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August 20, 2010 at 1:09 PM

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Rossi wants six debates with Murray

Posted by Jim Brunner

Republican Senate challenger Dino Rossi is asking for six televised debates with incumbent Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.

In an open letter to Murray Friday, Rossi called for five debates in Washington State and one nationally televised debate.

Rossi suggested the debates should be "Lincoln-Douglas style," allowing each candidate to make opening statements, ask questions of each other, introduce new ideas and defend policy statements.

"This is an opportunity for us to question each other on various policy positions in a manner which allows the public, not the press or interest groups, to dictate the issues covered," Rossi said in the letter.

Rossi suggested one debate a week, beginning Sept. 6.

A Murray spokeswoman made no immediate commitment.

"Of course we're going to look at debates, but we're going to have to work around the Senate schedule," said Alex Glass, Murray's deputy campaign manager.

Glass noted the Senate comes back into session in early September.

Update: 1:31 p.m.: Glass adds that Murray will only agree to in-state debates, ruling out the nationally televised one that Rossi suggested. (Those usually occur on national political talk shows.)

In 2004, Murray agreed to two debates with challenger George Nethercutt, who wanted many more.

That led to the rather pathetic spectacle of Nethercutt wandering around the state holding "debates" with a pair of tennis shoes.

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Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

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Covers the Eastside.

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Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Covers local government.

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Kyung Song
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