News Release

Debate Commission Says Gore-Bush Only: Responses Available


The Commission on Presidential Debates has formally announced that it intends to exclude all third party candidates from the presidential debates.

Phil Donahue (who is a member of the Committee to Elect Ralph Nader President) wrote in the Sunday Los Angeles Times: “If Ralph Nader is excluded from the presidential debates, many issues important to millions of Americans will get little or no attention during the corporate sponsored face-offs between the two major party candidates” — e.g. drug war, death penalty, trade, national health insurance.

The following are among those available for interviews:

Law professor at American University, Raskin represented Ross Perot in 1996, chairs the Appleseed Citizens’ Task Force on Fair Debates and has advised the Nader campaign on the debate issue. He said today: “The 15 percent rule is utterly lawless. It triples the 5 percent rule in federal law for qualifying for public financing in a presidential campaign.” Raskin added: “Nothing stops Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush from setting up an exclusionary debate, but these debates are paid for by large corporations like Anheuser-Busch, which is contributing $550,000. The corporate funding makes these exclusionary debates an illegal corporate contribution.”

Cohen is head of Open Debates 2000, a project of the media watch group FAIR. Cohen said today: “The CPD is not ‘nonpartisan’ as it claims, it’s a creation of the Democratic and Republican parties. A recent Zogby poll of 1,000 likely voters found that 60 percent want Nader and Buchanan included — and people who are not ‘likely voters’ may be even more sympathetic to third party candidates.”

Director of, Milchen said today: “The CPD is not a legitimate institution. In 1992, Perot would have been banned from the debates under the CPD’s current 15 percent standard, as would Jesse Ventura in 1998.”
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Eidinger is with the Open Debate Society. He said: “I was among the activists who occupied the offices of Wagner Communications and Brewer Consulting Group, the only known address of the CPD, for 40 minutes on Sept. 20. Our aim was to put a face to the name of the CPD, a stealthy private corporation controlled by the Republican and Democratic parties.” On Sept. 28, activists will attempt to shut down those offices. Eidinger added that “after this action we are going to join thousands to protest for open debates in Boston,” the site of the first scheduled presidential debate.
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[The CPD can be reached at (202) 872-1020.]

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167