Edwards declines Fox debate

Candidate objects to network's platform

Sen. John Edwards said Friday he would not participate in a September debate sponsored by Fox News Channel.

The debate is one of four held by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute during the 2008 election cycle. Two of the debates, one Democratic and one Republican, are being sponsored by Fox News, the other two by CNN.

“We believe there’s just no reason for Democrats to give Fox a platform to advance the right-wing agenda while pretending they’re objective,” said Jonathan Prince, deputy campaign manager for Edwards.

He added that Edwards was “looking forward” to participating in the Democratic debate sponsored by CNN.

Fox News suggested Edwards was using Fox to score points with his political base.

“Sen. Edwards has appeared on FNC more than 30 times, most recently in January. So when exactly did he start having problems with us? When he was polling below 15%?” a Fox News spokesperson asked.

It’s the second Fox-sponsored presidential debate that Edwards has shunned. He pulled out of a debate that was to be held by the Nevada Democrats in August because of Fox’s involvement.

That debate was ultimately canceled altogether after comments by Fox News chairman Roger Ailes comparing Sen. Barack Obama’s name to Osama bin Laden.

The Congressional Black Caucus, a bipartisan group of black members of the House of Representatives, has worked with Fox in the past, co-sponsoring a debate with the network during the 2004 election cycle.

By putting on the debate, the CBC, not Fox, is responsible for securing commitments from the candidates. The network typically pays for the event, provides a moderator and has exclusive rights to the broadcast.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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