SAN FRANCISCO — YouTube on Wednesday launched a "Town Hall" website at which US congressional leaders address issues in brief videos and viewers get to show which positions they support.

Republicans monopolized top slots in a "leaderboard" at the online forum for debating topics from energy and debt to health care and Afghanistan.

However, rankings were shifting quickly at the freshly launched website designed to let top US politicians indirectly debate important issues and then have viewers vote for preferred positions.

While the people in the videos are identified, their party affiliations are not revealed until after a viewer has chosen a side.

"How would you vote if you focused purely on the ideas needed to make our country and our world a better place, rather than on the parties putting them forward?" Will Houghteling of YouTube News and Politics asked in a blog post.

"After you watch the video, you'll find out which party the representative comes from and sometimes you might be surprised."

Issues that were top attention getters at Google News during the past year were selected at topics for virtual debates.

Visitors to are invited to submit questions, with members of Congress to provide video responses each month to queries that get the most votes.