It was the unexpected debate debut. A talking snowman that proved the star of the political show. And since the Democratic debates this summer, Billiam the snowman continues to make a difference to the dialogue and to his creators.
"Front page of Wall Street Journal was unexpected to be sure," said Greg Hamel, Billiam's Co-Creator.
"It got people talking more and louder. It was kind of polarizing. It became the symbol of the debate, they either loved or hated it. But either way, they were talking about it," said Nathan Hamel, Billiam's Co-Creator.
On Wednesday night, Nathan and Greg Hamel watched with bated breath to see if Billiam would make the cut again at the Republican YouTube, CNN debates. He didn't. But both Billiam's creators and political experts believe Billiam is part of the new political landscape that embraces new gimmicks, characters and new media.
"Clearly Republicans would like to get that buzz factor," said Hamline University Professor David Schultz. "All the polls show they're trailing behind the democrats. They want to get something that captures people's attention and draws in a new group of people."
As for Billiam, he may have been denied a second question-asking opportunity, but he was part of the debate's introductory sequence. It was an encore appearance that made his creators proud.
"We're happy he was in the first one," said Greg Hamel. "Everything that happened since then was just gravy for us."
(Copyright 2007 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)