YouTube politics moves to Illinois

Governor, opponent trade fairness charges as embarrassing press conference is the latest political hit on YouTube.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

A new season has started for YouTube and it has nothing to do with the fall shows. It's all about the political season. And the latest victim is Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was recently shot - by his opponent's camp - stumbling over an awkward explanation of how a $1500 check from a friend came to his reelection fund at just the time when the friend's wife landed a state job.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

The governor, typically smooth and confident before the cameras, looked less than prepared and uncharacteristically uneasy as he was peppered with questions surrounding a $1,500 check he received from a longtime friend. The raw texture of the amateur video made Blagojevich's appearance look that much less professional and statesmanlike.

By Friday afternoon, the first of two videos of an unsettled Blagojevich had been viewed more than 2,250 times. The second had been called up more than 1,280 times.

The videos are rankling the governor's camp especially since the videos were shot by a staffer for challenger Judy Baar Topinka, who has barred any of Blagojevich's people from taking similar videos of her appearances.

"I know the Topinka people think it is a big coup for them to put these YouTube videos up," said Sheila Nix, a Blagojevich campaign spokeswoman. "If YouTube is part of the campaign process now, we are fine with it, but we would expect the same courtesy in return."

Nix said Blagojevich believes that his public appearances are fair game for any videographer but that Topinka's should be as well....As for Topinka, a spokesman complained that Blagojevich's videographer has been "stalking" her since she won the primary.

The most famous example of YouTube politics of course is Va. Gov. George Allen's famous "macaca" comment, captured on film and uploaded to YouTube by his opponent's campaign. Some people talk about YouTube as citizen journalism, but it's clearly practiced mostly as a form of gotcha! by political operatives.

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