McConnell accepts WDRB's offer to host televised debates against - WDRB 41 Louisville News

McConnell accepts WDRB's offer to host televised debates against Grimes

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell's campaign has accepted WDRB's offer to host the debates the Senate Minority Leader proposed to Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

During a special Point of View segment, WDRB President and General Manager Bill Lamb issued an invitation to McConnell and Grimes, offering to host the Lincoln-Douglas style debates if the two candidates agreed the challenge.

"We at WDRB are so enthusiastic about the prospect that we are, right now, offering our facilities to host and televise any such debates that result from this invitation. We will, further, make any such debate telecasts available at no charge to every television and radio station in Kentucky or the Cincinnati area," Lamb said.

Wednesday afternoon, the Team Mitch campaign accepted WDRB's offer to host the proposed debates. Campaign manager Jesse Benton wrote:

Thank you for WDRB’s generous offer to host the Lincoln-Douglas style debates Senator McConnell proposed for a statewide television audience.

Your suggested date for the first debate of Saturday, June 21, works for the Senator’s schedule and he would like to accept your offer. We look forward to discussing the specifics with you and the campaign of Alison Lundergan Grimes.

It is our sincere hope that Secretary Grimes also accepts this offer so that this campaign may begin with a substantive discussion of the issues that matter to Kentuckians.

The Grimes campaign responded to McConnell's challenge late Wednesday afternoon, accusing the five-term senator of "playing games," with a full response to come later this week. The full response states:

Once again Mitch McConnell is behind Alison Lundergan Grimes. Days ago, she welcomed the opportunity to debate McConnell and our campaign stands ready to discuss details. He will need all the time in the world to defend a 30-year record of looking out for himself and creating gridlock in Washington. This campaign is about two very distinct visions for Kentucky's future: one puts forward bold ideas to put Kentuckians back to work, while the other does not believe it is his responsibility to bring jobs to the Commonwealth. What Kentuckians don't need are gimmicks and games. If Mitch McConnell truly wants this campaign to be a healthy debate about issues between the candidates, we should also agree to keep outside organizations from flooding Kentucky airwaves with special interest money.

WDRB News obtained the letter Sen. McConnell sent to the Kentucky Secretary of State, congratulating her on her nomination as the Democratic candidate for his U.S. Senate seat and challenging her to the series of debates.

Below is the text of that letter:

May 21, 2014

Dear Secretary Grimes,

Congratulations on becoming the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. I know this campaign will be a spirited and respectful contest that will provide Kentuckians with an honest choice between two very different visions for the future.

In order to present our views fairly and without interpretation by traditional media filters, I believe we should participate in three traditional Lincoln-Douglas style debates and moderated only by a single timekeeper/moderator. By conducting these debates without an audience, without props, and without notes, it will allow for an unvarnished exchange of views for Kentuckians to evaluate.

Last Sunday, The Lexington Herald-Leader suggested that May 21st would not be too early for us to find time to debate and I agree. I believe that in order to present our views before Kentuckians are inundated with advertising, we should agree to hold the first of these three debates before the Fourth of July. This will allow for our first real exchange of ideas a full calendar year after you announced your candidacy. The Second debate should be held before Fancy Farm, and a third and final event around Labor Day.

Kentucky voters will get their fill of campaign ads and scripted events this year but three Lincoln-Douglas style debates will provide an excellent format to evaluate our true views on the issues.

I look forward to hearing from you on this invitation.


Mitch McConnell

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