Rick Warren, the pastor at Saddleback Church, was trying to set up a forum between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican Nominee Mitt Romney for before the debates. A civil forum where the candidates ca express their views. Well, he has decided to cancel it, blaming a lack of civility between the candidates. He had some very harsh criticism for both of them.
Warren said in a statement:
“I’ve never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads, and I don’t expect that tone to change before the election. It would be hypocritical to pretend civility for one evening only to have the name-calling return the next day.”
Warren said both candidates had expressed interest in the forum. Politico had reported that Obama has said publicly that he would not appear with Romney at any time before the scheduled Presidential debates.
Warren said he was inspired to host the forum after seeing a 2008 forum between then candidate Obama and Senator John McCain. That event was universally praised for its format and fairness.
“The forums are meant to be a place where people of goodwill can seriously disagree on significant issues without being disagreeable or resorting to personal attack and name-calling. But that is not the climate of today’s campaign,”
The Orange County Register reported on the forum:
“The forum, planned for this week, would have been two hours long, with each candidate speaking with Warren for 50 minutes. The event would have fallen during the same week when four years ago Warren hosted the first such presidential campaign forum, between then-Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain. Warren said it was the 2008 forum’s success among critics and pundits that led him to consider the idea again this year.”
In place of the Presidential Forum, Warren plans to host a summit of faith based groups. It is unclear if he will extend an invitation to either campaign.