Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Roy Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan are at odds on the issues, but they’re also at odds on how they should debate them before the voting public.
Carnahan’s campaign office says Blunt agreed to participate in at least six debates last month, but now is only agreeing to two debates — Oct. 14 and 15 on Kansas City Public Television and at the Missouri Press Association’s face-off at the Lake of the Ozarks. Carnahan’s camp also expressed disappointment that neither will reach a statewide audience on television. He calls it a disservice to voters.
Two debates that Blunt has canceled were slated to air on national television, says Tony Wyche, a Carnahan spokesman. Wyche says he tried to nail down more than three in-state debates in addition to forums offered by Fox News Channel and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”“Blunt said they would not take part in either of those debates and stated that under no circumstance would they do debates on network affiliates,” Wyche says. “Their claim was that they felt singling out one network affiliate would upset other network affiliates, which is odd, since they originally proposed ‘Meet the Press’ on NBC and ‘Fox News Sunday,’ which are exclusive to specific networks.”
Negotiations over a third debate on public television in St. Louis – the largest television market in the state — fell apart over who would serve as moderator, Wyche says.
Blunt’s office declined Missourinet’s request for an interview, but issued the following statement:
Roy Blunt’s U.S. Senate campaign today announced that Roy Blunt and Robin Carnahan have agreed to two debates. The first will take place on October 14, sponsored by KCPT Kansas City Public Television. The second and final debate will take place in Lake Ozark on October 15, sponsored by the Missouri Press Association.
“Throughout his campaign Roy Blunt has been talking and listening to Missourians about the issues they care about like jobs and economic recovery,” said Roy Blunt spokesperson Rich Chrismer. “Roy Blunt is looking forward to discussing issues and differences side by side with his opponent in the debates so Missourians can see the clear choice they have in this election.”
On February 21, 2009, Roy Blunt first offered to debate the issues side by side with Robin Carnahan in a series of televised forums. Though Carnahan declined the invitation to debate for more than a year, Roy Blunt’s campaign is pleased that Missourians will finally have the opportunity to hear from both candidates next month during the debates.