Voters Deserve Free and Open Debate Between U.S. Senate Candidates-Open Letter to Sen. Daniel Akaka

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Dear Sen. Daniel Akaka:

Yesterday you accepted an August 31st AARP-sponsored PBS Hawaii televised debate “subject to negotiation of formal terms and conditions.” You also declined similar offers from The Honolulu Advertiser, KHNL-TV, KGMB9, KITV4 and KHON2, giving as your reason that you “didn’t want to give an unfair advantage to any single commercial entity.”


First, I respectfully but directly disagree with your decision to participate in just one debate. This is a crucial election presenting a crucial choice, and we both owe it to our voters to provide them with a range of debates with which to make an informed choice. You are arbitrarily dictating to the voters that they will have one chance and one chance only to evaluate us side-by-side.

Second, I respectfully reject your reasons for declining the remaining offers. I request that, to avoid any unfair advantage to any one commercial entity, we accept all offers. That would be beneficial to our voters, and I’m sure our schedules can accommodate all of those events.

Third, if you continue to reject all such offers, I ask you to agree with me to work with those five entities toward a single additional debate to be broadcast live over all such stations.

Fourth, if you continue to reject all but the PBS Hawaii debate, I ask you to agree with me to request, as a condition of our participation, that all commercial media, including all four statewide commerical television stations, have full and live access to our debate.

Fifth, we have contacted CSPAN, which is most interested to either or both of a live feed or rebroadcast of our PBS Hawaii debate (or any other debate), and I ask you to agree with me to request, as a condition of our participation, that CSPAN2 be authorized to do so.

Sixth, as to your required “negotiation of formal terms and conditions” to the PBS Hawaii debate, I reject any terms and conditions that would, in essence, turn this debate into a non-debate. The purpose of a debate is to provide voters with information on the respective candidates, both their positions and philosophies and their capabilities in office, in this case the United States Senate. Discussion and debate in the halls and hearing rooms and on the floor of the Senate is not subject to artificial constraints such as Senators not asking each other questions, and neither should this debate be subject to artificial restrictions.

Seventh, I will negotiate the terms and conditions; whoever will be doing so for you may reach me at 942-7179.

Eighth, I will negotiate the terms and conditions only in public, on advance notice to the public and media. The voters deserve to know what terms and conditions are being requested or demanded by both of us because it bears on our relative commitment to a true debate.

I look forward to your reply to each of these points and request, and am prepared to schedule our first public meeting with respect to formal terms and conditions at your earliest convenience.

With aloha,

Congressman Ed Case

cc: AARP Hawaii
PBS Hawaii

”’Congressman Ed Case is a Democrat representing the state of Hawaii.”’

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