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Presidential Campaign 'MoneyBomb Architect' Maps Third Party Debate Access Initiative

By Stephen Dohnberg     Sep 30, 2008 in Politics
On the heels of the formation of the liberal and conservative-backed Open the Debates Coalition, comes an an additional coalition of 10 pro-democracy groups headed by money-bomb mastermind Trevor Lyman to push for a fully inclusive debate.
New York City, NY - Trevor Lyman, the architect behind the highly successful Internet "money bomb" initiatives that brought a record breaking millions of dollars into Ron Paul's presidential campaign, has now aimed his efforts at a televised presidential debate that would include the participation of third party candidates in New York City for October.
The criteria for the candidates invited to the debates, six in all, are those who have their names on the ballot in states which contain a majority of the electoral college votes, making a presidential "win" a theoretical possibility.
These candidates include Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party), Bob Barr (Libertarian Party), Cynthia McKinney (Green Party), Ralph Nader (independent), John McCain (Republican Party), and Barack Obama (Democratic Party).
Lyman stresses that if he receives financial contributions of any amount, or "no minimum amount required" as his website indicates, from 10,000 participants by October 8, he will go ahead with organizing the debate. The pledges will be allocated to the cost of promoting and airing the event.
The major impediment to this ambitious project is the participation of John McCain and Barack Obama, who have a signed contracts with the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). It is presumed that these contracts ensure that both candidates abstain from participating in other, non CPD sanctioned events.
As Part 1, Section d) of the Memorandum of Understanding from the Commission of Presidential Debates from 2004 ( Kerry - Bush debates) states "(d) The parties agree that they will not (1) issue any challenges for additional debates, (2) appear at any other debate or adversarial forum with any other presidential or vice presidential candidate, or (3) accept any television or radio air time offers that involve a debate format or otherwise involve the simultaneous appearance of more than one candidate."
In the meantime, ten pro-democracy groups, among them Fair Vote, Judicial Watch, Democracy Matters,and Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting are pushing for public access to the contract between Obama, McCain, and the CPD. OpenDebates.com spokesperson George Farah declares on their website that,“ denying voters access to critical information about our most important political forums, the Commission on Presidential Debates is more concerned with the partisan interests of the two major party candidates than the democratic interests of the voting public.”
At a press conference before the Nader 'Open the Debates' Rally at Magness Arena, Denver University, on Aug. 27, Ralph Nader noted that there is no limit to sports information or entertainment information. "Why limit political debate in this country?"
Ralph Nader at Open the Debates Rally
Ralph Nader at Open the Debates Rally, Aug. 27, Denver, CO
Stephen Dohnberg
As OpenDebates.com correctly indicates on their Sept. 18 press release, the "Commission on Presidential Debates was created by and for the Republican and Democratic parties. In 1986, the Republican and Democratic National Committees ratified an agreement 'to take over the presidential debates' from the nonpartisan League of Women Voters. Fifteen months later, then-Republican Party chair Frank Fahrenkopf and then-Democratic Party chair Paul Kirk incorporated the Commission on Presidential Debates. Fahrenkopf and Kirk still co-chair the Commission on Presidential Debates, and every four years it implements and conceals contracts jointly drafted by the Republican and Democratic nominees."
As of this writing, Lyman and his fund raising website ThirdPartyTicket.com are almost 60 per cent of the way toward their Oct. 8 goal of 10,000 donations, with 5,964 pledges.
OpenDebates.com have made a pdf. copy of the Commission on Presidential Debates agreement between John Kerry and George Bush available here: http://www.opendebates.org/news/documents/debateagreement.pdf
-Stephen Dohnberg
More about Debates, Comission presidential debates, Third parties, Obama, McCain
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