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Presidential debate to be held Sunday at Columbia University

The Free and Equal Elections Coalition (FREE) and the Columbia Political Union are pleased to announce that a Presidential debate will be held this coming Sunday, October 19th, 2008, on the campus of Columbia University.

ALL SIX of the Presidential candidates who appear on enough state ballots to acquire the 270 Electoral Votes needed to become President are invited. They are as follows (listed in alphabetical order by affiliation):

Constitution Party Candidate: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Chuck Baldwin
Democratic Party Candidate: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Barack Obama
Green Party Candidate: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Cynthia McKinney
Independent Candidate: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Ralph Nader
Libertarian Party Candidate: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Bob Barr
Republican Party Candida                John McCain

The Columbia Political Union will present the debate from 8:00pm to
10:00pm in the Altschul Auditorium, located at 417 International
Affairs Building. The debate will be moderated by Pacifica Radio’s Amy
Goodman, the host of “Democracy Now!”. CSPAN will cover the debate,
and live radio broadcasts are expected.

“The Columbia Political Union is committed to energizing political
discourse on Columbia’s campus,” said Allon Brann, Columbia Political
Union Publisher. “As a non-partisan organization, we work to provide
students with opportunities to encounter and engage with political
ideas across a wide ideological spectrum, and on a wide range of

Certified letters officially inviting each candidate have been sent to
the respective campaigns.

The Free and Equal Elections Coalition and the Columbia Political
Union await the response from the candidates. All candidates’
supporters are encouraged to contact the Presidential campaigns and
urge them to attend.

The Columbia Political Union seeks to enhance involvement in the
political process, domestic and international, and draw every member
of the campus community into an ongoing discussion of political ideas.

FREE is a coalition of political parties, independent citizens and
civic organizations formed to promote free and equal elections in the
United States.

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About Post Author


Was a fierce Independent because of statements made in George Washington's farewell address about how the party system would damage the nation. (He was right). Became interested in the Libertarian party because of Ron Paul. I helped get Mike Gravel into the LP, and joined the party with him. And contrary to what people have said, we are not going anywhere. We are in the Libertarian party from now on. Get used to it.


  1. johncjackson johncjackson October 16, 2008

    If Barr doesn’t show, I’m voting for Nader.

  2. johncjackson johncjackson October 16, 2008

    DRUDGE and the New York Times blog are both reporting this debate now ( well Drudge links to the NYT blog):

    “The only question mark is Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate. Mr. Barr has made it clear that he will only debate Mr. Nader and no one else.

    Christina M. Tobin, an event organizer and a Nader campaign staffer, said that she “challenges” Mr. Barr to show up.

    “Let him show that he is a true Libertarian,” said Ms. Tobin, who grew up in a prominent Libertarian family. “This is a golden opportunity to get exposure and for people to hear his views. For him not to show up would be denying his Libertarian principles.”

  3. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli October 16, 2008

    I don’t know that this debate would accept Root.

    Does anyone know?

  4. Jeremy Young Jeremy Young October 16, 2008

    Oh, and also, if Barr can’t make it, why not send Wayne Root to debate in his place?

    …Oh, that’s right — Barr doesn’t want that crazy mofo representing him at anything. Still, that’s telling — Nader and McKinney have their running mates all over the place, on talk shows and on the campaign trail. Even Baldwin, whose VP nominee is bland at best, doesn’t hesitate to send Castle to all sorts of events.

  5. Jeremy Young Jeremy Young October 16, 2008

    Can someone explain to me why, after literally over a decade of effectively derailing third party debates by refusing to participate, Nader has suddenly decided to be a good citizen of third-party politics?

    I mean, I appreciate that he’s doing it, very much. But I’d like to know why the deathbead conversion.

  6. songster7 songster7 October 16, 2008

    just one more reason I;m glad I never sipped the BobBarf koolaid … from the moment it became clear he’d win the LP nomination (about halfway through the first ballot?) I disavowed my LPness, and sought a better choice.

  7. der der October 15, 2008

    I can’t defend Barr if he actually doesn’t show up to this debate. This would be a great oppurtunity to debate the 3rd party majors.

  8. George Phillies George Phillies October 15, 2008


    *C-SPAN to Cover Nader-McKinney-Baldwin Debate
    Posted by Cody Quirk — October 15th, 2008*

    What can I say?

  9. Sivarticus Sivarticus October 15, 2008

    If Barr wants to prove he isn’t an out of touch snob, then he ought to join this debate with the other “big three” of the third party world.

  10. Ross Levin Ross Levin October 15, 2008

    Maybe if Barr doesn’t get into the debate that starts right now he’ll consider it?

  11. VTV VTV Post author | October 15, 2008

    He demolished just fine on the recent debate

  12. mscrib mscrib October 15, 2008

    “Personally I would rather watch Charles Jay demolish Bob Barr.”

    I don’t think we’ll see Charles Jay demolish anything this cycle (or ever, for that matter).

  13. VTV VTV Post author | October 15, 2008

    Personally I would rather watch Charles Jay demolish Bob Barr.

  14. NewFederalist NewFederalist October 15, 2008

    If Barr really did agree to debate Ralph Nader but not Chuck Baldwin and Cynthia McKinney, he is getting more bad advice from his campaign team. While I believe Bob is well spoken I also believe Nader would destroy him one on one. He would need to be able to hide and duck behind the other two to come out looking okay.

  15. VTV VTV Post author | October 15, 2008

    I wouldn’t count out Barr just yet.

  16. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli October 15, 2008

    Two additional points:

    I’ve read than the CPD contract precludes Obama or McCain from participating in this debate. Is this true? Is that contract published anywhere?


    One of the commenters at BAN said Barr would agree to debate Nader, but not Baldwin or McKinney.

    A – Where has Barr said that? If so, has Nader agreed to it, and is anyone working on a plan to make it happen?

    B – If Nader, who is by most measures ahead of Barr, is willing to debate McKinney and Baldwin, shouldn’t Barr be willing to do so as well?

  17. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli October 15, 2008

    Just took another look at

    They are still asking for pledges, and have recently moved the donation date back to 10.19 and added a countdown clock, so they are in fact updating the site.

    Free and Equal is still listed as a co-sponsor. Anyone what is going with all that?

  18. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli October 15, 2008

    My response:

    Thanks for the correction, Richard.

    With 9,541 people having pledged to donate to, I would have thought that they would make some announcement that it was not happening, and perhaps directed people to the Free and Equal debate?

    It’s also rather odd that Free and Equal is still listed as one of the sponsors of Third Party Ticket, yet neither website clarifies this change of plans.

    Is there something about this debate that Trevor Lyman, or the other sponsors of ThirdPartyTicket (,,, do not endorse? Has Free and Equal asked to be removed as a sponsor of ThirdPartyTicket?

  19. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli October 15, 2008

    Richard Winger says:

    This is not the debate. This is sponsored by Free and Equal Elections, whose webpage I linked to in the blog item just now.

    The debate idea is not happening.

  20. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli October 15, 2008

    If Bob Barr is committed to be in a physical location other than NYC that night, my recommendation (not that the campaign would listen to me, LOL) would be:

    Stream Barr into the debate from his location, if technically feasible. Steve Gordon would know how to do it on the Barr campaign end, at a minimum, unless the location makes it impossible. I would think that between all the resources of the sponsors of the debate, CSPAN, Democracy Now and Pacifica, they could figure out how to do it on their end.

    Play the debate live at the Barr fundraiser.

    That way, Barr can benefit both from the C-SPAN audience as well as the advantage of being in person at his fundraising event.

    I think this would draw more people to his event than a standard meet and greet would. Of course, that assumes that the campaign is actually interested in getting people to the fundraising event; perhaps they are not, since it is not yet on their website’s schedule of events.

  21. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli October 15, 2008

    I find it odd that the Barr campaign does not list the fundraising dinner on their events page. Wouldn’t it benefit them to have those listed, with the hopes of increasing attendance from people who find out about it only by visiting the webpage, and then might come to the event and contribute as a result?

  22. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli October 15, 2008

    From the above:

    # paulie Says:
    October 15th, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Bob Barr declined to participate because he is scheduled to speak somewhere else that evening.

    has nothing for October 19.

    The schedule has him in Colorado on the 17th, Ohio on the 22nd (canceled according to one of the comments above), and Georgia on the 23rd.

    Are there events that have not been added to his published schedule actually scheduled, or is the real reason something else?

    At this point, it would seem rather implausible for Mr. Barr to claim that he is too far ahead of Ralph Nader and the other candidates in this event to debate them.

    Particularly while he is trying to make a case that Obama and McCain should debate him!

    # Richard Says:
    October 15th, 2008 at 10:31 am


    Barr’s campaign says he is holding a fund-raising event on Sunday evening.

Comments are closed.