Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona said today that he has not heard back from former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie about his call for six one-hour debates on public-policy issues in their campaign for governor.
Aiona, the Republican candidate, said on Sunday that he would still debate Abercrombie even if the former congressman rejects his specific outline. But he has made clear that he does not like the debate format adopted by Hawaii News Now in the primary, which included a live audience divided with partisans who at times were boisterous.
Other critics have questioned the breezy “lightning round” portion of the Hawaii News Now debate — where candidates were asked about the state song, the state flower and the state fish — as lacking in seriousness.
I think that’s what it should be — a discussion of our ideas. I don’t believe that it should be in any way effected by a crowd of people. This is not an event. This is not a circus. It’s not entertainment.
This is serious stuff. This is about what the people of Hawaii are going to be facing in the next four years. And so it should be conducted as such. It’s like when you come into a courtroom, and you address the seriousness of it all and the respectfulness of it all. And the venue should be likewise.
This is the highest office in the state of Hawaii. I believe that we have a discussion on some of the issues that people are facing. You should have that type of venue and that type of environment. I’m not saying it should be reverent. All I’m saying is it should be respectful.
And when you bring people in like that, like I saw on television, it was very disrespectful, very distasteful.