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A New Model for Political Interviews and Debates

By Steve Grove

Head of News and Politics

YouTube Politics might just have come full circle. It all started during the 2006 midterm elections, when Senator George Allen's infamous "Macaca Moment" spread across YouTube and ultimately, many say, led to his narrow defeat in that election. Fast forward three years later, and Virginia is once again home to a YouTube Politics first: the first citizen-powered interview series for a gubernatorial primary.

YouTube and Google partnered with the Politico and WJLA to give Virginian voters the opportunity to submit text or video questions for the state's three Democratic gubernatorial candidates: Terry McAuliffe, Creigh Deeds, and Brian Moran. Submissions took place on a new tool called Google Moderator, which allows you not only to submit questions or ideas, but also to vote on the submissions of others, moving them up or down in importance. Thousands of Virginians took part in the interactive interview, and last night WJLA and the Politico aired the results, in which all three candidates answered the top questions on television.

As our CNN/YouTube Debates demonstrated during the 2007 presidential primary season, the web allows citizen engagement to play a prominent role in the country's most important public forums. Now with Moderator, the people's voice can be an even more powerful force in surfacing the issues that matter most to the public at large. We've used Moderator in our "Senator of the Week" series on YouTube, and President Obama employed Moderator in his "Open for Questions" initiative back in April. We look forward to taking this model to other local, national, and international elections.
We'll also be partnering with the Politco and WJLA once again this fall for another series in the Virginian general gubernatorial election, so stay tuned. And if you want to create your own debate or interview series for your state or local elections, head over to to see what this new tool can do.

Steve Grove