The Congressional Black Caucus and Fox News finally surrendered to reality and canceled the presidential debate scheduled for September 23rd. Most of the Democratic candidates refused to attend, claiming that Fox was so biased that they couldn't endorse it by appearing on their network (via Memeorandum):
Fox News and a black political group say they will not hold a Sept. 23 Democratic presidential debate in Detroit, which the leading candidates already were planning to skip.
A new date had not yet been set, Fox News spokesman Michael Murphy said Thursday.
The campaigns of U.S. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards had said they would not participate in the debate. Opponents have criticized Fox as biased against Democrats.
What did the CBC have to say about this disrespectful snub of their debate? CBC member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote at his website that the problem was the number of debates, not the refusal of the leading Democrats to attend. "The overwhelming number of party presidential debates has created a scheduling challenge," the press release notes. Given that the CBC sought out Fox for these debates in order to broaden its outreach to voters, promoting this dishonest cover story appears to be a face-saving exercise for itself as well as the leading Presidential candidates.
For the Democrats, this completes a rather sorry episode in which they ran like frightened children from the nation's most popular cable-news channel. The Republicans came under scorn for resisting the YouTube debate on CNN, but most of them have already agreed to a rescheduled CNN/YouTube event closer to the primaries. (Mitt Romney has not yet committed to it.) Pundits and bloggers claimed that the GOP was running scared. The GOP, however, has already done a debate with talking head Chris Matthews as a moderator, while the Democrats have not bothered to venture into any forum less friendly than Keith Olbermann's studio.
What about that? Will liberal pundits bloggers level the same criticism against their own candidates for making the CBC look like doormats and running away from Brit Hume? We'll wait to see, but I'd advise people not to hold their breath.
UPDATE: Native Americans face more disappointment from the Democrats:
A presidential forum set for today at the Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservation in Southern California has attracted only three of the eight Democratic candidates: Bill Richardson, Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich.
The absence of top-tier candidates — Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois and former senator John Edwards of North Carolina — shows the leading contenders continue to take the small and usually Democratic Indian vote for granted, organizers say.
"If they won’t come talk to us now, they certainly won’t be responsive to us if they get in the White House," said Kalyn Free, a Choctaw from Oklahoma who is organizing the Democratic forum, called "Prez on the Rez."
So now they've snubbed the CBC and failed to appear at the first-ever presidential debate on an Indian reservation? They managed to show up for the LOGO debate and the union debate. I guess the Native Americans don't count, either. (via QandO)