YouTube is hosting official and exclusive videos from presidential candidates, including U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain and John Edwards, among others. The popular video sharing site, now owned by Google, is expanding its election programming and providing a special forum for candidates to have a video-based dialogue with their constituents.
Under the "You Choose '08 Spotlight" initiative, which launched on Wednesday, candidates will post videos addressing the audience and YouTube users will have a week to post their own video responses to the candidate. The candidate will then post a video responding to the user videos. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was the first candidate to post a video, asking "What do you believe is America's single greatest challenge and what would you do to address it?"
The Spotlight effort is part of the "You Choose '08" hub the company launched on March 1. It includes candidate-created channels that feature campaign videos, speeches, informal chats and behind-the-scenes footage. "The goal of the program is to develop interactivity and inspire video responses from people," said Steve Grove, YouTube's head of news and politics.
Some of the candidates have already turned to the Web and even videos in their campaigns. Obama announced his candidacy in a video on his Web site. And he, Clinton and McCain have interacted with constituents by posing questions on Yahoo's Answers site. This week, Romney posed the question "How can we change the tax code to ease the burden on our families and promote growth and innovation?" on Yahoo Answers and has received more than 7,000 responses.