Tallahassee–The Republican Party of Florida, CNN, and YouTube announced today that the three organizations will partner to produce a historic, user-generated debate between the Republican presidential candidates. The two-hour debate, which will take place on September 17, 2007 at the Mahaffey Theater at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts in St. Petersburg, will be moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and will air live on CNN and CNN en Espanol.
“We are pleased that our Republican presidential candidates will have another opportunity to discuss the issues that are important to Florida’s voters,” said Governor Crist. “This is a testament to the leadership of the Florida Legislature, which wisely made Florida a more important player in the presidential nominating process by moving Florida’s primary date forward.”
“This debate is an unprecedented opportunity for people across the nation to ask the Republican presidential candidates where they stand on the issues that are important to them, using mediums that are integral to the 2008 presidential election cycle—CNN and YouTube,” noted RPOF Chairman Jim Greer. “The debate is further evidence of Florida’s growing and prominent role in the 2008 Presidential election cycle, and we are excited to partner with CNN and YouTube to bring the Republican Presidential candidates to viewers across America.”
Viewers will be able to submit video questions immediately via www.rpof.com and on YouTube at www.youtube/republicandebate.com beginning Monday evening at 9:00 pm EST. Questions submitted will be featured on YouTube in addition to tips on how to help get videos chosen. CNN will produce the televised events and will select the questions used in the debates.
“Thanks to the breadth of our community, YouTube offers something for everybody; we’ve become the world’s largest town hall for political discussion. Teaming with CNN and the Republican Party of Florida, we have extended personal access to presidential candidates beyond New Hampshire and Iowa,” said YouTube cofounder Steve Chen. “YouTube is an incredibly tangible and personal medium for political discussion, which you’ll see in these debates.”
“For this debate, CNN and YouTube created a one-of-a-kind format to enable American voters to pose their own questions directly to the Republican candidates themselves,” said Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. “We are grateful to the Republican Party of Florida and to Governor Crist for their partnership and for bringing the CNN-YouTube debate to this critical early primary state.”
“This televised debate will provide great exposure for the city and we look forward to welcoming journalists and visitors from around the nation,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. “Our thanks go out to Progress Energy and the Republican Party of Florida for providing the resources to make this event happen in our great city.”
“The Internet is a powerful tool in not only educating voters on the Presidential candidates, but also allowing voters to express their opinions and ideas,” concluded Chairman Greer. “We are especially excited that CNN En Espanol will be airing the debate, because we have been working hard to reach out to the Hispanic community in Florida from the grassroots up. This fits in perfectly with our minority outreach initiatives and we look forward to hearing a variety of viewpoints and questions.”
To submit a video question for the RPOF/CNN/YouTube Republican Presidential candidates’ debate, visit www.rpof.org or www.youtube.com/debates.