If there is room for Al Sharpton, there certainly better be room for Sen. Gravel...

NH INSIDER- Your Source for NH Politics - Press Releases - Gravel Dismisses CNN, WMUR-TV And Union Leader Statement

CNN issued a press release over the weekend announcing that they had yet to decide if they were going to issue an invitation to former-Senator Mike Gravel to participate in the networked sponsored installment in the Democratic primary debate circuit, and Gravel was needless to say none too pleased by this development.

The brief bulletin issued by CNN on behalf of the network and its partners in
The three debate partners, closely following Federal Election Commission guidelines, established objective criteria to determine who we invite to the debates. Because there are literally dozens and dozens of declared presidential candidates, most of whom we have never heard of, we have to have a method of determining who is invited. Our criteria simply identifies candidates that have measurable public support for their campaign. Because Mike Gravel has not demonstrated measurable public support for his campaign to date, he has not received an invitation. But we have not excluded him (or anyone) from the debate. If he meets our criteria between now and the debate, he will certainly get an invitation.

To his credit, Senator Gravel refrains from stating the obvious, but rather politely insinuates that it is absurd to claim that somehow the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, or even activist Ralph Nadar, were somehow more qualified or credible candidates than he is as a former-Senator, which is precisely what the network is insinuating when they attempt to justify their criteria for selecting participants.

To quote the Senator's response to the CNN press release,
“The statement said that there are literally dozens and dozens of declared presidential candidates. That is true but out of those dozens of candidates, how many are former United States Senators who have been given the stamp of legitimacy by the Democratic National Committee, SEIU, AFSCME, ABC, the Nevada Democratic Party, the Center for American Progress Action Fund etc? Only two, former Senator John Edwards and myself. “Though this is not the only criteria for deciding the legitimacy of a candidate as other aspirants may have contributed distinguished public service as an appointed official or as an officer of an NGO or excelled as individual public figures such as Ralph Nader, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Reverend Al Sharpton making them eminently worthy, it is one indisputable criteria for defining a legitimate candidate...”
“...The statement confirmed that I had not received an invitation but said that I nor anyone else has been excluded from the debate. It went on to say that if I meet their criteria between now and the debate, I will be invited. What was Orwellian in my not meeting certain criteria which the media organizations would not divulge becomes Kafkaesque when I am now told that I have not been excluded and can still be invited if Imeet this mysterious criteria. CNN, WMUR-TVand the Union Leader sent out invitations weeks ago. I did not receive one. I am told I have not demonstrated measurable public support, which, besides being a galactic misunderstanding of polling numbers ten months before an election is also a self-fulfilling prophecy since being included in the debate would provide me and any other candidate who may have not been invited an important opportunity to secure such public support.”
Senator Gravel and I do not share the same sentiments on matters of policy, but I absolutely support the respect Senator's right to be heard, and I think CNN should be embarrassed by their shameful disrespect for a man who served two full terms in the United States Senate, which is certainly more experience than either of the party's front-runners Barack and Hillary can claim.

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