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Opinion: Sandoval debates with himself on wanting to debate



“Starting now there is no hiding, we will debate in the open.”
– Brian Sandoval, June 8, 2010

“We are going to debate three times this fall. I think that will be sufficient.”
– Brian Sandoval, July 13, 2010

Yesterday, Republican candidate Brian Sandoval continued the debate with himself about when–or if–he would debate his opponent in the gubernatorial campaign.

On Tuesday, Sandoval told Sam Shad, host of “Nevada Newsmakers,” that he was negotiating with the Rory Reid campaign about three debates. Only that was a lie. No one from the Reid campaign has heard from Sandoval’s team.

The Sandoval campaign was forced to make an embarrassing clarification late Tuesday. A Sandoval spokeswoman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that “Brian believed we had already reached out to Reid’s campaign to figure out the best debate schedule for the fall. We have not yet done that, but will do so in the next week or so.”

The Review-Journal headline read: “Sandoval mistaken, awkward phone call to ensue.”

To set the record straight, Reid has already agreed in principle to more than 10 debates, including:

— A series of six monthly debates on “Face to Face” with Jon Ralston.

— A debate on “Nevada Newsmakers” with Sam Shad.

— A summer debate in Las Vegas sponsored by the Latin Chamber of Commerce.

— An August 29 debate in Las Vegas sponsored by the Agassi Foundation and KLAS-TV, focused on education.

— An October 7 debate in Las Vegas sponsored by the Nevada Broadcasters Association.

— An October 26 debate in Elko sponsored by the Great Basin College Student Government Association.

— A to-be-scheduled debate sponsored by Sunbelt Communications and the Las Vegas Sun.

Sandoval continues to duck, dodge and hide from every debate invitation, despite his insistence that he is eager to debate the issues important to Nevadans.

“Starting now there is no hiding, we will debate in the open,” Sandoval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on primary election night.

Then he hid. When he did resurface in Las Vegas briefly in late June, he told KVBC-TV that he was eager to debate. “We’re going to be debating this fall and I look forward to that,” Sandoval said on June 30.

However, Brian Sandoval has continued his pattern of ducking any real questions from the media. Prominent political pundit Jon Ralston commented earlier this month that Sandoval’s hiding from the media and public “makes (Republican Senate candidate Sharron) Angle’s game of hide-and-seek look like kids’ play.”

“To be clear, Rory Reid will debate Brian Sandoval on education, economic development and every other issue important to Nevada voters anywhere, at any time,” said Reid spokesman Mike Trask. “Brian Sandoval has been hiding. And now he’s lied to Nevadans about his willingness to truly debate about the future of our state. At this critical time, with so much at stake, Nevadans deserve to know where the candidates stand on the issues. Sandoval is unwilling to participate in that discussion. It’s bizarre behavior reminiscent of Jim Gibbons–and not what Nevadans want from their next governor.”

Rory Reid is the only candidate for governor to offer solutions for today and a plan for Nevada’s future success–supporting strong schools for a stronger economy. For more information about his campaign or to download his plans, visit Rory2010.com.

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