Why won't Boswell debate Fallon?

The Democratic primary in Iowa's third Congressional district is 30 days away, and Leonard Boswell still has not agreed to debate Ed Fallon.

Fallon's campaign put out a press release yesterday criticizing the incumbent for dodging debates. The full text is after the jump, but here's a key paragraph:

Fallon said his campaign received nine invitations to debates and forums and he accepted them all. Further, the Des Moines Register and KCCI offered Congressman Boswell three alternative dates to accommodate his schedule. "I have no doubt that if Congressman Boswell wanted to debate, he would find the time," said Fallon. "What I find discourteous is his excuse that he is simply too busy. I don't think a Congressman can be too busy for the voters."

If I were an incumbent whose voting record was not in line with the values of my Democratic constituents, and I had been successful in diverting the mainstream media's attention from those issues, I probably would not be eager to debate a challenger either. Boswell may also be afraid of making a mistake in the debate, which would then provide an opening for negative media coverage.

Of course, it would not be politically correct to give the real reasons for not debating Fallon, so the Boswell campaign will hide behind the "too busy" excuse.

By the way, after the Fallon campaign's previous press release challenging Boswell to debate, I sought an official response from the Boswell campaign and got the following reply from press secretary Betsy Shelton on April 23: "We are currently working with KCCI and the Des Moines Register to see if we can find a date that is mutually acceptable."

I'm trying to get an official comment about whether Boswell's rejection of the debate is now final, and I will update this diary if I get one.

UPDATE: On Monday morning I checked my e-mail and found the following reply from Shelton:

Congressman Boswell is currently helping to pass the Farm bill and other measures that benefit Iowa families.  We were unable to find a date which works.

That's too bad. I know he visits the Des Moines area from time to time, because I saw him on Sunday morning at an event in Waukee organized by the Des Moines Jewish Federation. I regret that he didn't make it a priority to set aside time for a debate on one of his visits to the district this spring.

You can educate yourself about Boswell's voting record by clicking this link (sound has been added to the animated cartoon at that site).

You can learn about the differences between Fallon and Boswell on the issues by clicking here.

The latest press release from Fallon's campaign is after the jump.

From the Fallon campaign:

Contact: Stacy Brenton

Fallon for Congress

(515) 822-3029

stacy@fallonforcongress.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fallon Says Boswell's Refusal to Debate Disenfranchises Voters

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 (9:00 AM CDT) - Today, Ed Fallon said he is deeply concerned that Leonard Boswell declined The Des Moines Register/KCCI televised debate invitation. Fallon said, "Voters want to know how we plan to help them and where we differ on the issues. Refusing to debate is dismissive and a disservice to our voters. I again reiterate my willingness to participate in a public forum for the Register or anyone who makes a request."

Fallon said his campaign received nine invitations to debates and forums and he accepted them all. Further, the Des Moines Register and KCCI offered Congressman Boswell three alternative dates to accommodate his schedule. "I have no doubt that if Congressman Boswell wanted to debate, he would find the time," said Fallon. "What I find discourteous is his excuse that he is simply too busy. I don't think a Congressman can be too busy for the voters."

Fallon has made issues the centerpiece of his campaign and has encouraged Boswell to focus on issues instead of negative attacks.

"The only real issue I've heard Congressman Boswell address is his defense for voting to authorize the Iraq War," said Fallon. "Other than that, he has focused his efforts and PAC-funded resources on the politics of deception and personal attacks. It seems the Congressman is no longer interested in listening to the concerns of Iowans or that he needs to present the case that he is best for the district. I believe Iowans don't want a Washington D.C. insider who prefers to subvert the issues through non-disclosure and negative attacks. "

"After the unprecedented new-Democratic voter turnout at the Iowa Caucuses, we have a historic opportunity and responsibility to keep voters engaged. Refusing to participate in a public debate only serves to disenfranchise our new activated constituency, and frankly, I find it irresponsible," says Fallon.

  • Real Democrats

    All the problems that Ed Fallon is now so eager to solve are the same problems that anyone who supported Al Gore could have told you would happen if George Bush was elected. Get it? You can't undo what Ed did. He and people who supported Nader are responsible.

    Boswell shouldn't feel obligated to share a stage with such a traitor.

    • Really?

      Come on!  Considering that Gore carried Iowa and Boswell has been a true Bush D, it is ridiculous to blame Fallon for W's failures.  I have not heard Boswell make one real argument FOR voting for him - besides all the endorsements an incumbent gets automatically.  It's all about why we should not vote for Fallon.  From what I hear from people, many are disgusted by Boswell's tactics. The Nader mailer was way over the top.  And I suspect those are the people who are paying attention and will show up come June 3.  I predict Boz is in for a June surprise.  

    • Claire, why would a "real Democrat" like Boswell

      vote for so many bad Republican policies? This didn't begin during the Bush administration. Boswell has been an unreliable member of the Democratic caucus since his first term.

      On any given issue, if I hear that 20 or 30 House Democrats broke away to vote with Republicans, there's a good chance that Boswell will be in that group. I wouldn't mind so much if he representated a rural, conservative district like IA-05, but we can do better in the third district.

      This refusing to debate stuff is typical dishonest spin--he doesn't have time to debate because he's working so hard on legislation? He comes back to the district regularly, and we all know it.

      • speaking of "real Democrat"

        Is party loyalty really what people should care about? I don't care who's in there if they'll actually fight for my civil rights and against the blatant criminality and pandering of the current government.

        Playing the game of party politics is playing right into the system that be. You're not going to see any change continuing down status quo road.

Login or Join to comment and post.