really matters?" It runs the risk of making too much of the hair "issue," but most folks know about it already. It's so good I wish it could have been sprung on us in the general election to crush Republican attempts to make light of Edwards' "haircut problem." Of course, first, Edwards has to get there -- so, we have the ad now. The campaign should make good use of it.

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