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Has any President ever refused to debate before an election?

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AVID Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:13 PM
Original message
Has any President ever refused to debate before an election?
I'm looking forward to seeing b* v Sen. Kerry in a debate.

I hear the excuses already - security, privilege, war time, etc.
Will it happen?
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spotbird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:16 PM
Response to Original message
1. Bush will "debate"
with rules that prohibit questions, non Fox reporters......
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demosincebirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:30 PM
Response to Original message
2. First debate...
JfK vs Nixon
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salib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:41 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. OK, I had to check the accuracy
But I remembered incorrectly also. I was confused and thought about Lincoln-Douglas. Seems those were for the Senate. Anyway, it seems that Truman debated, and Eisenhower, as well.

http://www.debates.org/pages/debhis.html
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. according to the Debates.org site Truman, Ike didn't debate opponents
The '48 debate was between Republican nomination rivals. The '56 debates was between Democratice nominations rivals. It was seen as being beneath the dignity of the president to debate a rival. Ford broke that precedent in 1976--probably because he was behind in the polls. Incumbents only want to debate instead of running on a Rose Garden strategy when they're at risk of losing their job. I think Clinton in '96 was the first president who didn't have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the TV studio.

I'll bet Bush asks to have a 4-man debate so that Cheney can sit with him and hold his hand in this year's debate(s).
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amber dog democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
3. Maybe he can get Cheney to do it for him
I'd be afraid to debate too if I was the Chimp. Very afraid.
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BillZBubb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:24 PM
Response to Original message
5. Not recently. It's now just about required. It's ritualized.
But the Repugs ALWAYS play with the rules as much as they can. The Democrats almost always immediately agree unconditionally. The Repugs then play games to get a setup that hides the many flaws of their candidates--and the Democrats ALWAYS cave.

If Bush* is ahead in the polls in late September, he may be the first in a long time to refuse a debate. And if he is ahead in the polls then given all the negative information people already know about him, he can probably get away with it. What's dodging the debates compared with starting an illegal and bloody war based on lies?

If he does debate, his handlers will work all sorts of side games like they have with the 9-11 commission. Kerry should demand and insist on a straight up debate with no gimmicks--and they should check Chimpy's ears so he doesn't get any real time coaching.
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Undercutter Donating Member (81 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:30 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. lol
kerry wants to start debating bush RIGHT NOW
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
7. First debates in 1960, then not until '76
The debates were well on the way to becoming a tradition in 196O, But in '64 LBJ chose not to debate. He was on his way to a landslide and didn't want to give his opponent equal billing (Goldwater was a great debater, albeit nuts). Nixon in '68 turned down Humphrey's challenge to debate and the tradition languished for another 8 years.

Since then the tradition has emerged of challengers begging for debates and incumbents (or in 2000 the frontrunning idiot) demuring until the last minute. This year is the best chance any president has had in the last thirty years to end the tradition. If they possibly can, you can be the Bushies will try to avoid a debate, then negotiate the number of debates down to one or two (also Carter's strategy, btw).

Our job as citizens in this process is to push and advocate for debates, to not let the guy who's taken several month-long vactions in the past three years to claim he's too busy being a war president to have a two-hour argument about the country's future.
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Mick Knox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:12 AM
Response to Original message
9. If history serves me correctly.. FDR
for his 4th term didnt even campaign.. on the day of the convention he sent a note saying he was available for the nom.

Willing to be corrected here.. been at a game and to lazy to google
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