Sen. Edward Kennedy Nixes Debates
BOSTON (AP) _ For the first time since he first ran for Senate nearly four decades ago, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has refused to debate his election opponents.
A Kennedy aide said Tuesday the senator was too busy with obligations in Washington, where the Senate is still in session.
``Time constraints due to the congressional schedule have made a debate impossible,″ Kennedy spokesman Will Keyser said. ``Congress won’t finish its business until later this week and may spill over into next week.″
Republican Jack E. Robinson and Libertarian Carla Howell have repeatedly called on Kennedy to appear at a public forum.
Despite his Senate duties, Kennedy found time to tour the state in recent days. On Monday, he was in New Bedford to announce a federal grant for a New Bedford Whaling exhibit and the New Bedford Portuguese Cultural Center. On Tuesday, in Boston, the senator addressed to the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, received an award from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and spoke at a pro-Israel rally.
Robinson taunted Kennedy, offering to donate $2,500 to Kennedy’s favorite charity if he agreed to debate on Thursday.
``If he rejects that offer, then the citizens of Massachusetts should reject him,″ Robinson said. ``He has declared himself a monarch.″
Howell blamed Kennedy’s refusal on news organizations, which, she said, did not press for debates.
``Sen. Ted Kennedy is not debating in Massachusetts because the big Boston media have refused to require him to campaign,″ Howell said in a statement.
A consortium of newspaper and television stations had sought to scheduled a debate.
Kennedy has served in the Senate since 1962, winning the seat once held by his brother, President John F. Kennedy.
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