Pickering - Shows Campaign

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In a central Mississippi congressional race Friday, a spokesman for Democrat Ronnie Shows said Republican Chip Pickering is trying to squirm out of debating in front of retirees.

Shows spokesman Troy Colbert says Pickering does not want to face tough questions about privatization of Social Security.

Pickering campaign manager Henry Barbour says the five debates in front of the AARP were never officially set, and Shows is trying to make an issue out of nothing.

Walter Howell is associate state director of the AARP. He said the debates have been set since June.

Howell said Pickering's camp called Friday and said Pickering has scheduling conflicts and can't make all the forums. Barbour says efforts will be made next week to schedule at least one.

Howell said debates between the two incumbent congressmen were set for Sept. 21 in Natchez, Sept. 28 in Pearl, Oct. 5 in Meridian, Oct. 19 in Brookhaven and Oct. 26 in Starkville.