Sen. Scott Brown turned down an offer by the Kennedy Institute to debate his Democratic opponent because Kennedy’s widow would not commit to his pre-condition of remaining neutral in the campaign, the Boston Globe
Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, had proposed that Brown participate in a late September debate against his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren, which would be hosted by the University of Massachusetts Boston and Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, the Globe reported. Victoria is president of the board at the Kennedy Institute. Brown said he would agree to participate on the condition that Kennedy remain neutral in the race.
“We respect Vicki Kennedy’s decision but we regret that we cannot accept a debate invitation from someone who plans to endorse Scott Brown’s opponent,” Brown’s campaign manager Jim Barnett said in a statement, reported by the Globe. “The Kennedy Institute cannot hold itself out as a nonpartisan debate sponsor while the president of its board of trustees gets involved in the race on behalf of one of the candidates.”
Another condition requested by the Massachusetts Republican was that MSNBC not be the broadcast sponsor of the debate.
Spokespersons for the Kennedy Institute and the other debate co-sponsor, the University of Massachusetts-Boston said the non-endorsement pledge was unprecedented and seemed inappropriate and assured that the debate would be fair, the Globe reported. They also said they would be open to networks other than MSNBC hosting the debate.
The candidates are still slated to debates on local radio stations and a Boston media consortium.
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