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.
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