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RFK Jr. Answers Trump-Biden Debate Questions at Rival Event

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Independent candidate for president Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was not with his most famous rivals, the president Joe Biden and former president Donald Trumpwhen they debated Thursday in Atlanta.

But Kennedy answered in real time the same questions — about inflation, the COVID-19 response and abortion — that were posed to Biden and Trump during an unusual livestream on the social platform X. Host John Stossell kept Kennedy’s answers within the same strict time constraints imposed on the other candidates.

Alone on a stage in Los Angeles, Kennedy opened his event, called The Real Debate, by accusing CNN, host of the primary contest, of collusion with the Republican and Democratic parties to keep him away.

“This is something that is important to our democracy because Americans feel like the system is rigged,” Kennedy said during his opening remarks. “This is exactly the kind of fusion of state power and corporate power that I oppose.”

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In addition to the live broadcast response to debateKennedy has no plans for his public schedule for the coming weeks. running partnerphilanthropist Nicole Shanahan.

After a busy spring, crisscrossing the country for a mix of political rallies, fundraisers and nontraditional campaign events, Kennedy appears to be taking a breather.

Kennedy’s absence the main stage of the debate and the electoral campaign involves risks for his insurrectional quest shake up Republican and Democratic dominance of the American political system. He doesn’t have the money to run television ads, and he has to spend much of the money he does have to secure access to the polls. Public appearances are a cheap way to motivate his supporters and generate the media coverage he needs to stay relevant.

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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks during a campaign event, in West Hollywood, Calif., Thursday, June 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is greeted by supporters during a campaign event, in West Hollywood, Calif., Thursday, June 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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Supporters of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stand in front of a lemonade stand near the presidential debate site before the debate between President Joe Biden and Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump, in Atlanta on Thursday June 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Steve Peoples)

Kennedy says he can’t win unless voters I know he’s running, and I believe he can beat Biden, a Democrat, and Trump, a Republican. That problem will become more acute as the debate, followed by the major party conventions in July and August, push more voters to tune in to the race.

Still, Kennedy has maintained a steady stream of social media posts and continues to do interviews, most recently with talk show host Dr. Phil.

“Mr. Kennedy has a busy schedule in July with numerous public events, primarily on the East Coast, including a large rally,” said Stefanie Spear, a spokeswoman for Kennedy’s campaign. “We will start announcing events next week. »

For Thursday debate on CNNthe network invited candidates which has shown strength in four reliable polls and access to the ballot in enough states to win the presidency. Kennedy below on both requirements.

He cried foul over the rules, accusing CNN of collusion with Biden and Trump in a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission and threatening legal action.

Kennedy was not on stage, but his supporters were visible in the streets around the debate hall.

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Supporters of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. protest outside Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif., Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Some Kennedy supporters set up a lemonade stand a few blocks from the press room where the press was gathered. A sign atop the booth read: “CNN Lemons = Kennedy Lemonade.” Others held “Heal the Divide” signs. Not far away, a Kennedy campaign bus blared music.

Sujat Desai, a 20-year-old student from Pleasanton, Calif., who supports Kennedy, said Kennedy’s absence from the debate was a major hurdle to overcome.

“I don’t think there’s any way to get your name out there if you don’t participate in the debate,” Desai said. “I think it’s a pretty deadly blow not to participate in this debate, and it would be detrimental not to participate in the next one. »

Desai, however, said he would not be deterred from voting for Kennedy, even though he appears far from being elected in November.

“I think he’s probably the strongest independent candidate I’ve seen in a while, so I’ll give him that,” Desai said. “I think he’s doing really well. His policies are strong enough to win, but I don’t know if there is awareness.”

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Supporters of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. protest outside Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif., Friday, June 21, 2024. Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s parent company, plans to move to its Burbank studios. Host network CNN said Thursday that the independent presidential candidate failed to meet state and polling qualification criteria. The missed markers mean the June 27 showdown will be decided solely between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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Supporters of independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. watch a presidential debate screen during a Kennedy campaign event, in West Hollywood, Calif., Thursday, June 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks during a campaign event, in West Hollywood, Calif., Thursday, June 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Independent and third-party candidates like Kennedy face extremely small challenges, but Kennedy’s campaign has frightened supporters Biden’s supporters fear his Democratic name and record as an environmental advocate could tip the scales against him. Trump supporters are worried his idiosyncratic views, particularly his examination of the scientific consensus that vaccines are safe and effective will appeal to people who might otherwise vote for Trump.

Christy Jones, 54, a holistic health and mindfulness coach in Glendora, California, worries people won’t know Kennedy is running without him standing alongside Biden and Trump at the debate. But she says he’s still all over her social media, and she’s convinced he’s making himself visible.

“I feel like he could still win if people choose to be brave,” she said. “If everyone who really wants change voted for him, he would be among us. People are demanding change. »

Until recently, Kennedy’s website promoted a variety of events weeks or more in advance, including public gatherings and private fundraisers. He hosted comedy nights with prominent comedians from Michigan and Tennessee.

But since attending the June 15 premiere of a film about fighting drug addiction, Kennedy has been out of the spotlight, even as he continues to promote in-person and virtual events for his supporters.

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Cooper reported from Phoenix. Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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News Source : apnews.com

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