Schaffer, Udall face YouTube questions in online debate

After a brief, unexplained delay, the YouTube You Choose Spotlight shines on the Colorado Senate race Tuesday as Rep. Mark Udall and former Rep. Bob Schaffer post videotaped answers to five questions submitted by YouTubers at You Choose ’08.

The Denver Post’s Michael Riley spoke on Monday with the site’s organizer:

“We thought with the massive amount of attention the (Colorado) race is getting nationally and how close it’s been, it was really a natural fit for us,” Steve Grove, the site’s political director, said of the Senate contest between Republican Bob Schaffer and Democrat Mark Udall.

“YouTube is a different format, and it will be interesting to see how they react to that,” Grove said.

It’s likely to be a little less spontaneous than the presidential version, however. Those debates were broadcast on live TV, with the candidates responding immediately to videotaped questions that ranged from the thoughtful to the bizarre.

In the Senate version, the candidates reviewed the questions ahead of time, then videotaped their answers. Both questions and answers, Grove said, were set to be posted overnight on

Later Monday, the Post added the following announcement to Riley’s story:

Editor’s note: The YouTube debate scheduled for today between Senate candidates Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer has been delayed until Tuesday because of unspecified problems, YouTube officials announced this morning.

Colorado Pols jumps on the postponement:

We heard the delay in posting the debate was requested by the Schaffer campaign — did they need a few takes to get it just right?

Good question, as Schaffer fumbles the name of one YouTuber, graciously thanking “Tom” for his question after a man who identifies himself as “Kyle” asks about protecting sub-farmers’ water rights. (Udall gets the guy’s name right.)

Other questions include:

Q: Would you oppose lessening the roll of secret ballots in union campaigns?

Q: What would you do to increase funding for higher education in Colorado?

Q: What do you believe was the original intent of the second amendment?

That last question is asked by a young man hoisting a rifle in front of a flag.

Let’s take a look at one exchange, inspired by a question from TheBepster, who asked about renewable energy tax credits:

Here’s Schaffer’s answer:

and here’s Udall’s answer:

Visit the YouTube channel You Choose for a roundup of election-related videos and links to other online debates.

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Ernest Luning

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