Presidential Debates

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- If you put a new wrinkle on the question, will you get a different answer?

Not necessarily. That's what some analysts are saying about last night's Democratic presidential candidates debate in Charleston, South Carolina.

The event, broadcast on C-N-N, served up questions sent in via the Internet by users of YouTube.

One video question had a person dressed up as a snowman asking about global warming. In another, two guys posing as Tennessee hillbillies asked if all the Al Gore-for-president buzz has hurt the candidates' feelings. That drew a quip from Joe Biden that the people of Tennessee had just had their feelings hurt by the video.

There were also serious questions, chiefly about Iraq. Dennis Kucinich agreed with one YouTuber who asked if Democrats a re playing politics with the war. Said war-opponent Kucinich: "The Democrats have failed the people."

Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center for Politics says it doesn't really matter whether the questions are posed by "average people" or professional journalists, for the most part the candidates stick to their scripted answers.

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