Voiceless Perot threatens to halt debates
THE US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
Wednesday 18 September 1996
In a unanimous decision that will delight Mr Dole as much as it will disappoint the White House, the 10-member Commission on Presidential Debates said that Mr Perot, candidate of his own newly founded Reform Party, did not have a "realistic chance" of amassing the 270 electoral- college votes required for election.
As Frank Fahrenkopf, a commission co-chairman, said in defence of the decision, Mr Perot failed to win a single electoral vote in 1992, despite capturing 19 per cent of the popular vote, the best performance by an independent candidate since Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. This time, however, Mr Perot is stuck at 5 per cent or thereabouts.
Candidates could not qualify simply because "they were interesting or entertaining", Mr Fahrenkopf said; the commission had made an "unvarnished" judgement of Mr Perot's prospects, and found them wanting.
In theory, the decision could be reversed should the two major parties want Mr Perot to participate. But, given the opposition of the Republicans, that seemed inconceivable yesterday. Less inconceivable, however, is that Mr Clinton debates Mr Perot one-to-one, a ploy aimed at increasing the Texan's stature and appeal - thus, the White House calculates, his ability to split the anti-Clinton vote.
Mr Fahrenkopf said the recommendation applies only to the first of the three scheduled debates, and that "if circumstances changed", Mr Perot might be allowed in. This however would require a surge in his support, or overwhelming public demand that he be included.
The latter, and not the courts, may offer the Perot camp its best hope of overturning what campaign co-ordinator Russell Verney called "a travesty of justice". Two out of three Americans, according to the polls, want to see Mr Perot, who is receiving $30m (pounds 20m) of federal funds on the basis of his 1992 performance, go head-to-head against Mr Clinton and Mr Dole, and yesterday's ruling will generate not only controversy, but possibly a swell of sympathy in favour of Mr Perot.
Yesterday, meanwhile, Clinton and Dole representatives met in a new effort to agree on dates and format for the debates. The Clinton camp wants the first debate, currently set for St Louis on 26 September, put back until the start of October. Mr Dole wants four, not three debates, but each of them 60 instead of 90 minutes in length.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber reach almost £154,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Online trolls target alleged rape victim Jada, by copying how she appeared in video of attack
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...