The LA Times’ Paul Brownfield weighs in…
Involving YouTube.com in this process was supposed to put the candidates off their game — or so CNN kept saying, teasing the event with an increasing amount of hyperbole, which Monday included a staple cable news alarmism.
We speak, of course, of the countdown clock.
It was the uploaders, not the candidates, who were on good behavior. It was the uploaders who asked the questions in a timely fashion, the candidates who kept hearing CNN host Anderson Cooper prod them with that word — “time — as they refused the preposterous business of squeezing the whys and hows of leaving Iraq into a 1-minute answer.
“Our soldiers died in Vietnam in vain!” screamed Democratic outsider Mike Gravel at one point. “You can now go to Hanoi and get a Baskin-Robbins ice cream cone!”
Now there was the spirit of YouTube and the Web — raw and uncensored and entertainingly half-cocked.
In the end, though, the event didn’t amount to a lot more than an interesting town hall, people able to crawl through their broadband connections and meet the candidates.