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Kucinich Excluded From Des Moines Register Debate

Kucinich, Top-Rated Democrat, Excluded From Des Moines Register Debate

The highest polling Democratic Presidential candidate among the Party's progressive, grassroots, activist base, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, has been excluded from the Des Moines Register-sponsored Presidential debate here on Thursday because his Iowa field director operates from a home office rather than a rented storefront.

Despite being the top-ranked Presidential candidate in polls conducted by Democracy for America (DFA), Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), and one of the country's leading progressive publications, The Nation, Kucinich was not invited to participate in the debate because "It was our determination that a person working out of his home did not meet our criteria for a campaign office and full-time paid staff in Iowa," according to a statement from the newspaper's top officials, including editor Carolyn Washburn.

The dismissive reference was to Kucinich Iowa Field Director and State Coordinator Marcos Rubinstein, who coordinates campaign activities from his home office in Dubuque, bolstered by a dozen-or-so other senior campaign staff who have traveled the state over the past several months.

Both the DFA and PDA have been extremely active in Iowa in the past few weeks promoting the top vote-getters in their on-line polls. The DFA is planning to run full-page ads featuring Kucinich, as well as second and third- place finishers John Edwards and Barack Obama; and the 90,000-member PDA has been sending emails to its Iowa members advising them that Kucinich scored first with 41% while Edwards came in a distant second at 26%.

The results of those polls, and others showing Kucinich ahead of "invited" candidates -- Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd -- apparently carried no weight at the Des Moines Register, despite the fact that the newspaper and other national media have been portraying the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses as a national political event that may determine the outcome of the Presidential race.

"The Iowa caucuses have been portrayed as having national implications, and if the Register has decided to use hair-splitting technicalities to exclude the leading voice of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, then the entire process is suspect," according to a statement from the Kucinich campaign. The Iowa Democratic Party, Iowa Public Television, and well-funded political interests have barred Kucinich from previous public appearances. "The Des Moines Register's arbitrary and unreasonable exclusion of Congressman Kucinich is consistent with the treatment that the Congressman has received from the entrenched political and institutional interests in Iowa."

Kucinich, his campaign pointed out, is the only Democratic Presidential candidate who voted against the Iraq war authorization in 2002 and every war-funding measure since. He has been warning for years that the Administration's belligerence toward Iran is unjustified, and, last week's revelations in the National Intelligence Estimate confirm that. He is the only Democratic candidate who voted against the Patriot Act, and the only Democratic candidate who has called for the repeal of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because of its disastrous effect on U.S. jobs. Kucinich is also the only candidate pushing for a national, not-for-profit, single-payer health insurance system that will cover all Americans.

"He is also the only major candidate who has been excluded from Thursday's debate," said his campaign. "The Des Moines Register, Iowa

Public Television, the Iowa Democratic Party, and other broadcast sponsors should be asked to explain why the leading voice in the progressive Democratic constituency has been denied a presence and a voice in this debate."


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