Reminiscent of times gone by, a group of Tea Party activists is hosting a modified Lincoln-Douglas debate between former CEO Herman Cain and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich next month.
The forum, which will focus on fiscal issues, to be held Nov. 5 at the Woodlands Resort Near Houston, will feature Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, as an emcee; both GOP presidential candidates have confirmed their attendance.
This event is a response to remarks by Speaker Gingrich regarding his frustration with the format of the other presidential debates, Bill O'Sullivan, the treasurer of the Texas Tea Party Patriots, told the National Review Online. We believe this is the best opportunity for candidates to have substantive discussion since the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.
A source close to Gingrich said the former speaker will speak at length about his policy proposal and will, in a friendly way, illustrate his differences with Cain, National Review Online reported.
Modern Debates: Many Lack Depth
We initially wanted a forum with all of the candidates, O'Sullivan said. But when we heard Gingrich say he wanted a more serious debate, like the Lincoln-Douglas debates, we wanted to do that, especially since watching the recent superficial debates has been frustrating.
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 bringing the conversation to the people, and for the in-depth discussion of issues and the high level of political discourse. Douglas, a Democrat, would beat the Republican Lincoln in that race, but Lincoln would defeat Douglas in the far larger 1860 presidential race.
The debate is going to be dominated by the candidates going back and forth, in a respectful way, O'Sullivan said. It will be divided into parts, one for each major entitlement -- Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid - with each candidate detailing their arguments.
No broadcast network has yet agreed to air the exchange.