Sen. Barack Obama just told the Clinton Global Initiative via satellite he has no intention of skipping tomorrow night’s first presidential debate.
“Our election is in 40 days. Our economy is in crisis, and our nation is fighting two wars abroad. The American people deserve to hear directly from myself and Senator McCain about how we intend to lead our country. The times are too serious to put our campaign on hold, or to ignore the full range of issues that the next President will face.”
If Sen. John McCain doesn’t show up in Mississippi Friday, there are two presidential hopefuls who would be happy to act as stand-ins.
Libertarian candidate Bob Barr issued this statement this morning:
“For the past several elections, candidates have used the CPD as an official buffer to keep competition out of the two-party presidential contest.”
“McCain publicly proved with his announcement what we’ve been saying all along: The candidates call the shots as to when to debate, where to debate and who to debate.”
“Given Senator McCain’s political stunt to avoid the debate, I ask that Friday’s debate moves forward without him, as I am more than willing to step in to participate.”
“It’s time that at least one of the two leading presidential candidates show leadership and provide the American public an opportunity to witness an open and fair debate, based upon substance and issues rather than sound bites and rhetoric.”
The campaign statement notes:
In the 1980 election, Ronald Reagan chose to debate John Anderson, one-on-one, without Jimmy Carter.
In the 1992 election, George H.W. Bush demanded the inclusion of H. Ross Perot in all three presidential debates.
Earlier this week, three-time third-party candidate Ralph Nader campaign sent me this sharp YouTube video painting Obama and McCain as nearly identical on key issues that - you guessed it - Ralph Nader has a different position:
The video includes this call to action:
Want to see Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader in the debates? Here’s what you can do about it:
Call Barack Obama at 866-675-2008. Hit 6 to speak with a campaign volunteer and insist that Ralph Nader and other ballot qualified third party candidates be included in the upcoming Presidential debates.
Then, e-mail the executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates Janet Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell her to end the exclusionary restrictions and allow Ralph into the debates.
Here’s our story on McCain’s strategy in calling for a debate delay from today’s front page.
—Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times
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