Calbuzz, Web Partners Ask Gov Rivals to Debate


Three of California’s leading political websites have invited the two major-party candidates for governor to participate in the state’s first Blogosphere Debate.

Calbuzz, FlashReport and Calitics, in partnership with the College of Social Sciences at San Jose State University and the Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley, today sent a letter outlining the debate to Mike Murphy and Steve Glazer of the campaigns of Republican nominee Meg Whitman and Democratic nominee Jerry Brown.

Here’s the letter that was emailed today:

Dear Mike and Steve,

On behalf of Calbuzz, FlashReport and Calitics, we are pleased to invite Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown to participate in a two-person, first-ever California Blogosphere Debate. The College of Social Sciences at San Jose State University and the Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley will also serve as debate sponsors.

As you may know, the Washington Post has named Calbuzz, FlashReport and Calitics the three leading political web sites in California. Collectively we provide on a daily basis a full range of political perspectives and analysis, from conservative to moderate to progressive.

We have secured Morris Dailey auditorium at San Jose State University for the afternoon and evening of Monday September 13th (with back-up possibilities on the 14th and 15th). The specific time of the debate would be decided later in consultation with the campaigns, but we anticipate a 60-minute event, scheduled at a time between 4 pm and 7 pm. The format, with final details to be determined, would likely include the following:

— Moderator: John Myers of KQED (pending approval from KQED)
— One questioner each from Calbuzz, FlashReport and Calitics
— Two-minute opening and closing remarks from candidates
— One question for both candidates from each panelist with two-minute responses
— Two questions for each candidate from each panelist with two-minute responses
— One minute rebuttal from each candidate for each question
— Introduction, follow-ups as permitted by moderator and closing statements.

This means each candidate would field six questions: three common questions for both candidates and three questions specific to each candidate. Both candidates would have an opportunity for rebuttal on every question.

We envision candidates standing at podiums with television lighting. Neither candidate would use scripts, notes or props although they may take notes during the debate. A pre-arranged coin toss would determine the order, with the candidates given the option of opening first or closing last. We would offer a live feed to any television or radio station or online broadcaster interested in carrying the debate. We anticipate one pool camera crew to shoot the debate.

As you’re aware the news industry is in a state of radical transformation, with the internet steadily playing a larger and more significant role in setting the public agenda. We believe that our proposal offers a unique and historic opportunity for your campaigns to play an important role in shaping that agenda, and we hope you will give this invitation your most serious consideration. Please respond by 5 p.m., Friday, June 25.

Very truly yours,

Phil Trounstine, Jerry Roberts, Jon Fleischman, Brian Leubitz, Robert Cruickshank

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There are 4 comments for this post

  1. avatar Moderate Democrat says:

    This offer is too sensible. They will not accept it.

  2. avatar patwater says:

    There will be blood!

  3. avatar Silent Sleuth says:

    This would be a perfect time for Meg Whitman to schedule that long-anticipated dinner with CalBuzz!
    Seriously though, as we voters all move more online and further away from “print” news (not to mention – is anyone watching Katie Couric or Brian Williams anymore?), it only makes sense for the major candidates for governor of California to embrace this unique debate opportunity. I really hope they do.

  4. avatar SezMe says:

    I must confess to some disappointment based on the first paragraph. This is not a “Blogosphere Debate” but a old-fashioned, typical debate that just happens to have been suggested by some bloggers. How ’bout something really innovative like having the debate take place exclusively online or maybe have the debate actually BE an ongoing exchange with viewers (readers) able to make sideline comments as it proceeds.

    Cumon, be the change we all voted for.

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