The crucial presidential debates in Iowa today and Thursday will have a slightly different cast of characters.
The Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television invited Alan Keyes, a Reagan administration official who also ran for president in 1996 and 2000, to today's Republican debate. He was not invited to the other major debates.
Dennis Kucinich, on the other hand, was left off the stage for the Democratic debate Thursday because he does not have a campaign office and full-time staff in Iowa.
And Kucinich, who has been part of all other debates, is none too happy, accusing the debate sponsors of stiffing him for spurious reasons since his field director works out of a home office.
"The Iowa caucuses have been portrayed as having national implications, and if the Register has decided to use hair-splitting technicalities to exclude the leading voice of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, then the entire process is suspect," his campaign said in a statement released today.
The debates are scheduled for 2 p.m. both today and tomorrow and will air live on cable stations, including CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, and on some PBS stations and C-SPAN. For those political junkies who can't watch TV during work hours, the debates will also be streamed live on www.iptv.org and www.desmoinesregister.com.