St. Louis Public Radio News
2:51 am
Tue October 21, 2008

Attorney general candidates square off in debate

St. Louis –

Listen to the debate

The two candidates for Missouri attorney general outlined their plans for the office during a debate Monday in Clayton.

The tone of the debate was gentlemanly.

Neither Republican Mike Gibbons nor Democrat Chris Koster really engaged his opponent, except to comment on the work they had done together in the Senate.

Gibbons and Koster were party allies until Koster joined the Democratic Party last year.

The two disagreed on the need for a shield law in Missouri that would prevent journalists from being forced to disclose their sources. Koster says the First Amendment provides enough protection.

"For 225 years there has never been a need to accompany that constitutional concept with immunity from the courts in any way, shape or form," Koster said.

Gibbons said as Senate majority leader, he helped steer the bill to a committee that supported it, though the legislation did not pass.

"I think it's important," Gibbons said. "And we in public office need to be held accountable. We need to make things available."

Thirty states have a shield law, and four offer more limited legal protection to journalists.

KWMU will air the forum in its entirety tonight (Tuesday Oct. 21) at 8 p.m.