Don’t live in the US? Then you are probably out of luck. Most video sites ban viewers from outside the US. For TV shows this is annoying but understandable due to “licensing constraints.” However, political debates are not property and those don’t fall under the licensing constraint umbrella. Here in Japan I found myself looking far and wide online to see the debates. Even YouTube wasn’t turning up reasonable results. Hulu and the like banning viewers outside the US is insidious. As an American citizen living abroad it is important to me that I can take part in the political discourse of my country— especially the presidential elections.
For anyone looking for a way to watch the debates outside of the US, try iTunes (search “presidential debate 2008”). You can download video podcasts of the debates from CBS. Thank you Apple and thank you CBS.