Nevada Dems cancel Fox presidential debate

March 10, 2007 at 12:49 PM

LAS VEGAS, March 10 (UPI) -- An after-dinner remark by the chairman of Fox News was being blamed Saturday for the decision to cancel a televised Democratic presidential debate in Nevada.

The Silver State's party officials announced Friday night that it was scuttling the planned Aug. 14 event due to an overall distrust of conservative-leaning Fox News and a joke Chairman Roger Ailes made at a banquet in which he played off the similar-sounding names of Sen. Barack Obama and al-Qaida's Osama bin Laden.

The New York Times said Ailes quipped while talking about Obama that President Bush had called the president of Pakistan and asked, "Why can't we catch this guy?"

The remark went over like a lead balloon among Nevada Democrats and the liberal blogosphere, The Times said, which prompted the decision to cancel the debate. State party leaders until then had been urging the rank-and-file to support the event despite Fox's reputation as a Republican ally.

Fox fired back with a statement blasting the Nevada Democratic Caucus as being controlled by "radical fringe out-of-state interest groups," the newspaper said.

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