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Countdown to CNN/YouTube Democratic Presidential Debate; Interview With Dan Rather

Aired July 16, 2007 - 20:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And thanks for joining us for something that has never been done before.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. For the first time ever, we are turning over an entire presidential debate to you, essentially, the voters. Get ready for democracy in the age of YouTube.


ROBERTS (voice-over): It sure isn't your grandparents' debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first question to Senator Kennedy from Mr. Fleming (ph).

CHETRY (voice-over): Or even the MTV generation's debate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The world is dying to know, is it boxers or briefs?


ROBERTS: If you want to be president...


CHETRY: ... you better look out.

ROBERTS: It's a brand-new generation, the YouTube generation.

CHETRY: And they have some video questions that will make you think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you allow us to be married to each other?

ROBERTS: Make you squirm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has your husband, Bill Clinton, engaged in adulterous behavior since he has left office?

CHETRY: Make you laugh out loud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think you're better looking than Barack Obama?

ROBERTS: A debate like never before.

CHETRY: Want to know what voters really want to know? Just listen to their questions.

NATHAN ROBERTS, FATHER: I'm the father of a young family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm worried about...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... restoring America's place in the world.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. And good luck.

ROBERTS: Tonight, on the CNN/YouTube debate countdown.


ROBERTS: And it's one week and counting until the next presidential debate. The Democratic candidates will be in Charleston, South Carolina, but the questions are coming in from everywhere.

CHETRY: Yes. For weeks now, people have been posting video questions on YouTube, the online video-sharing Web site. And you can actually still do it. Nothing like this has ever been done before. And, frankly, a lot of these questions are too really good to miss.

Now, not all of them will be on the actual debate, but many of them will, so check out a few.


NATHAN ROBERTS, FATHER: Hi. I'm Nathan Roberts. I'm the father of a young family. And with the ill effects of global warming being felt throughout the Earth, my question is, how are you going to save the Earth...






LUCAS BROWN YES, RESIDENT OF SOUTH DAKOTA: My name is Lucas Brown Eyes from Pine Ridge, South Carolina. And I just graduated with honors. I was accepted in my dream college, but I can't afford the $50,000 a year. We spend over a trillion dollars on defense and interest on the national debt, but only $80 billion on education.

The solution for the high-skilled labor shortage is to grant foreigners H-1B visas. I say let's skill America, from America for America. How will you make college affordable?


ROBERTS: We will be talking with that young man just a little bit later on.

Also tonight, Dan Rather, who has covered a few campaigns in his time. We will ask him, what makes a good debate question?

But, first, CNN's Anderson Cooper, who will be moderating next Monday's debate, he joins us from New Orleans tonight. And with us from San Francisco is Steve Grove. He is YouTube's head of news and politics.

Anderson, we have all seen the town hall debate format where people get up and ask questions. How is this going to be different than that?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": I think this is really the next generation of that.

Often, in those town hall formats, people get up. They're nervous. It feels like they have rehearsed the questions an awful lot. In this, you're able to get in more questions. And there is more to just asking the question than the question itself.

I mean, in a lot of these videos, some of them, you have seen, but anyone can go on, on YouTube and look at them. Some of them are intensely personal. Some of them are sort of 30-second film clips. It's really a whole new way of asking a question. It goes beyond just the question itself. And we are getting a real diversity, both in the person asking the question, but also on subjects of the questions themselves.

ROBERTS: Yes. And it's often said in politics, Anderson, that the last thing that a candidate wants to answer is a question from a real person about something that is actually close to that person.

Steve Grove, what does opening up this process to everyone add to both the political process and to this idea of debates?

STEVE GROVE, HEAD OF NEWS AND POLITICS, YOUTUBE: Well, I think it really breaks down some of the traditional barriers we have seen in American politics. You know, time was, if you wanted to engage in a primary debate process, you had to be in New Hampshire or be in Iowa.

But, with this debate, you can be anywhere in the country, in fact, anywhere in the world, and ask your questions straight to the candidates through YouTube.

ROBERTS: Well, let's take a look at some of those questions. We have strung a few of them together. Now, again, these aren't necessarily questions that will appear in the debate, but they are a good sampling of what we are seeing out there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAMES KOTECKI, RESIDENT OF WASHINGTON, D.C.: America was definitely not prepared for Hurricane Katrina. So, what will you do as president to prepare us for the next major disaster?

BONAPUELLA, RESIDENT OF NEW YORK: My job gave me this baby girl. But now, with my new job, and minimum wage, I can't even support her. What are you going to do to raise minimum wage, so I can raise my baby girl?

JESI76082, RESIDENT OF SPRINGTOWN, TEXAS: As president, would you continue to support only abstinence education?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or would you combine abstinence and safer sex teaching?

TIM, RESIDENT OF VERMONT: Would you support full disclosure of all government information about UFOs?

JEREMIAH PASTERNAK, RESIDENT OF RYE, NEW HAMPSHIRE: Mrs. Clinton, my question to you is this. What will you do to help change the mind-set of today's young women, so that in 20 years we don't have a nation full of Paris Hiltons?


ROBERTS: Well, Anderson and Steve, is -- is this process about as open as you can possibly get, or, because there are still limitations of technology, people have to be comfortable with it, they have to go on, that it's still limited to a certain audience?


COOPER: Well, I think one of things that we are seeing is people taking video cameras and taking it to their neighbors, taking it to people who may not have access to a computer. That's one thing YouTube has been doing a lot about, trying to get people to not just ask questions that they're interested in, but also maybe bring a video camera to somebody who is not able to get in front of a computer screen.

So, I think we are seeing a big diversity in the people asking the questions, as well as the questions, the topic themselves.

ROBERTS: Steve Grove?

GROVE: Yes. And I think what is really neat about it is that it's allowing voters to really give some context and some personalization to a question.

So, you know, a question about Iraqi refugees might come from Amman, Jordan, from a refugee camp in Jordan. Or a question about the minimum wage, like the one you just saw, comes from a woman who is trying to raise her child and have enough money to support it. So, I think that really -- the power of video there is to really give some context and make these questions much more compelling through video. ROBERTS: Anderson, are we as journalists risking putting ourselves out of business? Is the genie going to be out of the bottle here?


COOPER: Hey, you know, it's very possible.

I think, certainly, my role in moderating this debate is going to be to make sure that the candidates actually answer the questions and honor the people who have taken a lot of time to ask these questions.

We also want to put out the word that people who are watching right now can still submit questions all the way up through July 22, the day before the debate. So, there is still a chance to get your question in the mix.

ROBERTS: And they're coming in at about a rate of 200 a day.

Anderson Cooper in New Orleans and Steve Grove in San Francisco, thanks to both of you -- Kiran.


And, already, 1,000 of them have been posted on YouTube, John. The number-one issue, education, followed by health care, energy, and the environment, and then Iraq, and immigration. And that's slightly different from a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, which asked what issues voters say are extremely important to their vote for president.

That poll showing Iraq as the number one issue, followed by terrorism, then education, health care and gas prices.

Joining us now, two members of the best political team on television, senior political analyst Bill Schneider as well as senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

Great to see both of you.



CHETRY: So, for the big -- the number one -- at least, one of the most popular of the questions posted was about education.

So, let's listen to one of the best ones on that.




CHETRY: All right, that was a very creative question about No Child Left Behind.

Education, something that a lot of people posted on these YouTube sites, Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, it was.

Parents are concerned about this, children, teachers all over the country. Public education is something that affects every constituency, every community everywhere. And No Child Left Behind a major new piece of legislation that a lot of people, particularly Democrats, think is not working very well. They have a lot of complaints about it.

So, you are going to hear particularly from this audience, which tends to be younger and better educated.

CHETRY: And you say on the campaign, Candy, No Child Left Behind, it's sort of a buzzword.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It absolutely has become this buzz phrase. And the candidates have picked up on it.

Teachers unions are very big in the Democratic Party. And they hate No Child Left Behind in large amount. And they look at it as testing -- teaching to test. So, the candidates know that No Child Left Behind has a couple of problems. One of them, it was not funded properly. So, any time you bring that up, that will definitely set these candidates off on Tuesday night.

CHETRY: So, we will what they say about education.

Also, number two, health care, that was a concern for a lot of the YouTube postings.

Let's listen to one of the questions about health care.


KIM "RIZZO1000," RESIDENT OF LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK: Hi. My name is Kim. I'm 36 years old and hope to be a future breast cancer survivor from Long Island. My chances for survival aren't as good as they might be, however, because, like millions of Americans, I have gone for years without health insurance that would have allowed me to take preventative medicine.

What would you, as president, do to make low-cost or free preventative medicine available for everybody in this country?


CHETRY: And I think that's an example where you see just how touching these questions can be, as opposed to being asked by a moderator.

CROWLEY: Absolutely. Again, this is something you see out on the trail, these personal stories. And to see it magnified on the screen obviously is very moving, and it's going to force these candidates to answer them in a way that they wouldn't have to answer when it's moderator, when it's impersonal.

CHETRY: And what makes the health care debate unique in 2008, Bill?

SCHNEIDER: Well, first of all, the cost of health care has gone up enormously. Premiums for families, health care premiums, have virtually doubled since 2000. And a lot of people are worried about affordability and they're worried about losing it.

And they look at a woman like that and they say, you know what? That can happen to anyone. The can happen to me. And they identify very clearly with that question.

CHETRY: Yes, that's very true.

Environment also something that is big. As we talked about, this is a younger demographic. And poll after poll has shown that younger people view environmental concerns and global warming as a major problem.

So, let's listen to this YouTube question from Barbara Gonzalez (ph).


BARBARA, "BABSGM": My name is Barbara Gonzalez Macintosh (ph).

I would like to you meet my son, Ason (ph), who was born on Earth Day this year.

Nothing will have a greater impact on Ason's (ph) future and the future of all kids than the world's ability to deal with global warming.

What are you proposing to do that is bold, and why should I put Ason's (ph) future in your hands?


CHETRY: And, Bill, what do you think that some of these people are looking to hear from the different candidates about what their plan for getting us off of foreign oil dependence, something more along the lines of new rules when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions?

SCHNEIDER: Well, they want to hear anything that the candidates can say that they can do, that we can do, that the voters can do to help stop this tide of global warming that Al Gore talked about it in his film that seems to threatens humanity.

And they want to know, what is it that government can really do to turn this around or at least slow this terrible devastation that we could be facing? I think they want to hear that.

CROWLEY: There again, I mean, I love this, because here's the woman holding her baby...

CHETRY: She's holding a baby in her arms.

CROWLEY: ... going, hello, the future, air, water.

And I just think that it makes for a much more exciting dynamic for these candidates to have to face these people with real-life, home-and-hearth problems, that they're going to be asked, well, what are you going to do about it?

And I don't think that you can settle for generalities here, when you're -- when you're looking at a woman holding her baby, saying, it's important that we have clean air and clean water. You have to have specifics.

CHETRY: You know, one of the only things I did about is, what about follow-ups? Oftentimes, a moderator is there armed with some facts or perhaps some old quotations from the candidates that they can come back at.

Is it going to be easier for candidates to dodge some of these questions, perhaps, because they are getting a video and then they're not necessarily getting a response?

SCHNEIDER: Well, there are going to be eight candidates there on the stage. And I can assure you these candidates are not shy people.

And they're competing with one another. So, if a candidate answers the question, and the answer in the view of one of their competitors, one of their rivals, is wrong or the rival disagrees, they are going to be very forthright in bringing up their disagreement.

CROWLEY: Yes. They are their own fact-check system, I can assure you, although sometimes the fact checks need fact checks.


CROWLEY: But, nonetheless, and, obviously, Anderson will be there and can do follow-ups.

It's very obvious to people when you're looking -- when you hear a question and the candidate says something, it's obvious to them when they haven't answered the question. And nobody is going to let them get away with it, I don't think.

CHETRY: And one of the interesting things that both of you brought up when we were speaking off camera beforehand is that, just because people ask these questions, it doesn't necessarily mean they're not concerned with Iraq or they're not concerned with terrorism, but they want to bring some of these other issues that may get not get talked about a lot into the forefront as well. So, it should be very interesting. SCHNEIDER: I think so.

CHETRY: All right. We will check in with both of you a little later.

Candy Crowley, as well as Bill Schneider, thanks -- John.

SCHNEIDER: Kiran, so far, we haven't said much about the 800- pound gorilla that is in the room for every presidential debate, but now it's time to focus exclusively on Iraq, like the man who asked this question.


SHELBY HIGHSMITH, RESIDENT OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Hi. My name is Shelby Highsmith in Atlanta, Georgia.

This question is for all the candidates.

I have heard all of you talk about withdrawing troops and getting us out of Iraq, but still haven't heard an answer to the next question: Then what? Even if you do withdraw every single American soldier, what is your political solution to end the violence in Iraq, so we don't have to send them back or send our children back?

I have heard your plan for getting us out, but I want to know, then what?



ROBERTS: You see, when it comes to Iraq, there is a surprising assumption in a lot of questions that we received. Did you notice it just then? Is the public ahead of the politicians when it comes to getting out? Stay with us on that.

Also ahead: the wildest, wackiest questions that we have seen so far.

And, if you want to top these or just post a regular question, stay tuned. Even if you have never YouTubed, we will show you how.



CHETRY: "Waiting on the World to Change," John Mayer.

Well, welcome back to our countdown to next Monday's CNN/YouTube presidential debate. We are going to be showing you some of the most interesting and provocative questions that people want the Democratic candidates to answer. Republicans will get their turn a little bit later.

But there's a striking trend in the questions about Iraq. It seems, at least with many of these, a U.S. pullout is a given. People want to know, though, what is next.

So, with us again, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider, as well as CNN's senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley.

Once again, thanks to both of you for being with us.

And this is the unique change, that we have seen the debate change. In fact, now it's not a question for many of the Democratic candidates that they all want to leave Iraq. What happens next seems to be the question.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. Yes.

And there are real questions about that, namely, how are they going to do it? Is it going to be done with a deadline? Do they want to reauthorize the war, to take away the vote of 2002? There are lots of different proposals for doing this. They are all on the table.

But there is universal agreement among Democrats running for president and I should add among Democrats across the country, the war has got to end.

CHETRY: And right now it's a timing issue.

Let's listen to one of the questions about what happens after U.S. troops leave.


DOUG BRADSHAW, FATHER OF U.S. MARINE: Hello. My name is Doug Bradshaw. My son is a new U.S. Marine. He joined just last January. He's currently finishing his MOS training.

Here's my question about Iraq. With most of you calling for a drastic reduction in U.S. troop strength, please tell me what specific steps you will take in order to ensure Middle East stability, so that my son will not have to go back?


CHETRY: There you have it. And once again we talk about the human element here. It's a guy saying, I don't want to have to send my son back.


And what's interesting about this is, part of the Republican argument for giving the surge a chance, for getting stability in the country, at least in Baghdad, before pulling out, has been, if we don't, it will be chaos, the Middle East will be in turmoil, and we will have to go back.

So, the questions that we have had about Iraq seem to me to be going right to that, so it says to me that that argument has had some resonance out there.

CHETRY: And it's interesting, because you talk about a Republican argument having resonance.

Here's another example of that. Let's listen to the comparisons between Iraq, what we're fighting now, and World War II.


"CURTISMW": Republicans sometimes compare Iraq to World War II. However, during World War II, Americans were asked to recycle, carpool, were issued ration cards, and bought war bonds. As of today, President Bush has asked us to go shopping and to accept a tax cut.

If you were president, what would you ask the American people to sacrifice?


CHETRY: There you go.

SCHNEIDER: I think I know the answer the Democrats are likely to give.


CHETRY: What? We're talking about raising taxes, right?

SCHNEIDER: No. Well, what they're going to say -- they're going to be very cautious about this.

They are going to talk about President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, for people who are high-income earners. They are going to say, their taxes were cut more than other people's were cut. And, therefore, they are the ones who should pay first for the cost not just of going to war, but of getting out of there.

CHETRY: But they were paying more taxes, which is why they were the recipients of the tax cut. But that's neither here nor there.

Are they going to talk about and answer a straight question, Candy, about whether or not they are going to vote for a tax increase?

CROWLEY: I think that they won't call it a tax increase. In Washington, it's all about the nomenclature. What do you call this?

They won't call it a tax increase. They will say, look, all we are doing is letting the tax cuts expire. Nonetheless, I think that again that's something that people can see through, certainly something that others will call them to the forefront to and say listen here, you have got to actually answer this question. It is a tax hike.

SCHNEIDER: And, after all, the administration is asking future generations to pay for this war. That's what increasing the deficit means.

CHETRY: That's true as well. Let's get this question in. We have a number of policy related questions, but we also have some about more humanitarian things. And here are -- let's listen to one first, and I would like to get your thoughts on this one.


QIRANGER, RESIDENT OF ARIZONA: Hi. This is the Chee (ph) man in Arizona with my question for the Democratic candidates.

Over the past few years, the Democratic Party has stated that they would like to bring our troops home from Iraq. Now, doing so would create a power vacuum in that country, enabling the civil war to get completely out of hand.

Since it was our initiative to that went into that country and removed Saddam Hussein, what can we do as a country, should we pull our troops out, to safeguard the innocents that have to remain there?


CHETRY: Yes, so they are asking about the innocents here. And there actually were a lot of questions about Darfur and our commitment to helping AIDS in Africa as well. It seems that a lot of these YouTube questions are about these humanitarian concerns, Candy.

CROWLEY: You know, what is interesting, I think, from global warming to Darfur, to the AIDS crisis in Africa, people are saying what can we do?

This is a hit-it-out-of-the-ballpark for politicians if they will just seize on it, because a number of these questions are about -- not just what will you do for us, but what are you going to ask us to do; how are you going to lead on this?

And with Darfur, I think -- we talked about this before coming on -- it's interesting how often Darfur comes up on the campaign trail. At one point, usually on college campuses, Barack Obama was asked about Darfur so many times that, when one of the questions came up, the last one, he said, I have already answered that question. So, it's definitely out there.

SCHNEIDER: These are younger people who are participants in YouTube. They are better educated and they often have a keen moral sense. And they are able to think about and know about events that are far away like Darfur, and perhaps distant in the future like global warming. Those sorts of concerns are very keen to these voters.

CHETRY: And it's also interesting how the Internet has helped bring the world closer to our eyes. There is actually a Web site you can go on and see villages that are being wiped out in Darfur because of the genocide. So, it is definitely a change in our level of consciousness about these things as well.

(CROSSTALK) SCHNEIDER: Bill Schneider, as well as Candy Crowley, thank you. Great insight, as always.

ROBERTS: No matter what your favorite topic is, how do you turn it into a really hard-hitting question? Next in our debate preview, the best way to get an honest answer.

Plus, how the candidates will handle questions that they would rather not touch.


ROBERTS: The issue of outsourcing, one question that the Democratic presidential candidates could face a week from tonight in our CNN/YouTube debate.

YouTube users have already posted more than 1,000 questions. And all this week, we're counting down to the debate. We don't know yet which questions will be used in the debate. There is a chance that some that you see tonight will end up there, a chance that they won't.

But right now, we're going to take a look at what makes a really good debate question, and what kinds of questions the candidates just really don't want to face.

Joining us now is former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, who is now the global correspondent for HDNet, Steve McMahon, who prepped Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean for his debates in 2004, and Republican strategist Amy Holmes.

Welcome, all.

Dan, you have handled one of these debates before. What is it that makes the great debate question?

DAN RATHER, GLOBAL CORRESPONDENT, HDNET: The question the candidate doesn't expect. The unexpected question is the best kind of question. Second to that is the tough follow-up, which we see all too little of, including my own work.

But any question the candidate doesn't expect -- a good example, Bernie Shaw of CNN, when he asked Michael Dukakis in the debate in 1988 -- Dukakis was anti the death penalty -- tell us what you would do if your own wife was raped. It's a paraphrase -- but any unexpected question.

And candidates do hate, genuinely hate, audience participation, because they like to control the environment. And any time people they have not seen before are up on their feet or for that matter sitting down asking a question, they get the shivers.

ROBERTS: A lot of times, in the town halls that we have seen in the past, if the questions aren't screened, many of the people are already pre-screened. They know that there is a fairly predictable audience there.

But this is so unpredictable, because these questions are coming in from across the country.

Let's take a look at one of the right now.


MADELINE MANELSKI, RESIDENT OF PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA: Greetings. And thank you and YouTube for this historic opportunity to participate in the presidential debates.

I know it must be difficult being a politician, since many Americans do not trust those in your profession. My question to each of you is, why does this distrust exist, and why are you different?

Thank you.


ROBERTS: So, Amy Holmes, there is a question that comes from a very personal perspective. What are the questions that these candidates hate to answer?

AMY HOLMES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, they don't like the unexpected question. And, oftentimes, it's not the journalist's question they don't want. It is the actual voter, having to face that voter face to face, get that personal contact, that personal question.

And they can't slide by it without voters actually them directly, what are you going to do for me?

ROBERTS: Right. So, here is a voter who is saying, we don't trust you. Tell us why we don't trust you.

HOLMES: Sure. And that's a tough question to ask. It's the same -- we saw it in the Democratic debate. Tell us, what is one of your weaknesses?

You know, it's one of those sort of -- those interview questions that people try to do the SAT answer to. But, really, the -- the voter wants to know the truth.

ROBERTS: We're going to go to Steve McMahon in just a second.

But Steve, I trolled through hundred of these questions and I found that some of them are very, very pointed. These are questions that journalists probably wouldn't be able to ask, like this question here, take a listen.


GAVIN, LAS VEGAS, NV: This is Gavin from sunny Las Vegas. My question is for Senator Clinton.

Senator Clinton, I think you would make a great president, but there's a question that deserves to be answered before the end of the primaries because it could affect your ability to run against a strong Republican. Has your husband, Bill Clinton, engaged in adulterous behavior since he's left office? How do you plan to address the issue, whether real or trumped up by people that would demean your character by trying to imply that your marriage is politically convenient? Thank you.


ROBERTS: Steve McMahon, again, you prepped Howard Dean for his 2004 debates. What would you do with a question like that?


STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think what -- those are the questions, by the way, that a lot of us in the business refer to as "gotcha questions," and there's some risk to the question or that the question will actually backfire and generate sympathy. I don't know if you recall there was a debate with Rick Lazio during Senator Clinton's first campaign and he walked over with a piece of paper and told her that she needed to sign this no tax pledge and she simply brushed it off, and people thought it was unfair and it was too aggressive.

That's exactly the kind of question, however, that a candidate doesn't want to ask because you have to make a -- answer that, because you have to make a tough choice. Do you ignore it and say it's an invasion of privacy? Do you pivot to something else, or do try to answer it? My suspicion is that you -- that you ignore it and you pivot to something else.

ROBERTS: Yeah, but you know, there is the chance that this is one of those questions where the candidate says, oh, it's starting to get hot in here because it plays to the central issue, which is her winnability.

Absolutely, John, and you're quite right, that no journalist that I know of would ask that question of Senator Clinton. And this is a reason that when regular people ask questions, candidates don't like it.

RATHER: Now, let's say the YouTube thing, which I like a lot, has the disadvantage that the questioner ask the question, but isn't there, present and the candidate does have to answer it in the four eyes face-to-face basis and the questioner doesn't have the chance to follow up.

ROBERTS: Right, and so the candidate can turn that question to their own advantage.

But Amy Holmes, how do you fully prep for this debate because a lot of these question, they are "murderers rows" what they're called, where the candidates go through all the tough questions that they could possibly field and then one of these things in this YouTube debate comes from completely out of left field.

HOLMES: Well John, that's why it's so dangerous for the candidates, because you can't. You think of the question of what's the price of milk? When is the last time you pumped your own gas? Gas priced are soaring. Do you even know how much it is per gallon? These are the types of things, but there are 101, a million of those types of questions out there that are really directly from the voter who's voting living a real life. And remember John, these people live, they live in a bubble. So, they're living in fear of that question that brings them right back down to earth.

ROBERTS: Steve McMahon, you have prepped people before, you know all of these candidates, which one is best equipped to handle a debate format like this?

MCMAHON: Well, I personally think that Hillary Clinton is the most experienced and seasoned debater who's been in toughest situations and probably benefits from that. It's a little bit like asking a field of golfers, that includes Tiger Woods and other professionals, who's the best golfer. It may be that one golfer has more talent than Tiger Woods, but since he's out there every single day, he benefits from that.

I think what Amy just said, thought, is really important because I think the candidates are probably banking on the fact that a journalist like you wouldn't let a question like the one we just saw through, so there are -- there is still some sense of fairness. It's not like someone's standing there asking a face-to-face question as that questioner in New Hampshire asked Hillary Rodham Clinton when he asked whether or not she was willing to apologize for the war.

The far more dangerous question is the one that's unexpected, but seems completely fair -- like how much is a gallon of gas? How much is a loaf of bread?

You know, George Bush, the -- president Bush's father, was caught unaware by the grocery store scanner, and that was one of those moments that really damaged him politically. So, those are the kinds of things that get these candidates off guard, and you really can't prepare for those.

ROBERTS: Right. Oh well, we'll be taking a look at this and see how the candidates respond. But certainly there are so many questions coming from so many different areas, it's going to be fun to watch. Steve McMahon, Dan Rather, Amy Holmes, thank you.


CHETRY: We've said all night, we have really have no idea if any of these questions that we're looking at this week will actually make it into next Monday's debate. You also have time, by the way, if this is inspiring you to go ahead and tape a question and get it loaded onto YouTube. But, do you really think the powers that be would pick this one?


GOREMY: This here's a two-part. Pay taxes on my clothes and food. Pay taxes on my place. Pay taxes on my moisturizer, I mean, taxes on my weights, pay taxes on my land...


CHETRY: Maybe, you never knew. Next, the questions that tickled the fancy of our Jeanne Moos, and that could mean this will be your only chance to see them on TV.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the CNN/YouTube debate countdown. Just one week from tonight, Monday, July 23 we're going to host a first of its kind presidential debate. There are more than 1,000 entries so far on the YouTube and every night this week at 8:00 p.m. we're going to show you as many as we can. And again, we cannot tell you which of the questions will ultimately be picked and then used during the debate. For one thing the questions are still streaming in and you can actually continue to post these questions until July 22, the day before.

But tonight, Jeanne Moos reveals some entries that you probably won't see debate night, but you defiantly don't want to miss right now.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When a professional moderator is not posing the question, the questions tend to be less moderate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greetings, I am Bjorn Svenson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, how's it going? Groucho from Los Angeles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is...

MOOS: Oh, they have questions all right.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this question here is for old John Edwards.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think you're cute? Would you allow us to be married to each other?


MOOS: These YouTubers are whispering, they're leering...


MOOS: They're whining.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you answer my question?

MOOS: They're eating while they ask.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never envisioned 52 states...

MOOS: Imagine addressing potential presidents like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo, yo, yo, my name is D. Wizzo...

MOOS: CNN and YouTube are asking to you submit videotaped questions, questions each candidate will watch on a monitor built into his or her podium.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to know what you think is, I don't know, the greatest invention you've heard of.

MOOS: Tooth picks and visual aids are encouraged. To make a point about health care...


MOOS: One woman flashed her heart surgery scar.

This guy waved around his Social Security statement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But seeing that Social Security is going to be extinct in the near future, why am I still getting this?

MOOS: That's the kind of serious question CNN honchos probably will choose to include. The ones we're highlighting are you probably won't see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN will never use that.

MOOS: There's no such thing as a dress code among those submitting questions for this debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I call myself the Anonymous American. Will you, right then and there, sign an executive order beginning the withdrawal of troops from Iraq?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How will you plan to deal with illegal immigration?

MOOS: This guy tried a little show and tell.


MOOS: Demonstrating how little money goes to science compared to weapons research.

Some are question candidates don't normally get asked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have donated blood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In God we trust. What do those words mean to you?

MOOS: And then there was the do ask and do tell teddy bear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to keep my name and hometown anonymous because I'm in the military and I am gay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a middle-of-the-road (INAUDIBLE), I am a registered nut -- I mean, Democrat. Do you feel the terrorist -- feel the terrorists will come here? Oh my god, there is one here right now. HHH. Stop, please.

MOOS (on camera): My question to you candidates, do you regret agreeing to this debate yet?

(voice-over): Even a real cat submitted a question.

"How can you protect my food in the future?"

What, with the contaminated pet food scare.

A pair of comedians had a question for John Edwards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think you're better looking than Barack Obama? Tell you what, shirts off, we're going to have an abs. Going to have a ab-counting contest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want nobody taking off their shirt.

MOOS: Especially not any female candidates.

Some even sang to the contenders.

GOREMY, MCLEAN VIRGINIA: This here's a two-part question: Pay taxes on my clothes and food...

MOOS: And after a tax question:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Also, I got a parking ticket last week, could one of y'all pardon me?

MOOS: Pardon the questions.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ROBERTS: And then there was this video posing some very deep question.


PZOTTOLO: How do you propose putting the "care" in health care? And baby kissing doesn't count.

Are you concerned with how the American president looks to the world? And if so, would you be willing to undergo plastic surgery?

Will the separation of church and state be more than just the word "and?" Finally, some feel the current administration has gotten us into deep do. My question for you is have you got rubber boots? And if so, have you got more for us?


ROBERTS: So, you saw that and you thought...

CHETRY: I said, you know what? This guy has been watching "Stephen Colbert Report" one too many times. But he was funny.

ROBERTS: Maybe just a little bit.

Hey, by now you've probably noticed that there a lot of young people in the YouTube generation. Those are the people who are posing a lot of the questions. Though it does sort of cross a lot of age boundaries, but you're going to meet some of those young people, next. And it isn't' too late for you to post your own question. We'll show you how to do it on YouTube coming up.


ROBERTS: We continue our countdown to next Monday's CNN/YouTube debate. The YouTube community skews fairly young, so what do today's young people really care about? Well, take a look at this.


MELISSA COMPAGNUCCI, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA: In recent years, there's been so much controversy regarding dangling chads and (INAUDIBLE) paper trails, electronic voting systems. I know it costs money to amend things like that, but if I can go to any state and get the same triple grande non-fat no-foam vanilla latte from Starbucks, why can't I go to any state and vote the same way?


ROBERTS: A standardized voting systems isn't' the only issue that's buzzing around the YouTube community. Education is even bigger, especially paying for college.


LUCAS BROWN EYES, PINE RIDGE, SD: My name is Lucas Brown Eyes from Pine Ridge, South Dakota and I just graduated with honors. I was accepted in my dream college, but I can't afford $50,000 a year. How will you make college affordable?


ROBERTS: So, how do the candidates relate to young people and their questions? They ask people like James Kotecki. Just weeks ago he graduated from college, Georgetown University, and he's already advising presidential candidates on how to use YouTube. And we just saw Lucas Brown Eyes, an award-winning film student, who submitted the education question that we just showed you, he joins us now. Lucas, first of all, let's talk to you. What's your story, what prompted you to pose that question to the candidates?

BROWN EYES: Well, I just graduated this year, and I got into the top school of my choice and I was really excited and then I got the financial aid package and I found out I can't afford to go to college. And I mean, I'm a minority, I'm Native American and Spanish, and I'm still having a hard time finding scholarships. And I might not be able to go, so that's what really prompted me, especially seeing my friends going through the same things, but worse. Not being able to pay for their college.

ROBERTS: You wanted to go with USC film school and you're problem with your being able to afford or not afford tuition also prompted you to take a look at immigration. And you have a theory about H1B Visas and education, here in America. What is that theory?

BROWN EYES: Yes, I feel that H1B Visas are just a band-aid for our highly skilled labor shortage. They say we have a highly skilled labor shortage, but that's because our youth cannot pay for education, and if we can't pay for education, how are we going to be skilled? So, I think that the H1B Visas is just a bad thing because it's just band-aid over the real problem, which is our youth not being able to pay for education.

ROBERTS: Now, we're not going to say that Lucas Brown Eyes' question is going to be on the debate, because we don't know, yet. But it is questions and issues like that that the candidates are going to have to deal with. And in some cases, they turn to people like James Kotecki. As we said, a new graduate from Georgetown University in Washington, because he's plugged into the YouTube generation.

JAMES KOTECKI, RECENT GEORGETOWN GRAD: In a word: authenticity. I think a lot of people in my generation are fed up with seeing politicians in a kind of overly glossy, overly P.R. driven atmosphere and they just want to see and relate to them as real human beings. So, if they make a video and put it on YouTube, it doesn't even have to be very high quality, if they're being authentic and if they're really trying to reach out people and go beyond sound bites politics.

ROBERTS: Now, you've actually worked with some of the candidates, Ron Paul, Mike Gravel, came to your dorm room -- (INAUDIBLE), came to your dorm room for a little bit of one-on-one counseling session. Dennis Kucinich, as well, you talked to. You've also talked to John Edwards. What are they looking for? What wisdom are they seeking from you?

KOTECKI: Well, I think they want to do interviews with me because I reach an audience that they may not otherwise get, which are young people, as you said, a lot of young people are watching YouTube videos, now. Many of them, I think like me -- I don't even own a TV. I get most of my entertainment from YouTube. And I think what they're looking for is also to talk maybe more about the issues with me. Because I see a lot of interviews that politicians do, and they can't always talk about all of the different questions that I think are interesting and so I try to ask them questions that aren't often asked and I hope it's those same kind of questions that get asked in the YouTube debates.

ROBERTS: Lucas, you know, we've heard from so many young people over the years that they feel disenfranchised in the voting process, the political process. They don't feel like they can ever become really part of the campaign, unless of courser, they were to go work for one of the campaigns. Do you feel a little more empowered knowing that you can put a question on YouTube and have it at least considered for use in a nationally televised debate?

BROWN EYES: Oh yes, yes, completely. This has got me -- I registered to vote today, actually. This has got me involved in politics because now I feel like I have a voice. For all these years, I think the reason why the young, youth voter turnout hasn't been as high as people would like, is because we don't feel like we have a voice. And now, I think this will give them a voice.

ROBERTS: Well Lucas, we appreciate your question. Thanks very much for submitting it. It's an interesting story that you've got to tell, one that's repeated across this country. Maybe somebody will actually pick up the torch and give you a little assistance.

Lucas Brown Eyes joining us as well as James Kotecki. Thanks very much, appreciate you being here.


CHETRY: Well, by now you can probably see why we're so jazzed about next Monday's debate. So, if you are too then you're ready for our Jacki Schechner and the next step.


SCHECHNER: So, do you know what you want to ask of the presidential candidates? Coming up, I'll show you how to get your questions on to YouTube.


CHETRY: So, even if you've never YouTubed before, it's easy and we'll show you how. Stay with us, we'll be right back.


CHETRY: Our countdown continues for the CNN/YouTube debate. It's funny, because we're talking about the next generation, but we're playing The Beatles.

Well, you ask the questions on YouTube and the candidates will answer. It's a week from today right here on CNN. And already we've gotten more than 1,000 questions from YouTube users. Obviously, no all of them will get to air, but we still want more, so asked our Internet correspondent, Jacki Schechner, an expert in all of this stuff to show us how to do it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JACKI SCHECHNER, INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: Hi guys. No matter how you capture your video, there is a way to get it onto YouTube. Let me show you what you do.

We start with our digital camera or your camcorder. Now, once you record your question, you're going to want to put it on to your computer and then log on to Create an account, that's the best way to manage your videos. Name your question -- we'll call this "Jacki's Question," and the upload the file from your system.

Once it's online, add it to the contest and you're done, it's that easy.

If you've got a cell phone with video, that's easy, too. YouTube gives the option of sending a question directly from your phone. Just shoot your video and then e-mail it. Question accomplished.

The final way is the quick capture version on If you've got a have a webcam this is the easiest thing to do. Record yourself talking into the camera, quick capture it, then once you're done it takes a couple seconds to process and then it pops up online. It's that easy. In fact, there's only one challenge left, what do you want to ask? As of that, I can't help you with.


ROBERTS: Well, one thing that we can tell you is that you can see all 1,000-plus questions on the YouTube Website. There are now 1,050 of them. Now, we don't know which ones are going to be used in the debate. It's quite possible that some that you saw tonight will be on the debate, it's possible that they won't be. There is a process. CNN will be choosing which questions are used in next Monday night's debate. It's a highly secretive process that we are not privy to, so we're not giving you or the candidates any information, tonight, that will give them any kind of indication as to what to prepare for.

But you know, this is the most popular one, so could it be in Monday night? Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are your thoughts on a recent poll that 88 percent of Californians elected Governor Schwarzenegger in hopes that a cyborg of his nature could stop a future nuclear war?


ROBERTS: OK, just kidding. But when we come back, our favorite. Stay with us.


CHETRY: Well, of the 1,000-plus debate questions on the YouTube Website, although we'll probably get a lot more after tonight -- this one we like the most, so far. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOREMY: This here's a two-part. Pay taxes on my clothes and food. Pay taxes on my place. Pay taxes on my moisturizer, I mean, taxes on my weights, pay taxes on my land, every year y'all make me pay. I paid a tax on this guitar, so I could sing for you today.

My tax put some kids through college, I can't afford to send myself. Now tell me, if you were elected president, what would you do to help?

Also, I got a parking ticket last week, could one of y'all pardon me?


ROBERTS: This is our favorite. There is still time to sing, dance, or just post a question for the presidential candidates. Paula Zahn will be here tomorrow night with more of your questions from YouTube.

CHETRY: An don't forget, join us 6:00 a.m. Eastern for CNN's AMERICAN MORNING, the most news in the morning. Tomorrow we're going to be talking with a veteran dive instructor about the recent government security warning to be alert about requests for specialized instruction or rentals of dangerous gear. LARRY KING LIVE starts right now.