Update on third party Presidential debate proposals

UPDATE @ 1706 Central Time

We received another call from Christopher Thrasher, quoted in the story below. There will not be a debate at Columbia University, and he is no longer with Free and Equal. He will be releasing a statement and providing details later.

An NY Times article quoted at

Free and Equal indicates that

Ralph Nader, who is on the ballot in 45 states as an independent candidate, has indicated he will show up (at the Free and Equal debate).

Votetruth08.com says

AMY GOODMAN: Super rally on Wall Street at noon. And will you also be at the debate on Sunday night, third-party debate at Columbia University?

RALPH NADER: Well, I just heard about it after you told me about it last night, and-Amy, and I’ve got to look at the schedule and see.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, if-

CYNTHIA McKINNEY: I’m with Trevor-I’m with Trevor Lyman at the thirdpartyticket.com from 7:00 to 9:00 on October 19th.

AMY GOODMAN: And we’ll put information on our website, because supposedly I will be moderating this debate if it does happen, and we’ll let our viewers and listeners know.

Thirdpartyticket says

Click here to contact Chuck Baldwin

Click here to contact Bob Barr

Cynthia McKinney – CONFIRMED

Click here to contact Ralph Nader

10/17/08 Update
A few weeks ago, we at BreakTheMatrix.com and ThirdPartyTicket.com invited every presidential candidate having a mathematical chance of winning the 2008 election to participate in an online debate to be streamed via BreakTheMatrix.com. Soon after our offer to the candidates, we were approached by Christina Tobin of FreeAndEqual.org, and asked to try to expand the debate to a live event so that more media could cover the debate. More media coverage means more reach to the American public, which is good for the candidates, their supporters and the country. We gladly accepted the challenge and began to work with FreeAndEqual.org to that end.

Despite our efforts, we encountered a number of challenges. Most of the candidates had packed schedules and availability conflicts, especially when limited in choice by venue availability. About one week ago, we at BreakTheMatrix.com decided that due to the scheduling difficulties, we would serve the community best by offering an online debate as per our original intent, while Christina Tobin and FreeAndEqual.org continued to pursue the live event.

Today the candidates have two options available to them. The live debate event scheduled in New York City on Oct 19th at 8pm EST at Columbia University, or the online event to be streamed via BreakTheMatrix.com/ThirdPartyTicket.com on the same date from 7pm to 9pm EST. At this moment, the only candidate who is confirmed (for the web event) is Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party. To be fair, the Chuck Baldwin campaign had made a commitment to attend the live debate when the date of the 17th was considered (the date was changed due to the 19th due to venue availability), and Ralph Nader sent out to his email list to try to build momentum for the debates. These candidates have made attempts to work together, and they should be commended for their efforts.

It is our understanding that the event of the 19th may still happen in New York, and we will be sure to keep you updated if it does. If that event does not happen, and if no other candidates can make the online debate we are offering on the 19th, we at BreakTheMatrix.com/ThirdPartyTicket.com are offering a standing web cam debate to all candidates on any day from here until the November 4th election. We are asking all candidates to submit to us the dates they are available and in turn we will offer the candidates a debate on a day they are all available. The online debate format offers the candidates a great deal of flexibility, and is a viable solution to the current scheduling conflicts. All that is required of them is a web camera, a phone, a computer with an internet connection and about 2 hours of time on any given evening. We are committed to making this debate happen, and hope the third party candidates will continue to work with us.

On a closing note, we would like to thank Christina Tobin and all those who work with her at FreeAndEqual.org. No matter the outcome of the NYC event, they have been persistent in organizing this event, and we appreciate their efforts.

Stay tuned…

Ballot Access News says

Nader seems to have concluded that he will only debate with Barr (except, obviously, he would also debate with the two major party candidates).

In the comments, Richard Winger provides the following explanation

Nader debated in 1996, once, with Harry Browne, John Hagelin, and Howard Phillips. He seems to have concluded from that experience that he won’t debate presidential candidates with a lesser campaign, any more. And he didn’t in 2000, and he didn’t in 2004. In 2004 there was a Badnarik-Cobb-Peroutka debate, but Nader wouldn’t participate in that.

In the meantime, Bob Barr blog says

Addressing the New York Times article from today and reiterating what Andrew Davis has already said, no one speaking from or on behalf of the campaign has has told any media outlet that Bob would not participate in this debate.

Our original focus, as Bob told Reason magazine a two months ago, was to get in the debates with Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama. Obviously that didn’t work out and our options expanded.

We are open to the idea of a third party debate if Bob’s schedule permits and it is organized properly with details laid out clearly to the campaign more than a few days before the debate is supposed to take place.

IPR spoke with Christopher Thrasher of Free and Equal. He related the following (going by my notes, please pardon and correct any mistake):

1. Free and Equal did not say which candidates would attend its debate. The confusion came in because when you go to


and go to news


What is there is actually an article from the NY Times, not a press release from Free and Equal.

Thrasher said that in fact, Free and Equal had learned that Nader was “likely” to attend their event and that McKinney “would be” attending it from the NY Times (that is, from the article posted on their site).

It appears that in the case of McKinney, the NY Times reporter may have been confused, and that she was in fact referring to the ThirdParty Ticket debate, which is the one her website says she will be at.

2. According to Thrasher, national Green Party members reported being told by McKinney staff that other candidates (including Barr) had confirmed that they would be in the Third Party Ticket online debate.

3. Chuck Baldwin will not be available for either debate, but is interested in being in a debate in the future.

4. Amy Goodman will not be available to moderate, but may be available at a future time.

5. High level negotiations are under way between the Nader and Barr campaigns for a debate.

6. Thrasher said that Trevor Lyman lost interest in the Third Party Ticket debate; however, ThirdPartyTicket.com still lists Lyman as the contact (see bottom of page), and the site is still being regularly updated.

7. Thrasher said that Free and Equal would like to do more than one debate, as well as a VP debate or debates.

20 thoughts on “Update on third party Presidential debate proposals

  1. Mike Gillis

    I can get not wanting to participate for a number of reasons, but I’m not sure I understand McKinney’s.

    Wouldn’t she be reaching more people on C-SPAN than on an internet debate?

  2. Mike Gillis

    Maybe. But how much can you really express yourself as a candidate in an internet debate?

    It’s far better to reach as many people as possible to get your message out. Especially with the possibility of the New York Times covering it.

  3. paulie cannoli Post author

    Nah, that would just be caving in to the zionist corporate controlled media-advertising complex.

    In fact, she should sue the NY Times or any other Corporate Zionist Occupied media for mentioning her name so they can help sell more ads.

  4. Catholic Trotskyist

    What a mess. This should prove to anyone the worthlessness of third parties in this current system.

  5. Ross Levin

    Not necessarily. Even when they’re uneffective at electing people, they still add an alternative voice and push for issues that the mainstream ignores.

  6. Austrian Economist

    This is beyond severely disappointing. I don’t know what factors were at work, but it seemed like the different campaigns could “suck it up” and get together for this event.

    There should’ve been no pussyfooting, but it seems as though every candidate and campaign was smooshed by a waffle iron.

    Pity. Not for them, for THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

  7. VTV

    The unbelievable arrogance of some of these campaigns.

    Barr needed to get over the fact that Obama and McCain would never agree to debate with him. That was a total PIPE DREAM from the start. I go back to my original theory that someone is making these “mistakes” in that campaign on purpose.

    Nader needs to get realistic too.

    There is no reason that they would stand to lose from debating other third party candidates who will no doubt be splitting the votes of the dissatisfied voters this election season. Both Barr and Nader were completely foolish to believe they were ever going to get into the mainstream debates at this time.

    I really just want this to be over with. This election season has been so absurd.

  8. darolew

    “I really just want this to be over with. This election season has been so absurd.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  9. Mike Gillis

    Well I’ve mailed in my ballot.

    That part is done. One last candidate event, a school event, a couple visibility events and an election night party and I’m done.

  10. paulie cannoli Post author

    Christopher Thrasher called to say that his split with Free and Equal was amicable and he hopes to work with them again in the future.

    He said the Free and Equal debate would be rescheduled.

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