“We respect Vicki Kennedy’s decision but we regret that we cannot accept a debate invitation from someone who plans to endorse Scott Brown’s opponent,” Brown Campaign Manager Jim Barnett said in a statement. “The Kennedy Institute cannot hold itself out as a nonpartisan debate sponsor while the president of its board of trustees gets involved in the race on behalf of one of the candidates.” – Boston Globe
FIRST VICKI KENNEDY had to cross her heart and promise not to endorse anyone in order to get Sen. Scott Brown to debate Elizabeth Warren at a proposed Edward M. Kennedy Institute. Why Mr. Brown has any right at all to tell Mrs. Kennedy that in order to book him she can’t endorse anyone is beyond me. She’s Teddy Kennedy’s widow, so is there any doubt where her heart lies? Mrs. Kennedy was also not going to be involved in the questioning. The funniest demand from Sen. Brown was that MSNBC not be involved.
Again from the Boston Globe:
“This non-endorsement pledge is unprecedented and is not being required of any other persons or entities,” they wrote. “To us, such a pledge seems inappropriate when a non-media sponsor issues a debate invitation. We can assure both campaigns that the debate will be fair, just as the one we cosponsored between Senator Brown and Attorney General Martha Coakley in 2010 was fair.”
Former NBC top man Tom Brokaw was to moderate the debate and you’ve got to wonder how he took the slight from Brown, though it doesn’t really matter. But Brokaw has been one of the most vocal about MSNBC’s hyper-partisan turn in the past.
Representatives of the Institution told Brown “we still have some flexibility in this area,” indicating that they would have been willing to negotiate who broadcast and moderated the debate.