To: Sam Brownback, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo, and Tommy Thompson
We've read the news reports that only two of your fellow candidates have agreed to attend the Republican Party of Florida/YouTube debate, and there are major candidates considering snubbing the event.
As Republicans, we believe this is a serious mistake. Every Democratic candidate eagerly accepted the opportunity to answer questions from the American people via YouTube, even Hillary Clinton, the most cautious and calculating of the bunch.
Attend the YouTube debate, and you may get a tough question or two. Don't attend, and millions of Americans will wonder if you were too afraid to answer questions from the Internet, just as Democrats were afraid to go on Fox News. None of you could have gotten to where you are now without showing real political courage. Is that really how you'd like to be known?
Republicans cannot write off the Internet. Thus far, the Democratic candidates have dramatically outperformed Republicans online, most alarmingly in online fundraising. We believe this is a direct result of failing to effectively engage the medium and seize the tremendous opportunity of bottom-up grassroots activism. If you approach the Internet from a position of paralyzing fear, you will be out-gunned, out-manned, and out-raised at every turn. It is fundamentally unacceptable to surrender to the Democrats on one of the most important battlefronts of this election.
And Republicans cannot write off the youth vote. A recent poll showed Democrats with a staggering 24-point advantage among 18 to 29 year old voters. Once a generation of voters is lost like this (just think of the New Deal or Reagan Generations) they are extremely difficult to get back. We are under no illusions that a YouTube debate alone can change that, but denigrating the way millions of young Americans live and communicate does not help.
We sincerely hope you will reconsider any decision to snub the critical
January 29th primary state of Florida and 51 million unique YouTube users.
The Republican Party is about freedom. A free and open debate that includes
the American people could be just what the doctor ordered to break the
stanglehold of the liberal media.
PatrickRuffini.com & former RNC eCampaign Director
David All Group
Eye on '08
|Ann Marie Curling
Elect Romney in 2008