June 7, 2008 was a great day for Ed O’Reilly. That was the day Ed got enough votes at the Mass. Dem. Convention to get on the ballot.
I’m sure after that moment of glory, Ed would be quick to start demanding some debates with the incumbent. Right? Ah, not quite.
UPDATE: Ed did call for debates on June 10th, although at that point, the number was ten. Lau said he wanted to wait until the Senate session was complete in early August. He went on to say:
In particular, Lau didn’t want to negotiate the debate schedule through the media.
“Our campaigns can talk about specifics,” Lau said.
In an e-mailed statement later in the day, Lau added that the Kerry campaign would discuss debates with the O’Reilly camp once the Senate has finished its business for the summer, as early as August.
“We look to a thoughtful discussion about debates once the Senate has finished the business of this session,” Lau wrote.
Ed waited nearly two months before doing so. July 25th, to be exact. O’Reilly called for 14 debates announced in the press on July 28th.
Kerry campaign manager Roger Lau responded the next day, July 29th, that he would like to negotiate the schedule with O’Reilly’s campaign manager. The number of joint appearances/debates had mysteriously morphed into 23, not 14.
It was at this moment that O’Reilly decided to really play games, because one has to assume he didn’t even have a campaign manager. So instead of admitting it, this was his response, and what has continued to have been his response going forward:
“I want a response from Sen. Kerry, not from a surrogate,” O’Reilly said. “I didn’t send (the letter) to Roger Lau. He’s not on the September ballot.”
O’Reilly, who is challenging Kerry (D-Boston) by running to his left, challenged Kerry to a series of debates in a letter on July 25. Kerry has yet to respond to the request.
In an appearance Tuesday on NECN’s “NewsNight,” O’Reilly charged that Kerry‘s unwillingness to debate him is an affront to both him and Massachusetts voters.
“It’s not just an insult to me that I haven’t gotten a response from John Kerry, really it’s an insult to the people of Massachusetts and also to the Democratic process,” O’Reilly said. “John Kerry should let me know…I’ll do any number of debates he’d like to do.”
Note that he only refers to John Kerry, not the Kerry campaign. That’s because he has heard from the Kerry campaign numerous times, but not a personal call from the Senator, apparently.
“You know this fella’s blatant lies are getting as old as his campaign is desperate,” Brigid O’Rourke, a spokeswoman for Kerry (D-Boston), told PolitickerMA.com.
O’Rourke said O’Reilly’s charge is simply not true and that it has been O’Reilly, not Kerry, that has been dragging his feet in organizing the debate.
“Our campaign did respond to his campaign – within days,” O’Rourke said. “It took them over a week to get back to use with another list of demands.”
“As we told Mr. O’Reilly weeks ago,” she went on, “our campaign manager is happy to sit down with his campaign manager to talk details.”
“We’d like to have a conversation rather than litigating this through the media in a cheap ploy for attention,” O’Rourke said. “But every day that this character invokes the smears of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and channels the Massachusetts GOP in his personal attacks, you wonder more and more whether his campaign is based on anything but character assassination.”
Actually, I think Ms. O’Rourke is being too charitable to Ed O’Reilly. He is too inept and amateur for “character assassination”. He hasn’t even been able to produce a campaign manager, since his last one left and threw his support to John Kerry.
So, in light of this pretty clear record of the shenanigans Ed has been pulling, is today’s news any surprise? I didn’t think so.
The obvious point is Senators don’t schedule their own debates. Ed knows this. God, I hope he knows this. So clearly, he does not want a debate scheduled; otherwise, he would have talked to Roger Lau right away, to get that process underway.
Better yet, he should have gotten the ball rolling in June. But he didn’t do any of that. And that is why nothing has happened. By design, of course.
Roger Lau, Kerry’s campaign manager, plans to sit down with an O’Reilly representative this Friday.
Again, why didn’t Ed do this earlier? Oh, because he was enjoying milking the “debate about the debates” in the press.