Mass Media has often played a crucial role in how we elect our politicians, and specifically our presidents. The most cited example of this phenomenon is of course the Kennedy Nixon debates, and Kennedy’s ability to use the new medium of televised debates to beat Nixon. Of course we could also connect here debate formats as well, with Bill Clinton’s ability to understand the changed format of the townhall debate as a reason for his victory over Bush Sr.. In this regard I find myself wondering how the YouTube debates shift both the media and the debate format, one which requires of the candidates a new sort of rhetoric. The Republican consternation following the Democratic debates often centered around the way the questions were asked not the questions themselves: Why should a candidate have to answer a question from a snowman. However, as Henry Jenkins points out, politicians have always used rhetoric, and imagery to convey messages to voters. What was different about the YouTube debates was that now the public was able to use rhetoric as well. Gone was the ideal that questions are asked by a neutral third party “objective” journalist. Now instead it is quite clear that the whole process is coached in layers of elaborate rhetoric, from question to response, which certainly changes the distribution of power in the political conversation. It strikes me that this will necessarily directly affect elections, if not this one, then certainly ones in the near future. And, this extends beyond YouTube as well to other Web 2.0 media outlets. From blogs to MySpace the political arena is being shaped by a YouRhetoric that warrants attention. For, candidates that are able to capitalize on this rhetorical shift are more likely to succeed in their campaigns. As an example consider this clip from the debates. Edwards (after Obama) tries to answer this health care question by relying on the “let me tell you a story of someone I met” rhetoric. In prior debate models this worked as an effective strategy to humanize one’s answer. But in this case it seems to me that Edwards’s answer falls flat, because the questioner was asking about their story and wanted a response to them, not for Edwards to say “I know someone like you.” Clinton, at least in my judgement, answers the question better by thanking and naming the individuals, recognizing the authority of those who asked the question.