The Rebublican candidates face off Wednesday in a CNN debate that will feature questions posed via YouTube videos, although it is unclear whether a talking snowman will get the chance to ask the GOP presidential hopefuls about global warming as it did in a similar Democratic debate in July. The GOP version of the CNN/YouTube-sponsored debate was almost canceled after front-runner Mitt Romney complained that the “presidency ought to be held at a higher level” than answering a question from an animated snowman. (The Miami Herald, free registration)
What the commetators said
“Snowman or no snowman, tonight's debate might be a good time” for the GOP candidates to tell voters where they stand on global warming, said USA Today in an editorial. Most of them “no longer question the existence” of the problem, “but collectively they present a scattershot of incomplete, gradually evolving positions that range from tough policy prescriptions to half measures and excuses.”
The debate will be interesting whether Billiam the snowman gets to ask a question or not, said Michael Calderone in The Politico. The GOP candidates have been slow to adapt to new technology, and showing they can roll with the quirky challenges of a YouTube-style debate will help them connect to Internet-savvy voters.
“With five weeks and one day to go until the first votes are cast in the race for the White House,” said Paul Steinhauser, CNN’s deputy political director, on CNN.com, “the stakes could hardly be higher.” An already “edgy battle” for the GOP nomination turned “even testier” over the weekend with front-runners Romney and Rudy Giuliani trading sharp attacks, and “one reason for the bad blood is that the Republican race is still very much up for grabs.”