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Cotton holds press conference to challenge Pryor to unmoderated debates

By Claudia Lauer

This article was published April 13, 2014 at 2:58 p.m.

— Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Tom Cotton held a press conference Sunday to challenge incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor to a series of five unmoderated debates that would be held in different regions of Arkansas.

Cotton, who announced his challenge at the Arkansas Republican Party headquarters Sunday afternoon, said he proposed the unmoderated format so that the candidates could "talk directly to voters" instead of working through the filter of a moderator, journalist or panel asking questions.

“There used to be a time in our politics when voters could look the two candidates in the eye and hear from them directly – that’s what I’m inviting Sen. Pryor to participate in today,” Cotton said.

Cotton, a freshman Congressman from Arkansas' 4th District, said the format would mirror the Lincoln-Douglas debates, where Republican challenger Abraham Lincoln and Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate debated each other for the 1858 election for the Illinois Senate seat. The format of the 1858 debates was that one candidate spoke for 60 minutes, followed by a 90-minute rebuttal from the other candidate and finally a 30-minute rejoinder from the first candidate.

Cotton said Sunday that he would be willing to negotiate the time of the responses and to allow for a timekeeper.

A spokesperson for Pryor's campaign said the Senator would be issuing a response to the request later today.

Comments on: Cotton holds press conference to challenge Pryor to unmoderated debates

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 total comments

AmericasDoomed says... April 13, 2014 at 5:20 p.m.

I doubt Pryor will accept the invitation but I pray he does.

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JakeTidmore says... April 13, 2014 at 6:21 p.m.

To be fair, one mustn't exclude other party candidates. The Green Party candidate Mark Swaney is quite a sharp debater and would have no problems whipping Cotton in battle of wits.

BTW -- the actual format of the Lincoln-Douglas debates was one speaking for 60 minutes, the other for 90 minutes, and then back to the first speaker for 30 minutes. Talk about producing zzzzz's. The other option is where they interrupt each other for about an hour, making viewers reach for the channel changer within minutes of the freeforall start.

Moderators serve a good purpose: keep the speakers on topic, manage the debaters time, and help present in-depth questions on the issues. Also, it would be nice to include a format where the public can submit questions.

Cotton's record is the poorest of the two candidates: one can hardly point to any accomplishments or bills he got passed. He actually has cost Arkansans benefits and jobs. Pryor or Swaney would have a field day holding Cotton's dismal record up to the light of public scrutiny. Cotton's strategy will just be to repeat the tired wingnut mantra "obama-obama-obama-obama". Discerning listeners will soon tire of that kind of empty argumentation.

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HM2 says... April 13, 2014 at 7:09 p.m.

Pryor is scared to death to debate any candidate where the media has no control of the subject matter. He is so inept he couldn't even design his own campaign logo, he had to steal dads.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... April 13, 2014 at 8:08 p.m.

Tom Cotton issues a challenge, and ole “I'm an elitist” Pryor, will consider your request.
Mark ran on his Daddy's Shirt Tails, Ran from town hall meetings concerning Obama Care, and now he very well be running away from a little old debate..
Swaney is not even on the radar screen and is a non issue.
AmericasDoomed, I all so doubt Pryor will accept the invitation.

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FreeSpiritMan says... April 13, 2014 at 8:32 p.m.

If Arkansans want Medicare to go away as they know it and be given a voucher to purchase on the private market, then Cotton is your man. If Arkansans want one more WAR vote in the senate, then Cotton is your man. If Arkansans want more federal dollars for defense and less for medical research, early childhood education and Medicaid and food stamps, then Cotton is your man. For all your Arkansans that have gotten health care through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), if you want to lose it, then Cotton is your man.

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carpenterretired says... April 13, 2014 at 10:17 p.m.

In the T.V. Ad approved by Tom Cotton phony as a three dollar bill so true

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djigoo says... April 13, 2014 at 11:05 p.m.

If Cotton is the answer, Arkansas needs to ask a different question.

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aimee says... April 14, 2014 at 1:27 a.m.

''You can say anything you want during a debate and 80 million people hear it,'' observed Peter Teeley, press secretary to Vice President Bush. If reporters then document that a candidate spoke untruthfully, ''so what?''

''Maybe 200 people read it or 2,000 or 20,000,'' he said.
readersupportednews. org/opinion2/277-75/13843-lying-during-debates-is-a-republican-strategy
Republicans love debates because they can lie as much as they want and no one will catch them.. It's no fun debating someone who is only going to lie..!!! They can make up "facts" so fast that one armed with the "truth" will not be able to keep up correcting them..!!!
It is not, in my opinion, worth the effort...

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KenH says... April 14, 2014 at 9:19 a.m.

Nathan LaFrance needs to be included in any U.S. Senate race debates for such debates to be legitimate, but I wouldn't be surprised if both Mr. Cotton and Mr. Pryor are afraid to debate someone who will actually be offering solutions to our nation's problems that will make our country better.

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