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.