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Romney v. Cain on YouTube: Rank Amateur Takes on a Seasoned Pro

The YouTube channels of Republican presidential candidate frontrunners Mitt Romney and Herman Cain couldn't be more different: Romney's is slick, consistent and relentlessly on-message; Cain failed to register his own name on the video sharing site and had to settle for "TheHermanCain" instead. The low-budget videos on his channel cover disparate themes in varying styles, some of which are disturbing and confusing. Yet Cain's video have gathered 2 million views to Romney's 1.7 million.

To put this in perspective, it is highly unlikely that the GOP nomination will be decided by something either candidate posts on YouTube -- the content is just too boring for that. And many of Cain's views are probably driven by people searching for the video of him singing "Imagine There's No Pizza," or this racist radio ad he did in 2006.

But if you're trying to figure out which of the two candidates looks more like a president solely by the way they present themselves on YouTube -- remember, these are their own choices -- then Romney appears to be the consummate political leader, whereas Cain is a rank amateur. Here's how it breaks down:

  • Romney - 56 videos, 1.7 million views
There is little to complain about on Romney's YouTube channel. His videos focus on mainstream stuff to do with jobs, the economy, immigration, and taxes, all backed by lots and lots of upbeat drumming:

He does not appear to be a Tea Party candidate -- on his YouTube videos alone, Romney is a mainstream fiscal conservative. You won't find anything to with abortion, homosexuality, the Second Amendment, healthcare or any of the right's other hot-button issues. Romney appears to already be campaigning for independents and Democrats, per his channel.

Romney also uses YouTube as a quick-response mechanism. On Aug. 9, a report on Politico detailed an Obama campaign strategy to "kill Romney" at the polls. The same day, Romney's team posted a video calling out President Obama for being a hypocrite over his past calls for civility in elections.

  • Cain - 49 videos, 2 million views
Cain is still campaigning for the Tea Party base of the Republican party, judging by his videos. His most recent one, discussing his 9-9-9 tax plan, raises an odd racial angle by saying, "Our tax code is the 21st Century version of slavery. The IRS has become the overseer of the American people":

Much of Cain's output is backed by country music and the refrain that he has never held elected office. There is also a Sept. 11 "tribute" video that uses so much disturbing footage of the destruction of the World Trade Center that it borders on the fetishistic. Oddly, the only person he could find to testify about how Sept. 11 affected them was the wife of a firefighter who lives in Southern California.

Strangest of all, however, is this Western pastiche ad, which begins, "There was a time in America when a man was a man, a horse was a horse, and a man on a horse was just a man on a horse ... unless he carried Yellow Flowers." A fistfight and 3 minutes and 42 seconds later, we learn that this is something to do with looking at what's real and what is not. It's just bizarre.


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