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Welcome to the Ron Paul debate

So says the banner drivers can't miss on their way from the Tampa International Airport to the CNN/YouTube Republican presidential debate in St. Petersburg, where the questions tonight will come from videos posted by ordinary people on-line instead of professional moderators.

The banner's claim may refer to the Texas congressman's astonishing success at capitalizing on the on-line community that nurtures the YouTube video sharing web site. He raised a record-setting $4.2 million on-line in a single day, his campaign's channel on YouTube surpassed 5 million views, and his web site claims the most traffic of any campaign.

But the, ahem, seven other candidates who are here may disagree with the banner's suggestion that the nationally televised debate belongs to Paul, whose on-line success has yet to bubble up in off-line polls. Or as  Adam Kovacevich, a spokesman for power-to-the-people YouTube owner Google, said: "The debate doesn't belong to any of the candidates. It belongs to YouTube users."