New York's two Republican primary candidates for Chuck Schumer's Senate seat debated yesterday! And the format included a terrifyingly schizophrenic "lightning round," which concluded with the defining political question of our time.

[There was a video here]

Skip ahead to 3:20 to watch as the candidates are asked whether they know who Snooki, the orange lady from television's Jersey Shore, is. This is the same question that the ladies of The View recently posed to Barack Obama. And he somehow managed to get it wrong!

These politicians all know who "Snooki" is, but they're required to say that they don't, to look sophisticated. (John McCain being the notable exception.) It's just bizarre how this question, "Are you aware of this specific celebrity from television, Snooki?", keeps appearing as a political topic. Especially — as in this New York Senate debate — when it's followed seconds later by a question about waterboarding.

In fact, expect "Would you waterboard Snooki, if you know who she is?" to become the next hot political journalism question.