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Debating Debates

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Debating Debates

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U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (L) (D-CA) and republican candidate for U.S. Senate Carly Fiorina participate in a debate on the campus of Saint Mary's College September 1, 2010 in Moraga, California. With less than two months before the election, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and , republican candidate Carly Fiorina faced off in their first debate.

The act of debating debates means we must be in the height of the political season.  Debates give candidates something their money can't buy and that's free TV time. 

And today we finally have word of a debate in Southern California.  But this one won't feature the candidates for Governor.

U.S. Senate candidates Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina have agreed to a second debate on September 29 on a Pasadena public radio station.  The debate will be streamed on line. 

In their only TV debate earlier this month, both candidates were on their game.  Fiorina attacked Boxer's record and promised that her business background would translate to jobs for Californians.  Boxer countered that a woman who fired thousands of employees and outsourced other jobs overseas as Hewlett Packard's CEO could not be trusted to stand up for workers.

Which woman won is subject to a great deal of partisan interpretation.  By any measure,  it was good political theater.  Therein lies a potential problem for the Gubernatorial candidates.  Can Jerry Brown or Meg Whitman match the stage presence and the issue focus of the women running for the Senate?

They''ll have at least four chances to measure up -- or not. 

The three TV debates are set for September 28 at U-C Davis, October 12 at Dominican University of California in San Rafael, and now October 2 in Fresno, an exchange which will be aired at 4 p.m. on a Saturday.  A forth radio-only debate is scheduled for October 5.

It's possible if not likely there will be a fifth debate.  Jerry Brown continues to push for at least one debate in Southern California.  And why not?  There's a question the candidates can debate.

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