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Fox-backed Democratic presidential debate called off
Nick Juliano
Published: Thursday August 23, 2007

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Fox News has canceled a debate of Democratic presidential candidates next month after several candidates dropped out because they said the cable news network would not provide a fair forum, the Associated Press reports. Organizers hope to reschedule the debate.

The top three Democrats seeking the nomination -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards -- already indicated they would not participate in the debate, which is being cosponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus.

A statement from the CBC cites scheduling conflicts and does not mention complaints that had been raised about Fox News serving as host.

“The overwhelming number of party presidential debates has created a scheduling challenge. Revising the CBC Institute’s debate schedule will allow the time necessary to complete all debate logistics in an effective manner,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the caucus.

Fox News President Roger Ailes said in a prepared statement that his network still planned to host the debate.

“We look forward to working with the CBC Institute and continuing a successful relationship that affords presidential candidates the ability to reach the largest possible audience in cable news,” he said.

The candidates said they did not believe Fox would provide a fair forum, and the Democratic National Committee refused to officially sanction the debate. And, earlier this year, the Nevada Democratic Party called off a Fox-sponsored debate after complaints from activists.