22 August, 2006

More Debate On Debates; Spencer Now Challenging Clinton While KT Feels Slighted

The debate about debates continued today in the New York Senate race.

For weeks, Republican candidate KT McFarland has been calling publicly for debates with her GOP primary opponent John Spencer. The two did have one scuffle which was called a debate, but Spencer has not agreed to another pairing with McFarland.

However, just one day after McFarland announced she was putting her campaign on ice while she deals with a family issue, Spencer suddenly has the itch to debate -- with Hillary Clinton.

Spencer has challenged Clinton to a debate as a follow up to his controversial ad in which he lied/did not lie about Clinton's position on reauthorizing the Patriot Act.

Spencer argues that Clinton's vote against ending debate on the Patriot Act was tantamount to voting against the legislation itself. Clinton says she voted for the reauthorization, after the Democrats won some concessions.

Spencer also criticized Clinton's opposition to warrantless wiretapping:

"You seek to undermine the ability of law enforcement officials to conduct the war on terror, all in a political play to fear. You're playing politics on national security, an unhelpful trend in Congress these days."

That quote is from a letter to Clinton from Spencer which is displayed in full on Spencer's Web site.

Seeing the letter, McFarland's press secretary Morgan Ortagus sent out a challenge of her own -- to Spencer.

"I was surprised to see that you challenged Hillary Rodham Clinton to a debate today. When did you start believing in debates?

KT McFarland has been asking you for weeks to debate her around New York State and you have refused -- adamantly. She asked you debate in Buffalo. She asked to debate you in Albany. She asked you debate in Syracuse. She asked you to debate in Rochester. Then she asked you to debate in all those places all over again -- two or three times.

I think you well know that Mrs. McFarland is taking a few days off to deal with a family crisis, but that doesn't make you the Republican candidate for Senate. You have to earn that in a Primary election on September 12. That's what happens in democracies."

On and on it goes. Sept. 12 can't get here soon enough


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