The Phony Presidential Debates

"The high office of president has been used to format a plot to destroy the American's
freedom, and before I leave office I must inform the citizen of his plight."
- John F. Kennedy, 1963

The slide into dictatorship

The Commission on Presidential Debates Knows a Thing or Two About Odds
Oren Weinrib is a sometimes poet, actor, and activist. He is engaged with projects such as the independent media movement.
Even before George W. Bush and Al Gore's final showdown in St. Louis, the Commission on Presidential Debates has placed its bets for this year's election. After all, Commission co-chairman Frank Fahrenkopf, who also serves as chairman and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), knows that one thing about gambling is never left to chance. In the long-run, the house always wins.
According to figures from the AGA, the principal lobby for the casino industry, revenues from legal gambling grew from $24 billion in 1989 to $58 billion in 1999. Until 1989, casinos were legal in only two states.
There are now casinos in twenty-five states, and wagering of some form is legal in all but three. How did gambling expand so rapidly? Fahrenkopf had a ready answer for Insight on the News: "[W]e're not going to apologize for trying to influence political elections."
Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that the gambling industry's contributions to national elections increased from $361,169 in 1990 to over $6 million in each of the last three election cycles. Mother Jones reported in 1997 that a staggering $100 million had been poured into state elections since 1992. The industry also hired heavyweight lobbyists like Fahrenkopf, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, to champion its cause in Washington.
Those investments paid off. After Mirage Resorts gave the National Republican Senatorial Committee $250,000, former Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) withdrew an amendment to repeal the tax deduction for gambling losses (see David Shiflett's article in the American Spectator for more examples). When concern over the growth of gambling spawned the National Gambling Impact Study in 1996, the industry used its influence to stack the commission with its own representatives. Three years later, Richard Cooper of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "The commission's final report will bristle with recommendations -- almost all so general or watered down that they pose little threat to the industry."
Lest one assume that gambling is a partisan issue, Fahrenkopf assures, "It's not Republican or Democrat, not even liberal or conservative." He's on the money -- of the $25 million in gambling funds paid to federal politicians since 1990, 49 percent has gone to Democrats, and 51 percent to Republicans, making this issue squarely "nonpartisan" in American political parlance. Fahrenkopf's own AGA has given $46,000 to Democrats and $28,700 to Republicans in PAC and soft money this cycle, despite his former role as RNC chairman.
Fahrenkopf's equanimity makes him perfect for the role of co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). After all, he is described by the AGA as "the national advocate for the commercial casino industry." With so much money invested in both the Democrats and the Republicans, he need not play favorites. In fact, Fahrenkopf has labored diligently to insure that the CPD lives up to its claim of being a "nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation." When he founded it in 1987 with former Democratic National Committee chairman Paul Kirk, they split the Commission equally between loyal Democrats and Republicans. Some might question Kirk's impartiality on the grounds that he has given $1000 to Vice President Gore and sits on the board of Hartford Financial Services, which is Joseph Lieberman's third largest contributor. There is no need for concern, however -- the Hartford's $147,750 in PAC money is split almost evenly between the two parties. Even the CPD's corporate sponsors (the Commission "accepts no money from the government") have been exemplary in their nonpartisanship. At least $1.2 million of AT&T's exceedingly generous gift of $3.2 million to the elections has gone to the Democrats. Anheuser-Busch's preference for the Republicans can also be overlooked; although the Republicans received $450,300, the Democrats got a hearty $313,256.
This whole arrangement works magnificently except for one small hitch -- the Commission is supposed to host the presidential debates, not the Bud Bowl. With such close personal and financial relations to the Democrats and Republicans, why would the Commission open the democratic process to other political parties? Indeed, while the media have largely ignored these parties, which represent millions of Americans, the CPD has worked hard to silence them. After Ross Perot participated in the 1992 debate and garnered 19 million votes, the commission quickly acted to prevent that kind of debacle from repeating itself. The new entrance requirements were rife with subjective criteria such as "the published views of prominent political commentators." Therefore in 1996, though Perot had received nearly $30 million in public funds for his campaign, the public was denied the right to hear from him.
Yielding to criticism that their guidelines were absurd, the Commission has adopted a more concrete rule for excluding third-parties this year. Eligible candidates must receive at least 15 percent in polls by five specific organizations, who are not required to include third-party candidates in their questionnaires. Thus, Patrick Buchanan, who has received $12 million in public funds, and Ralph Nader, who is polling near 5 percent and is on the ballot in forty-three states, have been excluded from the debates. Though Buchanan has lodged a complaint with the Federal Election Commission and Nader has filed suit in federal court, the CPD has stayed its course.
In truth, the actions of the Commission are easily explained. It is a group of party faithfuls and corporate shareholders -- including board members of Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, and Alcoa, among others -- acting out of self-interest and the interests of their corporate sponsors. The CPD is typical of business-as-usual in a political system that no longer holds itself accountable to the public. With their unwavering focus on the bottom-line, corporations expect their "contributions" to return in the form of profits. The Democratic and Republican parties do not disappoint, providing real services for the hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue they take in "contributions" each year.
When the League of Women Voters lost control of the debates in 1988, it foresaw the danger of the bipartisan Commission: "The League of Women Voters is withdrawing its sponsorship of the presidential debates ... because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. ... The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public."
The CPD has become so secure in this fraud that it claims,"The CPD is not affiliated with any political party. It does not lobby [or] take positions on political issues." Considering that the members of the Commission take political positions, funnel money to the establishment parties, and actually admit to trying to influence elections, a new mission statement might be in order. By excluding Nader and Buchanan from the debates, Fahrenkopf and Company have ensured that when election day comes, Americans will choose from two sides of the same corporate coin.
Published: Oct 26 2000

May 31, 2004

Presidential Debate Fraud -

Subtitle: Why Bush & Kerry’s debates will be a waste of viewer time. Would you be surprised to learn that the Presidential debates are conducted by a private corporation? Would you be surprised to learn that the Presidential Debate Commission is controlled by the Democratic AND Republican Parties? Would you be shocked to learn that funding for the Presidential debates comes from major corporations and your taxpayer dollars? If the answer to any of the above is yes, you probably want to read on.

A little history. On November 26, 1985, a memorandum was issued and signed by both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, hereafter, referred to as the Joint Memorandum. Contained in the Joint Memorandum, is a bipartisan agreement which states:

It is our bipartisan view that the primary responsibility of each major political party is to educate and inform the American electorate of its fundamental philosophy and policies as well as its candidates' positions on critical issues. One of the most effective means of fulfilling that responsibility is through nationally televised joint appearances conducted between the Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees of the two major political parties during general election campaigns. Therefore, to better fulfill our parties' responsibilities for educating and informing the American public and to strengthen the role of political parties in the electoral process, it is our conclusion that future joint appearances should be principally and jointly sponsored and conducted by the Republican and Democratic National Committees.

Now with that Joint Memorandum a conspiracy was set in place by the two major parties to prevent competition from any other parties or candidates outside the two major parties. President Reagan set the precedent when he refused to appear at any debate in which an Independent was to be included (John Anderson). Since then, candidates like Ross Perot, Buchanann, Nader and others have been denied access to the Presidential debates, and effectively prevented from informing and educating the public of alternatives on policy issues, value systems, government priorities, other parties and other candidates. In fact, the debate format has evolved at the hands of the two parties to one of not even being a debate anymore, but rather, to equal time stump speeches by their respective candidates. This safeguards their candidates from embarrassing questions or issues which they are ill prepared to respond to or may not even have a clue about.

On Feb. 18, 1987, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in a (PDF) joint news release announced "RNC and DNC establish Commission on Presidential Debates". That news release states:
The 10 member commission is a bipartisan, not profit, tax exempt organization formed to implement joint sponsorship of general election presidential and vice presidential debates, starting in 1988 by the national Republican and Democratic committees between their respective nominees. ... By jointly sponsoring these debates ... we can institutionalize the debates, making them an integral and permanent part of the presidential process.

What in fact they did, was to rig the entire debate system in the favor of their two presidential candidates with all decisions concerning the debates, including format, participants, moderators, panelists, questions etc., made by the two parties and their candidates. One only need to quickly scan their Memorandum of Understanding to see that controlling and restricting information disseminated to the public, not educating or informing the public, was the primary purpose and goal of the bipartisan corporate Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).

Now, debates were the province of the League of Women Voters (LWV) prior to the two major parties taking over, and the LWV did want to educate and inform the public. However, power being what it is - corrupt - the two major parties stole the debates from the LWV and shaped it to their own ends, with polite thanks to the LWV for having laid the groundwork for the two major parties. The League of Women Voters announced in a (PDF) press release on Oct. 3, 1988 that they were withdrawing their support from the final presidential debate "because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetuate a fraud on the American voter..." And the fraud upon the American voters has grown and increased ever since.

Presidential Debates "Will Likely Be of Little Consequence,"

By Jeffrey M. McCall, Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, DePauw University
In theory, presidential candidates directly debating in a national broadcast is a great idea. Barring a major gaffe or a cute one-liner, however, the upcoming debates will likely be of little consequence. Sad to say, the electorate is currently poorly served by the debate venue, largely because candidates and their handlers make sure little debating actually occurs.
    Some past presidential debates have affected the elections, but good debating had little to do with it. Jimmy Carter said he wouldn't have won the 1976 election if not for the debates. That might be so, but surely Gerald Ford's blunder in declaring there was "no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe" had more to do with the election result than Mr. Carter's debating technique.  Few remember the points of evidence in 1980's debates, but the election may have turned on the frequently repeated Reagan one-liner to Mr. Carter, "There you go again."
    Presidential elections are too important to turn on a misstatement or a consultant-designed one-liner, but that's where things stand in political debating.
    TV, of course, is the major factor in warping the process. As an emotional medium, television provides information inefficiently. A candidate who would try to make debating points with sound reasoning and ample evidence would come across as boring and calculating. Thus, candidates are well advised by handlers to play it safe and stay "on message" with simplistic catchphrases or neatly repackaged minispeeches. It matters little what question is raised; the candidate simply pulls up a previously rehearsed answer.
    History indicates style is trumps substance in TV political debates. The obvious contrasts of John F. Kennedy's appearance and gestures to Richard Nixon's are legendary.
    Viewers of the 1992 debates probably recalled few of the arguments, but much was made of the first President Bush looking repeatedly at his watch while Mr. Clinton performed.
    Then there was Al Gore in 2000, sighing off camera every time George W. Bush spoke. Viewers might not follow complicated political issues, but they can easily decide whose looks and mannerisms they like. TV exaggerates this.
    Voters who want to follow the coming debates more than superficially might consider listening over the radio or reading a newspaper transcript the next day. They should focus on anything that distinguishes one candidate from the other. Ignore the majority of the material on which both candidates agree. Everybody is against terrorism, loves his country and wants a robust economy.
    Voters should consider whether the candidates have any material to back up their campaign slogans. When Mr. Bush says, "We've turned the corner," he needs to indicate which corner and what evidence shows it has been turned. When Mr. Kerry uses the word "wrong" in every sentence about Mr. Bush, can he provide the standard for determining "wrong"?
    Voters also should look for direct responses to direct questions. They should consider whether the candidates can think spontaneously, and if they possess any sincerity to accompany the concocted emotions and smooth talking from the practice sessions.
    Finally, voters should not think of the debates as encounters to be won or lost, but instead look for policies on which they agree with a particular candidate.
    The presidential debate ritual has lost much of its charm for voters over the years. More than 80 million people watched the Reagan-Carter debate in 1980. In 1992, the average audience for the three Clinton-Bush I debates was more than 60 million. The average of the three Bush II-Gore debates in 2000 was less than 41 million viewers.
    It might be just as well public interest is declining in presidential debates. Deciding a vote based on a candidate's TV debating skill is just not a good idea. There is little transferability of debating ability to, for example, managing a Cabinet, overseeing the military, or bargaining behind closed doors with leaders of Congress.
    Early in September, Mr. Kerry urged Mr. Bush to have weekly debates until the election. Given that neither presidential contender has proven a great campaign orator, even the agreed-upon three debates — the first on Sept. 30 — will be mind-numbing enough. These will not be Lincoln-Douglas quality debates, and it's unlikely they will be studied 146 years hence.

The 2000 Presidential Debates

I don't know the source

For those who don't have time to watch the (U.S.) presidential debate, I've prepared this transcript of what will be said:

Jim Lehrer:
Welcome to the second presidential debate between Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush.
The candidates have agreed on these rules: I will ask a question. The candidate will ignore the question and deliver rehearsed remarks designed to appeal to undecided women voters. The opponent will then have one minute to respond by trying to frighten senior citizens into voting for him. When a speaker's time has expired, I will whimper softly while he continues to spew incomprehensible statistics for three more minutes.
Let's start with the vice president. Mr. Gore, can you give us the name of a downtrodden citizen and then tell us his or her story in a way that strains the bounds of common sense?

As I was saying to Tipper last night after we tenderly made love the way we have so often during the 30 years of our rock-solid marriage, the downtrodden have a clear choice in this election. My opponent wants to cut taxes for the richest 1 percent of Americans.
I, on the other hand, want to put the richest 1 percent in an ironclad lockbox so they can't hurt old people like Roberta Frampinhamper, who is here tonight. Mrs. Frampinhamper has been selling her internal organs, one by one, to pay for gas so that she can travel to these debates and personify problems for me. Also, her poodle has arthritis.

Gov. Bush, your rebuttal.

Governors are on the front lines every day, hugging people, crying with them, relieving suffering anywhere a photo opportunity exists. I want to empower those crying people to make their own decisions, unlike my opponent, whose mother is not Barbara Bush.

Let's turn to foreign affairs. Gov. Bush, if Slobodan Milosevic were to launch a bid to return to power in Yugoslavia, would you be able to pronounce his name?

The current administration had eight years to deal with that guy and didn't get it done. If I'm elected, the first thing I would do about that guy is have Dick Cheney confer with our allies. And then Dick would present me several options for dealing with that guy. And then Dick would tell me which one to choose. You know, as governor of Texas, I have to make tough foreign policy decisions every day about how we're going to deal with New Mexico.

Mr. Gore, your rebuttal.

Foreign policy is something I've always been keenly interested in. I served my country in Vietnam. I had an uncle who was a victim of poison gas in World War I. I myself lost a leg in the Franco-Prussian War. And when that war was over, I came home and tenderly made love to Tipper in a way that any undecided woman voter would find romantic. If I'm entrusted with the office of president, I pledge to deal knowledgeably with any threat, foreign or domestic, by putting it in an ironclad lockbox. Because the American people deserve a president who can comfort them with simple metaphors.

Vice President Gore, how would you reform the Social Security system?

It's a vital issue, Jim. That's why Joe Lieberman and I have proposed changing the laws of mathematics to allow us to give $50,000 to every senior citizen without having it cost the federal treasury a single penny until the year 2250. In addition, my budget commits $60 trillion over the next 10 years to guarantee that all senior citizens can have drugs delivered free to their homes every Monday by a federal employee who will also help them with the child-proof cap.

Gov. Bush?

That's fuzzy math. I know, because as governor of Texas, I have to do math every day. I have to add up the numbers and decide whether I'm going to fill potholes out on Rt. 36 east of Abilene or commit funds to reroof the sheep barn at the Texas state fairgrounds.

It's time for closing statements.

I'm my own man. I may not be the most exciting politician, but I will fight for the working families of America, in addition to turning the White House into a lusty pit of marital love for Tipper and me.

It's time to put aside the partisanship of the past by electing no one but Republicans.

Good night.

October Saturday 2nd 2004 (07h39) :
Bush Blows Debate: Talks to Rove in Earpiece!

by John ReynoldsDuring the Presidential Debate Bush made what may be his most costly error- he exposed that he’s using an earpiece to help him answer debate questions.
In the middle of an answer bush said, "now let me finish" as if someone was interrupting him - yet nobody did - he was talking to the person in his earpiece.

This is the mp3 audio

I’ve been thinking for years that we need something major to blow this scam wide open, like Bush exposing himself on national tv. Last night he did just that.

The ’let me finish’ quip was clearly bush talking to someone (probably Rove) in his earpiece- saying ’let me finish’ (before you give me the next answer).

He blows it 60 seconds into his 90 second reply- so no warning lights had gone off and the moderator had not motioned for him to end as there was plenty of time left.

There is really no other plausible explanation for this huge blunder- who was he telling to ’let him finish’? The voices in his head?

Is he talking to God again? Shouldn’t this be enough to warrant a major investigation of some sort- bush is so incompetent he needs an earpiece to speak in public!

The entire Bush regime is a house of cards- let this be the first card pulled from the bottom tier - send this fool and his evil cabal to the ICC for War Crimes.

This info has been sent to the Kerry campaign, will they do anything with it?

If it were Kerry’s blunder, you know Bush’s team would be all over him.

If Kerry won’t do the same, one must ask- why not?

By : John Reynolds
October Saturday 2nd 2004

The Commission on Presidential Debates' Exclusion of Vital Issues

The nationally televised presidential debates should address a broad range of national issues that most concern citizens--especially issues that the major party candidates typically ignore when left to their own devices. But under the control of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), many of the greatest concerns of the American public are excluded from discussion entirely.

The exclusion of deserving independent or "third party" candidates has generated the greatest criticism of the CPD, but the narrow range of discussion and lifeless formats also are critical problems.

The inclusion of the two third-party candidates with major national constituencies (Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader) in 2000 likely would have changed the results of this survey dramatically, but we should insist on an entity and structure that ensures broad and substantive debates, regardless of who is participating.

The stiflingly narrow range of discussion is a direct result of the "debates" being controlled by the CPD--a private institution owned and operated exclusively by prominent Democratic and Republican party operatives. The major party candidates are granted near-total control over format, moderators, and who is invited to participate.

This control includes formats devoid of direct dialogue between the candidates themselves or between citizens and candidates. Even the promising "town hall" format has been turned into a spontaneity-free imitation of real discourse by preventing any citizen from actually speaking. The questions are screened and read from a card by moderators like Jim Lehrer, who consistently has declined to confront the candidates with uncomfortable questions.

Even former President George Bush decried the vapidity of the CPD's events, "It's too much show business and too much prompting, too much artificiality, and not really debate," said Bush. "They're rehearsed appearances."

Download a pdf format flier with this information and an overview of the campaign to replace the CPD with the Citizens' Debate Commission.

Read about the Citizens' Debate Commission's debate structure and participation criteria.

See Open Debates for even more detailed background on the CPD.

The Presidential Debates of 2004 are an insult to real democracy, and an example of the kind of "democracy" the US-Led Corporate Empire seeks to plant in sovereign nations abroad.  This kind of sophisticated mind-control is a formidable weapon against real democracy and honest elections.  It also seeks to hide the fact that the U.S. citizen is never given a real choice in electing their president. We flatly reject this deception by the U.S. Government and their attendant corporate media.  Millions of unsuspecting U.S. citizens will watch the so-called "debates" by George W. Bush, John Kerry, Dick Cheney and John Edwards in 2004, beginning tonight. We include two articles below that provide details of the withdrawal by the League of Women Voters and the debate fraud now sponsored by The Commission on Presidential Debates.

Presidential debates are simply too important to be left as they are today. The dumbed-down questions, protective formats and third-party exclusion must be addressed before debates become joint advertisements for the two major parties.

- Format Wrecks Gammage "Debate", Arizona Republic, 16 October 2004

- Eliminating The Debate From The Debates,, 14 October 2004

- Anheuser World Selects Lager, Riverfront Times, 13 October 2004

- Debates Can Be Better And The Basis For Real Improvements, San Antonio Express-News, 10 October 2004

- Resolved: That Was No Debate, Los Angeles Times, 8 October 2004

- The Art of Debate, San Antonio Express-News, 3 October 2004

- Debates Hobbled By Flawed Format, The Herald-Sun, 3 October 2004

- Republicrat vs. Democan, BusinessWeek, 3 October 2004

- Debatable Debates, 20/20, 1 October 2004

- Breaking The Rules, American Prospect Online, 1 October 2004

- Open Up The Debates, The Washington Post, 30 September 2004

- Candidates' Appearance Tonight Far From "Debate," St. Paul Pioneer Press, 30 September 2004

- A Slip Of The Lip Could Make This Thing Interesting, Chicago Sun-Times, 30 September 2004

- Candidates Firmly in Control of Debate Details, The Macon Telegraph, 30 September 2004

- Candidates Will Follow The Script -- Their Own, The Providence Journal, 30 September 2004

- Is It Time To Return To The Rough And Tumble Debates Of Old?, San Antonio Express-News, 30 September 2004

- Replace Bi-Partisan Shows With Real Debates, Pacific News Service, 30 September 2004

- Critics Assail Rule Book For Presidential Debates, Knoxville News Sentinel, 29 September 2004

- Format's Debatable; Whether To Watch Isn't, Albuquerque Journal, 29 September 2004

- Let's Make Debates A Better 'Interview' For World's Top Job, The Sheboygan Press, 29 September 2004

- The Over-Formatted "Debate Show" May Not Shed Light On The Candidates, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 September 2004

- Debating The Debates, CBS News, 27 September 2004

- Debates Entertaining, But Will They Inform?, The Denver Post, 27 September 2004

- Debates Are No Face-Off, Detroit Free Press, 26 September 2004

- It'll Be Civilized Warfare, New York Post, 26 September 2004

- The Debatable Debates, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 September 2004

- Upgrade A Poor Format, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 20 September 2004

- The Debate Debacle, The Boston Globe, 18 September 2004

- No Debate: Format's a Sham, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 30 August 2004

- Include Third-Party Candidates in Debates, Capital Times, 26 August 2004

- Several Groups Say Commission on Presidential Debates is Partisan and Undermines Democracy, Associated Press, 23 August 2004

- Pro-Democracy Groups Issue Report Critical of Commission on Presidential Debates, Press Release, 23 August 2004

- Subject to Debate, Mother Jones, 20 August 2004

- Nader Could Be Barred From Debates He Champions, Hartford Courant, 19 August 2004

- Following Court Ruling, Civic Leaders and Elected Officials Call on Candidates to Participate in Debates Proposed by Citizens' Debate Commission, Press Release, 16 August 2004

- Judge Says FEC Should Look Into 2000 Barrings, ABC News, 13 August 2004

- Save 'Genuine' Presidential Debates, Christian Science Monitor, 10 August 2004

- Times Demand Substantive Debates, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 August 2004

- Make Debates Meaningful, Denver Post, 8 August 2004

- Efforts Building to Take Back the Presidential Debates, Chicago Sun-Times, 5 July 2004

- Return to Old-Style Presidential Debates, Pioneer Press, 25 June 2004

- Free the Debates From Party Tyranny, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 24 June 2004

- How About Real Debates, The Tennessean, 20 June 2004

- Repairing the Presidential Debates, The Oregonian, 14 June 2004

- Make Presidential Debates Real Ones, The Seattle Times, 14 June 2004

- Take Off the Gloves, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2004

-VIDEO: Open Debates Executive Director George Farah interviewed on Washington Journal, 31 May 2004

- Debate Challenge, CBS NEWS, 25 May 2004

- More Presidential Debates Sought, Miami Herald, Knight Ridder Services, 25 May 2004

- New Group Eyes Canisius As Debate Site, The Buffalo News, 25 May 2004

- Debate Plan Has A Place for Carleton, Star Tribune, 25 May 2004

- Carleton Offered As Debate Site, Pioneer Press, 25 May 2004

- Presidential Debate in Delco? Swarthmore Face-Off Eyed, The Daily Times, 25 May 2004

- Presidential Debate May Come to Capital, The Columbus Dispatch, 25 May 2004

- Group Calls for Larger Presidential Debates, FOX NEWS, 24 May 2004

- Citizens' Debate Commission Announces Debate Sites; Former Presidential Candidates Call on Current Candidates to Participate, Press Release, 24 May 2004

- Act to Change Tired Format, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 7 May 2004

- Real Presidential Debates: public interest groups should replace the two-party stranglehold, The Harvard Crimson, 20 April 2004

- Only Bush-Kerry in TV Debates?, Christian Science Monitor, 8 April 2004

- Broad Civic Support for Citizens' Debate Commission, Press Release, 8 March 2004

- No More Deceptive Debates, Knight Ridder Services, 3 March 2004

- Majority of Democratic Candidates Support a Nonpartisan Citizens' Debate Commission, Press Release, 12 February 2004

- Rural America Deserves Real Presidential Debate, Grand Forks Herald, 8 February 2004

- Citizens' Debate Commission Formed, Press Release, 12 Jan 2004

- Get Debates Out of Parties' Grasp, Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 Nov 2003

- End the Debates Before They Start, New York Times, 12 Nov 2003


Who Says the Debates Need to Change? Voices from All Over the Political Spectrum Decry Duopoly Control

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