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YouTube Lets You Decide

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchorHarry Smith.

The Democratic presidential candidates were in South Carolina for yet another forum last night. But this one was different. For the first time in this numbingly long political season, we got a feel for the anger and frustration of the American voter.

Instead of answering the questions of a moderator, the candidates were shown short videos of real Americans, from real America, who posted their queries on YouTube. This was supposed to be a way to bridge two technologies: old-time TV with the internet.

Maybe it was even supposed to be a bridge between generations. Young people, despite the time and money spent on them by political campaigns, tend not to vote.

But what happened instead was something else entirely, something along the lines of authenticity. The questioners even anticipated the candidates dodging the issues, and said so in their questions.

The YouTube clips were clever, too; an animated melting snowman talking about global warming.

Real America gets it, but did the candidates get it, too?

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith

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