Dems cancel CBS debate


The Democratic National Committee has pulled the plug on the CBS News-sponsored Dec. 10 debate that was imperiled by candidates unwilling to cross the writers' picket lines.

The DNC on Wednesday cited the "uncertainty" created by the writers strike as the reason for the cancellation. The debate will not be rescheduled. Several candidates, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, already had said that they wouldn't attend if the writers actively picketed CBS Television City in Los Angeles, the site of the debate.

CBS had reached out to the union to see if a temporary truce could be reached to allow the debate to go on but didn't get an answer. The candidates, who are spending most of their time in Iowa and New Hampshire, needed to set their travel plans. So the DNC pulled the plug.

"The possibility of picket lines set up by the Writers Guild of America and the unwillingness of many candidates to cross them made it necessary to allow the candidates to make other plans," CBS News said,

In a related development, the WGA East denied that the union was planning to set up Dec. 10 as a strike date against CBS News.

While disappointing, CBS News isn't going to lose that much with the cancellation of the debate — one of a string this primary season on broadcast and cable — as it wasn't going to air nationwide. It was going to be moderated by "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric but appear only on West Coast CBS affiliates, via the Web sites of other CBS stations and appear nationally on C-SPAN.