WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party leaders and candidates protested the exclusion of Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and Ron Paul from primary presidential debates sponsored by major news organizations.
Greens noted that Mr. Kucinich, Mr. Gravel, and Mr. Paul hold strong positions against the Iraq war and other Bush policies, in agreement with most Americans but contrary to the positions of other Democrats and Republicans running for the White House.
Mr. Kucinich, like the Green Party, favors single-payer national health care, unlike his fellow Democratic presidential candidates and the major media, which rely on corporate campaign contributions and advertising dollars from insurance firms, HMOs, and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Mr. Kucinich was excluded from an ABC TV debate on January 5.
The six candidates for the Green Party’s presidential nomination, all of whom oppose the war, will be featured in upcoming Green debates. The first debate will take place in San Francisco on January 13 . The nomination will be decided at the Green Party’s 2008 national convention, July 10-13 in Chicago.
• Jody Grage, treasurer of the Green Party of the United States: “In democratic elections, voters have a right to be informed about all the candidates whose names they’ll see on the ballot. Fox and ABC TV have violated the public interest and their licenses to use the publicly owned airwaves. They’re acting like the official news bureaus of dictatorships.”
• Jason Wallace, peace activist, Iraq War veteran, and Green candidate for Congress in Illinois (11th district) : “It’s no accident that Kucinich, Gravel, and Paul — the most vocal opponents of the Iraq invasion — are getting shut out of the debates. While the Democratic and Republican parties and big media conglomerates try to close down serious public discussion over the Iraq war, the Green Party’s ‘Peace Slate’ will continue to represent the opinion of most Americans, whom poll after poll have shown oppose the war. On Election Day 2008, the only truly antiwar candidates on the ballot will be from the Green Party or another third party or will be independent.”
• Rodger Jennings, Green candidate for Congress in Illinois (12th District) : “The Democratic and Republican parties and media companies like Fox and ABC have censored the opinions of the majority of Americans, who want to see a quick end to the Iraq War. It’s revealing that Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee won in Iowa. Among the frontrunners within their respective parties, they’ve been the most critical of President Bush’s foreign policies. But Mr. Huckabee has only criticized the Bush Administration’s strategic blunders in Iraq, rather the war itself. While Mr. Obama has opposed the war, he only favors a vague and delayed timetable for partial withdrawal of troops, which suggests that the occupation will continue in some form regardless of which Democratic frontrunner might be elected in November. Mr. Obama has also added his voice to the military threat against Iran, and says nothing about holding the Bush Administration and war profiteers accountable for their crimes. Unfortunately, voters are being denied the chance to hear the real antiwar candidates and are being told that Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and Ron Paul shouldn’t be taken seriously.”
• John Walsh, Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party delegate to the Green Party’s National Committee: “In recent elections, the Commission on Presidential Debates, the corporate-owned body controlled by the two established parties, has only allowed Democratic and Republican presidential candidates and has barred Green, independent, and other candidates from participating. We urge all Americans — especially those who oppose bipartisan warhawk policies on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran — to speak out in demand of fair elections and election coverage, and inclusion of all qualified candidates in the debates, regardless of their positions or party memberships.”