Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., says he’s “disappointed” that though he was very willing to engage in a nationally televised debate on global warming, the man who challenged him to the debate has now backed out.

Late last year, political activist and former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader challenged Inhofe, the ranking Republican of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and a leading skeptic of allegedly man-made global warming, to debate the topic with climate-change champion Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

“For the past decade, I have been reading about your description of the global warming assertions by scientists as ‘one of the greatest hoaxes’ ever perpetrated,” Nader wrote in a Dec. 12 letter to Inhofe. “Clearly you are a man of your convictions on this subject. Just as clearly, Rep. Ed Markey is a man of his convictions on this topic.

“So, what about your first real public debate with a fellow member of Congress on this topic?” Nader suggested. “People I know in Oklahoma say that you do not run away from challenges and challengers to your beliefs.”

Indeed, Inhofe did not run away from the debate challenge, but accepted it almost immediately, offering dates that might fit into his schedule.

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