Deal refuses to debate Barnes


Moderator Sonny Dixon, an anchor with WTOC TV, said the format was changed because the Deal campaign “didn’t think it was time for a face-to-face confrontation.”

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said that — fresh off the Aug. 10 runoff — the campaign never agreed to a debate.

He said Deal is prepared to debate Democrat Barnes “from Hiawassee to Hahira, just not today.”

“Just Not Today”. Lame.


  1. Jace Walden says:


    How dare you post this baseless, insensitive attack on the RealDeal! You must be a SORE loser!

    Everyone who knows Nathan knows that he’d LOVE to debate Roy Barnes today…

    …but Nathan doesn’t receive his weekly talking points memo from Sean Hannity until Sunday every week.

    So it’ll just have to wait!

  2. ACCmoderate says:

    Deal is prepared to debate Barnes “from Hiawassee to Hahira, just not today.”

    That means you aren’t prepared, old man.

    I’ll say the same thing that Karen said… put on your big boy pants.

  3. Jeremy Jones says:

    One of the reasons I voted for Deal was I knew Handel would not be able to handle Barnes in a debate.

    I am truly upset and disappointed in Deal if he does not debate Barnes, “anytime, anywhere.”

    • GOPwits says:

      Karen would have debated Roy and prevailed and made him wish he would have stayed home in Marietta.

      • KariDee says:

        “Karen would have debated Roy and prevailed and made him wish he would have stayed home in Marietta.”

        …..But unfortunately she didn’t win the run off, so she got to stay home in Fulton county……so moving right along…….

      • Lady Thinker says:

        You are so right GOPwits. The sleazy, unethical candidate under a federal grand jury investigation won. After all that has come out on Deal, I don’t know who is worse, Deal McBerry, or Oxendine.

  4. Provocateur says:

    Rule #1: When you are the leader in the race, you do not give your opponent a chance at generating free publicity or possibly catching you on an off-day by agreeing to debate him.

    Simple….winning strategies.

  5. Georgia Judge says:

    This was not the venue nor topic for a debate.It’s purpose was to discuss Tourism and the format was best suited for one on one.Speaking as someone who was there,Nathan will do fine against Roy in a debate setting,based on what I saw today.

    Chris, you need to come to grips with the fact that DEAL IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT GOVERNOR,so get you some cheese to go with your whine.

    • Erick's Mortal Enemy says:

      Then why, prithee tell, did he agree to do the debate in the first place? And why, further prithee tell, did he take until, what, an hour ago to back out?

      Please enjoy this YouTube video, of a re-enactment of Mr. Deal’s actions today:

      • Doug Grammer says:

        If you read the story, no one had agreed to a debate. When it’s time, I expect Congressman Deal to do well.

        • Erick's Mortal Enemy says:

          I misspoke, a “face to face confrontation.” Thanks for pointing that out. I really misunderstood that one.

          • Doug Grammer says:

            I’m fairly certain they have met before. Prize fighters about to get in a ring wait until it’s time. Congressman Deal is enjoying a lead right now. I am sure he will debate Barnes and do well when it happens. In the mean time, why should be change his game plan to appease Gov. Barnes?

            This sort of makes Gov. Barnes look desperate to debate.

            • “I’m fairly certain they have met before.”

              After all, they used to be in the same political party. I’m sure they probably attended a few fundraisers together in the past. 🙂

            • Erick's Mortal Enemy says:

              Your spin is not working. Fact is that they were scheduled to meet face to face in a “confrontation,” and Deal backed out at the last second. I could care less if it was against his campaign plan, it just makes him look like a chicken, or at least a comical character from Monty Python. If he didn’t want to meet Barnes mano-y-mano, then he never should have said that he would.

              • Doug Grammer says:


                Do you have any proof that Congressman Deal agreed to the format or did they try to change it on him at the last minute? It’s barely worth talking about. I’d be OK with counting the votes today, but we can wait until November.

        • GOPwits says:

          Actually, not true. According to Sonny Dixon, it was supposed to be a debate and Deal backed out and said he didn’t want to debate today. Just like he doesn’t want to release his taxes.

          The real question though in a debate that will be asked that he’s scared of is whether or not he will step aside as the GOP nominee if an indictment is handed down against him.

          • Doug Grammer says:


            The real question is will you continue to post after you are hit by a truck, because I find that just as likely as an indictment against Congressman Deal.

            According to the link, Sonny Dixson DID NOT say it was supposed to be a debate. If you have other information, please share it with us.

    • Doug Grammer says:

      Nothing in the link you provided supports your supposition that Sonny thought he was moderating a debate. Try again.

      • Erick's Mortal Enemy says:

        Are you really dealing in semantics here, Doug?

        “Democrat Roy Barnes and Republican Nathan Deal were expected to face off in their first one-on-one meeting since Deal won the Republican runoff last week.

        However, there was no debate…”

        Based off of your burden of proof, I ask you to prove that there never was supposed to be a debate, “face-to-face showdown,” or anything else that could be considered a synonym to “debate.” Because thus far, you have just contradicted news reports that seem to indicate, to the average observer, that a debate (of sorts) was expected to occur.

        • Doug Grammer says:


          GOPWits said Dixson thought he was moderating debate. It’s not my fault if the link he provided didn’t support his statement.

          • DTK says:


            “Moderator Sonny Dixon, an anchor with WTOC TV, said the format was changed because the Deal campaign “didn’t think it was time for a face-to-face confrontation.”


            “The forum Wednesday was supposed to be the first time Barnes and Deal faced each other on stage as their parties’ respective nominees.

            Organizers said Deal’s campaign ultimately balked at the idea. So each candidate got 30 minutes alone, sharing the spotlight only with a moderator. ”


            • Doug Grammer says:


              I read every word of both links. I did not see where Dixson said he thought he was moderating a debate. One did show that Dixson explained that the format had been changed. That doesn’t mean the format that they had planned was ever approved by both campaigns. The links that you are providing still don’t support GOPwits statement.

              • DTK says:

                Oh, good God, man. Are you looking for a story that quotes Sonny Dixon as saying, “I set up a debate for my good ol’ friends Roy and Nathan, and now Nate just backs out like he’s skeered or somethin'”?

                The reporter in the AP story summarizes Dixon’s quote as saying the format had been changed. Seriously, what other format was there to be changed, if it wasn’t a debate?

                Do you ever admit you’re wrong, or are you just stubborn?

                • Doug Grammer says:

                  I am stubborn and I do admit when I am wrong and I know that I am wrong. I admit that there are others who thought there was going to be a debate. I have not seen any proof that Dixson was one of them. I am a stickler for details. It has served me well.

                  GOPwits said “Sonny thought he was moderating a debate.” I haven’t seen any proof of that. Most campaigns will agree upon the terms of the debate before they agree to debate. The title of the thread is “Deal refuses to debate Barnes.” I am simply pointing out that I don’t think that he had agreed to do so. I’ll accept an e-mail from any paid staff member of the Deal campaign saying “Yes, we agree to those terms, see you on Wednesday.”

                  Instead of me accepting your premise that a debate was agreed to by the Deal campaign, are you open to considering that it had not been agreed to?

                  • DTK says:

                    I’m completely open to the fact that the Deal camp thought they were going to Savannah for a Q&A tourism forum, rather than a debate with Barnes.

                    It’s completely possible there was a mixup, and that event organizers failed to tell the Deal campaign that it was a debate-style forum.

                    However, I haven’t seen anyone from the Deal camp say that. I have, though, seen numerous articles that quote event organizers’ dismay at Deal refusing to share the stage with Barnes.

                    For the time being, I’ll believe the reporters’ version of the story, which passed the editing process, rather than your conjecture, which serves no purpose other than to give cover to a GOP candidate.

                    • Provocateur says:

                      Perhaps they did “say” it, but since that didn’t fit in well with the way the reporter wanted to write a story, it is not something you would have seen.

                      Yeah, I know, it’s a shock to discover news reporters actually have a choice in how they wish to present a story, whether it is a left-leaning or a right-leaning publication.

                    • DTK says:

                      @ Provocateur

                      I used to work for a 80k circulation newspaper as a copy editor, so I’m well aware of reporters’ bias creeping into the news.

                      However, most reporters are professionals and would not purposefully leave out a candidate’s explanation for an event, especially if the story is about his lack of explanation.

                      If all we had were one story to go on, then I’d be a little more hesitant to believe the reporter. But since we have at least four stories by four different news agencies (Associated Press, Savannah Morning News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and WTOC-TV), then I’m more confidant that Deal did not give an explanation as to why he thought it wasn’t a debate. There’s no mass conspiracy here.

      • Doug Grammer says:

        I will agree THAT link showed that Dixson was thinking debate, but still no proof that the Deal campaign had agreed to one. I’ll also state, that link looked like a bit of a hit job, but that’s going to happen from time to time.

        • Erick's Mortal Enemy says:

          Jesus. Look, let’s just stop arguing about this. Doug is unquestionably wrong, but the guy apparently wants Nathan Deal to knock on his damned door and tell him exactly what he wants to hear. Anything less than that is a liberal media hit job.

          Seriously, man, you’re acting like a fool.

          • Doug Grammer says:


            I just agreed that someone FINNALLY provided a link that shows that Dixson expected a debate. Now waiting on someone to show me where Congressman Deal had agreed to debate. I’m not a fool because you can’t produce your facts. I’d be a fool to agree with things you can’t prove. If you do, I will agree with them. So far, you haven’t.

            • Romegaguy says:

              I found this video of Deal admitting it was originally to be a debate that he personally agreed to but that he decided that he was changing his mind and not going to debate Roy.

            • DTK says:


              Let’s say I wake up in the morning and go outside. I look at my driveway and the cement is completely wet.

              From this fact I can surmise that it rained last night, even though I didn’t actually see it rain. I reached this conclusion by using CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. I didn’t actually need to see it rain or hear it rain for me to reach this conclusion.

              Of course, it’s completely possible that my neighbor sprayed my yard and driveway with the water hose last night, but it’s highly unlikely.

              Because I have a life, I am satifsfied with my conclusion and I don’t demand DIRECT EVIDENCE of it raining last night. Also because I have a life, I don’t demand that my neighbor provide evidence that he didn’t hose my yard last night.

              Doug, if everyone had to have direct evidence to prove a point, we’d go nowhere in society. Instead, we’re satisfied with inferences gleaned from facts, and move on to other more important things until other, newer facts become available.

              In this case, you should accept the fact that every damn person who was part of this event says it was going to be a debate. We don’t need to produce an affidavit, blood samples, and three completed TPS reports from the Deal camp showing that he didn’t know it was a debate.

              Just accept the fact that it appears Deal backed out of a one-on-one confrontation with Barnes, more than likely because he knew that he had little expertise on the subject. It’s okay, man; you’re boy Deal still has time to bounce back. You don’t need to cover for him every time he stubs his toe. He’s found his big boy pants now; he doesn’t need you to be his apologist hack.

              • Provocateur says:


                So, you’re anti-Facts, eh? You would just rather rely on someone else telling you everything, regardless of whether it was accurate or not?

                No, I’m not sticking-up for Doug here, but I am asking if you are willing to lay down your whole life based on what a reporter tells you what happened in their story?

                • DTK says:


                  You’re misunderstanding my point. I was trying to show Doug that you don’t have to have direct evidence of an event to conclude the event likely happened.

                  But, yes, I’d rely on the reporters’ account of what happened, since all of the stories essentially are the same. Of course, they could be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time the press got a story wrong.

                  I don’t see how my argument was “anti-facts”, though. There were plenty of facts in the reporters’ articles. Were they all of the facts? No. But you don’t need 100 percent information in order to draw a conclusion. If you waited to have all of the info before making up your mind, you’d be paralyzed, because who knows when you’ve got “all” of the information?

                  Yes, you’ll be wrong sometimes if you don’t have all of the information before making up your mind. But most of the time you’ll be okay if you get enough facts that make the situation seem logical. Doug wanted us to wait to get “all” of the facts, which meant some evidence showing Deal’s knowledge of a debate. I made the implicit argument that it’s absurd to hold off on drawing a conclusion until we “produced” this evidence, because there’s no way of even knowing it existed. It was enough that we had the reporters’ account of the event as well as direct quotes from Dixon about what happened. Because all the stories seemed to gel, we should give them greater credibility than Doug’s conjecture over what might have happened.

                  If y’all don’t get that, I don’t ever want y’all on one of my juries.

                  • Doug Grammer says:

                    The facts show that Brain Robinson stated that the Deal campaign never agreed to a debate. Is it possible that everyone expected a debate except the Deal campaign? Yes. There is a difference between changing their mind and never agreeing to it.

                    It is not my conjecture that the Deal campaign didn’t agree to a debate. The campaign spokesperson said Deal had not. You are overlooking some facts but not others.

                    For the record, I am THE GUY you want on your jury. I believe in innocent until proven guilty. I check all the facts available. You are overlooking the statement of Robinson. Unless you can prove he’s lying, I’m finding in favor of the Deal campaign.

                    Show me he’s lying and I will agree that Congressman Deal backed out of the debate.

                    Your scenario is like me coming to a party and everyone there had discussed me buying lunch. They all expected it and they were hungry. They even put an add in the paper. The wrote stories in the paper about how I had backed out of buying lunch. It doesn’t mean I agreed to do it. And it doesn’t mean I won’t do it in the future.

                    • DTK says:


                      The campaign spokesman did deny that the campaign had agreed to the debate. You’re right.; I did immediately discard this statement as relevant, but having very little weight. I should have noted his statement before breezing right past it with my argument.

                      At any rate, I shouldn’t have to show you that he’s lying. Why? Because it’s what spokemen do, especially when their candidates have been embarassed. Only campaign party hacks give credence to campaign spokesmen and campaign press releases. The rest of us know that all you get from official sources is spin. When evaluating whether Deal backed out of the debate, his spokesman’s statement has as much value as if the campaign had made no statement at all. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself what the campaign’s statement would have been if Deal truly did back out of the debate. I imagine it would be something like what Robinson actually said.

                      Now, if Deal himself comes out and calls Sonny Dixon a liar, then I will reappraise the situation. Until then, color me unimpressed by a spokesman’s perfunctory statement.

                    • Doug Grammer says:

                      Ok DTK,

                      I understand your position now. Everything the campaign says is a lie. I suppose that makes Congressman Deal the Prince of Lies, or Satan (Said in the voice of the church lady from SNL.). Interest in having rational discussion with you is over.

                    • DTK says:


                      Uh, Doug, do you seriously believe everything a campaign spokesman says? Please tell me you don’t. Their whole purpose is to spin every possible situation to their candidate’s advantage.

                      By definition, they don’t tell the truth. It doesn’t mean they necessarily tell 100 percent lies, but they do try to shade their statements to put their candidate in the best possible light, at all times. If you don’t understand that, I don’t know what to tell you.

                      And, no, I don’t believe Deal is a liar. I haven’t followed too closely the whole ethics “scandal”, so I don’t which side to believe. But I do know that I wouldn’t take a political operative’s word for anything.

                    • Doug Grammer says:

                      Spokespeople spin, they don’t tell bold faced lies. If an e-mail confirming the debate popped up, it would blow away all creditability.

  6. NoTeabagging says:

    It’s too early for a debate. Personally, I’d like a break from the campaigning. I wouldn’t watch it. Early October will have more impact. The sophomoric TV ads have started, kicking sand in each others face. Gimme a break.

  7. GOPwits says:

    Here is the story from the Savannah Morning News in regards to the debate that was supposed to occur yesterday.

    From the article: “My general understanding,” he [Dixon] said, “was that we would sit in chairs with me between the two of them, and we would have a friendly discussion on tourism.”

    “I think that’s a crying shame” that there was no such discussion, Dixon said during the forum.

    Deal disagreed.

    “We had said that we did not want to do debates until October,” he said after the event. “Once you do one, everybody starts asking that they want to schedule a local debate in their community.

    • Provocateur says:

      For the occasional glimpse of brilliance I might gain from someone else’s insight into a subject of substance.

  8. DTK says:

    I think a more important issue is whether Deal knows the state’s problems well enough to be elected governor, rather than whether he ducked a debate.

    The Savannah Morning News article quoted above takes him to task for, essentially, not knowing anything about Savannah’s main issues, including cruise lines.

    It struck me as odd that during the primary absolutely none of the candidates ran on any issues. It was all personal stuff. I couldn’t tell you a single policy difference between Handel, Deal, Oxendine, or Johnson. I’m sure the candidates had plans for water, transportation, etc., but it was never highlighted at any of the candidate forums I attended. It was all “corrupt good ol’ boys” v. the “reformer” or the “lib’ral Atlanta woman with no diploma who likes gays” vs. “stalwart conservatives.” All sloganeering and no substance.

    Hopefully, the general election will be different, but I doubt it. I’d like to see a real debate on tort reform, whether it has helped the Georgia economy and health care system as pitched in 2005, or whether it has harmed victims of negligence, as its opponents said it would. I think this should be the test issue of this election, since it was basically Perdue’s only real “big” legislative accomplishment in 8 years. Everything else was fishing ramps and big goober grins. Plus the issue is timely again since the Georgia Supreme Court struck down one of the main selling points of tort reform earlier this year, when it voided the provision on liability caps for noneconomic damages. I’d like to hear Barnes and Deal — two attorneys — debate whether the set of laws should be repealed or strengthened.

    Wishful thinking, I know. Instead we’ll get of Deal’s alleged ethics troubles and Barnes’ supposed liberalism. Sigh.

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