Monday, March 17, 2008

Debate Invitation Etiquette

Here is my first rule of debate invitation etiquette: if you really want someone to debate you, don't insult them in the course of asking for it.

Jim Neal violated that axiom last week by putting out a press release that not only called on Kay Hagan to debate but also said that 'Chairwoman Hagan thinks this campaign is about calling in favors from high-dollar Capitol insiders to pay for carpet bombing the state with poll-tested political ads.'

If someone sent me an 'invitation' like that, it would go right in the recycling bin.

It is going to be hard enough to beat Elizabeth Dole if Hagan or Neal emerges from the primary unscathed. It'll be that much harder if they bloody each other up with nasty rhetoric.

Neal should take a lesson from Richard Moore, who has been perfectly cordial in his calls on Bev Perdue to debate so far.

Of course that still hasn't gotten Perdue to say yes very often, which leads to an interesting question. Do voters really care whether a candidate agrees to debates or not? That might be something we delve into on one of our now weekly tracking polls.


Anonymous said...

Playing Miss Manners does not become you.

Anonymous said...


I was at a recent event in Winston in February were Hagan AND Neal had been invited to speak and take questions at the same time. A perfectly reasonable forum which gives voters an opportunity to see the candidates respond to the same questions and weigh the differences.

Unfortunately, Ms. Hagan refused to appear with Mr. Neal, saying she would appear alone, or not at all. She also refused to allow any taping of the event.

There now seems to be a distinct reluctance to debate Neal, so this does raise questions about her motives for avoiding public scrutiny in an adversarial environment.

When a politician goes out of their way to stay off the record in a PUBLIC forum, there is something wrong.

You condemn Neal's remarks on Hagan, yet you do not address whether the remarks are valid.

Also, do I understand correctly that you run a polling firm? If so, doesn't it run counter to industry ethical standards for you to be making comments critical/supportive of either candidate? I mean isn't the job of a polling company to measure public opinion on an issue, not try to sway public opinion?

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