|DETROIT, MI - Less than 44 hours after NBC sent a congratulatory note and an invitation to Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich to participate in the Jan. 15 Democratic Presidential debate in Las Vegas, the network notified the campaign this morning it was changing its announced criteria, rescinding its invitation, and excluding Kucinich from the debate.|
NBC Political Director Chuck Todd notified the Kucinich campaign this morning that, although Kucinich had met the qualification criteria publicly announced on December 28, the network was "re-doing" the criteria, excluding Kucinich, and planning to invite only Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and former senator John Edwards.
The criteria announced last month included a fourth-place or better showing in a national poll. The USA/Gallup poll earlier this month showed Kucinich in fourth place among the Democratic contenders.
In an email to the Kucinich campaign at 2:35 p.m. on Wednesday, January 9, Democratic Party debates consultant Jenny Backus wrote:
"Congratulations on another hard-fought contest. Now that New Hampshire is over, we are on to Nevada and our Presidential Debate on Tuesday January 15. This letter serves as an official invitation for your candidate to participate in the Nevada Presidential Debate at Cashman Theatre in downtown Las Vegas. You have met the criteria set by NBC and the Debate."
Todd notified the Kucinich campaign this morning that the network had decided to change the criteria and limit participation in the debate to only three candidates.
Kucinich is the only remaining Democratic Presidential candidate who: voted against the original Iraq War authorization in 2002 and every war-funding measure since; voted against the so-called Patriot Act; advocates a national, not-for-profit health system that covers all Americans; has called for the repeal of NAFTA and withdrawal from the WTO; and proposes a national back-to-work program (Works Green Administration) patterned after the Depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA).
The Kucinich campaign, which filed an emergency complaint with the Federal Communications Commission last week because of ABC's decision to exclude the candidate from a nationally televised debate, is considering legal action to address "the blatant disregard of the public interest in silencing public debate that dissents with the views of NBC, its parent company, GE, and all of the military contractors and their candidate-funding corporate interests. Corporate control of the media is one issue. Corporate media control of the information that is allowed to
reach American citizens is much more dangerous, much more sinister, and much more un-American."
"When 'big media' exert their unbridled control over what Americans can see, hear, and read, then the Constitutional power and right of the citizens to vote is being vetoed by multi-billion corporations that want the votes to go their way," the Kucinich campaign said.
I'm guessing that they ran out of podiums in Las Vegas.