Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder, probably better known by his campaign slogan One Tough Nerd, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero, becoming better known as America's Angriest Mayor, don't agree on much when it comes to turning Michigan's economy around.
They apparently can't agree on a debate format with slightly more than seven weeks until Nov. 2 election.
Bernero's campaign Sunday morning announced it would hold a news conference in the afternoon in Detroit to announce a "new approach" to securing debates with Snyder.
That announcement followed a flurry of e-mailed news releases Friday in which Bernero accused Snyder of unilaterally calling off proposed televised debates between the two candidates for governor. Snyder, in turn, accused Bernero of scuttling a fair and reasonable debate proposal by seeking to impose last-minute conditions.
Bernero plans to hold his event at 1:30 p.m. in front of the Spirit of Detroit at 250 Woodward Avenue in Detroit.
Bernero's last release on Friday said this:
"Bernero's campaign originally asked for eight widely viewed debates throughout the state to allow as many Michigan residents as possible the chance to hear ideas from each of the candidates and compare their plans for themselves. After weeks of negotiations, Snyder offered a final proposal at 11:30 a.m. today and demanded the Bernero campaign respond by 4 p.m. or there would be no debates. Snyder's final proposal looked much like his first, with only three debates. The proposal insisted the debates by hosted by moderators chosen by the Snyder campaign. Snyder's proposal also included a debate in Detroit, which would be held at noon with no live audience."
"Bernero officially accepted the three debates proposed by the Snyder campaign, offering only two minor modifications: one, that Snyder’s campaign not be allowed to unilaterally dictate to members of the media who will serve as debate panelists, as the Snyder campaign’s proposal does; two, that the third debate hosted by the Detroit Economic Club be held in the evening and broadcast live. The DEC has already agreed to host a debate in the evening."
Snyder's campaign said Friday that debate negotiations ended when Bernero, the Lansing mayor, refused an offer to hold three televised debates and that no further negotiations are scheduled.
Snyder's campaign said this:
"The Snyder campaign had proposed one debate to be held at the Detroit Economic Club at noon and to be re-broadcast on NBC Affiliate WDIV in Detroit with statewide affiliate tie-in; one debate to be broadcast statewide on Public Television and moderated by the non-partisan Center for Michigan; and one more televised event to be held in Northern Michigan."
"(Snyder spokesman Bill) Nowling said the Snyder final offer was delivered to the Bernero camp earlier today after more than two weeks of back and forth negotiations. Instead of accepting the offer on the table, the Bernero campaign insisted on last-minute changes to the proposal. The Snyder campaign had already agreed to modify its debate offer from earlier in the week after the Bernero campaign balked at a proposed debate on statewide radio, insisting that all three debates be televised."
As it stands now, Michigan voters will get no debates between the two men, one of whom will be the state's next governor.
Snyder spokesman Nowling said Snyder will continue to hold town hall meetings across Michigan, a strategy that led him to win the Aug. 3 Republican primary against four opponents with more political savvy in public debates.
But the question remains: Do Michigan voters deserve a debate between Snyder and Bernero, and when will it occur?