Hillary Challenges Obama To A ‘Mano a Mano’ Debate: No Moderators

In one of the best moves of the campaign, AP reports that Hillary Clinton , in just the last hour, while in South Bend, Indiana, challenged Barack Obama to a open ‘mano a mano’ debate. Styled after the most substantive debates of all time, the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, she challenged, “Just the two of us, one on one, going for 90 minutes, asking and answering questions, we’ll set whatever rules seem fair,she said.

According to AP on MSNBC, Obama aides said they were studying the formal letter from HRC.

Update: Obama Refuses: The Obama Communications Director Robert Gibbs said campaign has refused the debate saying, in part,”Over the next 10 days, we believe it’s more important to talk directly to the voters of Indiana and North Carolina about fixing our economy, cutting the cost of health care and ending a war in Iraq that never should have been authorized in the first place.”

Personal Update: Fox News called her offer to debate: “Mano a Mano”. They were right and, in my opinion, Obama can’t stand the potential heat. Too bad Harry Truman isn’t around when you need his pithy comment: “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.” I hope HRC repeats his choice to retreat in face of a challenge endlessly in the coming weeks. What candidate, except one afraid of the result, would turn down the opportunity to defeat their opponent? What has he got to hide, if anything? Or is it sheer inability to stand up to a superior opponent? [More on the historical significance follows..]

[apologies to Gilbert for the second article]

Have you ever actually read the Lincoln-Douglas debates? They were perhaps the most substantive debates in American history They may be exceed only by the Federalist Papers, actually a series of 85 articles advocating the ratification of the constitution, and the debates at the constitutional and revolutionary conventions. The Lincoln-Douglas debates were reported, word for word, in most of the papers in the country. It was a seminal event in American political history.

If Obama would only step up to the political plate, which he apparently won’t, this event could be a turning point, not just for this election, but for American political campaigns in general.

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10 Responses to Hillary Challenges Obama To A ‘Mano a Mano’ Debate: No Moderators

  1. Gilbert Martinez says:

    I thought more and more people were watching the debates. I guess those people don’t count as much as attendees to scripted events do.

  2. Darrell Prows says:

    It’s so common in sports for a team to go ahead, and then paly the final portion to avoid losing, instead of to win. Time after time they end up losing just because of that.

    (Someone is supposed to say “He would talk directly to his opponent in Iran, but not to his opponent here?”)

  3. CognitiveDissonance says:

    Darrell, sounds like Obama is using the “prevent defense,” the one that lets your opponent run all over the field and quite often score the winning touchdown. Well, I hope that’s exactly what we see, complete with a New York improbably, come-from-behind victory.

  4. My view is that Obama is going to play to his own strengths in arenas where he knows he has a homecourt advantage. Sound like GWB and his hand-picked audience?

    Obama hasn’t gone that far but it might not be far behind if he gets hit hard in some townhall meeting.

    He’s trying to retain a very fragile lead. He knows if he gets his ass kicked in any venue, debate or otherwise, he’s not going to win before the convention.

  5. Jesse says:

    I’m not surprised by Clinton wanting another debate. I am glad that Obama refused. She hasn’t been very nice, fair, or ethical throughout this whole primary process. This is stalling on Clinton’s part. She doesn’t have very positive coverage, due to her sayings and doings, in the press and this has had a bad effect on her support. If she doesn’t concede to Obama soon, this is going to be very bad for her and the party. She is going to have to return to the Senate when she concedes or loses the nomination, and she will still have this baggage with her. This is bound to affect her relationship with her colleagues. Her reputation will never survive this political debacle. I hope that she drops out before it gives McCain a clear advantage, as inept as he is.

  6. Jesse: I’m on record here as favoring Obama (though decisions like this one make me waver). The weakness in your argument here is that you focus on prior Clinton conduct, rather than on future Obama benefit from participating in a venue like this. At least if he is able to hold his own.

    Are you afraid that he won’t be able to hold his own?

  7. “I’m not surprised by Clinton wanting another debate. I am glad that Obama refused. She hasn’t been very nice, fair, or ethical throughout this whole primary process.”

    Name ONE instance.

    I’ve got 83 instances of sexism from Obama and the media. I have an entire list of less than savory descriptions of Senator Clinton by Barack Obama while Obama pretends to be the ‘nice’ guy.

    You are falling for a line of spin.

  8. Gilbert Martinez says:

    Oh, Stuart. Didn’t you know if you want to blame someone, the go-to strategy from the right and left is to blame the Clintons.

    Hillary knew about the Wright videos but did not get the press to push them before Iowa or Super Tuesday when obama’s ship could have been sunk. Contrast that with Obama’s campaign very early on trying to get the press to publish stories on Bill Clinton’s post-presidency sex life. Contrast Hillary’s focus on Obama’s experience (which somehow became a right-wing talking point *rolling my eyes*) with the Obama campaigns consistent attacks and innuendo on Hillary’s personal character and integrity. Compare Bill Clinton’s so-called “racist” remarks with the deliberate distortion of Bill Clinton’s remarks by the Obama campaign and Jesse Jackson Jr claiming Hillary Clinton’s tears were fake and she didn’t care about Katrina victims.

    When history is written, the Obama campaign is going to be a model of slime and character attacks and attempts to reopen racial divisions. Obama and his most vigorous enablers (this is a distinction between supporters!) are not going to go down favorably to posterity, no matter how much they repeat the “Hillary is evil” line.

  9. Jesse

    “Her reputation will never survive this political debacle.”

    Many politician’s reputations have survived far worse than this battle for the nomination.

  10. Peace Out For Unity says:

    Will Obama surrender ?