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The GOP clown car is afraid of CNN/YouTube debate

The Republican presidential wannabes don’t mind using YouTube to promote themselves, but if they are faced with being questioned via video on live television about their positions by average people out there in the hinterlands, they’d rather run their car into the ditch (h/t OpenLeft). Only two have signed on.

Four days after the Democratic debate in Charleston, S.C,. more than 400 questions directed to the GOP presidential field have been uploaded on YouTube — targeted at Republicans scheduled to get their turn at videopopulism on Sept. 17.

But so far, only Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) have agreed to participate in the debate, co-hosted by Republican Party of Florida in St. Petersburg.

“Aside from those two candidates, we haven’t heard from anyone else,” said Sam Feist of CNN, who’s co-sponsoring the debate with the popular videosharing site.

Rudolph Giuliani and Mitt Romney, both with dozens of videos on their YouTube channels, have not signed up. Neither have the rest of the Republican candidates, including Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.), whose “Tancredo Takes” on his YouTube channel draw hundreds of views. Sources familiar with the Guiliani campaign said he’s unlikely to participate. Kevin Madden, Romney’s spokesman, said the former Massachusetts governor has seven debate invitations covering a span of 11 days in September.

“We haven’t committed to any of them yet,” Madden said.

The simple answer as to why these candidates are reluctant to give a thumbs up to participation is that the videos are going to savage them by asking tough questions about hot button issues — immigration, Iraq, jobs outsourcing overseas, privacy issues. All that has been wrought happened on the GOP’s watch. Republicans have gleefully rubber-stamped this president. The polls are in the cellar for this administration.

Messaging has been tightly controlled — look at this White House and its predilection for secrecy, the ridiculous invitation-only ego-massaging “town halls” the president did on his failed Social Security “reform” road show a while back, the list goes on and on. What they cannot control, however, is what people are going to upload to YouTube. The rage is out there and they don’t want to take the heat because they don’t have any good answers.

Imagine some of the weasely responses someone like Mitt Romney would provide, for example, given his multiple choice, double backflip-flopping he’s had to explain to the press.

I’ll give McCain props for accepting, though; I can’t wait to see if someone asks him about that little Baghdad market stroll he took back in April, accompanied by 100 American soldiers, with three Blackhawk helicopters, two Apache gunships overhead, hidden snipers and bulletproof vests.

Pop the popcorn.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding