Debate cowardice

William Kristol:


We have had four one-on-one debates so far — and each has been revealing. A debate without a moderator, as Clinton has suggested, could be particularly interesting. But debates would give Clinton equal time in the spotlight, and would make Obama’s advantage in paid media in Indiana and North Carolina far less significant.

On Friday in Indiana, Obama talked tough in response to a question: “I get pretty fed up with people questioning my patriotism.” And, he continued, “I am happy to have that debate with them any place, anytime.” He’s happy to have fantasy debates with unnamed people who are allegedly challenging his patriotism. But he’s not willing to have a real debate with the real person he’s competing against for the nomination.

Will Obama pay no price for ducking? Should paid advertisements determine the Democratic victor, not the performance of the two candidates debating at length in an unscripted setting?


I think the Texas debate actually helped Obama in this state. He also benefited from an advertising blitz that was unprecedented.

Clinton's suggestion that they debate without a moderator is pretty clever. Obama's complaint about the Philly debate is that he did not like the questions used by ABC. He probably would not like the ones proffered by Hillary Clinton either. There are just some issues he does not want to discuss right now and the best way to avoid them is to avoid debates.


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