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Two Presidential candidates confirmed for debate in DC on Thursday, October 23

Free and Equal, the group that originally planned to have an alternative Presidential debate in New York City on October 19, has now confirmed Ralph Nader and Chuck Baldwin for a debate on October 23 in DC.

Contact: Christina Tobin, 312-320-4101

This morning, Christina Tobin, Director of Free and Equal, announced an Independent/Third Party Presidential Debate, which will take place on Thursday evening at 9:00pm EST on October 23 in Washington DC at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel.

All six candidates who qualified for enough state ballot lines to be eligible to win the presidency on November 4th have been invited.

To date, two candidates have confirmed participation: Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader, and Constitution Party Presidential Candidate Chuck Baldwin, who have been endorsed by Congressman Ron Paul.

The debate will last for 90 minutes, and follow the below 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.

# # #

Inquiries may be directed to Christina Tobin@ (312) 320-4101, or by e-mail to

In the meantime, with no other candidates, what was to have been an online debate sponsored by Trevor Lyman’s ThirdPartyTicket and several co-sponsoring organizations (at first including Free and Equal, until they broke off to sponsor their own debates) turned into a forum for the Green Party’s Cynthia McKinney. It was recorded and can be seen on Break The Matrix.

Also, Democracy Now! had a virtual debate with Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney.

Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr’s schedule has him in Atlanta at 3 PM on Thursday, while Cynthia McKinney has nothing listed for that day.

Dan Sullivan relates that

Barr was just in Pittsburgh. I was sitting beside him in a roundtable discussion by the local LP faithful. He explained that he considered Cynthia McKinney, the GP nominee, to be a nut case, and that it was
not in his interest, nor the LP’s, to share a platform with her.

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  1. johncjackson johncjackson October 21, 2008

    My father voted for Badnarik, not Nader. I had Nader’s absence on the brain.

  2. johncjackson johncjackson October 21, 2008

    In 2004 there was a debate on CSPAN with just about every “third party” POTUS candidate on any ballots. IIRC, Badnarik, Cobb, Peroutka, At least one of the multiple Socialist Parties, and perhaps even the Prohibitionists were there. I know it included way more than just those with a mathematical electoral possibility. Nader was missing.

    While the debate did help convince my father to vote for Nader and recall that he went to school with Peroutka, I doubt it did much for anyone else.

    I ma just saying that having all/most of the minor candidates debate would be nothing groundbreaking. Despite the involvement of higher profile candidates ( despite their faults, Barr, McKinney, and Nader have at least a little recognition) , I doubt this year would be any exception.

    Sure, great planning could get them all on the same stage- and on CSPAN watched by many thousands of people, 90% of whom are members of 3rd parties and/or hardcore independent political junkies.

    Personally I think Barr should debate the others, but politically( as far as electoral concerns) there is no advantage.

  3. Trent Hill Trent Hill October 21, 2008

    If the most successful Green parties (Illinois, Maine, Oregon, Wisconsin), the Progressive Party (Vermont), Nader’s Ecology Party (Florida, New Mexico, and Hawaii), and the Peace and Freedom Party all got together–they’d be quite a force.

  4. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli Post author | October 21, 2008

    I think McKinney is doing better by most measures than the Greens were doing 4 years ago. If you know of any objective measures by which the Greens were doing better in 2004, please let me know.

    Barr is certainly getting more media coverage than Badnarik was, and may well get more votes. I think he’s a little bit ahead in money, too. Not the sort of breakthrough his supporters were hoping for or in some cases promising, but not the total train wreck some of his detractors predicted either.

    Nader is certainly doing better than in 2004, but this will only have a meaningful long term impact if he follows through on building a new progressive party over the next few years. After all, he is well into his 70s, and can’t keep running as an independent forever.

  5. Austrian Economist Austrian Economist October 21, 2008


    Clearly you have no sense of humor. It’s called wit. Sarcasm. Satire. Get it? Hopefully, but apparently not.

    I call upon anyone who LUVs Barr or McKinney to clearly articulate the “heckuva job” they have done with their respective campaigns.

    Their underwhelming efforts thus far speak for themselves. Participating in this debate would be the most sane thing they’ve done this entire campaign season.

  6. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli Post author | October 21, 2008

    I’ve talked to Cynthia McKinney, and didn’t find her to be any of those things. I’ve also met Bob Barr, and I can only say he plays his cards close to his vest. I hope at least one of them will be in the debate with Nader and Baldwin.

  7. svf svf October 21, 2008

    Barr is more a bitch than a bitch, and I frankly don’t know what McKinney is thinking, other than the fact she either fruit loops, inept, or a diva.

    uh… who’s being a “bit of a hater”…?

  8. Austrian Economist Austrian Economist October 21, 2008


    Your objectivity is to be commended. I’ve stared in Bob Barr’s mustache’s soul, and I did not like what I saw.

  9. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli Post author | October 21, 2008

    I’ve yet to see anything saying Barr won’t be there.

    I think that given how difficult it has been to coordinate all these candidates for a debate, Free and Equal wanted to put something out as soon as they had two commitments. That does not mean there won’t be more.

    Given Barr’s stated desire not to be on the stage with McKinney, I’ll guess that probably one or the other is likely to be there.

  10. Austrian Economist Austrian Economist October 21, 2008

    PS – Barr had a “tough time” being anywhere but up his own asshole at the Libertarian Convention. He could’ve crept out of there at any point to debate his fellow candidates, but he opted to play the too-cool-for-school card.

    He’s got a campaign event in Atlanta? Great. Take the funds raised from that and hop on the next direct flight to DC.

    Maybe he can take a private charter and skimp on all the money he dishes out to GOP candidates with his “Liberty PAC.”

    The liberty to shill for fake libertarians like himself… if Barr shows up and actually shows some gumption, people like myself won’t have a platform to rant. But until that time, he’s proven nothing and merits nothing.

  11. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli Post author | October 21, 2008

    I frankly don’t know what McKinney is thinking, other than the fact she either fruit loops, inept, or a diva.

    McKinney may simply not have responded yet?

  12. Austrian Economist Austrian Economist October 21, 2008


    If you want to herd cats, be my guest.

    I can sense you’re being a bit of a hater–how about some enthusiasm for the efforts to get anything whatsoever assembled? Christina Tobin and her organization should be applauded… who would’ve thought that these candidates wouldn’t unanimously leap at an opportunity like this? That’s what the Third Party Unity press conference would have seemed to indicate, no?

    …except for Bob “Bitch” Barr and his little ego trip, trying to appropriate the Ron Paul movement by offering him the VP slot. I missed the part where Barr has any credibility or clout to do such a thing. Other than crassness, his operation is severely lacking.

    The ball is squarely in Barr and McKinney’s court to participate.

    Barr is more a bitch than a bitch, and I frankly don’t know what McKinney is thinking, other than the fact she either fruit loops, inept, or a diva.

    Let’s see if everyone comes to their senses and doesn’t piss away this prime opportunity.

  13. green in brooklyn green in brooklyn October 21, 2008


    while I agree there needs to be more organization (how could there be less?), forming an ACPD somehow legitimizes the CPD. I think it needs to be an independent organization – say the League of Women Voters, and we need to work backward by getting CNN or MSNBC to commit to the debate, which would be incentive enought for the parties to come together.

  14. svf svf October 21, 2008

    so… how hard would it be to set up an Alternative Commission on Presidential Debates (ACPD?) consisting of representatives from the Green, LP, and CP parties to actually PLAN AHEAD and ORGANIZE events like this in a (god forbid) PROFESSIONAL and WELL-PUBLICIZED manner….?

    Then maybe… just maybe… a third party debate might actually be news-worthy, well-attended and (pigs flying) considered by the R and/or Ds…

  15. Mike Gillis Mike Gillis October 21, 2008

    If C-SPAN is still covering it, it’d be in Barr’s better interest to seen by the viewers there than any crowd he can get for a speech.

    How big have Barr rallies or speeches typically been?

  16. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli Post author | October 21, 2008

    I would guess, from their schedules, that Barr would have a tougher time being there. Not completely impossible, but he’s giving a speech in Atlanta that same afternoon.

    “Approximately 175 tickets will be sold to the public, more information on that to follow.”

  17. leftlibertarian leftlibertarian October 21, 2008

    ok then, if McKinney does not confirm, Barr better damn well be there. will tickets be available to the public for this event?

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