Wednesday, September 8, 2010



By Michael Horne

Sen. Russ Feingold beat his rivals to make his acceptance of six debate invitations seem like a challenge for his eventual Republican rival to follow his lead.

The video, below, uses the word "challenge" on numerous occasions. Nowhere does Feingold mention that his "challenge" was, in fact, an acceptance of invitations to debate before 6 groups across Wisconsin. It is assumed these debates would have been known to his (as yet undetermined) Republican opponent.

But Feingold's announcement worked, and he got the headlines he wanted:

"Feingold Calls for 6 Debates," says the Janesville Gazette.
"Feingold Calling for 6 Debates," says WTMJ620AM.
... and more.

Feingold's blog headlines that he "Challenges Opponent to 6 Debates," but the text correctly noted:

"Today, Russ accepted six invitations to participate in candidate debates for the general election and challenged the winner of next Tuesday’s Republican Party primary to join him."

Feingold said he "always challenges his opponents to debates," [and he always creams them. --Ed.]However, by taking the lead in the Debate Game, Feingold places his opponent, presumably Ron Johnson into the position of being perceived as "accepting" the challenge.

And if Johnson declines the challenge, or calls for fewer debates, he also will be at a disadvantage.

The debates are listed below, and are all scheduled by nonpartisan public policy organizations.

* * *

1. Sunday, Sept. 19: Eau Claire. Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the Western Wisconsin Press Club.

2. Friday, Oct.1, Milwaukee. Sponsored by WISN-TV; Marquette University Law School;; Channels 10/36; and the UPFRONT network affiliates (WKOW, WAOW,, WXOW, WFRV).

3. Friday, Oct. 8, Milwaukee. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

4. Monday, Oct. 11, Wausau. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy; Wisconsin Public Radio; Wausau Daily Herald; WAOW and WSAW.

5. Monday, Oct. 18, Oshkosh. Sponsored by the Oshkosh Northwestern and Gannett Wisconsin Media.

6. Friday, Oct. 22, Madison. Sponsored by We The People, Wisconsin Public Television.

No comments: