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Chavez rejects, laughs at idea of debate with rival

CARACAS -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has scoffed at the idea of a debate with rival Henrique Capriles ahead of elections this autumn, dismissing his opponent as unworthy.

“A debate? With whom?” Chavez, 57, said Monday, after being asked whether he would debate Capriles, 39, his center-left opponent in the Oct. 7 presidential poll.

“I would be really embarrassed in one of those things, because there is nothing there” to debate, Chavez said, likening himself to a world-class boxer and his opponent to a third-rate amateur.

In Capriles, he said, “There is nothing there, nothing to debate. There are no ideas.”

“Let the big debate be held in the streets, in people's homes and in their communities. The rest is just nothing,” added Chavez.

Capriles fired back on the microblogging website Twitter, writing: “The candidate of backwardness (Chavez) could never debate anyone. He only knows how to insult and discredit, with worn out and tedious speech.”

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