[Pre-Debate Pressure] [Protest the CPD Debates] [Sue the Bastards]

How YOU can help open up the Presidential Debates!

1) Put on pressure before the debates

Support the debates being planned by the Citizens' Debate Commission

Persuade the major candidates, the networks and the newspapers to support the CDC instead of the CPD.
DebateDateHost SiteLocation
1st Presidential Debate
Wed, Sept 22Capital UniversityColumbus, OH
2nd Presidential Debate
Tues, Sept 28Swarthmore CollegeSwarthmore, PA
3rd Presidential Debate
Tues, Oct 3Canisius CollegeBuffalo, NY
Vice-Presidential Debate
Thur, Oct 7Willamette UniversitySalem, OR
4th Presidential Debate
Mon, Oct 11Carleton CollegeNorthfield, MN
5th Presidential Debate
Fri, Oct 15Nova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale, FL

  1. Target: The Major Party Candidates
  2. Contact Bush and Kerry and tell them you expect them to participate in real debates, hosted by the Citizensí Debate Commission. Bring the issue up at every opportunity, especially if the major party candidates appear in your state or on local programs.

    Snail Mail is Best!

    Candidates' Online Discussion Boards:
    Bush: www.georgewbush.com/Chat
    Kerry: forum.johnkerry.com

    Candidates' Blogs:
    Bush: www.georgewbush.com/blog
    Kerry: blog.johnkerry.com

    If all else fails, email Bush and Kerry, but it's not as effective as using ink!

  3. Target: TV Networks
  4. 2-way debates are BORING (and it shows):

    First DebateLast DebateAverage
    1992 Presidential Debates
    (3-way with Clinton, Bush and Perot)
    62.4 to 85 million66.9 to 97 million66.4 to 90 million
    1996 Presidential Debates
    (2-way with Clinton and Dole)
    46 million36 million42 million
    2000 Presidential Debates
    (2-way with Bush and Gore)
    46.6 million37.7 million40.6 million

    TV Alert! - Let the TV networks know that you won't stand for a closed, two-party presidential "debate"!

    With the 3-way debate in 1992, viewership grew in each successive debate. In the 2-way 1996 debates, the viewership fell from debate to debate.

    Sources for this info are:

    Encourage TV networks to reject the exclusionary debates of the CPD and set up their own debates, with more inclusive criteria for participation -- leaving empty seats for any major-party candidate who fails to appear. Glean language from Fair's 2000 sample letter to write to the TV networks listed below. Let them know that you're not interested in watching boring 2-way debates, and that you'd like to see more candidates involved.

    ABC News
    47 W. 66 St.
    New York, NY 10023
    Phone: 212-456-7777
    Fax: 212-456-4297
    D.C. Bureau phone: 202-222-7777
    General e-mail: netaudr@abc.com
    Feedback Website
    CBS News
    524 W. 57 St.
    New York, NY 10019
    Phone: 212-975-4321
    Fax: 212-975-1893
    D.C. Bureau phone: 202-457-4321
    General e-mail: audsvcs@cbs.com
    Feedback Website
    30 Rockefeller Plaza
    New York, NY 10112
    Phone: 212-664-4444
    Fax: 212-664-5705
    1320 Braddock Place
    Alexandria, VA 22314
    Phone: 703-739-5000
    Fax: 703-739-0775
    Fox News Channel
    1211 Avenue of the Americas, 2nd Floor
    New York, NY 10036
    Phone: 212-556-2500
    Other Networks:

  5. Target: Local News (Editorials)
  6. The upstart Citizensí Debate Commission is gaining momentum and has gathered the support of several major newspaper editorial boards.

    You can write letters to the editor of your local newspapers (and even national magazines) and argue that the debates ought to be open to significant third party candidates. Open Debates has a collection of editorials that have been written in other papers that you can model your letters on.


  7. Target: Corporate Sponsors
  8. Corporate sponsors of the 2004 debates have yet to be identified by the CPD.

    Of the major corporations who sponsor the 2000 debates, Anheuser-Busch donated a half-million dollars to be the "sole sponsor" of the 2000 debate in St. Louis, MO. They have sponsored previous debates in St. Louis - which is where the October 8th, 2004 CPD debate will be held - so they may do so again this year. Would you like to discourage their potential support of a two-party debate? Here's their contact info:

    Email form: https://contactus.anheuser-busch.com/contactus/email.asp
    Phone (general info): 1-800-DIAL-BUD (1-800-342-5283)
    Web: http://www.anheuser-busch.com/ or http://www.budweiser.com/
    August A. Busch III, Chairman of the Board and President and/or
    John E. Jacob, Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer

    Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
    World Headquarters
    One Busch Place
    St. Louis, Mo. 63118

  9. Target: Commission on Presidential Debates
  10. Tell the CPD to open its doors to 3rd party candidates. Their criteria include requiring a candidate to get 15% in the polls by September. This is practically impossible unless the candidate is a billionaire or a celebrity (or has been in a nationally televised debate!).

    Janet H. Brown, Executive Director
    Commission on Presidential Debates

    1200 New Hampshire Ave NW Suite 445
    Washington, D.C. 20036

    Vote.com had an online poll in October 2000 on the question "Should Buchanan and Nader be Included in the Presidential Debates?" which sent an email to Janet Brown and tallied the votes. Check vote.com periodically for polls relevant to debates and third party candidates.

2) Hold massive protests at the CPD debates

As planned by the Commission on Presidential Debates:
(All debates will be aired at 9:00 pm Eastern Time)
Debate/Protest WebsiteDateHost SiteLocation
1st Presidential Debate
Thur, Sept. 30University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL
Vice-Presidential Debate
Tues, Oct 5Case Western Reserve UniversityCleveland, OH
2nd Presidential Debate
Protest Website:

Fri, Oct 8Washington UniversitySt. Louis, MO
3rd Presidential Debate
Protest Website:
Wed, Oct 13Arizona State UniversityTempe, AZ
Alternate sites: Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY & University of South Carolina, Columbia SC

How can I get involved in the debates protests? (contacts and email lists)

3) Sue the Bastards

corporate financing of the debates = illegal corporate campaign contributions
Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader, John Hagelin, Winona LaDuke, the Green Party of the United States, and the Constitution Party were excluded from the 2000 CPD debates. They filed a complaint against the CPD said that the CPD violates the law banning corporate contributions in connection with federal election campaigns. The FEC dismissed their complaint. Now they are suing suing the Federal Election Commission, with the help of the National Voting Rights Institute, among others.

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