Friday’s first presidential debate (assuming John McCain does attend) will take place after sundown, which means Shabbat-observant Jews won’t be able to watch it live. Barack Obama is hoping the television networks will rerun it after Shabbat on Saturday night. Here’s his letter to the leaders of the Commission on Presidential Debates asking for their help:
September 24, 2008
The Honorable Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
The Honorable Paul G. Kirk, Jr.
Commission on Presidential Debates
1200 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036
Dear Mr. Fahrenkopf and Mr. Kirk:
Joe Biden and I are looking forward to participating in the upcoming
debates, and I appreciate the hard work you and your team have put forth
to bring them about. They promise to be some of the best opportunities
for the voters to assess the candidates and their views prior to
I want to raise one issue, and ask for your assistance. Due to the
schedule set by the Commission and presented to the campaigns, the first
debate falls on Friday night after the Jewish Sabbath has begun.
Unfortunately, that means many Jewish Americans will not have the
opportunity to watch the debate live. Because I know there is strong
interest in this debate in the Jewish community, and to be as inclusive
as possible, I ask for the Commission’s help in encouraging the
television networks covering the debate to rebroadcast it on Saturday
night after the Sabbath has concluded.
Thank you for your assistance.