Brown declines Kennedy debate invite
June 19th, 2012
03:45 PM ET
2 years ago

Brown declines Kennedy debate invite

(CNN) – Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts declined an invitation from the Edward M. Kennedy Institute to debate his rival, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, citing Vicki Kennedy's plan to endorse Warren.

"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 Tuesday. "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."

The Kennedy Institute invited the two Massachusetts Senate candidates last week to a debate they said would be moderated by NBC News' Tom Brokaw and possibly aired on a cable television network, according to the Boston Globe.

While Warren accepted the invitation, Brown issued stipulations for his participation. In a letter to the late Sen. Kennedy's wife, Barnett wrote that Brown would only partake if Kennedy vowed not to endorse a candidate. They accepted Brokaw as moderator but said they would prefer a debate with local media sponsors, not "out-of-state cable networks with a reputation for political advocacy."

Kennedy responded to Brown through a letter Tuesday to the two campaigns from the institute.

"This non-endorsement pledge is unprecedented and is not being required of any other persons or entities," a letter read. "To us, such a pledge seems inappropriate when a non-media sponsor issues a debate invitation."

The institute's CEO and chief of staff to the office of the chancellor at the University of Massachusetts Boston assured both campaigns the debate would be fair and said further details, including the moderator and media coverage could be addressed with campaign representatives in the future.

"We very much hope that we can continue this discussion in a professional and serious manner," the letter read. "Our number one priority is to educate and engage the voters and to promote civil public discourse."

Brown, who was elected in a special election following Sen. Kennedy's death and Warren, a former consumer advocate to the Obama administration, are locked in a close election that has received national headlines. The rivals previously agreed to two other televised debates in the state.


Filed under: 2012 • Congress • Elizabeth Warren • Massachusetts • Senate
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Natalie

    @Myviewis: And so do you actually think Fox Noise is capable of non-partisan debates? Haven't they hosted debates? Admit it, your guy is just scared silly of a woman with a brain. Yes, a coward very outmatched intellectually.

    June 19, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. works4me

    Just as most GOP... all bull mitt... no ideas. We're gonna fix it but don't ask us how. One for all and all for me... the GOP

    June 19, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. ghtbad

    Elizabeth Warren is one pathetic woman, even by liberal standards. She uses the Cherokee people to advance herself and refuses to meet with the Cherokee people and sends a staffer in her place. Oh well, I guess we shouldn't be surprised by Elizabeth Warren. After all she is...."31/32nd White, liberal, elitist, lawyer."

    June 19, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. MaryM

    Warren would win the debate in any forum.

    June 19, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  5. Sirned

    Republicans have been brainwashed into thinking if it's not a sanctioned rightwing approved media site like Fox it is just the scary enemy news sites. And if they appear on those networks they will get eaten and abused into answering tough questions...You know like those elite commies at the ABC NBC and CBS lame street media types....talk about wusses....

    June 19, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. 2020

    BROWN cannot face the spirit of Kennedy.

    June 19, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Tigerbangs

    his one of the smartest moves that Brown could have made: the debate was nothing more than a Democrat party with Scott Brown scheduled as the pinata. there will be plenty of times available to debate, but, in the case of Elizabeth Warren, remember that debates will benefit HER far more than they will Brown. Brown is already a sitting senator. Whatever exposure that Warren gets via debates really only serves her cause, not Brown's. There was absolutely NO upside to Brown by allowing the Kennedy Library sponsor a debate. He laid out his conditions, and they refused. it's ALL good.

    June 19, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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