Eric Pfieffer from the Washington Times says, basically, that the Save the Debate coalition has won:

The majority of Republican presidential candidates are backing off their objections to participating in the unconventional YouTube debate.

Candidates’ reservations about the seriousness of the format, which features videotaped questions from voters, and the original September date are being resolved and the field is growing, said sources close to the campaigns and debate organizers. …

Initially, only two of the 10 declared Republican candidates agreed to participate: Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

The number is now at four and, the sources said, the full field could be announced as early as this week. The debate now likely will take place in November or December.

This last is a very important point. The date will now be in November or December, when people are actually paying attention to the race. Hopefully, the format can help us achieve a large number of younger viewers, like the Democrat debate achieved:

Monday’s CNN-YouTube debate brought in pretty good numbers, delivering the highest viewership for a debate among adults 18-34 in cable news history.

The GOP CNN/YouTube debate has been converted from an interesting idea and gimmick to, in all likelihood, one of the most important debates of the primary cycle. Also, with nearly 4 months of run-up to the debate, we can expect an enormous number of questions that will have to be sifted through. CNN might have to come up with some better ideas for how to do that.


2 Comments

Bluey Blog | Robert B. Bluey » GOP YouTube Debate Moves a Step Closer to Reality · August 7, 2007 at 11:49 AM

[…] Patrick Ruffini and I are quoted in the article, lauding the work of conservatives who pressured Republican candidates to not walk away from this historic opportunity to reach America’s youth. (Patrick deserves the credit for his Save the Debate petition.) Meanwhile, Soren Dayton thinks there’s a tremendous opportunity for Republicans to use this debate to their advantage. One way is to submit your question today.  Posted at 11:49 AM in Politics, Clippings         Save to Del.icio.us         Share on Facebook […]

The Right’s Field » GOPers Coming to Grips with InterTubes? · August 7, 2007 at 1:03 PM

[…] Ultimately it’s probably inevitable that all the candidates will participate. The candidates’ change of heart is coming about in part because of the work of Patrick Ruffini and his “Save the Debate” effort. Ruffini, one of the GOP’s most tech-savvy strategists, has argued that Republicans are being “outperformed” online and are in danger of losing the youth vote by a huge margin. As blinkered as the Republicans have been in office, they’re pretty smart politicians, and I don’t think they’ll continue to leave their online/youth flank completely unprotected. And as Soren Dayton notes, the whole thing could work out somewhat in the GOP’s favor, given that by the time the debate happens in November or December, a lot more people will be paying attention. […]

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