Tag Archive: debates

Will Chris Christie even debate Barbara Buono?

Chris Christie is double-digits ahead of Barbara Buono in the election coming 111 days from now (as opposed to the one 91 days from now, and the one in 27 days).

And today, ELEC released its choice of debate sponsors and locations. But Christie’s spokesperson Kevin Roberts won’t even commit to his boss showing up. Seems he hasn’t decided he’s taking public funds. And if he doesn’t, he can’t be compelled to debate. Even so, Roberts says:

“We look forward to continuing a vigorous level of public debate on the issues in this campaign.”


How disingenuous for the Christie campaign to spout about any “vigorous level of public debate”. Because that seems only to mean to them that they pump the funds from his millionaire corporate buddies to pound Buono into the ground with big TV ad buys calling her Corzine. Like that’s a thing. Plus the public funds he already appropriates under the guise of “town halls” to propagandize surrounded with adoring clappers given advance notice to show up while most of us are working. And thoseStronger than the Storm blurbs with him and his kids. That you’re paying for. And the warm, squishy “charity” where he accepts the largesse of generous New Jerseyans and others. Without even a plan made public to spend that money on the people who need it – though he sure seems to have time for photo-ops collecting it from the likes of Jon Bon Jovi and the United Arab Emirates. And btw, yeah, we’re still wondering.

I guess that’s what passes for “debate” from Governor Christopher James Christie. And debates – real, grown-ass debates in all parts of New Jersey, where he doesn’t control the audience with his self-flattering intro videos, firm control of the microphone, insults to voters who dare to disagree with him, and, you know, rules of proper debate – should be the least we should expect from Christie.  

Obama v. Romney Debate Watch Parties in NJ

Obamosaic - Mosaic of Obama T-ShirtsThere’s a lot riding on tonight’s Town Hall-style debate. You already know the stakes, the fresh start Mitt Romney’s trainwreck campaign got after he lied, but lied with confidence, in the first presidential debate just days ago.

All this makes me want to watch the debate in hushed rooms of the like-minded. Here are the Debate Watch events listed at Barack Obama’s event website for tonight:

Some are at restaurants, pubs and bars. Some in private homes. Others are sponsored by local organizations, candidates, or county Dems. One’s a local Drinking Liberally. Most start at 8:00 or 8:30pm, just before the debate, but some as early as 6:00pm. Note: some are duplicates.

Debate Watch Parties – 38 are listed in NJ: Morristown, Newark (2), Burlington (2), Manahawkin, West Orange (2), Jersey City (3), Somerville, Flemington, Montclair (2), New Brunswick, Elizabeth, Cherry Hill, Franklin Park, Randolph, Princeton, Plainfield, Teaneck, Paterson, Summit, Hoboken, Edgewater

Campus Debate Watch Parties – 2 listed, in Jersey City & New Brunswick.

Incidentally, you’ll see at the bottom of the Obama events look-up page, a dedication: IN LOVING MEMORY of ALEX OKRENT, which links to a donation page of Obama. Okrent was a 29-year-old staffer, with the Obama team since 2004. Okrent collapsed and died in Obama’s Chicago campaign HQ in July .

NJ-9 Debate Schedule: Pascrell v. Boteach

For those of you tracking the Bill Pascrell v. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach race in the redistricted 9th Congressional District, we now have a debate schedule. Both candidates have now signed off on this 3-part matchup:

Sunday, October 14, 2012 – 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Temple Sinai of Bergen County

One Engle Street, Tenafly, NJ

Co-sponsored Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’s Jewish Community Relations Council & The Jewish Standard

Hosted by local synagogues

Monday, October 22, 2012 – 7:00 – 8:00pm

Daniel F. Ryan School No. 19 City of Passaic

320 Highland Avenue, Passaic, NJ

Sponsored by North Jersey Media Group

Thursday, October 25, 2012 – 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Gallery 1&9

1 Remsen Pl. #107 Ridgefield, NJ

Sponsored by Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE)

Dems divided by the primary contest between Pascrell and his colleague Rep. Steve Rothman may be particularly interested in uniting behind the Democratic nominee as he goes up against Boteach (pronounced bo-TAY-ahck) – celebrity rabbi, advisor to the late Michael Jackson and author of the book Kosher Sex.

I know I’ve picked a side.  

Need information about any local debates.

I need to bring a college class on argumentation/writing on a class trip, but have very little in the way of funds, and I was thinking a local political debate would fit the bill. The school is located in central Jersey, toward the shore, but really anywhere in the state would work. So if you know of any scheduled debates, or any centralized sites that I might check, I’d appreciate it!

I’d also be open to any other suggestions for potential trips that would be appropriate for students in an argument based writing class.

More Debate Reaction

Not surprisingly, elected Democrats liked Corzine and Republicans liked Christie. First we have the Governor’s running mate, Lieutenant Governor Candidate Loretta Weinberg:

“Tonight, Governor Corzine demonstrated clearly that he is the candidate who will fight for what matters to New Jersey in these tough economic times. He’s fought every day for New Jersey families- expanding health care coverage for almost 100,000 additional children and passing paid family leave. These are the right choices for New Jersey and the right priorities for the next four years.

Chris Christie, on the other hand, is more concerned with lining the pockets of insurance companies than protecting the families and children of New Jersey. Christie has repeatedly said that he would give insurance companies free rein to drop coverage for critical procedures like mammograms and autism treatments.

Time and time again, Christie shows he continues to be wrong when it matters most.”

Congressman Frank Pallone:

“Tonight’s debate highlighted the very clear choice facing New Jersey voters in November. While Governor Corzine has fought for what matters for New Jersey families over the past four years, Chris Christie has been wrong when it matters most.  He said he’d reject President Obama’s stimulus funds, driving up property taxes by $2 billion and now he says he still backs the Bush policies that got our country into this mess.”

State Chair Joe Cryan:

“Governor Corzine proved tonight that he is the right man for the job. He succeeded in passing  the nation’s first economic recovery plan and worked with President Obama to bring over $17 billion in new federal stimulus funds into New Jersey, helping to balance our budget and generate and save over 40,000 jobs. Chris Christie once again showed he would rather score cheap political points than fight for what matters to New Jersey.”

I’ll put more reaction from Democrats and Republicans below the fold. Nothing surprising, but what do you think?

Role play for Debate prep

Yes, we’re still talking about debates. But not who will participate, how many and when they will be held. Now we’re talking about preparing for what has already been agreed to:

As Gov. Jon Corzine prepares to for the gubernatorial debates, he has asked Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford)  to play his Republican opponent, former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie.  That may cause some buzz among Democrats who have noticed that Corzine did not ask Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland), who was New Jersey’s Governor from 2004 to 2006.  Sweeney is expected to challenge Codey in a leadership fight set for after the general election.

Christie has picked State Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton) to play Corzine.  Baroni has played Corzine in Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Franks’ 2000 debate preparations, and played U.S. Senator Robert Menendez when Republican Tom Kean was preparing for his 2006 debate.

Corzine used Rob Andrews to prep in 2005. Something tells me that any time we see the names Steve Sweeney or Dick Codey for the next few months, it’s going to be in the context of the pending contest for Senate President and which one benefits from that latest news. Do you think it’s a distraction to have the talk about potential leadership elections or will they serve as a motivating factor for each side to show their influence and turn out voters in support of the Governor?

Schedule for Debates

The Election Law Enforcement Commission came out with their final schedule for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor debates. Here’s the calendar, along with sponsor and coverage:

October 1: Candidates for Governor – Republican Christopher Christie, Democrat Jon Corzine, and Independent Christopher Daggett.  Sponsored by New Jersey Network (NJN), the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Gannett New Jersey.  Will air live.

October 8: Candidates for Lt. Governor – Independent Frank Esposito, Republican Kim Guadagno, and Democrat Loretta Weinberg.  Sponsored by NJ101.5 and News 12 New Jersey and Leadership New Jersey.  Will broadcast from Monmouth University.

October 16: Candidates for Governor – Christie, Corzine and Daggett.  Sponsored by WWOR-TV in Secaucus, WTXF-TV in Philadelphia, The Record, the Star-Ledger, and William Paterson University.  Will air on October 18.

After the back and forth about whether to move the October 1 debate, it will take place as scheduled. Will you watch the debates and do you think they will matter?

ELEC deadlocks on moving debate, Corzine now will participate regardless of the date

ELEC met this afternoon to talk about a request by NJN to move one of the scheduled debates to ensure participation from the Governor:

New Jersey Network lost a bid to move the first gubernatorial debate from October 1 to October 22 after a New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission vote was deadlocked 2-2 along party lines.

About an hour after ELEC’s meeting concluded, Gov. Jon Corzine’s campaign indicated that it would be willing to participate in both of the commission’s debates regardless of the date.

“The Corzine campaign reiterates its position that the public is better served having the two gubernatorial debates later in October,” said Corzine spokesman Sean Darcy.  “Our position notwithstanding, we are prepared to participate in both ELEC sanctioned debates regardless of whether or not the NJN debate is rescheduled for October 22nd.”

I guess the scheduling conflict wasn’t that bad for the Governor. Both Christie and Daggett had taken issue with the attempt to move the debate. While not moving the date, ELEC did make a change in debate format:

Elections officials also agreed to scrap a 15-minute debate segment in which the candidates question each other and instead take questions from viewers.

ELEC also made news regarding newspaper endorsements today:

The seven newspapers owned by the Newhouse family’s Advance Publications and the two owned by the Borg family’s North Jersey Media Group must hold off on endorsements of candidates for governor until after a candidate debate co-sponsored by the Star-Ledger and The Record, according to the head of the commission that regulates New Jersey campaigns.

Sponsors of the debate agreed to withhold endorsements of gubernatorial candidates until after the debate when they applied in July.  

“It is our opinion that the prohibition would apply to the other papers and media outlets,” Jeff Brindle, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, told PolitickerNJ.com today.


The six daily newspapers operated by Gannett New Jersey, as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer, which are co-sponsoring a second gubernatorial debate sanctioned by ELEC, must wait until after their debate before endorsing a candidate for governor.

So in summary, the Debate will be October 1 in all likelihood, with all 3 candidates not asking each other questions, but taking them from viewers and the newspapers will have to wait to make decisions until after all the debates are done.

NJ-04: Josh Zeitz on Chris Smith’s Two Decades of Debate Dodging

Dear Rep. Smith:

It’s been over a month since I first invited you to join me in a series of public debates or forums so that we can provide the voters in New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District an opportunity to weigh their electoral options.  

Over the past six weeks my campaign has placed phone calls to your office and issued public statements inviting you to debate.  As a show of good will, I also sent a personal letter to your attention, along with a copy of Allen Guelzo’s fine new book on the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.  Disappointingly, we have received no response from you or your staff.

Among your colleagues, you stand out for your consistent refusal to debate your opponents.  Barack Obama and John McCain are debating each other on Friday.  Sarah Palin and Joe Biden are scheduled to debate next month.  Frank Lautenberg and Dick Zimmer will soon debate (and, along those lines, Rob Andrews and Frank Lautenberg debated last spring).  John Adler and Chris Myers have debated twice, and Linda Stender and Leonard Lance have already debated each other once. But you have not publicly debated an opponent in almost twenty years.  Your refusal to engage in the electoral process suggests a fundamental disrespect for the citizens of Central Jersey, who deserve much more from their candidates.

As you know, our economy is in a deep crisis. This week in Congress, you are weighing the merits of the $700 billion bailout proposed by the Bush Administration. Once Congress recesses over the next few days, we should honor the voters of the Fourth Congressional District with a vibrant debate on the future of our country.  Now more than ever, it is crucial that the voters know where their candidates stand on the issues facing our nation.  The stakes are simply too high for continued debate-dodging.

I have reserved space and time at the public libraries in Brick and Hamilton. I originally planned to use these venues to stage town-hall meetings to discuss our troubled economy. But given the seriousness of the issues facing our country, I would like to invite you to hold joint appearances at both locations. Of course, we would agree to turn the program over to an impartial, third-party group.  My campaign has already been contacted by Veterans4Education, a nonpartisan group of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans currently studying at New Jersey colleges and universities.  They sponsored a fine debate in the 3rd District and have invited us to participate in a similar forum.  With your agreement, I would invite Veterans4Education to assume responsibility for one of our joint appearances.  If any group deserves to press its candidates on the issues, it is Veterans4Education.  I hope you will join me in showing them the respect they have earned in service of our country.

We have reserved the following dates and venues:

Brick Branch Library: October 9th, 6PM

Hamilton Public Library October 23rd, 7PM

If these dates do not fit into your schedule, I am happy to accommodate your calendar.

It should be noted neither of these libraries is sponsoring a debate. Rater, they have offered to provide free meeting space.  


Joshua Zeitz  

NJ-04: Zeitz Challenges Smith to 4 Debates

Josh Zeitz, the Democratic nominee for Congress in New Jersey’s 4th Congressional district, today challenged Rep. Chris Smith to four public debates.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates, Zeitz asked Smith to join him at one public debate in each of the fourth district’s counties: Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean. During their campaign for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated in each of Illinois’s nine congressional districts.

As a sign of respect, Zeitz mailed a personal debate invitation to Smith’s home, along with a copy of a book on the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Here’s what Josh had to say:

“The rising cost of food, gas, health care, and education is hurting many working families,” wrote Zeitz. “People have a right to know how each of us proposes to address these grave problems, and they have a right to challenge us in a public forum.”

“I can think of no better way for us to honor the anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas debates than by providing the residents of New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District a similar opportunity to see their candidates engage in a vigorous but respectful exchange of ideas.”

“While neither of us would presume to walk in the footsteps of these two giants, let’s agree to honor their memory — and to honor our neighbors in Central Jersey – by debating in Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington, and Mercer Counties.”

The campaign is entering a critical phase and we need your support. You can contribute at Josh’s ActBlue page. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact ian_at_joshzeitz_dot_com. Please visit Josh’s website to learn more about why we need to elect Josh to Congress.

If any of you have specific things you’d like to suggest Josh focus on in the debate, feel free to email ian_at_joshzeitz_dot_com. Josh and the campaign want to hear your thoughts.