CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper and CNN Political Director Sam Feist prepare for the CNN/YouTube Republican presidential debate.
St. Petersburg, Florida (CNN) – The final countdown has begun. Members of the audience have started to arrive at the Mahaffey Theater at the Progress Energy Center in St. Petersburg. Hundreds of audience members are waiting to pass through the metal detectors and take their seats inside the debate hall.
Outside the building, in the CNN Election Express Bus, the mood is serious as Anderson goes through the questions and his follow-ups.
It’s not lost on any of us that eight men taking the stage tonight are running to become the leader of the free world. In our mobile control room, the director and her team are making sure everything is perfect with the set, cameras, lights and microphones. In live television, everything has to go like clockwork. When the candidates and their entourages arrive they will go directly to their green rooms for any last minute preparations.
Then, at 8 pm eastern time, they will join Anderson on stage to answer your questions. As these things go, the candidates hope for a win, will settle for a draw – but a loss at this point, with voting in Iowa and New Hampshire early next month, could be a major setback. It promises to be an exciting night. We'll have complete reaction and analysis immediately following the debate on a special edition of AC 360. See you at 8pm.
– 360 Associate Producer Jack Gray
I hope this debate will be more professional than the mess we had in Nevada. I honestly listen when Anderson is moderating rather than Wolf.
'Leader of the free world'? Or Leader of the USA? Get your facts straight. The USA has imposed that label on itself- nobody really takes it seriously, especially after what your insane George W. Bush did to the 'free world'.
It's so exciting!(wow I feel like a huge geek!)
Good Luck! It seems like everybody put in a lot of time so I'm sure you'll pull it off :D
I'll be watching while studying for Biochemistry!
What do you bet that most of these questions from the "public" will be be of the "have you stopped beating your wife" type. Politics is too serious a business to watch these candidates, on either side , a stupid snowman ask questions. I guess CNN must know its audience.
"It's not lost on any of us that eight men taking the stage tonight are running to become the leader of the free world."
1) There's a word missing.
2) Melodramatic? Overly sensational? Definitely not.
This is why producers are not writers.
What you wanna bet the CNN crowd will hand out no koolaid questions tonight like the softies they hand Hillary? How many planted 'undecided' youboob tapes will appear, like t5he undecided plants during the last Democratic debate?
I think that the youtube debates was an excellent idea. He enables people to ask questions that actually have meaning and makes the politicians think. This is a great way to weed out the fakes and the ones who are prepped! I wish i could have made a video. Great job last time Anderson Cooper was the host of the debate even though i am a Republican. Keep those politicians in line and make them answer the question directly! lol
The reason to watch this debate – Anderson Cooper, yummy! I am a Democrat and have decided who I'm voting for and would still like to hear what these candidates have to say.