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Presidential Candidates Conduct 'YouTube Debate'

CNN and YouTube executives maintain that video questions will bring a level of authenticity to the process.

Campaign and Internet history are in the making as the Democratic presidential candidates prepare for their first widely publicized YouTube debate Monday night.

Sens. Barack Obama of Illinois, Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, which lead in most polls of the Democratic field, are scheduled to participate.

Thousands of Americans have submitted questions from their homes, according to CNN, which will host the debate as Anderson Cooper moderates. The event is taking place at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C.

Global warming, health care, the war in Iraq, and the tragedies in Darfur are among other hot topics, according to CNN, which said that Cooper will choose the questions rather than letting Internet users vote on them. Still, the YouTube debates are expected to be much less controlled than traditional town hall-style meetings, which are often packed with supporters and questions prepared by campaign staffs.

CNN and YouTube executives maintain that video questions will bring a level of authenticity to the process -- as well as transparency and access to the voters

California Attorney General Jerry Brown, a former presidential candidate, jumped in to the YouTube presidential debate himself.

Brown submitted one of about 2,000 questions in a video. He asked the candidates to address an issue he is working on, asking them what they will do to fight global warming. He already had sent letters to all of the candidates requesting that they support a California-backed measure to cut automobile emissions.

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