CNN, YouTube join to sponsor pair of debates

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NEW YORK -- CNN and YouTube will co-sponsor two presidential debates featuring user questions coming directly from the video-sharing site, the companies said Thursday.

The first debate, featuring Democratic presidential candidates, will be held July 23 at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C., and will be the first Democratic National Committee-sanctioned debate of the 2008 presidential election cycle.

A debate among the Republican candidates will take place Sept. 17 in Florida.

Both events will run two hours and be moderated by Anderson Cooper live on the news network, which is part of Turner Broadcasting.

During the live forum section of the debates, video questions for the candidates posted on YouTube will be shown. Users can submit their questions to youtube.com/debates.

"These debates take the bold step of embracing the ever-increasing role of the Internet in politics," CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton said. "The inclusion of the massive online community enables these debates to engage more viewers -- and potential voters -- than ever before."

YouTube will have coverage of the debates before and after the broadcast on its "You Choose 08" channel, featuring the user questions and candidate answers.

The debates also will appear on its CNN's Web site, CNN International, CNN en Espanol, CNN Radio and CNN Airport Network.
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