Reid, Angle will debate Oct. 14 on PBS

Get ready to rumble.

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and his GOP challenger Sharron Angle agreed Saturday to debate on Oct. 14, two days before early voting begins in Nevada. The sudden agreement came a day after the Nevada Broadcasters Association canceled the debate because the two candidates couldn't agree on a date, meaning no likely face off before the Nov. 2 election.

Angle had insisted the debate be held before early voting starts Oct. 16. But Reid had said the Senate might still be in session and so the date was set for Oct. 21, which Angle wouldn't accept.

Bob Fisher, president and CEO of the broadcasters association, said the surprise accord came after a third party suggested the two sides debate on Oct. 14, a week after the Senate is scheduled to adjourn.

Fisher reached out again to the Reid campaign, which agreed. Angle then swiftly accepted.

"Nevada now has the debate that we wanted on the date that we wanted and the voters deserved," Fisher said, sounding relieved.

Angle campaign spokesman Jerry Stacy said the Republican is anxious to face the Democratic incumbent and Senate majority leader.

"I want to thank Harry Reid for finally agreeing with us that the voters deserve to know where the two candidates stand on the issues before early voting begins," Stacy said.

"Sharron Angle is looking forward to debating Harry Reid," he added, saying details are being worked out.

Reid campaign spokesman Jon Summers suggested Angle's new advisers had not wanted her to debate, although her campaign says that's not true.

"Senator Reid is very much looking forward to this debate, and is pleased that Angle's new D.C. handlers have finally been forced to abandon their phony excuses and, despite their obviously severe reservations, allowed her to participate," Summers said.

The hourlong debate will air at 6 p.m. on Vegas PBS in Las Vegas and carried live statewide on more than 50 TV and radio stations, Fisher said, adding it will likely be carried nationally on C-SPAN as well. It also will be closed captioned and simulcast in Spanish.

Longtime journalist Mitch Fox of PBS will moderate the debate.

TV and radio news directors will be asked to submit questions, perhaps from viewers and listeners. Questions will be selected by Fisher, Fox and Nevada Broadcasters Association Vice President Adam Sandler.

The same questions will be asked of each candidate and the first person answering will have the opportunity for rebuttal. There will be brief opening and closing statements.

"Our goal is to include the major questions and concerns facing Nevada's voting public," Fisher said.

"Answers will be brief and time for rebuttal even briefer, in order to ensure that a diversity of questions and concerns will be answered and addressed."

The candidates will stand at podiums facing the moderator. Each campaign will be permitted to admit 40 people, mostly family, friends and campaign workers.

"People are calling this the most important debate of the past 30 years and will certainly have the largest debate audience in the history of the state of Nevada," Fisher said.

Contact reporter Laura Myers at lmyers or 702-387-2919.