WASHINGTON – After an embarrassing series of fits and starts, the major third-party candidates will debate Thursday in Cleveland.

The debate, sponsored by the City Club of Cleveland, will be from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. EDT.

Independent Ralph Nader and Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr are confirmed to attend, and Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin also may participate.

An earlier debate, scheduled for Oct. 19 at Columbia University in New York, was canceled after none of the third-party candidates, including Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney, would agree to participate.

There was a last-minute debate between Nader and Baldwin in Washington on Oct. 21, but the inclusion of Barr in Cleveland makes the event noteworthy.

Nader and Barr are on the ballot in 45 states, and the Constitution Party is on 37 state ballots.

C-SPAN will tape the event, and it can be seen live at www.votenader.org/live.

There also will be a debate by the third-party vice presidential candidates Sunday in Las Vegas.

(c) 2008, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau on the World Wide Web at www.mcclatchydc.com.


GRAPHIC (from MCT Graphics, 202-383-6064): 20081017 CAMPAIGN THIRD

AP-NY-10-29-08 1833EDT

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