Debate necessary part of politics

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 9, 2002

Gubernatorial hopefuls U.S. Rep. Bob Riley and Gov. Don Siegelman may line up

for at least one live debate next month, and we certainly hope they do.

Ideally, each voter would have a chance to interview the candidates

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face-to-face; but that’s unrealistic, and instead we must rely on

orchestrated forums to impart that information and insight. Those forums

range from newspaper interviews to face-to-face debates, as proposed now.

We believe well-conducted live debates offer voters an important insight to a

candidate’s ability to think on his feet; to focus on important issues; and

to share his plans and his vision for leadership.

By well-conducted debates we mean well-structured, with insightful and

thought-provoking questions. These should be the tough questions – one that

candidates might prefer to evade – and voters should have a chance to see who will step up with an answer, and who will side-step an issue.

Both the Republican and Democratic nominee have agreed to a debate, although

the format and timing have yet to be settled. Siegelman has said yes to a

television station’s proposed debate; Riley, the Republican, wants to make

evaluate the terms and formats, apparently to avoid any edge that could be

given to his opponent.

We hope both men will agree to a series of debates, throughout the state and

throughout the campaign between now and November. It would be a bold step,

and a valuable tool for Alabama’s voters.  

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