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Debate of third-party candidates on tap

  |   Oct. 18, 2012 at 10:59 AM
CHICAGO, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Ballot-qualified, third-party contenders for the U.S. presidency will hold their own debate next week in Chicago and stream it live on the Internet.

Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode and Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson confirmed they will participate Tuesday in the only debate among third-party candidates in Chicago, The Christian Science Monitor reported Wednesday.

Former CNN host Larry King will moderate the 90-minute forum that will stream live on YouTube and Internet television network Ora.tv.

The third-party candidates' debate represents American democracy at work, said Christina Tobin, co-moderator of the debate and founder of the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, the Chicago non-profit sponsoring the debate.

"This debate is really about the fact that all elections should be free and equal," Tobin told the Monitor.

The event will "bring together two candidates from the left and two from the right and let them speak about real issues, the kinds of things that people really care about," Tobin said. "From foreign policy, to the economy, to taboo subjects like our diminishing civil liberties and the drug war, Americans deserve a real debate, real solutions and real electoral options."

An immediate impact of the debate will be expanding the political conversation beyond Republican or Democratic rhetoric, Catherine Wilson, political science professor at Villanova University, told the Monitor in an email.

Also, a 2012 Gallup poll indicated four in 10 Americans identified themselves as political independents.

"The absence of these voices in the presidential debates should give Americans pause, especially since one of the most common reasons to claim independent political status is that Americans tend to espouse a mixture of Republican and Democratic sympathies at the same time," Wilson said.

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