Cynthia McKinney and Bob Barr react to tonight’s Free and Equal debate between Ralph Nader and Chuck Baldwin

posted by Ronald Hardy at Green Party Watch

Cynthia McKinney released a video statement (below) regarding the “Third Party” Debate scheduled for tonight. In an accompanying statement, further details emerge:

LOS ANGELES – Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney released a statement this morning regarding the hastily scheduled debate announced for this evening in Washington D.C.

The event scheduled for this evening was organized Monday by Christina Tobin of Free and Equal; details were announced yesterday (October 21). Tobin was Ralph Nader’s national ballot access coordinator this year. According to sources, she is on leave from the campaign.

Ms McKinney bristled at the fact that her name was announced when she was not consulted as to her availability; the entire event was presented – time, date, location, format and moderators – as a fait accompli, with no input from McKinney.

Video of her statement is available at
and video of her discussing last week’s independent debate at
is available here:

Bob Barr campaign manager Russell Verney declined the invitation to the debate. The campaign also posted this statement on its blog:

October 22nd, 2008 by Jason Pye

Since this third party debate issue has come back up I wanted to share with readers the letter that Russ Verney sent to the group organizing the event, which can be read here. Keep in mind that we received a notice about this debate on Tuesday by fax. We sent our response later in the day.

The Georgia Tech appearance was scheduled well in advance and has been promoted. We will not cancel that appearance.

It seems as though the organizers want us to drop our plans at their convenience. As Russ wrote in the letter, “I believe this is twice that your organization has made a public announcement regarding an imminent presidential candidate debate without first checking availability of the candidates.”

We have been open to the prospect of the third party debate provided that it was organized with details clearly presented to the campaign and it could not interfere with Bob’s hectic schedule. It seems the organizers are not willing to negotiate before they set the plans.

No disrespect is directed towards the candidates participating in the debate. However, the Barr campaign cannot and will not be held responsible for the lack of planning on the part of others.

Ralph Nader accepted the invitation…

Contact: Toby Heaps, 202-471-5833

Attn: Politics Editors, Campaign 2008 Editors, National Editors

Third Party Presidential Debate to Take Place on Thursday, October 23rd – Nader to participate

Independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader announced today that he will participate in the only third party debate being held this election cycle to take place on Thursday evening at 9:00pm EST on October 23 in Washington DC at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel.

The debate will last for 90 minutes and be conducted according to the following format:

-No opening statements
-There will be six of the following question and answer series: The moderator will pose a question. Each candidate will be permitted 90 seconds to respond. The candidates’ preliminary answers will be followed by a 5-minute “discussion” period, during which the moderator will be permitted unlimited follow-up questions and the candidates would be encouraged to engage one another in actual debate. This will last about 60 minutes.
-After the above six question-and-answer series, each candidate will be permitted to ask a single question of one or more of the other candidates, with each candidate permitted 90 seconds to respond. This will last about 10 minutes.
-After this, submitted questions from the audience will be selected and presented by the moderator. This will last for about 10 minutes.
-Each candidate will be permitted a 2-minute closing statement.

…As did Chuck Baldwin. The debate will be covered live on CSPAN and Restore the Republic Radio. Additional details on the debate can be found here.

21 thoughts on “Cynthia McKinney and Bob Barr react to tonight’s Free and Equal debate between Ralph Nader and Chuck Baldwin

  1. Sankhara

    Barr specifically did not want to debate if Baldwin was going to be there. He offered to work around it if Nader would be the only other debatee. McKinney knew about it and decided to have her own debate, since she did not like the fact that Nader supporters worked so hard on it.

    Anyway, they’re still invited…, the debate on the 19th fell apart for a number of reasons, one being two different debates being set up on the same day, and two, McKinney did not like it being held in a universtity that had kicked out black students, and Barr didn’t want to debate if Baldwin was there. – Moving on –

    Real Third party debates will happen October 23rd, 2008. Today! This Thursday!

    Chuck Baldwin, the lean, mean, Ron Paul certified, conservative, drilling, preaching machine will duke it out with the original, constituational, conservational, irrepresable, non-susceptible, civic crusader, Ralph Nader.

    LIVE on C-SPAN tonight!

    Also, it will be streamed live by Restore the Republic radio at .

    Please check out for more info.

    The solutions to debate boredom and constitutional trampling that the government and insurance industries don’t want you to know. McKinney and Barr are still invited too…

  2. paulie cannoli Post author

    Anyone want to confirm/deny any of this?

    # Ken Moellman Says:
    October 23rd, 2008 at 10:00 am

    I have heard that there may be another debate scheduled soon, and that if it happens, Barr will be in attendance.

    For those who don’t think the candidates have anything better to do; I know for a fact that the Barr campaign has been very busy. They just made another swing through Ohio last night, stopping at the University of Cincinnati. We also tried to get him into Northern Kentucky while he was nearby, but unfortunately our venue was canceled on us (not the campaign’s fault).
    # NotABarrFan Says:
    October 23rd, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I called to reserve 4 seats in the debate today and was told, I am sorry — you need to “BUY A TICKET ONLINE” and that “ONLY TWO MAY COME” — however when I tried to purchase a ticket the web page link looks like it is broken and no where on the web page does it say how much this ticket is. Wasn’t the reason counter debate free? Why did they only announce today that this costs money? Is so many people interested that they really have to limit tickets? Forget this crap — I guess I will watch on line (just to see how many people show up and PAY for this stupid poorly plan debacle of a debate).

    Oh wait, perhaps because I am a Baldwin supporter is why they are trying to limit and charge me. I should call back, say I am a Nader raider, and see how many I can bring for free!
    # NotABarrFan Says:
    October 23rd, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Get this, I just heard from other CP/Baldwin folks, looks like they are getting the short shaft too! I called the campaign and they are considering my suggesting of bowing out because this is obviously a set up by the Nader folks.

  3. Sankhara

    McKinney didn’t respond to numerous calls and messages to organize and work things out.

  4. Sankhara

    Everything has been posted at .
    They answer the phone. Just call if you are having issues with the web site, please. I got through numerous times, without telling the phone who I was supporting.
    It’s been said the tickets would be for sale for a while.

  5. Austrian Economist

    McKinney and Barr:

    Bitchass cowards.

    I don’t mean to offend bitchasses or cowards with that statement. Just those 2 candidates.

    Ross Levin:

    You don’t even know.

  6. paulie cannoli Post author

    @ BAN (link above) # NotABarrFan Says:
    October 23rd, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Thank you Paulie — It is now working — and get this $50 per person.

  7. paulie cannoli Post author

    So here are some things I am wondering about

    1) Ken Moellman claims more debates are in the works. Does anyone have any info on this? I would especially appreciate something which can be verified with the campaigns.

    2) “NotABarrFan” says Baldwin/CP has been having problems and might pull out. Anyone from the Baldwin campaign/CP care to confirm or deny?

    I’ll post this at BAN also.

  8. sunshinebatman

    this is listed as being on cspan2 and cspan radio live tonight at 9pm ET.

    Right now CSPAN is playing a Congressional debate, Arizona-5, that includes an LP candidate

  9. millerpolitics

    The McKinney and Barr campaigns should get over it. Yes, the debate was scheduled on short notice but there is only one full week left now before the election and time is running out.

    Plus the people watching the debate are not going to know why McKinney and Barr, who was trying the play the role as the next Ross Perot but is not doing a good job of it, is not there.

    This is FREE coverage your campaign. Take the opportunity to make your case to the American People (or those watching C-Span anyways).

  10. Gladly Anon

    CSPAN2 schedules Tonight from Washington at the same time this debate happens – I’m guessing they’re wrong.

  11. Gladly Anon

    😳 I meant gratitude, and the CSPAN site at the link above is more trustworthy than my tv guide.

  12. kalipay

    Baldwin arrived in DC around 4 PM from Oregon. He was excited to be involved, and didn’t try to back out of it.

    Word is that a VP debate might be set up. Root is interested in that… more than Barr was, obviously.

  13. kalipay

    Seems like it’s just a rumor yet…

    Yeah, I did get snagged to get on RTR. Actually my first *ever* interview. I like background work more. 🙂

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