Sweet blog special: Kucinich "outraged" over Clinton, Edwards angling to limit debates. The four tiers of Dem candidates.

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WASHINGTON--Long shot White House hope Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is steaming over an overheard suggestion from rival former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to try to dump down tier candidates from debates.

Kucinich, one of eight 2008 contenders, is in the last tier and has few prospects for advancement. Debates are his life-line, one of the only ways to try to get some attention on a very uneven presidential playing field.

"Candidates, no matter how important or influential they perceive themselves to be, do not have and should not have the power to determine who is allowed to speak to the American public and who is not," said Kucinich in a statement.

Here's how the tiers break down...based on money raised and polling

Tier 1. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama
Tier 2. John Edwards, Bill Richardson
Tier 3. Chris Dodd, Joe Biden
Tier 4. Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel.

Click below for Kucinich statement...

The Kucinich letter
Kucinich camp outraged by 'overheard' plans of Clinton and Edwards to eliminate candidates from future Presidential debates, forums

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Friday, July 13, 2007

DETROIT, MI – Top campaign officials for Ohio Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich today expressed outrage that rival candidates Hillary Clinton and John Edwards were overheard collaborating on a strategy to eliminate other Democratic candidates from future debates and forums.

According to the Associated Press, Fox News Channel microphones picked up Clinton and Edwards on stage discussing their desire to limit future joint appearances to exclude some rivals lower in the crowded field. "We should try to have a more serious and a smaller group,'' Edwards said into Clinton's ear following a Presidential Forum in Detroit hosted by the NAACP on Thursday.

Clinton agreed with Edwards, according to print reports and video footage of the exchange. "We've got to cut the number ... They're not serious," she said. Clinton added that she thought representatives of her campaign and Edwards' had already tried to limit the debates, and "we've gotta get back to it,'' according to the AP.

"Candidates, no matter how important or influential they perceive themselves to be, do not have and should not have the power to determine who is allowed to speak to the American public and who is not," said Kucinich.

"Imperial candidates are as repugnant to the American people and to our Democracy as an imperial President."

The Kucinich campaign will immediately take steps to address the planned actions of the Clinton and Edwards campaigns.

# # #


Kucinich is beating Dodd and Biden in most polls...Your tier levels are simply flawed.

Edwards and Clinton were right-there are too many candidates included in the debates-especially one Mike Gravel who is a senile old fool who trivalizes the process. A candidate should register at least 5% in the polls to included.There have to be standards and guidelines for inclusion.

this is very much like 2004 when teresa hines-kerry condemed the debates for including kucinich and sharpton. surely the blowback from such an effort would have the most negative impact on mr. edwards. could he be posturing for a possible cabinet post? he's becoming disturbingly mistake prone.

Here we go again, with another "manufactured scandal" involving John Edwards. I knew it was coming after he won the MoveOn Climate Change straw poll. The media always cook up fake scandals about John Edwards the day after he gets good news. Always, I'm not surprised.

Question to you Lynn Sweet:

Just who is the "THEY'RE" that Clinton and Edwards were talking about?

You know what the truth is. YOU DON'T KNOW. You don't know, and neither do the rest of you all in the media who are making your money these days through GOSSIP & SPECULATION.

"Will Gore run", oooh.
"Will Thompson run," oooh.
"Will McCain drop out," oooh.
"Was it a terrorist attack in London, even though there was word that the guy initially said that his breaks went out," ooh.
"Are Edwards and Clinton conspiring against other candidates," oooh, oooh, oooh.

You all don't do your jobs, which as the only industry mentioned in the Constitution, is supposed to be to act as a check on government to let the people know what's going on within the halls of government. In other words, to investigate things that really matter. Instead, you all behave like one big tabloid. All of your press passes should read "National Enquirer." It's speculation all of the time. Most of these news shows focus on one kidnapped child for a month, or Paris Hilton's daily activities, or follow OJ Simpson around like he's the most important person in the country.

IF YOU ALL WANT TO BE OPRAH THEN SAY SO! Don't call yourselves "news."

And yet, here we are again. You all don't have a clue "WHO" or "WHAT" John Edwards and Hillary Clinton were talking about. None. Not a clue at all, but yet, you are SPINNING IT that it was about kicking certain candidates out of the debates. How do you know that it wasn't about limiting the number of joint appearances ( http://politicalwire.com/archives/2007/02/02/top_democrats_seek_to_limit_joint_appearances.html ), which they have discussed before, and the "THEY'RE" that they were talking about where the forums instead of the candidates themselves? Or maybe the people who they want to limit the forums not being "SERIOUS" about doing it? How do you know?

YOU DON'T. None of you do. But you irresponsiblely pushed what you wanted pushed...that it's about limiting the debates.

One big tabloid full of speculation. You are all irresponsible. Once the truth really comes out, like it always does, I wonder if you all will correct the record with the same vigor. Somehow, I doubt it, because you all never do. Not when it's smears about movies or people. Not when it's hyped-up terrorist threats that turned out not to have been "SERIOUS" at all. The record is never corrected.

The irresponsible media is a joke these days. This isn't what the Framers had in mind.

When will Barack Obama become simply a presidential candidate and not the Black man running for president?

Do any one see a problem with this in 2007? Cyberspace? Take a keyboard, type a few lines and reach someone on another continent, while actually having a video conference with a person there. (This is futuristic & present day 2007)

But the incessant statement, "Presidential candidate Barack Obama is a Black man" is appalling! Also, those who question his ethnicity have some issues as well.

Maybe I am really not in the 21st Century, but the early 18th Century. This can only be an Orwellian nightmare where THE PEOPLE would rather be inimical, and let the GOVERNMENT frighten them into submissive behavior.

Ya Think Ms Sweet?

there is a raging debate on the blogs over this issue. I think as long as it is just frustration being aired no harm or foul.
If something is attempted to keep everyone from the right to debate, it's wrong. This is part of the problem we face in our battle to hang on to the principles of our democracy that has been under assault for the past several years.
As for tier ranking. It is good that Obama is in the first tier. We know this but, still good.

I have a suggestion: you have covered Obama for awhile and know the guy. It would be cool of you to write a column on your impressions of the person and candidate. I think it would help in people getting to know him who read you but, don't live in Illinois.

Hmm, once again I find myself in agreement with Kucinich.

The whole thing will be used by both Republican and Democrat rivals of Clinton and Edwards in attack ads to show to taped proof to the American people of Clinton and Edwards both caught in blatant lies and then stabbing a man in the back while demonstrating nasty plotting, collusion, and just plain un-Americanism while smiling and shaking his (Kuncinich's) hand at the same time. This paints a repulsive, vile and untrustworthy picture of Clinton/ Edwards and cements once and for perceptions of Hillary and Edwards the trial lawyer.

This was Clinton/Edwards “Dean Scream” moment and just goes to show how in this day and age political fortunes can turn on a dime.

Reba, you are MISSING THE POINT. I thought we lived in a OPEN and DEMOCRATIC society where everybody had a right to be heard. Isn't that what you liberals are always preaching? Now where's the ACLU, NOW, Emily's List, media, and all the others? They should be screaming. Who is Clinton and Edwards to say 'whose invited in and who isn't invited in ?' I thought we were talking a political party and candidates running for office. And NOT some exclusive club.

I agree with Reba, however I am going to have to play news commentator and spin this seemingly warm contact shared with Clinton/Edwards. My unsubstantiated spin is John Edwards may be hunting to be on the ticket with Hillary. Hillary may find him a nice looking articulate man to schmooze with.

That's what Reba is talking about. However a commentator has more flexibility than a reporter.

Sprinkle in the Internet and blogs and we have chopped up news and chopped up facts and opinions being stirred together in a stew that no one can be sure which and what they saw first.

We all take someone else's spin and add it to our own spin and it is total garbage that comes out.

We have been watching this with our man Fred Thompson. Fred has been maligned by the New York Times. A place we learned in the movies they had to get the story right and only report the verified facts. Ha Ha on the NY Times. Not a pleasant look into the future of accurate news reporting.

Don Jones

Reba and Don, I'd like to remind you and everybody that in 1999 at this very time (July,1999) when the democrat candidates were all gathering funds and campaigning, John Kerry had only 4% in the polls. He would be tier 3 or 4 among candidates by these standards Hilary and her pals want to establish. Again, remember, don't democrats always preach the BIG TENT philosophy? Everybody is included. So now where is it?

Hillary announced her candidacy by saying she wants to begin her "conversation with America." It's obvious that the only conversation she wants is one in which she does all the talking while those who adore her applause. I don't think she even debated her NY Senate primary opponent, Jonathan Tasini.

When the Corporation on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established for post primary debates and the League of Women Voters sponsorship was rejected, the minimum poll percentages for participation in CPD post primary debates became 15%, and the likes of Nader and Buchanan were kept out. Without independents participating in post-primary debates, too many assumptions go unchallenged. The same happens when "lower tier" candidates are kept out of primary debates. The focus of most media campaign coverage is the horse race aspect of money raising and polls rather than issues, so it's no surprise that too many voters consider their votes wasted if they don't vote for a winner, as if supporting candidates who more closely express their ideals is an afterthought.

I want to see the primary debates kept open to all with their names on their party's primary ballot and the poll percentage for participation in post primary debates lowered from 15% to 5%.

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Lynn Sweet

<Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 13, 2007 6:35 PM.

Sweet column: Behind the House Iraq vote. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet column: In Chicago Sunday, Obama, Clinton, Biden, Richardson, Edwards pitch trial ("justice") lawyers. Fund-raising on the side. is the next entry in this blog.

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