Debate plan could die due to demands

Voters who got excited at early reports that Congresman Charles Taylor and challenger Heath Shuler had agreed to a debate may have jumped the gun.


While each agreed to a debate in principle, disagreement over the time, place and format could kill the prospect before it gets off the ground.

What is known is that WLOS and The Asheville Citizen-Times would co-host the debate.

Shuler wants the debate to be open to the public in an auditorium style setting, where the candidates are equipped with a wireless microphone and can move around the floor as they talk. Shuler also wants candidates to have a 60-second rebuttal to the other’s answer.

Taylor prefers the debate to be held in the WLOS television studio and does not want a public audience.

Taylor is now accusing Shuler of stalling. Shuler’s calendar was already full for the days that Taylor proposed, and wanted to hold the debate in three weeks. Taylor said that is too late, as early voting starts next week.

I look forward to working out the full package of debate ground rules soon so the debate doesn’t become a political football,” Taylor said. “I’m ready — is Mr. Shuler?”

Shuler has already attended four debates or forums in the region so far with three more already in the line-up. Taylor was invited to attend each of them but failed to appear.

“I have been very disappointed that I have not seen Mr. Taylor at any of the previous debates or forums to which we were both invited. Hopefully, we can work out the logistics of this debate or he will show up to one of the three other debates already scheduled,” said Shuler.

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