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Live Blog from the Final MTV/MySpace Dialogue

BY Michael Connery | Saturday, February 2 2008

I'm at MTV studios in NYC to live blog the final broadcast in the MTV/MySpace Candidate Dialogues. Tonight's event, "Closing Arguments," is billed as a "Super Dialogue" because it will feature 4 candidates participating via satellite.

I'm in a press room a few yards from the studio, which is crammed full of kids and has no real seating (thus has no good vantages from which to live-blog).

So far, these have been some of the most interactive events on the campaign trail. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain that level of interactivity and connection when dealing with four candidates instead of one, and when the candidates are beaming in via satellite instead of sitting in the same room with the moderators and questioners.

The program will air:

  • Broadcast live on MTV, MTV2 and MTV Tr3ìs, with highlights on college network mtvU
  • Streamed live online via MySpace (www.myspace.com/election2008) and MTV’s www.ChooseOrLose.com
  • Distributed live to the Associated Press Online Video Network, encompassing more than 1,800 media sites with an aggregate reach of 61 million unique visitors – and nearly 600 local media outlets in Super Tuesday states
  • Streamed live on mobile devices via MTV Mobile
  • Broadcast live on radio via XM Satellite Radio, MTV and AP Radio
  • Translated into Spanish and broadcast on ImpreMedia’s LaVibra (www.lavibra.com/candidatos)
  • Live studio audience participating at MTV’s Times Square studio

It should get started in about five minutes. Interesting to note is that there is a fairly large Obama rally going on outside the event as we speak. I can' hear them chanting "fired up, ready to go" and "USA, Obama all the way" outside in Times Square. I'll have some video of that up shortly.

Are you watching?

Update - Gideon Yago asked the audience how many had already made their candidate choice. Most of them raised their hands. Very few undecideds in the audience.

Update - Props to Sway and Gideon who are giving the youth vote its due for turning out.

Update: Huckabe just got killed in the first question about bringing change to Washington. 68% don't agree with his answer to at least some extent. This will be interesting. Young People are very progressive and I feel like McCain got a bit of a pass when he participated in a previous dialogue. Mostly due to his reputation as an independent. Will the Republicans fare so well tonight? And how will Clinton do in such a spontaneous, interactive forum?

Update: Hmmm....my browser just crashed twice. I don't know if it's the MySpace/Impact streaming or my Flip Video camera, which I'm trying to use to upload some videos of the rally outside. So I missed some of Huckabee's responses. The Flektor widget says people still aren't buying his answers though.

Update: Here's a look at the studio from the inside. My camera doesn't like the lights.

Update: Huckabee's gaining some ground. People like his fair tax the more he talks about it. IT could also be a reaction to his comments about immigrants and the stimulus package. This was also something we saw with McCain. The more he talked, the more ground he gained in support from the online (voting) audience.

Update Huckabee is making his closing arguments. First a joke about Colbert than another about Chuck Norris. His serious answer is executive experience as a governor. Looks like he gained some ground. He's got 26% who are now more likely to vote for him,and his overall negatives dropped to 61%.

Ron Paul

First question is about Darfur. He's equating intervention in Darfur to intervention in Iraq. I'm going to guess that won't go over well with young voters who are hugely concerned about Darfur. Slamming the UN won't help either. Young voters are multilateralists/internationalists.

Update: Wow, I blew that call. Flektor voting says over 60% of young voters trust Ron Paul to solve the issues in Darfur. That makes no sense to me. Could the Paulites be spamming the MySpace/Flektor voting? Entirely possible.

Update: Paul is having some technical difficulties.

Update: Why do young people overwhelmingly support Democrats? Because the Republicans need to be punished. There is some truth to that, I think. Young voters are more progressive in their values, but the Democrats don't always live up to those values. At this point, there is still a significant population of young voters that are more against the GOP than for the Democrats.

Paul is also talking about how he's pulling in young voters, which is true to a limited extent. The GOP youth vote has been split depending on the state.

Update: Paul says that the Republican Party is shooting itself in teh foot by failing to reach out to youth. Also points out the retirements by GOP members in congress, and how the GOP ignores his youth support.

Update: Foreign policy question - management of policy, not management of wars. Non intervention is not isolation. Also, the Obama chanting outside has not let up for one second in the 45 minutes this has been going on.

Update: Paul's closing arguments: Young voters will get their ass kicked by our current economic policies. Government has failed. Vote for Ron Paul.

Final Flektor for Paul - Very positive, but Chris Cilliza points out that the Paulites probably spammed the poll.

Barack Obama

How does your life experience and multicultural background help you as President. Shorter Barack - I bring people together; My grandmother lives in Africa.

Update: Most soldiers are young and from communties of color. Obama responds that service is noble, troops need to be treated properly (GI Bill benefits, don't overtax the reserve). Also mentions $4000 tuition credit per year for students who participate in a national/community service program.

Update: 45% weren't buying Obama's answer to a question on the drat. I thought he dodged it as well (no pun intended). Cilizza is following up about differences between Clinton and he on foreign policy. Obama is talking about the NIE and his superior judgement before the fact in Iraq.

Update: Only 51% trust Obama on foreign policy????? Are the Paulites sticking around and driving up Democratic negative responses?

Update: Civil Unions - supports civil unions and full equal rights as married couples, but NOT full recognition of gay marriage.

Update: There's an AP reporter in the crowd who they are letting ask question. That's weird. Shouldn't the limited time be available only to young voters? This is kinda like Grover Norquist being in the YouTube debate. To top it off, the AP reporter asked a ridiculous "Gotcha" question - why, as potentially the first women President, does Sen. Clinton's campaign not represent change?

Update: Obama's answer on gay marriage gets another 50/50 split in the voting. These are well below his response ratings from his previous MTV/MySpace appearance. The Paulites have to be organizing to drive down up negative responses. If so, we'll probably see this for Hillary as well.

Update: "How will you fix the economy?" Long term adn short term problems. Need to prevent further home forclosures in the short term to stabilize the housing market. Need short-term stimulus for those who are unemployed and making less than $75k. Longterm, need to end huge CEO payouts, fairer tax code, make colleg more affordable, early childhood education, higher teacher pay, and invest in clean energy and green jobs.

Update: He's making his closing arguments and getting his final evaluation with the Flektor voting widget. Looks like the man who's getting upwards of 60% of all youth support in the primaries only got 48% of support in the final poll. At a time when his popularity nationwide is at a high. 44% say they will vote for someone else. I'm really going to say it's the Ron Paul supporters.

Cilizza thinks that voters just want experience and these results speak to that concern. I'm not buying it. We'll see how well Hillary Clinton does next.

Hillary Clinton

Clinton is running late . . .

Update: 80% don't think that Clinton has reached out to young voters.

Update: Wants to index Pell Grants to inflation. Wants to give money in exchange for service and go back to direct government lending instead of corporate loans with high interest rates. Wants to let people who do public service jobs get debt forgiveness. Wants to make college a binding contract that locks in tuition rates for each student.

Update: 63% disagree with Clinton's education policies. I think Cilizza is wrong. It's not Change vs. Experience in these polls, it's Ron Paul supporters vs. everyone else.

Update: Pork barrel funding - $2billion in NY on Clinton's watch - how do you reconcile that with a need for change? It's an interesting question - if you exploit special interests and funnel money w/o accountability, how is that a change agenda? Clinton says there is no contradiction. That her pork spending created jobs for her constituents. That there is a right way and a wrong way to do these things and she'll do it the right way.

Update: "Why can't she admit that her original Iraq vote was wrong?" She's evading and talking about the evidence they had before the war and about how Bush botched the pre- and post-war execution. So basically, she doesn't think she was wrong. The audience agrees. 78% are either not buying it or extremely skeptical.

Update: Clinton as the new Giuliani? She just invoked 9/11 as justification for her votes.

Update: How will she bring Dems and Repubs together and end the Red/Blue divide? She points to her victory in New York.

Maybe it's my own reaction to Clinton, who I don't necessarily like as a campaigner (though would vote for as a candidate), but it feels like she's filibustering the questions and really working to get in other points she wants to make. More so than the other candidates.

Now she's pulling a Kucinich and plugging another event of hers on TV on Monday.

Final Thoughts: 72% are now less likely or definitely won't vote for Clinton. Summing up this event: Online voters don't want experience or change. They want Ron Paul.