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Republican CNN/YouTube debate is back on

Rescheduled to November, when snowmen will be busy

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After a few weeks of skepticism-fueled dawdling, the Republican's CNN/YouTube presidential debate is back from limbo.

CNN announced today that Rudolph Giuliani and Senator John McCain have signed on for the two-hour forum, which has been rescheduled for November 28. And with two of the GOP's main contenders inked in, its likely the other candidates will follow.

Some in the GOP had shied away from committing the format — where potential voters submit their questions to the candidates in 30-second video clips — after the Democratic YouTube debate received a mixed reception.

CNN still hasn't gotten a commitment from candidate Mitt Romney, who was most critical of the format. Romney has called the YouTube debate "demeaning," and has been rather contentious about being grilled by the likes of a crudely animated snowman or a woman speaking from her bathroom. Both he and Guliani had canceled on the original date of September 17, claiming the date couldn't be saved because they would be concentrating on raising money for their campaigns at the end of the third quarter.

Although the format is novel, it hasn't proven to be a ratings buster thus far. Certainly, it lacks the subtle nuances of a Star Wars kid video or the delicious soul-crushing embarrassment of a pop star caught lip-synching. In fact, the Democratic YouTube debate pulled in fewer viewers than the traditional debate that took place earlier this year. Not only that, but it will mark the tenth time the Republicans will have debated their positions with each other.

The venue will remain at the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida. The host will be CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who hosted the Democratic debate in Charleston South Carolina.

Meanwhile, YouTube is urging its users to submit questions to the candidates at www.youtube.com/debates/. Videos must be less than 30 seconds, and are subject to the YouTube Terms of Use.

Videos of yourself doing Coldplay covers can still be submitted to the regular site — but for the love of God — please reconsider. ®

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