HONOLULU (KHNL) The voters have been asking for it, and now they will see it. Senator Daniel Akaka and Congressman Ed Case have agreed to square off in a televised debate.
Challenger Ed Case has spent the last couple of months calling for a televised debate. KHNL News 8 was one of the stations that offered to host such an event. Tuesday, incumbent Dan Akaka agreed to debate Case on Hawaii Public Television on August 31st.
Dan Akaka's campaign staff says the senator agreed to a televised debate so he can reach out to the voters.
"The senator is someone who has a great deal of seniority, he has a great deal of experience. He is running on his record of accomplishment." said Elisa Yadao, spokesperson for the Akaka campaign.
Challenger Ed Case says the voters need more than one debate to make an informed choice.
"Obviously the Akaka campaign's motivation is to avoid as many debates as possible and to minimalize these debates." said Case.
Case says the voters should judge the candidates on their ability to debate.
Akaka's campaign says that is an incomplete view of what it means to be a U.S. Senator.
"On the floor of the United States Senate, people stand up and debate. And debate is about questioning each other. Debate is about answering questions and defending one's position" said Case.
"There are a hundred senators there and it's a matter of being persuasive and being effective and being able to be part of a team to get things done" said Yadao.
Akaka's campaign says it agreed to a debate on Hawaii Public Television in order to be fair to other media outlets.
"That would be the most even handed way to both meet the objectives of participating in a debate but not giving any commercial entity an unfair advantage" said Yadao.
"I love watching PBS, I watch it all the time, but they know and everybody else knows that this is the least watched of the principal statewide TV stations. So clearly they are basically ignoring all of the statewide broadcasts" said Case.
The exact format of the debate is still being negotiated. That has to be worked out between the Case and Akaka campaigns. Akaka's campaign says it will not agree to any format that allows the candidates to directly question each other.
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