Daddy Yankee takes on new role as debate moderator

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Tom Brokaw, Jim Lehrer, Gwen Ifill _ and Daddy Yankee? The 31-year-old reggaeton star is taking a turn as moderator of a debate Thursday among candidates for governor of Puerto Rico in an effort to lure young voters to the polls on Nov. 4.

The artist, whose real name is Ramon Ayala, will be one of three moderators at the debate under the slogan "Vota o quedate calla'o" _ "Vote or keep your mouth shut." A local journalist and a television personality will join him

Best known for his song "Gasolina," Daddy Yankee has already made a plunge into national politics by endorsing Sen. John McCain for president "a fighter for the Hispanic community."

But he has said he is not biased toward any of the four island candidates.

"I am going to be an instrument to deliver the people's questions," he told the newspaper Primera Hora.

His selection by sponsors including the local Univision network has gotten mixed reviews.

A group of young people burned Daddy Yankee albums Thursday outside the convention center hosting the debate. One, Jose Perez, said the artist is being used as "bait" in a system that otherwise neglects young people.

Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila is facing three challengers in the debate. Some of the questions were submitted through social-networking Web sites including Facebook and MySpace.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)