Billiam the Snowman and the Republican YouTube Debate
Billiam, a snowman living in Point Hope, Alaska, was one of the Americans asking questiions during the Democratic CNN/YouTube Debate that took place in July. In the first debate Billiam asked a question about global warming. GOP candidates been slow to sign up for the Republican YouTube Debate. One of the GOP holdouts, Republican Candidate Mitt Romney, went beyond simply holding out and leveled a huge insult on Billiam the Snowman. Romney said, "I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman."
Romney, the lone GOP holdout, has posted more videos on his YouTube channel (283 as of Sunday afternoon) than any other presidential candidate, Republican or Democrat. But he has resisted the debate, in which videotaped questions are submitted through YouTube. In an interview with Manchester Union Leader, Romney said, "I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman."
That drew a video response from Billiam, the snowman who questioned the Democrats on global warming last month in their YouTube debate. This time, he riffed on another Romney quote from the campaign: "Lighten up slightly."
Sources at CNN said the debate, co-hosted with the Republican Party of Florida, will be held at the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg. Steve Grove, head of news and politics at YouTube, said that more than 1,100 videos have been submitted, and the popular video-sharing site will allow YouTube users to upload their videos until Nov. 27.
Billiam formulated a clever response to Mitt Romney which can be seen here or below.
Billiam and his son Billiam Jr. have received both criticism and support (see here, here, here, here and here). Some people are even trying to save Billiam by with t-shirts. Billiam was created by two St. Olaf college students. There is a silly, absurd quality to the snowman questioner but the question itself is legitimate. Americans want to know the GOP candidates' positions on the serious issue of global warming. The YouTube debates have already generated a lot of great content and discussion and a GOP debate would put more helpful information out there for voters.
GOP candidates John McCain and Rudy Giuliani have already signed on according to CNET. This may have been in response to questions posted by conservative blogs like this post from Pajamas Media that asked, "Are the GOP Candidates Afraid of a Snowman?"
Now that McCain and Giuliani will attend hopefully the rest of the GOP candidates will too. The Republican CNN/YouTube Debate has been pushed back to November 28th, 2007 -- originally it was set for September 17th. Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Tommy Thompson had confirmed for the earlier date. Thompson has since pulled out of the race. Huckabee did well at the Iowa Straw Poll so hopefully he will attend the later date. Ron Paul has been a social media sensation so it seems likely he would attend providing he remains in the race. Fred Thompson has not yet agreed to attend the GOP YouTube Debate but there are lingering questions about whether Fred Thompson plans to run. Mitt Romney was directly challenged by Billiam and surely he would not backdown from such a challenge?
Using the power of Billiam CNN and YouTube may be able to get most or all of the GOP candidates to attend. People can submit questions on YouTube up until the November 28th date.