McConnell Challenges Lundergan Grimes to 3 'Unvarnished' Debates

Image: McConnell Challenges Lundergan Grimes to 3 'Unvarnished' Debates

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 05:19 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The day after his primary victory, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell invited Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to three "unvarnished" Lincoln-Douglas-style debates, beginning before July 4.

In a letter obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader, McConnell said the traditional debate format would allow the candidates "to present our views fairly and without interpretation by traditional media filters."

"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," he wrote.

The Lincoln-Douglas format is modeled after debates that Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held during their Senate campaigns in 1858 in which they discussed the morals and values behind slavery, The Hill notes.

"I believe that in order to present our views before Kentuckians who are inundated with advertising, we should agree to hold the first of these three debates before the Fourth of July," McConnell wrote. "This will allow for our first real exchange of ideas a full calendar year after you announced your candidacy."

McConnell suggested a second debate in early August and a third 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," he wrote.

Lundergan Grimes has not been opposed to debating, telling reporters Monday, "When it comes to debating, it probably will be Mitch McConnell that will be the 'empty dress' and won't show up on the other side," the newspaper reported.

McConnell, 72, defeated his tea party-aligned challenger Matt Bevin, but is just a nose ahead of Lundergan Grimes, 35, Real Clear Politics reports.

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