YouTube to stream 2012 presidential debate

The first of three 2012 presidential debates will be aired live this Wednesday, Oct. 3 from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET on the major networks and news channels. Unlike four years ago, you'll also have the option to stream the broadcast live on your computer, phone or tablet.

YouTube will stream the all three presidential debates, and the vice presidential debate, on its Elections Hub. Commentary before and after the debate at the University of Denver will be hosted on all YouTube election partner channels such as ABC, Al JazeeraEnglish, BuzzFeed, Univision and the Wall Street Journal.

However, streaming YouTube won't be quite as convenient for iPhone users who upgraded to iOS 6 , since Apple has removed the YouTube app. But you can download Google's YouTube iPhone app for free from the App Store. Apple iPad users will have to be content with enlarging the iPhone display for their devices or by going to YouTube through the Safari browser, which offers a better user interface for pre- and post-debate videos.

For instance, YouTube Election Hub today is featuring a look back at key points in past debates, including President Reagan's "there you go again" and Sen. Lloyd Bentsen's "you're no Jack Kennedy" zingers. That and many other videos appear on the mobile browser YouTube version, but can't be found on the iPhone version without a search.

Those who have mastered double-screen viewing and tweeting may want to use the hashtag #debatedenver that school officials, students and the media are using to report on campus preparations. Only about 200 students were lucky enough to score tickets for Wednesday's event, but DebateFest student organizers say their interactive meeting ground on campus will show the debate on big screens, host "rally alley" where students will set up information stations in support of candidates and offer issue-related material and feed the crowd with a dozen Denver food trucks in Oval Eatery. Still, attendance has been limited to 5,000.

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The biggest audience for the debate will be viewers at home or on the road, which could reach 80 million, University of Denver's vice chancellor David Greenberg has said. Just how many will be watching on smartphones and tablets compared to TVs won't be known until the viewing audience is tabulated.

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