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Obama Wants Observant Jews to Watch Friday Night Debate — On Saturday Night

Friday night’s first presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain is still on. But it comes after sunset, posing a problem for observant Jews, who won’t be able to watch it.

Obama wants the television networks to re-air the debate, which will focus on foreign policy issues, on Saturday night.

He sent the following letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates:

The Honorable Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. The Honorable Paul G. Kirk, Jr. Commission on Presidential Debates 1200 New Hampshire Ave NW Washington, DC 20036

Dear Mr. Fahrenkopf and Mr. Kirk:

Joe Biden and I are looking forward to participating in the upcoming debates, and I appreciate the hard work you and your team have put forth to bring them about. They promise to be some of the best opportunities for the voters to assess the candidates and their views prior to Election Day.

I want to raise one issue, and ask for your assistance. Due to the schedule set by the Commission and presented to the campaigns, the first debate falls on Friday night after the Jewish Sabbath has begun. Unfortunately, that means many Jewish Americans will not have the opportunity to watch the debate live. Because I know there is strong interest in this debate in the Jewish community, and to be as inclusive as possible, I ask for the Commission’s help in encouraging the television networks covering the debate to rebroadcast it on Saturday night after the Sabbath has concluded.

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