Last updated: August 7, 2008 - 11:53am
KUCINICH VS GE
If you tuned into the presidential debate Tuesday night, you did not see Rep Dennis Kucinich at the table. Here's why.
* Judge says Kucinich can debate tonight; NBC expected to fight
Alternate District Judge J. Charles Thompson on Monday afternoon said that he will grant a preliminary injunction requested by Rep Dennis Kucinich, allowing him to participate in a presidential debate. Rep Kucinich filed a complaint Monday morning in District Court alleging that NBC broke its contract with him. Kucinich said the network last week invited him to take part in the debate but later rescinded the offer without adequate explanation. He also contended the network wasn't abiding by federal requirements that it provide equal airtime for candidates. Thompson, who was sitting in for suspended District Judge Elizabeth Halverson, said Kucinich should be allowed to participate in the debate because the network had earlier said he met the criteria for participating.
* Ruling Quashes Kucinich's Hope of Joining Lineup
Rep Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) flew to Las Vegas on Tuesday hoping to join the leading Democratic presidential candidates at a debate, but his wishes were dashed by the Nevada Supreme Court less than an hour before showtime. One day after a lower-court judge had threatened to block the debate from being broadcast if MSNBC did not provide a space on stage for Mr. Kucinich, the network won its appeal to the state Supreme Court. An unintended consequence of the ruling was to restrict the debate from being broadcast on the local NBC affiliate here, KVBC-TV. Anchors on the local station said the ruling limited the broadcast to cable. The campaigns of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina were hoping for local exposure in advance of Saturday's Nevada caucuses.
* How NBC changed "the facts" to block Dennis Kucinich from the Nevada debate
NBC's court appeal in the Kucinich ruling shows the network's managers changed the program's qualification rules -- a move that threw Rep Kucinich off the program. In a court filing NBC admitted that Kucinich may have qualified for the debate under the rules outlined by Democratic party consultant Jenny Backus. Those guidelines said that a candidate had to finish in at least fourth place in the New Hampshire primary or Iowa Caucus to participate in the January 15th debate. A candidate could also qualify by being included "in the top four in one of six credible random-sample telephone national news media polls conducted since the Iowa Caucus." NBC's statement says that on January 9th, Backus emailed the Kucinich campaign, inviting the Ohio Congressmember to join the debate. A day later, Bill Richardson quit the race. The next day, January 10th, NBC Political Director Chuck Todd rescinded the networks' invitation. He explained that under NBC's "revised debate criteria, Mr. Kucinich no longer qualified thereunder." "The revised criteria required that invited candidates must have finished first, second or third in either the Iowa Caucus or the New Hampshire Primary," NBC's petition says. "The revised criteria governing the January 15th debate are viewpoint neutral," it concludes, "and are in no way designed to exclude an particular candidate based on his or her views. Instead, the revised criteria represent a good faith editorial choice of a privately-owned cable network to limit debate participants based on the status of their campaigns."
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