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Kari Lake Slams Ariz. PBS Station for Granting Unearned Q&A to Hobbs

'I promise you I won’t yell, Katie. I promise you I won’t interrupt you. And if you want to have an emotional support animal there as well, I will agree to that...'

(Headline USA) Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake excoriated two biased institutions for using their publicly funded levers of power to give an unfair advantage to Democrat rival Katie Hobbs.

Lake, a Republican, blasted the Phoenix PBS affiliate Wednesday for scheduling an interview with Hobbs after the George Soros-backed secretary of state refused an actual debate.

Hobbs has recently come under fire for fumbling interview answers and trying desperately to escape potentially unfavorable media interviews, which may help explain why she is afraid to face Lake directly on equal footing.

However, the left-leaning PBS’s decision to grant an interview was seen as a further breech of political norms following a longstanding practice from the Citizens Clean Elections Commission to grant an interview only to a candidate who is willing to participate in a debate when the other party refuses.

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The state commission that organizes political debates abruptly canceled its one-on-one interview with Lake that the PBS station was scheduled to broadcast Wednesday after learning of the station’s plans to interview Hobbs next week.

In lieu of the highly anticipated interview, Lake summoned reporters to a news conference to condemn the decision.

“She should not be given a half an hour of free airtime,” Lake said of her rival.

Hobbs’ refusal to debate has been a major liability for her campaign, producing weeks of negative headlines and alarming some of her supporters. The drama Wednesday ensures she will continue to face scrutiny over the debate decision despite her efforts to change the subject.

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“What I’m focused on is talking to the voters of Arizona,” Hobbs told reporters during a campaign event Wednesday. “I’m not interested in being a part of Kari Lake’s spectacle or shouting match, and I’m going to talk directly to the voters.”

As she spoke, Lake supporters dressed as chickens danced outside the window.

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission is tasked by state law with organizing political debates. When a candidate declines to participate, the remaining candidate must be offered a one-on-one interview. Hobbs suggested the candidates be interviewed one-on-one, but the commission declined.

The commission said in a statement it was surprised to learn Arizona PBS had offered Hobbs an interview and postponed the Lake event. The commission said it would organize a new interview with Lake and a different media outlet, but Lake did not commit to attending.

Instead, she said she would show up during Hobbs’s scheduled interview in an attempt to debate.

“I promise you I won’t yell, Katie,” Lake said. “I promise you I won’t interrupt you. And if you want to have an emotional support animal there as well, I will agree to that. But show up like a grownup and debate.”

Lake tried a similar move at a candidate forum last week organized by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, placing herself in Hobbs’s line of sight during what were supposed to be separate interviews with the candidates.

Officials at Arizona State University, which operates the PBS affiliate, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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