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Dennis Kucinich and Thursday's Iowa Debate

By Jean Hay Bright  Posted by Kevin Gosztola (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:15:52 AM PST

I want to let you know what’s going on in Iowa.

The Des Moines Register put out a press release last week announcing that six of the eight Democratic candidates for President had "accepted invitations" to debate this Thursday.  Congressman and Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich was not among them.

What the Des Moines Register press release should have said is that they offered invitations to this debate to only six of the eight nationally recognized Democratic presidential candidates and that all six who were invited accepted.  

The Des Moines Register is a prominent newspaper.  Their editors and writers know how to turn a phrase.  And the way they turned that phrase in that news article, the implication is that Dennis Kucinich did not accept the invitation they offered to him.  That phrasing by the Des Moines Register implied that Kucinich declined their invitation to debate.  

That is not true.

In phrasing  its news article the way it did, the Des Moines Register did not tell voters in Iowa -- and voters across the nation, since this debate will be nationally televised -- the whole truth.

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Here’s the truth.  Here is the arbitrary list of criteria for inclusion in this debate, and in other debates held in Iowa this fall:

Eligible Participants for Des Moines Register Debates will include Presidential Candidates who:

  1. Have filed an FEC Form F-2, "Statement of Candidacy," with the Federal Election Commission;   (CHECK)
  1. Have publicly announced an intention to run for the nomination of the Republican or the Democratic Party for President of the United States;  (CHECK)
  1. Have employed at least one paid campaign staff representative to perform full-time campaign duties in the State of Iowa on behalf of the candidate since at least October 1, 2007.   (CHECK – Kucinich has had a full-time staffer – an Iowa resident – on board since April)
  1. With at least 1% in the Des Moines Register October, 2007, Iowa Poll (CHECK)
  1. And lastly, have a Campaign Office inside the State of Iowa as of October 1, 2007 (to which the Kucinich campaign says CHECK, but the Des Moines Register says CHECK-OUT)

The whole truth, the truth the Des Moines Register is not telling you, is that Dennis Kucinich has a political organization in Iowa.  It is small, but it is energetic and energized.  His paid state coordinator, Marcos Rubenstein, works out of his home.  Dennis and his wife Elizabeth have campaigned in Iowa many times.

The Federal Elections Commission recognizes that the Kucinich campaign has paid staff in Iowa.  The IRS recognizes the legitimacy of a home office.  Across the country, the Kucinich campaign has at least 15 high-ranking paid campaign staff members who work out of their homes.  Their offices are campaign offices.

The Des Moines Register, however, does not recognize a home office as a campaign office.

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This is what they sent to the Kucinich campaign when it protested his exclusion from Thursday’s (Dec. 13) debate:

"It was our determination that a person working out of his home did not meet our criteria for a campaign office and full-time paid staff in Iowa."

So is a full-time person on salary and working well more than 40 hours a week not a full-time person because he doesn't waste time and energy lugging his cell phone and laptop from one address to another twice a day?

Yes, the Des Moines Register has determined, arbitrarily, that a campaign must have real estate in Iowa, a storefront, to be a legitimate campaign.

Two things wrong with that.  The concept that only landed gentry should be eligible to participate in the political process is an idea that we threw out, not in the last century, but in the century before that.

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