$1m offer for NBC to include U.S. presidential candidate Gravel in TV debate

Monday, October 29, 2007

Former Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska

Currency hedge fund operator Gregory Chase was alerted by internet sources that former Senator Mike Gravel, a Democratic presidential candidate in the race for presidency, will be excluded from the latest upcoming debate (that will be held this Tuesday at Drexel University and broadcast on MSNBC). Chase immediately took action by contacting NBC executives, who are charge of the debate.

The letter was sent and it includes an explanation as to why NBC should not censor Gravel, and also holds an offer of US$1 million to include Gravel. The US$1 million offer could be given to NBC in exchange for allowing the senator to participate in the 2-hour debate, by either Chase purchasing a million dollars worth of advertising space on their network, donating the million to NBC's favorite charity, or giving the million dollars to NBC's parent company, General Electric.

The decision made by Chase to give the million dollars to NBC is due to criteria that Gravel did not meet, which includes the following; having campaigned in New Hampshire and/or Iowa at least 14 times in the past year, not polling high enough in national polls, and Sen. Gravel's campaign had not raised more than US$1 million.

According to the Gravel for President campaign, Gravel reportedly visited either New Hampshire or Iowa at least 14 times since his announcement on April 17, 2006, and according to a recent poll by CNN, Gravel is tied with fellow candidates Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Sen. Joe Biden, and Sen. Chris Dodd and 1% behind Gov. Bill Richardson.

The fundraising requirement is the only criteria not achieved.

Below is the letter in full that was sent to NBC and Democratic National Committee executives.

Dear NBC Executives,

My name is Gregory Chase, I live in New Hampshire, and I run a hedge fund that trades currencies. On a personal basis, separate from Senator Mike Gravel's campaign, I am making an independent expenditure of a greater magnitude than what some other candidates' campaigns will spend in the state through the primary. I am sending statewide direct mail, installing lawn signs, and running ads supporting Senator Mike Gravel every day between now and the New Hampshire primary in the state's three largest newspapers: The Union Leader, The Concord Monitor, and The Nashua Telegraph.

It was with great disappointment that I learned that NBC decided to exclude Senator Gravel, and only Senator Gravel, from the field of Democratic candidates for their October 30th 2007 debate at Drexel University in Philadelphia. I learned about Senator Gravel by watching televised debates earlier this year. In my opinion his ideas regarding foreign policy, military spending, and energy independence are advanced relative to the other candidates. I would like Senator Gravel’s ideas to be heard.

NBC cited fund raising as a criteria for inclusion in this debate, stating that a candidate must have raised $1 million to participate. Most current and aspiring politicians, along with the general public, believe money and special interests play too large a part in elections. I don't understand why a certain level of fund raising is a requirement to participate in a presidential debate. Senator Gravel is proud of the fact that that his candidacy is built on ideas, not cash.

As you know, polls taken at this point in the primary measure name recognition more than where votes will actually be cast. The public is just starting to focus on the upcoming primary. Once New Hampshire voters learn about Senator Gravel, and they will, I believe that a substantial number of voters will decide that Senator Gravel's ideas are more in line with their own than with any other candidate's. NBC is doing New Hampshire and the nation a disservice by excluding Senator Gravel. Your company is censoring a multi-term United States senator, a veteran, and a patriot.

If it would help get Senator Gravel back into the debate, I offer to purchase $1 million of advertising from NBC, or simply pay NBC $1 million in exchange for the service of allowing Senator Gravel to participate in your debate.

As of October 26, 2007, Chase has not received a response from NBC regarding the offer.