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It's Kucinich, Gravel, and Biden in controversial Fox and Black Caucus-sponsored debate
Michael Roston
Published: Tuesday May 29, 2007
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With the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2008 shunning a presidential primary debate sponsored by Fox News and a thinktank associated with the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), and former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel have announced their readiness to stand in a controversial spotlight.

"He's ready to debate the issues anywhere at any time, and reach out to a new constituency," said Alex Colvin, a spokesman for former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel. "Senator Gravel looks forward to any opportunity to discuss the issues with other Democratic candidates."

Rep. Kucinich, known primarily for his push to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney and his strong anti-war position, criticized his opponents who were unwilling to show up to the CBC/Fox debate.

"Fox broadcasts the World Series, too, but is it any less of a World Series because it's on Fox? Ask the fans in St. Louis, or Anaheim, or Boston," the Ohio Democrat said in a statement released by his campaign. "Lets face it, the race for the presidency is the World Series of politics, and here you have three candidates for President who are admitting that not only can they not hit right-handed pitching, they're even afraid to step up to the plate and take a swing. Well, I'm one candidate for President who can hit any pitch anyone throws at me. And I'll be taking the field in Detroit this September with the Congressional Black Caucus."

Senator Biden was a bit more muted than the competitors with whom he'll be standing on stage, telling the New York Times through a spokesman on Sunday that "the caucus represented 'an important base' and Fox offered an unparalleled forum for a candidate 'to hold the Bush administrationís feet to the fire on their handling of Iraq.'"

Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards have all refused to participate in the debate. Senator Obama, who was rumored to have blackballed Fox News earlier in the year for broadcasting a disproven claim that he had been educated in an Islamic madrassa, said through a spokesman that "It just seems that CNN would be a more appropriate host."

Senator Chris Dodd's (D-CT) office has not yet issued a comment on whether or not he would join in the debate. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico at first told the Times he would not participate in the debate, but then said that the former Clinton administration Energy Secretary and Ambassador to the UN had not made a decision.

While the CBC's cooperation with Fox News on presidential debates has been debated since the spring time, the debate itself is not scheduled until Sept. 23, 2007. The CBC Institute will also sponsor a subsequent debate in Jan. 2008 with CNN.