November 29th, 2007
03:43 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN/YouTube debate draws record-breaking audience

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Nearly 5 million viewers tuned in to watch the CNN/YouTube Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, making it the highest rated primary debate in cable news history.

A total of 4.9 million viewers watched the Republican candidates square off – 4.4 million on CNN and 500,000 on CNN Headline News, which simulcast the debate.

CNN’s Democratic presidential debate at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas two weeks ago is the second highest-rated debate in history, with 4 million total viewers.

With five weeks to go before the first wave of voters weigh in at the polls, the historic television audiences seem to indicate a growing interest in what have shaped up to be wide-open primary contests in both parties.

Filed under: CNN/YouTube Debate
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Mark, Murray utah

    I'm sure the ratings for the CNN/YouTube debate where good.
    However the debate was HORIBLE! Terrible questions, and our right obvious bias.
    CNN you may have earned good ratings, but you did it at the cost of your reputation.

    November 30, 2007 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  2. thescoundrel

    CNN and Cooper had the chance to prove to a large audience that they were the respectable news service that they claim. Then they tried to setup the individuals they invited with shills. The candidates handled themselves well under the circumstances. Too bad CNN tried to manipulate the debate for CNN executives personal agendas and Clinton's political gain.

    November 30, 2007 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  3. Marwan

    CNN, the gig is up. I don't know how you can even begin justifying posting democrat-related questions in a republican debate.
    I am an independent and it is clear to me that CNN is geared to appease the liberal audience. I say this for two reasons: CNN does not have the balls to even post the story on the main page so i had to look for it. The other thing is look at the list of comments on this topic, less than 10. I wonder where are the active CNN bloggers.
    CNN give it up, the bias is clear even though I don't see NBC, CBS or ABC talking about it.

    November 30, 2007 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  4. Dennis D

    I wouldn't let CNN conduct a SPELLING BEE. These debates have been conducted by the most partisan people on the planet. Why not ASK Hillary if she believes every word in the bible? Why not ask Obama if he thinks Mohammed was a great man?

    November 30, 2007 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  5. Terry, El Paso, TX

    The joint news conferences we have been calling debates are dumbing down our political dialog. Issues like immigration, war, health care, the housing market, foreign policy, etc. cannot be discussed in sound bites. The candidate who produces the best sound bite is not necessarily the best candidate for the job. Huckabee, for example, is very good at pandering to the intellectual lightweights in the audience, telling us that he would send Hillary to Mars and that Jesus was too smart to run for office. So what is Huckabee's plan for NASA? We have no idea. How does he think Jesus – the perfect man whose actions and teaching were without flaw by his beliefs – would behave in these times? We have no idea.

    Abraham Lincoln would hold an audience for two hours while speaking about the slavery issue – and that was after his opponent had spoken for two hours. THAT was a debate.

    However, by lofting fluff questions at the candidates so that they can be answered in "30 seconds" is inane. Most of us can't even decide what to order at McDonalds in 30 seconds. CNN is not serving the public interest by pandering to the stupidest part of the voting public for ratings. From CNN's point of view, their goal is (not to elect a Clinton, you nitwits) to build up Wolf Blitzer's ratings.

    This has been a very bad century so far, my fellow Americans, and at this point I don't see a long future for our democracy.

    November 30, 2007 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. demwit

    Thanks CNN, I'm no longer an undecided voter..

    November 30, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. undecided voter

    David Bohrman, CNN vice president of elections, should be frog marched across the RNC lawn for the fraud he pushed onto the American people as an unbiased debate..

    November 30, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. Jerry B. Orlando, Fl.

    After reading these comments I'm so glad the Republican corrupt regime is soon going to be over and take those fake right wing so called Christians with you. And really liked the stupid comment about gays choosing to be gay. Those are the ignorant voters I worry about! Hopefully a majority of Americans with a brain are finally fed up with the lies and the corruption from this administration and the fact we are in the shape we are are in because of the raticals getting their way for seven years and they really believe we want more of this? NOT! The wedge issues of Carl Rove will not work this time. I HOPE. If they do we live in a truly ignorant society.

    November 30, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Rob Petre, WA

    I echo Joe's comments; "CNN's debate was sad and sick disservice to American voters. I'm one of millions that are dissatisfied about the lack of coverage on CNN about positive developments in Iraq and around our own country. Dissatisfied in the leftwing, socialist bias your news coverage has. Dissatisfied in the way your news coverage demeans our nation, troops and history. Dissatisfied in the way your news coverage disenfranchises conservatives in our population and disavows and belittles their beliefs, opinions and morality." CNN must really think the American people are clueless to have presented that sham of a debate. It only served the Liberal(i.e. Communist/Socialist)Left's agenda

    November 30, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Sally P, OR

    Anderson Cooper and Blitzer before him, at least by coming out of the closet we know you for what you are now, socialist stooges. Even Christiane Amanpour is on the Clinton payroll now. CNN's debate was sad and sick disservice to American voters. I'm one of millions that are dissatisfied about the lack of coverage on CNN about positive developments in Iraq and around our own country. Dissatisfied in the leftwing, socialist bias your news coverage has. Dissatisfied in the way your news coverage demeans our nation, troops and history. Dissatisfied in the way your news coverage disenfranchises conservatives in our population and disavows and belittles their beliefs, opinions and morality. CNN is now a blocked channel on our TV.

    November 30, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Audra Burgin

    I admire Anderson Cooper BUT he was NOT the right person for the questioning.Wolf Blitzer did a MUCH better job,MADE them answer the "Will you replace monies taken from Soc.Sec."-no answer was given.,just agreed there was a for the rest..I have never seen the "Ads"shown...YES Mr.Romney, I WOULD ask if the workers were legal (and have)...the noise was possibly a paid "Claque" ..."Water Boarding knowledge shouldn't be available"? Why not, our "Death Penalty" is!!!...Zacari and A.C.L.U. atty's-it IS ou system and lets hope OUR atty's are better!!!

    November 30, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. J. A. Beery, Jefferson, Ohio

    If you are a veteran, or the family member of a veteran, or you are currently serving on active duty, you were probably very disappointed and even embarrassed by the content of Wednesday night’s televised debate. The CNN regulated YouTube video questions ranged from tax cuts, to illegal aliens, to gays in the military, to the New York Yankees and Red Socks baseball teams. Apparently, the news crew at CNN felt these were the most important issues of the 2008 Presidential Election. Some of the submitted video productions were very clever and featured cartoon illustrated questions. One video showcased one Mr. Jay “NRA supporter” Fox firing live rounds from an assault rifle in a reckless way and catching a loaded pump shotgun thrown to him from off camera. The only thing missing was a dog and pony. During the two hour broadcast, several candidates referred to our troops and bragged about the success of the current ‘surge’ in Iraq. But, not once did any of the candidates address the future of our troop’s healthcare, or show concern for their earned future benefits, entitlements, or services.

    In spite of all this, and according to CNN’s crack correspondent, Anderson Cooper “It was a fascinating debate” and “The candidates took it all on tonight!” A review of the YouTube video submissions reveals several very legitimate questions about veteran’s affairs, renewable energy, education, and national healthcare. Obviously, CNN felt no obligation to air any of these questions. Apparently, Mr. Anderson Cooper and CNN felt baseball and homosexuality was more worthy of nationwide recognition – then squeezing in a meaningless question about our disabled and retired veterans and their earned healthcare. The question I have for CNN is; if you don’t ask the Republicans the same questions as the Democrats, how in the hell are we suppose to know the differences between candidates on any particular issue?

    November 30, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. karen nj

    where were the questions on the success of the surge in Iraq? where the heck were the questions on health care? education? energy independence?

    Aren't these the FOUR topics people have harped on all YEAR?

    How many americans are sitting at their kitchen table talking about the Confederate flag ? Or about infrasructure? HELLO CNN , are you listening?!

    November 30, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  14. Shawn, Lancaster, PA

    And who won the debate? Ron Paul – any mention? Of course not – what a sham.

    November 30, 2007 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  15. Jere Beery, Jefferson, Ohio

    The low point of Wednesday night’s CNN debate coverage was when Retired Army, Brigadier General, Keith Kerr delivered a very lengthy comment on gays in the military – in addition to his YouTube video submission. At one point, it appeared CNN intentionally cut the General’s microphone off in an effort to get him to sit down and shut up. It was extremely obvious that everyone on the stage was very uncomfortable with the General’s disgraceful display. According to my clock, General Kerr and homosexuality were given the most time of all the CNN YouTube submissions. Evidently, General Kerr feels ‘gay rights’ in the military is the most important problem and urgent situation facing our military personnel and their families today. I’m certain our wounded troops recovering at Walter Reed and Brook Army Medical Center were glad to hear that. CNN later reported that General Kerr was a registered Democrat and political operative from the Hilary Clinton camp, and that he (General Kerr) infiltrated the CNN debate (at the invitation and expense of CNN) in an effort to embarrass the Republican candidates. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against homosexuals or generals. However, I really don’t think this issue deserved a reserved front-row seat at the Presidential debate. Thank you Mr. Anderson Cooper and CNN for dropping the ball! CNN might know about New York baseball, but they have no idea what the score is. I would love to have been a fly on the wall at that pre-debate CNN production meeting. “Well, Anderson, we have enough time for one more question, what do you suggest? How about a question about baseball, or man on man sex in the military? BRILLIANT!”

    December 1, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. CorruptUsr

    I don't know who won the debate but CNN definitely lost it.

    December 1, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. Alex Souza, Pasadena, CA

    The General should have directed his comments to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Debate, since it was under the Clinton administration that "Don't Ask Don't Tell" was born.

    December 1, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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