Akaka and Case agree on rules for debate
It will mark the first -- and, to date, only -- scheduled debate between U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka and challenger U.S. Rep. Ed Case
The ground rules have been set for the first -- and, to date, only -- scheduled debate between U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka and Democratic primary challenger U.S. Rep. Ed Case.
AARP Hawaii, which is sponsoring the debate, announced details yesterday, saying both camps had agreed to the terms for the hour-long forum to air live on PBS Hawaii at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31.
Who: U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka vs. U.S. Rep. Ed Case.
When: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31
On air: Televised live on PBS Hawaii stations
At stake: The Democratic nomination for Akaka's Senate seat.
Sponsor: AARP Hawaii
To participate: Questions from the public can be submitted in writing and must be received by the AARP Hawaii state office by the close of business Monday. Submit questions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or on paper to AARP Hawaii, 1132 Bishop St., Suite 1920, Honolulu, HI 96813. The fax number is 537-2288.
"I think both sides were more than willing to make this debate work," said Barbara Kim Stanton, AARP Hawaii state director.
Stanton said the debate will follow guidelines that have been established and used previously by the national organization. AARP is a nationwide senior citizens' advocacy group.
"We've done thousands of successful forums across the country since 1986," she said. "The experience is there and the guidelines are tried and true to ensure a very fair, informative and dignified forum."
In statements released by AARP, both campaigns said they were pleased to accept the terms and conditions.
"The debate scheduled for Aug. 31st will provide Hawaii citizens important, relevant information in a structure that is open and fair," Akaka's campaign said.
Case stated: "I am grateful that Hawaii's voters will benefit from at least one fair and full debate, and look forward to presenting them with this crucial choice."
Case has made Akaka's reluctance to debate a major part of his campaign to unseat the senator in the Democratic primary. After declining to accept any debates for several months, Akaka agreed earlier this month that he would participate in one televised debate.
Debate negotiations hit a snag last week when Case's representatives declined to show up at a meeting to discuss the ground rules. Case had sought to have all debate negotiations open to the public. When neither Akaka nor AARP agreed, Case said he would conduct discussions in writing so he could make the record public.
The debate is to be moderated by Gerald Kato, a former broadcast and print reporter who is the chairman of the School of Communications at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Kato's role is to act in a nonpartisan manner, although he will have the authority to interrupt the debate to enforce ground rules or to ask a follow-up question if an answer is unclear.
Candidates will not be permitted to question each other and the speaking order will be determined by a coin toss.
Five minutes will be granted for opening remarks, two minutes to answer each question with a one minute time limit for a rebuttal. Closing remarks will be limited to three minutes.
Questions will be selected by AARP and will not be provided to candidates in advance.
Stanton said the group usually limits questions to issues of concern to AARP members, but because of the anticipated interest in this debate, "we thought we'd open it up a bit."
All questions will be reviewed by AARP, and because of the anticipated volume there is no guarantee that all submitted questions will be used.