Debates losing luster

Debates losing luster - New York Times April 23, 2007...

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New York Times April 23, 2007 Debates Losing a Bit of Luster in a Big Field By ADAM NAGOURNEY Correction Appended WASHINGTON, April 22 — The last time Jonathan Prince checked, there were nearly 40 requests for John Edwards , the Democratic presidential candidate for whom he works, to appear at a candidate debate or forum. They came from state Democratic parties and county Democratic committees. From newspapers and television stations. From unions, advocates for the homeless, church groups, black Democrats, Hispanic Democrats, Jewish Democrats and an association of big-city mayors. “It’s a mess,” said an exasperated-sounding Mr. Prince, Mr. Edwards’s deputy campaign manager. “Debates are important, but in these big multicandidate races they end up not being an exchange of ideas, but just an exchange of sound bites. They have become a distraction.” A flood of invitations is besieging Republican and Democratic presidential candidates alike this year, thrusting them into a complicated political vortex as they struggle to balance their own needs with the demands of sensitive and powerful debate sponsors whom candidates are eager not to offend. The result has been public — and not-so-public — maneuvering by candidates from both parties as they try to limit the number of debates without making it look as if they might be trying to limit the number of debates. The sprint begins with a Democratic debate this Thursday in South Carolina and a Republican debate a week later in California. After a private dinner of Democratic campaign managers at a Washington steakhouse last month with Howard Dean , the Democratic National Committee chairman, the party agreed that starting in July it would limit debates to one a month through the end of the year. Mr. Dean, blocking for his candidates, will choose the sponsors. But the situation is more fluid among Republicans, where private negotiations among aides to
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Debates losing luster - New York Times April 23, 2007...

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