Andrews complains about lack of debating time with Lautenberg

In a conference call today with reporters, U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (D-1) again accused U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) of hiding, and bewailed the incumbent’s decision to accept just two debates, despite Andrews’s repeated requests to debate seven times.

"Pathetic," said the congressman. "This is a job application. We’re talking about issues of life and death and he is unwilling to engage the issues. He’s hiding from them."

Andrews said his own request for a minimum of seven primary debates is reasonable, but that Lautenberg has been "AWOL throughout the campaign."

"He’s been dragged kicking and screaming into two debates," added Andrews, who is scheduled to face Lautenberg and Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello in a May 29 radio debate on 101.5, and in an NJN television debate the following evening.

"We have two debates," said Lautenberg spokesperson Julie Roginsky, "and it’s unfortunate that Rob Andrews is a no-show in Congress while campaigning on taxpayer dollars."

Andrews referred to a same day Bergen Recordcolumn written by Charlie Stile, in which the veteran newspaperman groused about Lautenbergfailing to agree to debates in a full-blown forum in a better time zone – not a few days before Election Day.

"Instead of slamming Andrews as a George Bush toady for co-sponsoring the 2002 Iraq War Resolution, through ads, press releases, and now a Web site, why not mix it up, Paterson street style?" Stile wondered of the senator, a Paterson native. Andrews complains about lack of debating time with Lautenberg