The Washington Post reports today that Rudolph Giuliani and Mitt Romney may be backing out of the CNN/YouTube GOP Primary debate. The report says Giuliani is unlikely to participate and quotes Romney dismissing the seriousness of the debates: "I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman."
The reason the two Republicans want to skip the debate probably has more to do with the success of YouTube itself than with the dignity of the debate format.
Search for rudolph giuliani at YouTube and the first link you get is to a video of the former New York city mayor in drag:
A search for mitt romney at YouTube returns a bunch of links to videos produced by the Romney campaign but also a link to a video of the 1994 U.S. Senate campaign debate between Romney and Ted Kennedy featuring Romney expressing views that Republican primary voters could find distasteful and even offensive:
Both videos could easily make it to the debates if hooked on legitimate questions. Romney’s video is easy: Because he’s expressed views contrary to those he now holds, how are we to believe him? Giuliani in drag could be used in the context of a question about gay rights, an issue Giuliani probably would like to avoid addressing before a Republican primary audience.
Indeed, as two of the most popular presidential campaign political videos on YouTube (the Giuliani video has been viewed more than 373,000 times; the Romney video got more than 162,000 views), their absence from the debate would be glaring.