by Richard Dunham:
First, there were Lincoln and Douglas.
This year, we have Cain and Gingrich.
The two Georgians seeking the Republican nomination for president have accepted an invitation from the Texas Patriots PAC to meet in The Woodlands on Nov. 5 for a free-wheeling and moderator-free debate on the major issues in the 2012 presidential campaign.
The two participants — former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — have gained ground in the polls following their performance in the first eight debates of the GOP campaign season. But Gingrich in particular has been critical of what he considers “gotcha” questions from reporters and the nasty tone of the most recent debate in Las Vegas.
“This event is a response to remarks by Speaker Gingrich regarding his frustration with the format of the other presidential debates,” said Bill O’Sullivan, a Texas Tea Party Patriots PAC volunteer. “We believe this is the best opportunity for candidates to have substantive discussion since the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.”
Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held a series of debates in 1858 when they were running for an Illinois Senate race. The debates became famous for the in-depth discuss of issues and the high level of political discourse. Democrat Douglas defeated Republican Lincoln in the 1858 Senate race. But Lincoln defeated Douglas and two other candidates in the 1860 presidential race.
The Cain-Gingrich event, sponsored by the Texas Tea Party Patriots PAC, will be held at 6 p.m. CST on Nov. 5 at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center. The Patriots are based in The Woodlands.
The group’s president, Julie Turner, said the Texas Tea Party Patriots volunteers are “delighted and impressed that these two candidates are willing to take the time and engage in this format. We hope this will be the first of several events structured to give candidates the opportunity to fully communicate their visions for America.”
Rick Dunham is the Washington bureau chief of the Houston Chronicle and Hearst Newspapers. He created Texas on the Potomac in 2007.