The LA Weekly's Bill Bradley discloses his role as a back-channel emissary trying to arrange a debate between Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the end, Davis burned Bradley by publicly making the debate challenge, and Schwarzenegger had no real reason to debate anyway. Still, Bradley details the talks in a story posted today on the Weekly site. It will be in the paper that comes out tomorrow.
On September 8, one of Davis longstanding senior advisers asked me to serve as an intermediary in an attempt to engage the action-movie superstar turned Republican gubernatorial front-runner in a one-on-one debate with the embattled Democratic incumbent. In the obvious public interest of holding such a debate, I agreed, even though it meant crossing the line from a commentator to a participant of sorts in a political campaign.
For the next two and a half weeks, I passed confidential messages between the two camps. Only a handful of people at the very top of the campaigns knew of our negotiations. Last Friday, the discussions halted with Davis public and unilateral challenge to Schwarzenegger, which violated one of the principal terms agreed to by both parties, that there would be no grandstanding with discussions under way.
Bradley has run and worked on Democratic campaigns in California. For the Weekly he has been writing columns on state politics for a couple of years. In the OC Weekly, meanwhile, columnist R. Scott Moxley is urging progressives to vote for McClintock. Really.
Edited 4:45 p.m.