Akaka agrees to 1 debate with Case
The senator rejects meetings beyond the Aug. 31 forum
Voters will get just one chance to judge Rep. Ed Case and Sen. Dan Akaka in a live debate.
Akaka yesterday agreed to a single debate on Aug. 31. It is to be sponsored by AARP and broadcast live on PBS Hawaii.
Case, who has been making Akaka's unwillingness to meet him a key part of his campaign, says he still wants more meetings before the Sept. 23 Democratic primary election.
A spokeswoman for Akaka, Elisa Yadao, said the campaign has rejected more than the one debate.
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Dan Akaka and Ed Case embraced after fielding questions Aug. 8 at a Hawaii Publishers Association luncheon.
AKAKA AND CASE TO DEBATE LIVE
Thursday, Aug. 31 (time to be determined)
Where: Broadcast live on PBS Hawaii, KHET Channel 10
"We are interested in participating in something that will be informative, even and dignified," Yadao said.
Yadao added that the campaign did not want the candidates to be able to question each other.
"We would prefer not to have that," Yadao said.
"The senator has heard from some people who said they would like to see him in a debate forum, and that is what we are doing. It is statewide television and it will be broadcast," Yadao said.
If he is not allowed to question Akaka during the debate, Case said yesterday he would complain about that during the televised meeting.
"This is a very artificial version of what happens on the floor of the Senate, and it strikes me as wrong," Case said during a news conference at his Honolulu campaign headquarters.
"On the floor of the United States Senate, people stand up and question each other. Debate is about answering each other's questions."
Barbara Kim Stanton, state director of AARP, said she is still arranging debate details and negotiating with the Akaka and Case campaigns.
So far, she said, the campaign have agreed that the debate will be held Aug. 31 and it will be broadcast live. No broadcast time has been set, although Kim Stanton said she wanted it in the evening.
"We are shooting for prime time so more people could watch it," Kim Stanton said.
Other items to be discussed include whether there would be a panel to question the two or if a single moderator would ask questions.
Also, Kim Stanton said no moderator has been picked for the broadcast.
For his part, Case is making the issue of whether Akaka will meet him in a face-to-face question and answer session a major part of his campaign.
Case, for instance, says he has accepted debate invitations from all four major television stations, plus Hawaii Public Radio.
Akaka, until yesterday, had refused to comment on a debate. He initially said he thought his campaign should be about explaining his positions to supporters and the public without having to meet with Case.
Akaka and Case met once, eight days ago at a Hawaii Publishers Association forum, but the two were limited to just giving 20 minutes speeches and responding to questions from the audience.