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Clinton Challenges Obama to Lincoln-Douglas Style Debate

One of the reasons I like Clinton so much is that she has more balls than Obama:

Clinton took the debate dispute to a new level, challenging Obama to face off with her in a debate without a moderator, Lincoln-Douglas style.

"Just the two of us, going for 90 minutes, asking and answering questions, we'll set whatever rules seem fair," Clinton said while campaigning in South Bend.

As I predicted back on April 17th, five days prior to the Pennsylvania primary, Barack Obama backed out the planned debate in North Carolina:

Prediction - Obama refuses to debate Clinton in North Carolina as previously agreed. He'll use his faux outrage over being asked tough questions in last night's debate as an excuse to back out of the North Carolina debate but....he won't back out until after the Pennsylvania primary next Tuesday.

Well, I was wrong about the faux outrage -- I should have known better -- the Obama campaign muttered some lie about being too busy, or having to eat his waffle, or other such nonsense...

But now a new gauntlet has been thrown by Clinton, and Barack Obama can't back out of this one.

The more open style of debating where each side presents an argument gets its name from the famed debates that took place during the 1858 U.S. Senate race in Illinois between Republican Abraham Lincoln and Democrat Stephen Douglas.

This effectively neutralizes Obama's concern that he wasn't treated fairly by ABC in the Pennsylvania debate.

It's about time America found out who the better candidate is... and it took a Clinton to make it happen.

obama-wallace.jpgUpdate: Barack Obama, appearing in an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News that airs this Sunday, said earlier today, prior to Clinton issuing her challenge, that he was just too damned afraid of Hillary:

The Illinois senator and Democratic front-runner spoke with Wallace Saturday in Marion, Ind., in an interview that will air Sunday, ending a 772-day silent treatment toward the talk show.

Wallace said the interview touched on topics ranging from his struggles attracting working-class voters to his criticism of John McCain to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., Obama's controversial former pastor.

Asked why he was repeatedly "ducking" Clinton's debate challenges before the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, Obama said, as he has before, that he just wants to spend time with voters.

"I'm not ducking. We've had 21 (debates), and so what we've said is, with two weeks, two big states, we want to make sure we're talking to as many folks possible on the ground taking questions from voters," he said, so no debates.

"We're not going to have debates between now and Indiana," he said.

Well okay - he didn't say he was too damned afraid, but it's clear he is concerned that he has more to lose than gain.

And look at Barack trading away his progressive credentials as he panders for voters among the Fox News viewers:

Wallace said that if Obama had won Pennsylvania he may not have accepted the FOX News Sunday invitation. But he said that once Obama met him for the interview, the Illinois senator was "friendly" and discussed several moderate-to-Republican viewpoints, making an apparent effort to broaden his appeal.

"He made it very clear he was not some left ... liberal and he had been mischaracterized as such," Wallace said. "I think this was an effort to sort of restore or regain the brand that he had some months ago, when he was saying there wasn't a Republican solution, or a Democratic solution. It was a new politics and it needed to be a coalition."

Barack Obama will lie through his teeth to get your vote.

Update II: An Indianapolis Indiana newspaper, the Indy Star, is calling for the debate as well. Clinton has accepted, Obama has not.

Why another debate toward the end of an exhausting campaign? For starters, the last debate, in Pennsylvania, was heavily criticized for delving into side issues rather than centering on topics such as the economy, health care and foreign policy. Well, then, let's have a debate here that digs into the many serious issues facing the nation and this state. How, for example, do the candidates reconcile increasing taxes during a possible recession? How would they fulfill their pledge to pull troops out of Iraq in a matter of months if the Iraqi government were to collapse or terrorist organizations were to set up training bases there?

It's true that these questions and others have been addressed at various points in a long campaign. But voters tend to pay more attention to candidates' positions when their own primary is imminent. Most voters in Indiana have forgotten what was said in Iowa four months ago.

A debate planned for North Carolina, which also holds its primary on May 6, fell apart this week after the Obama campaign backed out. The senator's loss in Pennsylvania should prompt his advisers to reconsider whether this is the right time to disengage.

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Comments (4)

Obama is clearly running from another debate after getting his clock cleaned in the last one. He seems to think he can use the old college basketball strategy that caused the introduction of the shot clock: the "stall" or "deep freeze" or "four corners" plan to run out the clock when you're ahead.

What Obama forgets - and he can be forgiven this, due to his lack of experience (being a callow young fellow) - that it is not nearly enough in the Democratic Party to just have the lead at the end of the primaries; he needs a majority of the delegates, and that must include hundreds of super delegates, all of whom must be squirming in their seats uncomfortably at his shaky performances, overt lies, and disreputable associations.

Nonetheless, if Hillary beat me up that badly, I'd run like hell, too . . .

One question, though: if Hillary "can't win" and Obama's nomination is "inevitable," then WHY did he spend so much time and money in Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and now Indiana?

I mean, if he already has it wrapped up, why bother? Isn't it all just a waste of his time and money?


Obama-Hillary unchaperoned? DON'T DO IT, O!
Cuz I don't know how. And I don't know when in the program.
But the next day's headlines will be,
(with picture below of Hil bawling into the camera, holding her knee, mouth agape a'la Nancy Kerrigan. "WHYYY?--WHYYY?")

Or she'll just drive him to cuss her on TV by her steady barrage of big ear jokes. Which would be sooo Hillary-easy!!! Same bad result for Obama.

Actually, I think he knows he can't win in a debate where he would have to discuss issues in detail and at length with Hillary. Once he gets beyond his talking points, he's rather thin on substance.

Plus, in "normal" talking head made-for-TV debates, he needs only to use up his short alloted time to avoid answering, and he is eloquent enough to pull it off most of the time, especially when not pressed by the questioners, as was the case for the first 19 or 20 debates. In a freestyle debate along the lines of the Lincoln-Douglas series, Hillary could pillory him with his evasions.

Lee Ward:

The Kerrigan image is haunting, and true.

Obama looks dead-set on not debating before the Indiana primary - he simply has too much to lose, but BillC yesterday was already hitting on Obama pushing for an Oregon debate. It may be more difficult for Obama to keep ducking the debate going forward.

How can you tell that Obama is ducking Hilary - it's easy - he's says he isn't ducking her, so you know he is.

Ahhh, springtime in an election year...


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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