GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
For Immediate Release:
Friday, September 26, 2008
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, firstname.lastname@example.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, email@example.com
Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney will ‘join the debate’ via VoterWatch.com blog Friday evening
• Web site: http://www.bloggingthedebates.com
• “A Fraud on the American Voter”: Greens protest the exclusion of McKinney and other qualified candidates from the debate, control of the debates by the Democratic and Republican parties and corporate sponsors; Greens insist on voters’ right to know about all presidential candidates.
WASHINGTON, DC — Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney will be blogging live at the web site of the 2008 Presidential Debates Project (http://www.bloggingthedebates.com), a project of VoterWatch.com, during the debate between Barack Obama and John McCain in Oxford, Mississippi on Friday, September 26.
On Wednesday, Cynthia McKinney said she is ready to step in for John McCain at the debate, after Mr. McCain called for postponement of the event (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=108).
The Green Party defends the right of voters to be informed about all the candidates on the ballot and to vote for which candidates best reflect their interests. The party has strongly protested the control over the presidential debates by the Democratic and Republican parties and their corporate sponsors, which have an interest in limiting the number of participants to Democratic and Republican candidates — which the League of Women Voters once called “a fraud on the American voter.”
Greens have called for Cynthia McKinney’s inclusion in the 2008 presidential debates, along with other candidates with ballot lines in a majority of states: independent Ralph Nader, Libertarian nominee Bob Barr, and Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin.
“Cynthia McKinney, Rosa Clemente, and the Green Party represent millions of voices whose opinions will be excluded from the debates unless they are invited,” said Cliff Thornton, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. “Ms. McKinney is the only woman presidential candidate in 2008. Ms. McKinney and Ms. Clemente are the first US presidential ticket in which both nominees are of African ancestry, and Ms. Clemente is Black Puerto Rican. Ms. McKinney has involved herself personally in the struggle of people in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region to fight permanent eviction and return to their homes — Friday’s debate will take place in Mississippi, a Gulf Coast state.” “The Green Party and its candidates represent the promise of an anti-war, progressive party that takes no money from corporations — an imperative for America in the 21st century. No other candidate in the 2008 stands for what the McKinney-Clemente ticket stands for,” Mr. Thornton added.
Talking points and background
• The Green Party asserts that voters have a right to know about all the candidates whose names they’ll see on the ballot, not just the candidates approved by the Commission on Presidential Debates or the candidates whose poll numbers declare them ‘winnable.’ Voters deserve to know which candidate best represents their own interests and ideals.
• Cynthia McKinney will be on enough state ballots to get elected to the White House. Any presidential candidate who is on enough ballots to be elected is qualified to participate in the debates.
• When debates are limited to two candidates, the voting public hears only a narrow range of ideas, opinions, and solutions. When presidential debates are restricted to Democrat and Republican, important and popular ideas don’t get discussed — single-payer national health care, rapid and complete withdrawal from Iraq, ending the war on drugs, saving US democracy from a repeat of the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004, impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Without Ms. McKinney, such ideas will be censored from the debates.
• The only valid democratic measurement of public support for candidates is the election. Opinion polls are subjective, vulnerable to bias, constantly fluctuating, and often exclude candidates from the questions asked. Polls are not democratic and should not be used todetermine who gets to participate in debates.
• The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which sets rules for candidate participation, took over the debates from the nonpartisan League of Women Voters after the LWV withdrew in protest of the Democratic and Republican candidates’ attempts to control nearly every aspect of how the debates were to be conducted. The CPD is owned and run by the Democratic and Republican parties, which have an interest in excluding all candidates except their own. The CPD is funded through contributions from corporations, which have their own interests in limiting the candidates who participate in the debates. In an October 3, 1988, press release the LWV called two-party control over the debates “a fraud on the American voter.” In Canada, the TV networks initially tried to exclude Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, from the September 10 debates before the October 14 national election. After the Greens launched a “reclaim democracy” campaign and Canadians throughout the country demanded Ms. May’s inclusion, Ms. May was invited to participate. Americans who value democracy and fair elections should demand multi-party debates too.
Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
• Green candidate database for 2008 and other campaign information: http://www.gp.org/elections.shtml
• Green Party News Center http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
• Green Party Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
• Green Party ballot access page http://www.gp.org/2008-elections
Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente ‘Power to the People’ Campaign for the White House
Cynthia McKinney on video
• Press conference, September 10 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5ivgS4asc
• Speech in Denver, August 24: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPxgcjOjUEc
• Music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx1NPlQjkqo
Rosa Clemente on video
• Interview: Current TV/Rock the Vote http://current.com/items/89335393_the_organizer_and_green_party_vp_candidate_talks_about_her_inspirations