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WHAS-TV offers debate compromise proposal to McConnell, Grimes

by WHAS11 News

WHAS11.com

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 30 at 9:15 PM

Note: Since this article was first posted, the campaigns have clarified that the campaign managers did have one telephone conversation, weeks ago.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- 66 percent of registered Kentucky voters say Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-Ky) have an obligation to debate each other in their U.S. Senate race, according to a WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll released Wednesday.

Do Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes have an obligation to debate each other during the campaign? Or not?  
66%    Do
20%    Do Not
15%    Not Sure

Since McConnell laid down his debate conditions in May, the campaigns tell WHAS11 their only contact between each other has been one letter apiece, one phone conversation and an exchange of voice mails.

"I know that my team stands ready willing and able to get those times and dates ironed out," Grimes said Wednesday.

McConnell wants Lincoln-Douglas style debates, no questions from the media or the public and no in studio audience.

"We each ask questions of the other," McConnell explained in a May 22 news conference.  "We have a reasonable amount of time to reply and then a rebuttal."

Grimes wants a live audience who can participate and ask questions.

Grimes has agreed to appear on a Kentucky Educational Television candidate forum October 13, which is the Kentucky Tonight interview show hosted by Bill Goodman, not a debate.

McConnell has accepted a Kentucky Farm Bureau invitation for candidates to answer their questions on August 20, again that's a forum but not a debate.

With little progress evident, WHAS-TV is amending its original debate proposal, which originally included participation by ABC News.

WHAS-TV General Manager Linda Danna says she is willing to compromise on several elements important to WHAS11 in the spirit of the compromise WHAS-TV is calling on both McConnell and Grimes to accept.

WHAS11's debate proposal includes no studio audience, but WHAS11 will provide a satellite feed to any television or radio station, to ensure as wide an audience as possible.

The debate will include questions split evenly from three sources: from each candidate to the other, video questions submitted by Kentucky voters and by WHAS11 Political Editor Joe Arnold, who would serve as the sole timekeeper and moderator of the debate. 

WHAS11 would not involve any special interest groups.

"In the spirit of the compromise we are suggesting the campaigns embrace, WHAS-TV stands ready to also compromise on these conditions in the interest of providing to our viewers and all Kentucky voters this public service," Danna writes in the letter.

At 6pm, Wednesday, WHAS-TV e-mailed the debate compromise proposal to the respective campaign managers.  Those letters are printed below.

 


July 30, 2014

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell
c/o McConnell for Senate

Sen. McConnell:

Nearly two months ago, WHAS-TV extended an invitation to you and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to participate in one to three live, televised debates on WHAS-TV.

As both campaigns have indicated to WHAS-TV Political Editor Joe Arnold that there has been little, if any, progress toward a debate agreement, WHAS-TV is offering to help facilitate the process to ensure that Kentucky voters are able to see and hear for themselves the differences between the candidates.  Our offices are open to the campaigns for a face-to-face meeting of representatives to discuss debate plans.

To that end, WHAS-TV has reviewed the conditions set forth by each candidate.  It is clear that unless one or both of you compromise on the debate conditions, Kentucky voters will be deprived of this important public job interview to represent the commonwealth in the U.S. Senate.

We suggest both campaigns consider meeting in the middle, while preserving the essence of both sets of conditions stipulated by the campaigns.

While WHAS-TV remains open to hosting any televised debate based on mutually agreeable conditions, we respectfully submit this debate proposal which we believe reflects each of your priorities.

* Both candidates, Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes, will debate for 60-90 minutes in WHAS-TV's studios in a live telecast on a mutually agreeable date.

* No special interest groups will be involved.  WHAS-TV alone hosts the debate.

* WHAS-TV will offer access to a satellite feed of the debate to any Kentucky television or radio station, to ensure as wide an audience as possible.

* No audience will be present in studio.

* No props and no prepared notes are allowed, yet candidates are permitted to take notes during the debate.

* The debate will include questions split evenly from three sources: from each candidate to the other, WHAS-TV Political Editor Joe Arnold and video questions submitted by Kentucky voters and chosen by WHAS-TV without prior knowledge or consultation of either campaign. 

* Joe Arnold will serve as the sole timekeeper and moderator of the debate. 

In the spirit of the compromise we are suggesting the campaigns embrace, WHAS-TV stands ready to also compromise on these conditions in the interest of providing to our viewers and all Kentucky voters this public service.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Linda Danna
President & General Manager
WHAS 11 -TV
Louisville, KY
 



July 30, 2014

Alison Lundergan Grimes
c/o Alison for Kentucky

Sec. Grimes:

Nearly two months ago, WHAS-TV extended an invitation to you and Senator Mitch McConnell to participate in one to three live, televised debates on WHAS-TV.

As both campaigns have indicated to WHAS-TV Political Editor Joe Arnold that there has been little, if any, progress toward a debate agreement, WHAS-TV is offering to help facilitate the process to ensure that Kentucky voters are able to see and hear for themselves the differences between the candidates.  Our offices are open to the campaigns for a face-to-face meeting of representatives to discuss debate plans.

To that end, WHAS-TV has reviewed the conditions set forth by each candidate.  It is clear that unless one or both of you compromise on the debate conditions, Kentucky voters will be deprived of this important public job interview to represent the commonwealth in the U.S. Senate.

We suggest both campaigns consider meeting in the middle, while preserving the essence of both sets of conditions stipulated by the campaigns.

While WHAS-TV remains open to hosting any televised debate based on mutually agreeable conditions, we respectfully submit this debate proposal which we believe reflects each of your priorities.

* Both candidates, Sen. McConnell and Sec. Grimes, will debate for 60-90 minutes in WHAS-TV's studios in a live telecast on a mutually agreeable date.

* No special interest groups will be involved.  WHAS-TV alone hosts the debate.

* WHAS-TV will offer access to a satellite feed of the debate to any Kentucky television or radio station, to ensure as wide an audience as possible.

* No audience will be present in studio.

* No props and no prepared notes are allowed, yet candidates are permitted to take notes during the debate.

* The debate will include questions split evenly from three sources: from each candidate to the other, WHAS-TV Political Editor Joe Arnold and video questions submitted by Kentucky voters and chosen by WHAS-TV without prior knowledge or consultation of either campaign. 

* Joe Arnold will serve as the sole timekeeper and moderator of the debate. 

In the spirit of the compromise we are suggesting the campaigns embrace, WHAS-TV stands ready to also compromise on these conditions in the interest of providing to our viewers and all Kentucky voters this public service.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Linda Danna
President & General Manager
WHAS 11 -TV
Louisville, KY

 

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