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Hawley and McCaskill Disagree on How to Debate

Josh Hawley

Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and her opponent, Republican Josh Hawley, have differing views about what their debates should look like.

Hawley Wednesday sent McCaskill a letter letting the senator know he would have a flatbed truck in a couple of locations this week and that “we hope you join us for an hour of free-wheeling, wide-open, old-fashioned debating.”

But McCaskill called the flatbed truck a political stunt during a stop in Springfield Wednesday, and she accused Hawley of trying to avoid talking about the issues Missourians care about.

"They care more about where he stands on preexisting conditions than they care about where we debate.  Of course we're going to debate," she said.

Credit Claire McCaskill
Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill

McCaskill wants to do town hall-style debates where the media and the public can ask questions and get answers.

Hawley, however, said while town halls are a good start, Missourians deserve more.

“These are not debates,” he wrote to McCaskill.  “Missourians deserve to hear directly from us and to watch as we question each other directly.  No stifling rules.  No buzzers or bells.  No pundits or moderators.”

But McCaskill said questions from Missourians are important.  She said her campaign has already been in touch with news channels to try to nail down some debate offers.

"We're hoping for a debate that would be part questions from journalists and part questions from the audience, and we're hoping to do a number of those across the state," she said.

Hawley said he’s accepted debates with several news outlets, and he wrote in his letter to McCaskill that “most of these outlets will be willing to air our wide-open, direct, flatbed truck debates as well if we’re only willing to give them a little notice.  This is a chance to make this Senate race the most substantive contest in America, without the filter of journalists or outside advertisers.”

McCaskill told Missourians during her stop in Springfield to “buckle in.  It’s going to be a rough 13 weeks.”  And she urged people to ignore any ads, both for and against her, that don’t reveal who’s paying for them.