Obama Will Skip Debates. Will Anyone Else?
DES MOINES -- Now that Sen. Barack Obama has become the first Democratic presidential candidate to declare enough is enough with the seemingly endless season of debates, who will join him?
The top-tier Democratic candidates are known to agree with Obama's view. In an earlier event, former senator John Edwards (N.C.) was caught on an open microphone complaining to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) about the size and frequency of the debates, and Clinton agreed.
But the Clinton campaign declined comment today on whether she would join Obama on the sidelines. So did every other Democratic campaign -- a reflection of candidates' desire to avoid angering the interest groups that sponsor various forums.
Debates are "grueling and time-consuming," acknowledged Pahl Shipley, a spokesman for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, "but debates and forums are an important part of the process. There are serious differences among the candidates. Voters deserve the chance to learn what those differences are to see where the candidates stand. Whether this is a sound decision by Senator Obama is for the people to decide."
Obama has already attended seven debates and 19 forums, including a just-finished run of three forums in six days, campaign manager David Plouffe wrote on Obama's Web site. So after Sunday's nationally televised debate on ABC, he will stick to only the five official debates, two Iowa panels and a Spanish-language event, Plouffe wrote.
Like a newly sworn dieter, though, Obama had to face the temptation of maybe just one more.
"If Senator Obama wants to limit his appearances, we hope he would still join Senator Biden in pushing the networks to sponsor a ninety-minute debate on Iraq," said Larry Rasky, communications director for Sen. Joseph Biden (Del.), who has lobbied for such an all-Iraq forum.
Another option, offered by the cable network MSNBC, has been to hold smaller debates with only three or so candidates at a time, so that each gets time to deliver fuller answers. Only a handful of the candidates have agreed to that structure.
The prospect of fewer debates makes Sunday's, moderated by George Stephanopoulos in Des Moines, that much more important to the campaigns. It also comes at a time when the candidates are all ratcheting up their focus on Iowa heading into Labor Day.
Stephanopoulos said today that he hopes his questions will encourage interaction between the candidates, where they "really mix it up and engage," rather than the standard, one-at-a-time format.
--Anne E. Kornblut
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: pbboice | August 22, 2007 11:16 AM
Posted by: goldie2 | August 22, 2007 2:25 AM
Posted by: shamiyahpr | August 21, 2007 2:49 AM
Posted by: southerndemocrat | August 20, 2007 8:51 PM
Posted by: jslotterback | August 20, 2007 4:24 PM
Posted by: sameolddoc | August 20, 2007 1:44 PM
Posted by: BballShot90 | August 20, 2007 1:01 PM
Posted by: dsansone | August 20, 2007 12:44 PM
Posted by: DCWill | August 20, 2007 11:56 AM
Posted by: dl.berghuis13 | August 20, 2007 11:44 AM
Posted by: rhewitt | August 20, 2007 10:38 AM
Posted by: mhumphrey55 | August 20, 2007 10:29 AM
Posted by: concerned7 | August 20, 2007 10:24 AM
Posted by: jnsmart | August 20, 2007 10:24 AM
Posted by: julieds | August 20, 2007 1:36 AM
Posted by: davidgriffen | August 20, 2007 12:54 AM
Posted by: SeanFoots | August 19, 2007 12:25 PM
Posted by: boomdog | August 19, 2007 10:50 AM
Posted by: p_chuck | August 19, 2007 12:43 AM
Posted by: dee1126 | August 18, 2007 11:48 PM
Posted by: TomJx | August 18, 2007 11:36 PM
Posted by: bsimon | August 18, 2007 11:13 PM
Posted by: SFT1 | August 18, 2007 11:00 PM
Posted by: lylepink | August 18, 2007 10:39 PM
Posted by: cwh2 | August 18, 2007 10:19 PM
Posted by: boomdog | August 18, 2007 10:17 PM
Posted by: kralford | August 18, 2007 10:10 PM
Posted by: morningglory51 | August 18, 2007 9:01 PM
Posted by: mortified469 | August 18, 2007 6:46 PM
Posted by: wappinne | August 18, 2007 6:37 PM
Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | August 18, 2007 6:20 PM
Posted by: grannyhelen | August 18, 2007 5:36 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.