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When it comes to debates, the Libertarians want in, too

The Libertarian Party says the decision by Fox News to cut GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul out of this weekend’s debate illustrates the culture of censorship of competitive views in mainstream politics. “There is simply no tolerance of competing voices against the political elite of two-party politics,” says Shane Cory, executive director of the Libertarian Party.

“The leading GOP fund-raiser for the fourth quarter is being snubbed from the debates for nothing more than having political views outside of mainstream Republicanism,” says Cory. “The Republican establishment shuns Paul for his pro-liberty views and will do everything it can to marginalize him. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. There is a long-standing culture of censorship among the political elite when it comes to competing viewpoints.”

Third-party candidates, such as those from the Libertarian Party, are routinely denied participation in political debates, both locally and nationally. The Libertarian Party claims the competition of opinion is vital for healthy and open debates, which are essential to democracy.

Despite the institutional bias against competing viewpoints, one group has taken up the charge to try to open debates to third-party candidates.

“We have people dying in Iraq to promote democracy in that part of the world, and in this country, we can’t even have full, open, inclusive debates,” says Rockthedebates.org founder Bob Sullentrup. “There is something fundamentally wrong with that.”

Rockthedebates.org is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to opening up debates to all candidates. Rockthedebates.org has asked presidential candidates if they would be open to debating a third-party candidate. Of those who have responded, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee are the only two current GOP candidates who have agreed to do so. Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney have said they are opposed to open debates. Democrat Barack Obama has also said he is opposed to debating a third-party candidate, while Hillary Clinton has been ambiguous with her answer and John Edwards has yet to respond.

“The Republican and Democratic Parties may say they are dedicated to open and democratic debates,” Cory concludes, “but their track records with limiting competition in debates shows the hypocrisy of their rhetoric.”

The Libertarian Party is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting www.lp.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.


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