Wednesday, April 30, 2008

College Superdelegates ask YouTubers for Help

As the President and Vice President of the College Democrats Lauren Wolfe and Awais Khaleel were named as two of the 794 superdelegates who will be seated at this year's Democratic National Convention. Because of the closeness of this year's race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Lauren and Awais's phones have been ringing off the hook with calls from Democratic Party big shots, reporters, and Hollywood celebrities -- not to mention the candidates themselves -- all of who are trying to determine and influence who the two students will endorse.

But instead of being swayed by the higher-ups, Lauren and Awais decided to talk directly to their constituents: students across America. So they turned to the YouTube community to help them make this important decision. "Since our spots on the DNC represent college students, we want to make sure that our vote reflects their voice," Lauren told Citizentube.

In their video "Tell Lauren & Awais How To Cast Their Superdelegate Votes!", they ask voters to tell them which candidate they should support and why. "We've been getting hundreds of emails, probably about one every three minutes or so," Lauren told us, as well as a "massive amount" of Facebook messages and wall posts.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama Condemns Wright

Responding to recent inflammatory statements the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has made over the last week, Barack Obama delivered his strongest condemnation of his former pastor yet. "Reverend Wright does not speak for me, he does not speak for our campaign...[His statements] contradict everything that I'm about." This comes exactly a week before the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, contests that have become crucial for Obama in light of Hillary Clinton's convincing victory in Pennsylvania last week.

Announcement: A General Election Presidential Forum

Though the primary season is still in full swing, we've been looking ahead to the general election, too. Today, we're announcing a presidential forum for the candidates this September in New Orleans, Louisiana. Partnering with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, and The New Orleans Consortium (a collection of nonprofit and educational institutions in New Orleans), we'll host a live televised discussion about the issues critical to America's future. See our video announcement here:

YouTube and Google will power the event, and allow you to engage in the discussion through video and other means. In the coming months we'll announce just how you can get involved. Stay tuned to Citizentube to find out more...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Barracks for Charlie

An outraged father recently posted a video of the unsanitary conditions of his son’s army barracks at Fort Bragg, NC. Jeff Frawley, a 22 year-old soldier in the 82nd Airborne, just completed a fifteen month deployment to Afghanistan—only to return to U.S. military housing rife with molding walls, defective gas pipes, and leaking sewage. “The instant you walk through the front door,” Sgt. Frawley’s father says, “you know you’re entering a building that should be condemned.” The father is asking viewers to write their congressional representative to demand better conditions for our men and women in uniform. To learn more about the story, and the military’s official response, go to

YouTube Politics goes local

There's been a tremendous amount of attention on how the presidential candidates are using YouTube this election - but you might not know that senate, congressional, and state campaigns are already using YouTube as well. We've recently expanded our You Choose '08 platform to include "Politician" channels from these races so that they're easier to find - just scroll through the Channel browse tool on YouTube to find them, or link over from the You Choose '08 platform.

At the Congressional level, several candidates are using YouTube in interesting ways. Twenty-nine year old congressional candidate Bill McCamley is reaching out to young people on YouTube in New Mexico. Senator Norm Colemen is creating made-for-YouTube videos to attack his challenger, Comedian Al Franken, in Minnesota's Senate race (of course Franken - a natural YouTube candidate, has his own channel as well). And Mayor John Hickenlooper of Denver has a slew of interesting content his channel - including this clip from his 2005 mayoral campaign in which he jumped out of a plane to make a point.

Political committees on Capitol Hill are fueling strong YouTube strategies as well - the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is sending videographers out to key states to profile Democratic Senate candidates in a new program called 'Road to Victory'. They're posting the results on a Google map on their website and compiling them in a YouTube playlist as well. And you can bet that they aren't just profiling their own candidates (like Mary Landrieu or Ronnie Musgrove) but will be keeping an eye on their opponents as well.... The DSCC tells us the next race in the series will feature the Franken/Coleman race in Minnesota.

On the right, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has been just as active - releasing video press releases like wildfire. A few weeks ago when Senator Obama's "bitter" statements hit the news, the NRSC uploaded 7 videos to their YouTube channel, each containing the same audio clip of the Senator's statements. Each video asked whether a different Democratic Senate contender would be using their Superdelegate vote to support the Obama campaign. This is a great way to stretch one piece of video for all it's worth - targeting several races through essentially the same YouTube video. Here's one of the seven, focused on Mark Warner in Virginia:

...a smart way to capitalize on a hot news item in the presidential campaign in order to put the heat on Senate opponents across the country.

As the election season moves on we'll see more and more candidates at the Senate, state, and local level using YouTube in interesting ways - if you see anything worth highlighting - let us know.

From Bowling to Basketball

After a not-so-successful trip to the lanes in Altoona, PA last month (it's never that exciting to be caught on camera rolling a gutter ball), Senator Barack Obama decided to shift his focus from bowling to basketball. This YouTube video shows Obama - a lot more comfortable on the court - playing 3-on-3 at Maple Crest Middle School in Indiana.

The Obama campaign's head of new media, Joe Rospars, told us this is just another example of the Obama campaign using campaign trail footage to give voters a clearer picture of the Senator's character and identity. More than any other campaign in the race, the Obama team has taken advantage of YouTube to give snapshots of 'life on the trail' - these days it's not uncommon to see 3 or 4 videos from the Senator's speeches, rallies, and meetings surface on their YouTube channel in one day.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wright Speaks Out

Reverend Jeremiah Wright has broken his silence to defend himself and his statements from the pulpit in an interview with Bill Moyers on PBS:

Rev. Wright is even planning to headline an event at the National Press Club on Monday.... hard to imagine this is good for the Obama campaign. The Senator's response to the Rev. Wright fracas back in March was roundly praised, and the video of the speech became the #1-viewed political video ever uploaded by a presidential candidate to YouTube.

Now with Rev. Wright re-surfacing these issues in the media, attention on YouTube is turning back to the conflict. The North Carolina GOP just uploaded a montage of Reverend Wright clips to YouTube this week - titled "Extreme", it's the most-viewed political video on YouTube today:

Not the message the Obama campaign wants North Carolina voters to hear as they prepare to vote in the May 6 primaries…

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


For those of you who've been paying attention to political content on YouTube over the past year, you may have spent some time on Citizentube - our official political video blog. We've been using that YouTube channel as a way to connect with you about our political programming both in the U.S. and abroad. Today, we're launching the new and improved Citizentube - a blog where we'll keep you regularly updated on the latest and greatest in YouTube politics as we see it.

Back when we launched Citizentube, "YouTube politics" was little more than 'gotcha' videos - like the famous "Macaca" moment, John Edwards feeling pretty, or Senator Conrad Burns falling asleep in committee meetings.

But since then, YouTube has become entrenched in the American political vernacular. While citizens have continued to use YouTube to make the political process more transparent, the candidates have followed them on to the site. Seven presidential candidates announced their candidacies on YouTube. Campaigns further down on the ballot have rushed to the site, creating campaign channels for national, state, and local elections. News organizations like the Associated Press and the New York Times regularly upload their political footage to Youtube, as do bloggers, activists, lobbyists and more and more everyday people who want to join in the political discussion. YouTube has, in some very real ways, become the 21st century townhall for political discussion.

We've barely been able to keep up with the pace of it all. We expanded our programming to include two presidential primary debates (we also took the format abroad to places like Spain and London); we broadcast voters' campaign trail videos in Iowa, New Hampshire, on Super Tuesday and most recently in Pennsylvania; and we opened up the World Economic Forum with "The Davos Question". But no matter what we or anyone does, political activity on YouTube has a life of its own. In fact, that's what defines it in the first place - YouTube is a platform for all political content and opinions.

So far we've been chronicling some of that activity on our video blog, but today we're launching Citizentube the blog to do a more timely job. What can you expect to find here? We'll link out to the latest and greatest in YouTube politics as we see it unfold. We'll keep you up to date with the programming we're running. And we'll point to political trends as they develop, highlighting YouTube users who are doing particularly innovative things.

We know from the start we'll be missing a lot - YouTube politics is far too large and chaotic a universe for anyone to keep track of - but we'd love your help in identifying the best content out there. If you have a tip for Citizentube, please send it to

If you like what you're seeing, subscribe to our RSS feed to get a daily update on what we're posting...


Steve Grove

YouTube News and Politics

The UpTake

The UpTake was recently named Best Citizen-Based Media Outlet by City Pages Magazine – and with good reason. Made up of young citizen journalists stationed all throughout the country, The UpTake aims to advance democracy by providing on-the-scene political reporting that cuts through much of the mainstream media spin. Whether it's covering an Iraq War protest or interviewing a candy shop owner about lobbyists, the reporters at The UpTake represent some of the best (and quirkiest) of what citizen journalism on the web has to offer.

Clinton challenges Obama on YouTube

Fresh off a decisive win in the Pennsylvania primaries, the Clinton campaign marches forward to North Carolina, Indiana, and.... Oregon? That's right, with 52 delegates at stake in the May 20 primary, Senator Clinton released this YouTube video today to challenge Obama to not 1 but 2 debates in the Beaver State.

The only polling done so far gives Obama a 10-point lead on Clinton in the Beaver State - but with a Clinton victory in PA - a state that has similar racial and socio-economic demographics to Oregon - the Clinton campaign is riding her momentum to the Northwest.

A "Rocky" Campaign

This week, Hillary Clinton scored a much-needed victory over Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary. For over a month, both candidates ran fierce campaigns in the Keystone State, waging a battle so intense that references to Rocky were made more than once.