YouTube Throws Hat into Political Ring

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Shifting gears from the NBA arena to the political one, YouTube has launched a special channel for 2008 presidential candidates. Instead of just waiting for their constituents (or opponents) to post political videos on the popular video-sharing site, U.S. presidential candidates now have a hub to post their own campaign videos, speeches, chats and behind-the-scenes campaign footage.

The “You Choose 2008” channel also lets YouTube community members respond to candidates through ratings, text comments and video responses.

Candidates like Rudy Guiliani, Senators John McCain of Arizona and Hillary Clinton of New York have already embraced YouTube as part of their campaign strategies. “I believe that the Web is not only creating new forms of political dialogue but offering a new wave of opportunity for all Americans,” said Senator Clinton in a statement.

The new channel is currently empty, but there are already 70 YouTube users subscribed to it and counting, awaiting the first round of political content. “Online video has quickly become an essential way for the general public to become politically informed and empowered,” added YouTube CEO Chad Hurley. “At its core, YouTube is about democracy and self-expression, and we’re proud to be providing politicians with an environment where they can share information with voters.”

YouTube is requesting submissions from both Republican and Democratic party candidates, as well as from third-party candidates and independents.

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