Kerry agrees to debate O’Reilly
After multiple requests from Gloucester resident and Senate candidate Ed O’Reilly, Sen. John Kerry has agreed to a debate before the Sept. 16 election.
Both candidates have accepted an invitation from Jon Keller of WBZ-TV to participate in a debate that will be filmed on Sept. 5 and broadcast on WBZ on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 8:30 a.m. The debate will be 30 minutes, including commercial breaks.
O’Reilly, who has been challenging Kerry to debates for about a month, said he will continue to push for more debates, and wants a live debate that will air on a weeknight.
“This is unbelievable. If this is John Kerry’s idea of democracy, we have a serious problem,” O’Reilly said. “I’m pursuing more.”
With a 30-minute segment, O’Reilly expects to have about 25 minutes of airtime, including the time Keller speaks as moderator. “How can we get into depth of the issues?” he asked. “He wants to skim over the top like he does for everything. My energy proposal, ‘Renew America,’ alone takes about three minutes to talk about.”
The candidates will have one minute to answer each question, posed by Keller, and there is no set time limit for the rebuttal, O’Reilly said.
On his blog, Keller @ Large Blog, Keller invites anyone to submit questions for the debate, and says he will consider each one.
Brigid O’Rourke, Kerry’s campaign press secretary, said Keller was the first person to offer to host a debate between the two candidates. “We just accepted his invitation,” she said. “At this point in time, it is the only one that we’ve talked about.”
O’Reilly said he has taken offers from Jim Madigan of WGBY, Jim Braude and Chet Curtis of NECN, and Emily Rooney of WGBH to debate Kerry, but Kerry’s campaign did not accept the offers.
“Jon Keller was the first to invite the Senator to debate and so he was the one whose invitation we accepted,” O’Rourke said.
After it airs, the debate will be posted to the WBZ web site, and excerpts will be made available to other news outlets.
This week, Kerry is at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and O’Reilly is campaigning at various locations in the state.
Contact Stephanie Silverstein at email@example.com.