JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Republican Senator Jim Talent and Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill have agreed to square off at a September 15th forum.
The 10:30 a.m. event at the Lake of the Ozarks is being hosted by the Missouri Press Association.
Talent and McCaskill also have agreed to appear together October 8th on NBC's "Meet the Press." The candidates are considering other debate proposals. State auditor candidates are to participate in their own press association forum immediately before the senators.
Here's the official announcement from the Missouri Press Association:
Missouri Press Association
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Aug. 15, 2006
From: Missouri Press Association, 802 Locust St., Columbia, MO 65201
Contact: Doug Crews, executive director
Missouri Press Association will host a candidates' forum Sept. 15 featuring U.S. Sen. Jim Talent (R) and State Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) in a race receiving nationwide attention.
The MPA forum represents a warm-up for Senate candidates Talent and McCaskill, who are scheduled to appear on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Oct. 8.
"Our newspaper members are pleased the candidates will attend our convention and answer our questions about where they stand on the issues," said Steve Oldfield, president of MPA and publisher of The Adrian Journal. "We thank both the Talent and McCaskill campaigns for their cooperation in scheduling the appearances."
Talent and McCaskill will be on stage at the forum for U.S. Senate candidates, set for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 15 at The Lodge of Four Seasons, Lake Ozark, in conjunction with the Press Association's 140th Annual Convention. Missouri state auditor candidates have been invited to participate in a 9:15 a.m. session, prior to the Senate forum. Libertarian candidates on the ballot have been invited to participate in both forums.
David Lieb, Jefferson City correspondent for The Associated Press, will serve as moderator for both sessions.
MPA, representing more than 300 newspapers in the state, has hosted forums for statewide candidates at its annual conventions since 1988.
Comments submitted to MPA by the Senate campaigns offer a preview of the Sept. 15 session.
"I always look forward to meeting with Missouri's editors and publishers at these forums and in my travels around the state," Sen. Talent said. "We have tough, but fair newspaper men and women in Missouri. Missouri Press Association members ask the tough questions because they recognize their responsibility as opinion leaders in our communities. I appreciate this invitation to discuss my record of changing Washington and making it work for Missouri's common sense,
conservative values," he said.
State Auditor McCaskill noted, "For years, the Missouri Press Association and its member newspapers have kept Missourians informed about issues important to their families and communities, so I am honored to have the opportunity to share my views with the MPA membership and newspaper readers all across our great state.
"Campaigns should offer voters clear choices, and I am sure that Sen. Talent and I will highlight where we differ on specific issues. But I am also sure that we can agree to the importance of sharing those views with the voters and the role Missouri's newspapers play in making that happen," she said.