Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Gottlieb Is Out

The practitioner of "straight-from-memory" notes and wildly inaccurate grand jury testimony has left the Durham Police Department. The N&O's Stan Chambers reports that Sunday was Mark Gottlieb's last day on the job. He resigned for what the DPD termed personal reasons.

40 comments:

Debrah said...

Gottlieb is aiming for damage control.

When the discovery in the civil suits is made public, no doubt Lopez would have had to fire him.

He's just taking the easy way out now.

Less publicity about it than later headlines---"Crooked, overbearing cop fired for concocting evidence".....

.....or something close.

Perhaps the Trinity Park residents will help find another job for their lapdog.

Anonymous said...

Hoo-ray! The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. Thanks for letting us know about this, KC!

Anonymous said...

Let me guess, he's going to change into a 9 year old Hindu boy and divorce his wife, move to India and get a new life. You can run Gottlieb but you can't hide. Your turn in the legal garbage can.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the lawsuits are beginning to have an effect. Durham does not want to go to trial with Gottlieb still on the payroll, makes them look very really bad.

As I remember, the Ekstrand lawsuit wants the police department cleaned up and monitored !! This is likely the first move in that direction, more will follow !!!

BDay

Anonymous said...

Off-topic, but interesting:

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute tested college freshmen and seniors at 50 different universities with a quiz containing 60 multiple-choice questions about American history, political science, and economics.

At 8 of the 50 universities, seniors actually scored lower than the freshmen -- indicating that they actually lost knowledge during their college careers. Among these 8 institutions of academic devolution, Pres. Broadhead brought Duke in at 48th place, just ahead of his former school Yale in 49th. Guess who was 50th? Guess who hired Grant Farred.

See the bonfire of the vanities at http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/report/tables.html#table21

Let's see if I can remember how to link to a site. Btw, I took the test, which is available on the institute's website. It was a breeze.

RRH

Terry said...

Wow.

Anonymous said...

WTVD reported tonight that Ben Himan has also left DPD -- in mid February...

http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/local&id=5998949

Anonymous said...

To be honest I left the conversation since the fall of Nifong but i had no doubt that the name to be called out was Mark Gottlieb's.

Anonymous said...

The police are not here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder.

-Richard J. Daley

mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
miramar said...

Nifong, Meehan, Wilson, Burness, Gottlieb.

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine...so I don't think this parade is over.

gak said...

AFTER EVERYTHING THAT WENT SOUR IN THIS WHOLE AFFAIR, I'M SURPRISED THAT THEY NEVER ASKED FOR HIS BADGE SOONER

GAK

Debrah said...

Are they saying their newspaper hasn't tried to avoid their role in the Hoax?

H-S:


Candidates can't avoid Nifong case

Mar 5, 2008

We understand why the assistant DAs running for district attorney don't want to talk about the lacrosse case.

It is, after all, one of the more distressing, depressing and potentially costly cases in recent Durham history. It's a nationally infamous example of a government official gone badly off the rails, who abused his power and made such huge errors of judgment that the entire community suffered, and continues to do so.

There are those who say, with good reason, that it should be referred to as the Nifong case, after former District Attorney Mike Nifong, who resigned in disgrace and was disbarred.

So it's no wonder that Mitch Garrell, an assistant DA, and Tracey Cline, chief assistant district attorney, want to distance themselves from Nifong and the case. The two are running for Nifong's old job in the May 6 primary, as are former assistant prosecutor Freda Black and private attorney Keith Bishop.

In a press conference on Monday, Garrell said he wouldn't rehash the case. "I played absolutely no role in the prosecution of the case for which we have become infamous," he said. On Feb. 12, Cline said the case should have nothing to do with this year's election.

We understand Garrell and Cline's reticence. But we can't accept it.

Nifong's handling of the case will be, and should be, a major issue in this election. Garrell and Cline may not have had much or anything to do with it. But that doesn't mean they can ignore it.

Nifong was an assistant DA for 27 years, but when he ascended to the top job, he couldn't handle it. We have a right to ask the candidates why they would be ready when a major case falls into their laps. We have a right to ask what they think went wrong, and what they would have done differently. We have a right to ask how they will avoid anything like that happening again.

We think any DA candidate who doesn't get that, and who refuses to discuss one of the biggest cases in Durham history, doesn't deserve the job.

Debrah said...

H-S:


Two lacrosse case detectives off force

By Ray Gronberg : The Herald-Sun
Mar 5, 2008

DURHAM -- The two Durham Police Department detectives who handled the Duke lacrosse case have left the force in recent weeks as the legal claims filed against them continued to mount.

City officials said the lacrosse case's lead detective, Investigator Ben Himan, resigned effective Feb. 19. His former supervisor, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, retired effective March 1.

Police Chief Jose Lopez and City Manager Patrick Baker on Tuesday confirmed Gottlieb's departure. Baker also confirmed Himan's.

Both departures were voluntary, Baker said.

Neither Baker nor Lopez attributed the two officers' decisions to the lacrosse case. Nor would Lopez attribute it to sexual-harassment allegations a female officer lodged against Gottlieb late last year.

"I really don't know, to be honest," Lopez said when asked what prompted Gottlieb's retirement. "It had to do with whatever circumstances he deemed brought him to the point he desired to retire. I don't think it was need; it was more desire."

Baker echoed the chief's comments. "I assume he had the time and could do it," he said, referring to Gottlieb.

As for Himan, the manager said he thought the former investigator opted to move "back home closer to his family, which I believe is in Pennsylvania." Himan graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, in Bradford, Pa., in 2002.

Both former officers are named defendants in all three of the federal civil-rights lawsuits members of the 2005-06 Duke men's lacrosse team have filed against the city. The latest -- by 38 unindicted players -- was filed on Feb. 21, two days after Himan left the force.

Baker said the departures of Himan and Gottlieb are unlikely to affect the city's defense.

While there's "an obvious need to have continued cooperation with employee or ex-employee to prepare a defense," it is "not unusual" for city employees involved in litigation to leave in the middle of a case, he said.

Lawyers or spokesmen for the three different groups of players who filed the lawsuits largely declined comment on the news.

Durham attorney Bob Ekstrand -- who filed suit in December on behalf of 2005-06 players Breck Archer, Ryan McFadyen and Matt Wilson -- said he'd heard rumors of Himan's departure but had been unable to confirm it.

Beyond that, he wouldn't say anything.

"We are very respectful of Judge Beaty's courtroom and how it extends into the public domain," Ekstrand explained, referring to federal District Judge James Beaty Jr., the jurist assigned to hear all three lawsuits.

Washington, D.C., public relations consultant Robert Bork Jr. declined comment on behalf of his clients, the 38 players who filed the Feb. 21 lawsuit.

Also declining comment was New York City lawyer Barry Scheck, one of the leaders of the legal team that sued last fall on behalf of falsely accused players David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

All three of the lawsuits fault the detectives for contributing to the Police Department's failure to recognize that the accuser in the lacrosse case had fabricated the charges.

Taking their cue from Ekstrand, they contend that Gottlieb's actions stemmed from a deep-seated bias against Duke students.

His misdeeds allegedly include the fabrication of case notes -- compiled months after the fact -- that reported the accuser offering dead-on descriptions of Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann in her first interview with detectives.

Himan's notes from the same interview reported her offering descriptions that were nothing like those three players.

Gottlieb also planned and administered the against-policy photo lineup police and former District Attorney Mike Nifong used to indict Finnerty and Seligmann and buttress the subsequent indictment of Evans.

As for Himan, the lawsuits essentially contend he was so inexperienced the department should never have assigned him to the case to begin with. He joined the force in 2002 but only became a detective in January 2006, three months before the lacrosse case began.

Evans' criminal-defense lawyer, Joe Cheshire, last year told a city review panel that Himan seemed to be "a very young police officer trying to do his best with no guidance."

City Public Affairs Director Beverly Thompson said Gottlieb's pre-retirement annual salary was $55,573.

She said she did not have a recent figure for Himan's salary. City records previously obtained by The Herald-Sun show he was making $44,310 annually as of last August.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder who was at his going away party.

Its been nice working with you .....AAAAHHHH hahahahahahaha...right.

Anonymous said...

Ben Himan is out, too. Which is sort of a shame -- I think he has a core of decency (unlike Gottlieb), but it remains pretty clear that he lied to the Grand Jury, even though we will never see the evidence.

mac said...

Did Officer Ben Himan's use of Nifong's quote in the disbarrment hearing have anything to do with his leaving? Might call his testimony a "broken thin blue line."

In a sense, Himan's moment to come clean, his moment of repentance, was then and there, and he cleaned up pretty well.

Debrah said...

I just left this on the N&O's Editor's Blog in response to his question:

The Diva said:

03/05/08 at 10:15

John,

Your question would be more relevant and certainly more honest if you'd ask readers what they think about the N&O's editorial pages in the Spring of 2006. What do they think about an editorial staff that would allow deliberately inciteful op-eds written by oleaginous hustlers who make their livings whipping up faded tales like Timothy Tyson and Allan Gurganus?

Yet not allow equal space for the other side to be presented.

The daily fear with which those from the old Liberal establishment must live is, indeed, horrific to view. They will sacrifice everything to cling to the safe meta-narratives....which no longer exist for normal intelligent people in today's world.

The unprofessionalism of Samiha Khanna who wrote a story in the Spring of 2006 from the mouth of criminal Crystal Gail Mangum using the word "victim". No questions asked. Reporting straight-on from a drugged-out accuser. And the unprofessional Khanna is still employed by the N&O.

Race hustler...cum professor Karla Holloway and all her tribal charlatans are still allowed on your editorial pages to show everyone that a miniscule intellect and a lazy curosity can still be endured by those with a strong stomach.

Who else is allowed to "teach" a class at Duke's law school who doesn't even have a law degree besides Holloway?

Who else is allowed to "teach" a class at any law school who believes in due process selectively?.....(young white men are not on her list.)

One only needs to review this woman's sorry history in word and deed.

So much bitterness born, no doubt, from her own personal parental demons.

The N&O editorial staff continues to promote these indecent creatures without question.

It's unseemly.

It's also quite understandable that Saunders and his fellow Lacrosse Hoax enablers would rather all the until-now-hidden actions and inactions of Duke's administration and the city of Durham be kept from public view.

Discovery will be sweet.

Anonymous said...

Don;t let a little thing, like not seeing the evidence, interfere with your opinions.

scott said...

Two scumbags are no longer in positions where they could harass people in an unwarranted fashion. Both Gottlieb and Himan are worthless as police officers and as human beings.

Himan looks good only in comparison to Gottlieb. When his conduct in the Durham / Duke hoax case is evaluated under the standards that should govern the actions of police officers, he is completely lacking. He lied to the GJ and facilitated the hoax with his actions.

Yes, there is the concept of the "blue wall of silence" (and you know I'm not talking about the silence that Duke lax players were falsely accused of) among police officers. When it is used to railroad innocent people, as Himan knew the lax players were, then if Himan couldn't blow the whistle, the honorable thing for him to do was to quit his job.

Himan didn't. He chose to go along to get along. He finally told the truth only because he was testifying and didn't want to add perjury to everything else. He deserves no sympathy.

As for Lopez's statements about Gottlieb's departure, they are simply posturing due to the pending lawsuits. In the current climate, does anyone expect him to say "Oh, yeah, Gottlieb. He really f'd up and we had to can him"?

Anonymous said...

I agree with 9:50 a.m. on Ben Himan. He did not get into this business to lie to a grand jury, yet that was what his superiors expected from him. It gives us pause, does it not, as to how many times a day cops lie in court and to grand juries, and to everyone else?

Anonymous said...

I wonder whether they hired a certain dancer at the retirement party.

Mr. Gottlieb, if none of the players were suspects, why were DNA samples obtained from them well before the lineup?

tu nd said...

good riddance to both of them. both getting what they deserve

does anyone have additional info on the sexual harrasment suit the female officer brought against gottlieb last year? news to me...

Anonymous said...

Do these guys walk away with fat pensions, ala Nifong?

Anonymous said...

Let's not celebrate Gottlieb's departrue too quickly. He may be taking another job . . . the Broadhead conspiracy might appoint him chief of the Duke Police . . . a thanks for services rendered to the metanarrative

Jim in San Diego said...

to: RRH at 7:09 (Duke Seniors score lower than Duke Freshman on a history test; Duke is 48/50 (ahead of only Brodhead's last school, and the school that hired Grant Farrad)

Your research is not off topic. It is THE topic.

The war is on, between anti-intellectual agenda driven political correctness, and genuine education.

Duke has lost.

Some still care, which is why we are not prepared to "move one" just yet.

Jim Peterson

traveler said...

Re: Why the Durham justice system failed?

Once again, Steven Horwitz has suggested an interesting topical article.

Wendy McElroy has put forth a reason for the failure of the justice system during the Duke lacrosse case. She discussed the lack of political restraint because all the officials belonged to the same political party.

Only Nifong has lost his position, the others are still in place. If her theory is correct, why would we think anything is going to change, if the lack of checks and balances stays the same? AND, would Senator Obama mix into a case that might embarrass NC Democrats, and the black community?

(Steven H. has an interesting article at the site as well.)
http://www.fee.org/publications/the-freeman/issue.asp?fid=620
-----------------------
Prosecutorial Indiscretion
By Wendy McElroy
Excerpts:

Political Restraint

Political pressure can also serve as a restraining factor. This would have been particularly true with Nifong, a political appointee during the early stages of the case. But Governor Easley is a fellow Democrat who relies on the same voter bloc as Nifong.

State Attorney General (AG) Roy A. Cooper could have acted, but he is also a Democrat.... Other officials were similarly disinclined to exert pressure.

Bill Bell—then mayor of Durham—commented, “By and large, people want it [the case] to be decided in court.” As a Democrat and a black, Bell also drew on the same voter bloc as Nifong.

In short, the usual checks against abuse of immunity did not work. Those who should have exercised restraint even ignored appeals from U.S.Rep. Walter Jones(R-NC) who eventually wrote then-U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to request a federal investigation.

Anonymous said...

Debrah,

Nice write up to N&O blog.

A newspaper reporter should never lose sight of the fact that they are responsible for balanced and fair reporting. It seems that some have confused their job title with Opinion Editor and are espousing their own misguided views.

Indeed, it's time for some of the N&O staff(both reporters and op ed) to "retire".

Anonymous said...

KC> thanks for the updates, Duke continues to show it's indifference and hubris in ways that defy logic.Of course, the only satisfaction is a financial one as no heads will be had at Duke and it's business as usual,students beware! The detective's leaving theirmjobs is a small victory, but hopefully gives some satisfaction to the families.I'd like to see them go to jail, but short of that the city of Durham should pay big for their misdeeds since they can't. The success of the lawsuits will do the rest hopefully. It's the first time in a long time that I feel no empathy for any of these people/institutions and continue to cheer for anything that can be taken away from them, financial payouts required of them and continued disgrace.All thoughtful parents with college bound or college students should be watching carefully and discussing with their student the real relationship they have with their school.The present students are still in danger of similar treatment, unless of course they are women studies students who get school funds to have a sex show on campus for educational purposes! If that didn't clarify how much reverse racism was involved in this case, nothing else could.

Anonymous said...

Both Gottlieb and Himan should be in prison for perjury, false reportings and obstructing of justice! To be honest, I don't think it was Nifong who was in charge, it was both corrupt men who convince him about the so called crime, push the cases and hopefully Nifong would call the shot.

Debrah said...

Does anyone know this Norton guy?

He has to be connected to Duke in some way.....or a friend of the 88.

Debrah said...

Take note how the N&O's editor uses one of the most incendiary comments from Saunders to drum up reaction.

*****************************************

Last week, Saunders wrote: “The lawsuit claims the plaintiffs have been aggrieved by the negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Say what? Oh, their wittle feelings have been hurt.”

What do you think of these Saunders’ columns? Post your opinion below.

******************************************

They print this ridiculous crap and then wonder what people think.

The most insane example was the recent column by Holloway--which KC highlighted--lecturing on "race".

Anonymous said...

Nifong's behavior is, of course, interesting in its motivation, but the political climate of Durham and much of the rest of academia left him little choice but to lie. Not many people including almost all of the faculties of numerous institutions joined the lynch mob or remained quiet. Not many people would have or did have any courage in the face of a howling mob of political correctness, so Nifong is to be understood if not forgiven . . . we live with a huge group of intimitating academic facists who run the universities. Duke's board of trustees doen't control the school. The street does.

gwallan said...

RRS,

Thanks for the link to that test.

It amazes me that as an Aussie, with the obvious lack of any real US history in my education, I can do better on that test than eighty percent of the school averages listed.

That should be rather frightening for those who believe in the fine principles the US has built it's reputation on. Your future is at stake here folks.

mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debrah said...

From the same N&O editor's blog, editor Linda Williams---who played a pivotal role in how their lacrosse case coverage was handled---apparently could not stand that the murdered UNC-CH student received a lot of media attention.

The Diva said:

Ms. Wiiliams, don't be coy with this latest "concern".

If you are going to raise such an issue, raise it; however, as a journalist, please do not assault the public with these phony scenarios.

Durham and Chapel Hill are as far apart as you can get with regard to crime and sensibilities and, indeed, what is considered tolerable in their respective communities.

Don't take my word for it. Just ask anyone who hears the word----"Durham".

Do you even concern yourself with the degree of crime that occurs on the NCCU campus that is never highlighted by the press?

Why not?

Because it is so prevalent and prolific?

Don't insult the intelligence of readers by making an issue of the comparisons and the contrasts of these two crimes.

One was in a quiet community.

The other was on a campus located in Durham, which as everyone knows, has a high crime rate.

Again, don't insult the intelligence of readers by trying to whip up a race/class scenario.

The nation saw just how much attention Durham and the Triangle press gave to a rape accusation by a drug-using prostitute in the Spring of 2006 when it was alleged that a white-on-black crime had occurred.

You remember your role in that?

Even the New Black Panthers were on hand to threaten the lives of the falsely accused.

You couldn't have asked for more media and community attention than that.

And who can blame race-baiters for trying to turn the tables and make believe that black-on-Hispanic-on-white crimes are not what we see in the court system more often than not?

Your true problem is that you refuse to openly acknowledge the impact that prolific crime in the black community has on all of us.

Again, after what you and the other N&O editors tried to whip up in the Spring of 2006----and whose ramifications are still with us---do not assault our intelligence with this phony issue.

If you want to talk about this, then discuss socio-economic levels, not race.

Some poor white girl living in the boondocks or in Appalachia would have been all but forgotten.

Forget about a 24-hour delay. There would have been a mere footnote on page twelve.

Your whole premise is ludicrous and just another false scenario so that a few so inclined can start a pity party for criminals.

Enough already.

Lastly, I'm not sure that some at NCCU even understand due process from reading their campus newspaper during the Duke Lacrosse Lynching.

You do recall Chan Hall, don't you?

Perhaps NCCU lives by different rules with regard to crime and punishment.

Curious, that.
**********************************************


N&O editor Williams said:

"I'm getting word today of rumblings in some Durham barbershops about our coverage of the homicide of UNC student body president Eva Carson compared to last year's coverage of the shooting death of Denita Smith, a popular N. C. Central University student.
The gist of the conversation is an ongoing complaint from some communities that the media goes [***(go)***] overboard in covering tragic deaths of attractive white women while ignoring other groups who are proportionately more likely to be victims of violent crime. There is a historical context to the complaint because the media in the past was [***(were)***] blatantly biased in crime reporting, particularly portraying blacks as criminals but rarely acknowledging them as victims."

(snip)....

************************************

The Diva said:

Revisiting this trumped-up issue over a morning cappuccino, my senses tell me that those "rumblings from barbershops" came from inside the nexus of a few warped minds at the N&O.....

.......looking for a way to find yet another grievance.

To be so concerned that a young woman---accomplished scholar, humanitarian, and campus leader---might be receiving our dithyrambic praise at the time of her death is truly disgusting.

The community would be treating this tragedy the same way, no matter what the race or ethnicity of the victim.

Truth is, very few people are as accomplished and as altruistic as Ms. Carson was at such a young age. Her friends and the community should not highlight this?

Does her life have to be diminished because a few race hounds feel "bored" or are made to feel "othered"---(another racial bastardization of a word)---because those accomplishments have not been ignored?

And to think.......this diseased mindset just had to "make itself heard" even as the body of Eve Carson is still warm.

I can well-understand why a certain segment of our society is forever disgruntled. They are unable to get away from this "race business" even to the grave.

These are the people who put our newspapers together, folks.

Pathetic, that.

jamil hussein said...

Now that Governor Spitzer has been exposed as frequent customer of prostitutes we can perhaps see Gang88 statement where Spitzer is accused of wanting to steal something unique that only that woman ("Kristen") possessed.

Seriously, Spitzer was high-profile prosecutor and AG who misused his unchecked powers during his AG days just like Nifong. I think prosecutors in this country are more dangerous than the one they are chasing. Fitzgerald is another hack who belong to jail (he lied in press conference about the leak, just like Nifong).

Anonymous said...

To jim in san diego (3/5 3:37 PM) and gwallen (3/8 3:11 AM): Thanks for your feedback regarding the Intercollegiate Studies Institute test of 14,000 college freshmen and seniors on American history, political science, and economics. For those who want to take the test, here is a link to it. The Test.

Congrats, gwallen on getting such a good score – even more notable as you aren’t even American. I had my 15-year-old daughter take it and she got 57% correct – better, IIRC, than the seniors at The School That Hired Grant Farred.

Speaking of idiot hires, KC, I just became aware of this New York Times op-ed, in which Hillary Clinton’s “Red Phone” ad is called, what else?, “racist”:

”[W]hen I saw the Clinton ad’s central image — innocent sleeping children and a mother in the middle of the night at risk of mortal danger — it brought to my mind scenes from the past. I couldn’t help but think of D. W. Griffith’s ‘Birth of a Nation’”

One just can’t make this stuff up.

This buffoon is said to be a Harvard sociology professor. My question is, How did such people get hired at prestigious institutions like Harvard and how can we get them out?

RRH

Anonymous said...

Speaking of professors making fools of themselves, this Iraqi-American recently blogged about Juan Cole:

Did he really say that? Did Juan Cole actually elevate Moktada Al Sadr to a new level of sanctity today? In talking about Mookie's stay in Iran, the professor said, "It should be noted that for a Shiite holy figure to 'vanish' is hardly unprecedented. Such an absence recalls the Twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who disappeared as a child and was said to communicate with the faithful through 'agents.' A vanished leader sometimes has an extra cachet because of this Shiite tradition."

Hahaha! Is that nuts or what? Nobody but Juan Cole thinks that Al Sadr has earned "cachet" among Shiites by fleeing into Iran at the first whiff of the "surge." If anything, he's earned derision. Besides, doesn't this self-proclaimed expert on Islam know how wildly inappropriate it is for him to compare Mookie to the Mahdi? It's unimaginable to write such a thing. Would he say something like this if he were addressing a Shiite readership? I don't think so. It's a sign of his contempt for the readers he does have.

Maybe it's time to suggest a separation of academia and politics....

Instead of comparing Mookie to the Mahdi, Juan Cole should have paid attention to what Mookie's statement to his followers said. "This was one of the reasons behind my absence... yet I still have many people loyal and faithful to me and I advise them to direct society toward education and teaching," he added. Al Sadr, who issued the statement from Iran, apparently now wants to head a charity group instead of a murderous militia....

Professors of the world, stick to your test grades and your petty departmental politics. Power politics and academic narcissism are a poor mix, as we are all being reminded daily.

Now the incompetence of our professors is becoming an international embarrassment. *Sighhh*

RRH

Debrah said...

Hot news!....if Hillary has the nerve.

I hope they have it in the Triangle.


H-S:

Obama agrees to NC debate; no word from Clinton

Mar 13, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has agreed to an April 19 debate in North Carolina.

Debate host CBS News said Thursday it was awaiting word on whether Obama rival Hillary Rodham Clinton would participate. North Carolina's primary is May 6, with 115 delegates up for grabs.

Both candidates plan to debate in Philadelphia next month before Pennsylvania's primary. ABC News will host the debate on a date still to be determined. Pennsylvania voters go to the polls April 22 for the primary, a contest with 158 delegates at stake.

The contenders have debated 20 times during the presidential campaign.