Larry King will moderate a debate among the third-party presidential candidates on Oct. 23, the Free and Equal Elections Foundation announced on Tuesday.
The debate, which will be held in Chicago, will feature Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, and Rocky Anderson of the newly formed Justice Party. The event will be broadcast live on Ora TV, the digital programming service where King launched his online talk show, “Larry King Now,” earlier this year. The Free and Equal Elections Foundation and, for unclear reasons, Russia Today will also stream the debate online.
“We are honored to have Larry King moderate this historic debate,” Christina Tobin, founder and chair of the foundation, said in a release. “The previous debates between President Obama and Gov. Romney have failed to address the issues that really concern everyday Americans. 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.”
The addition of King, who hosted “Larry King Live” for 25 years before singing off in December 2010, certainly lends some star power to an otherwise neglected corner of the American political system.
The exclusion of third-party candidates from the officially sanctioned presidential debates has been a source of frustration for activists on both ends of the political spectrum since at least 1987, when the Commission on Presidential Debates was formed by the Republican and Democratic parties.
The last time a third-party candidate was invited to participate in a presidential debate was in 1992, when independent Ross Perot famously invoked the “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving the country thanks to NAFTA in his face-off with George Bush and Bill Clinton.
[Update: 1:53 p.m. This post originally misstated the name of the Justice Party candidate and has been corrected. His name is Rocky Anderson, not Rocky Johnson.]