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Wag the Blog: The Debate Over Debates

UPDATE, 8:30 am: Obama has agreed to a debates on Feb. 26 in Ohio and another debate in Texas before that state's March 4 primary. Obama's campaign did not offer up a specific date for the Texas debate but there is a tentative event already in the works for Feb. 28. NBC will sponsor both forums.

ORIGINAL POST

For those of us who have been watching the Democratic presidential contest for the better part of the last two years (or more), it seems as though the candidates have been debating forever.

But, with the field narrowed to two, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) is calling on Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) to agree to a series of debates over the next month.

In a conference call on Tuesday, Clinton senior strategist Mark Penn said it was "critically important that we continue the debates between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton."

Obama quickly rejected the idea. "I don't think anyone's clamoring for more debates," Obama said. "We benefit from being on the ground, talking to people directly."

Then on Thursday morning, Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle sent a letter to Obama campaign mananger David Plouffe urging more head-to-head debates. "I was disappointed to see that Senator Obama rejected the idea of having more debates given the fact that he and Senator Clinton have had only a single one-on-one debate," wrote Solis Doyle. "I think we can do better and so does Hillary."

Calling for debates is usually the territory of underdogs, which, given the growing financial disparity between the two candidates, might be the right moniker for Clinton these days.

On the other hand, her call for more debates also could set a story line that she is now the aggressor in the race, willing to test herself in public forums and take the fight to Obama.

For today's Wag the Blog question, we want to hear from you about Clinton's debate strategy? Is it savvy or silly? Why or why not?

As always, the most thoughtful responses will be featured in a Fix post of their own.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 8, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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Comments

So the two Democratic candidates are agreeing to again debate and what will we get: probably the same thing we have had in all the other debates. What ever group of persons who are there will be talked to on the topic that the candidates believe they want to here while answering questions that they were given weeks in advance, so as to prepare for. Now I like debates but not these predetermended answer debates that we are fed. Why not have a debate where the candidates don't know what question is coming? Gee, they are running for president, and in this world no terriorst is going to give them their questions and/or plans thirty days in advance so that they can work with their crew to come up with an answer. Also with the new tech, why not do a debate like the new Fox show, The Moment of Truth. At least if the debate was done that way we could hear a voice come in stating that that last answer was a LIE. If nothing else it would make a more interesting debate. Also let's hear some real questions, somethings like these:
1)All of you members of Congress are millionares, so why must the tax payer fund your HEALTH CARE and your RETIREMENT?
2)How come, when Social Security, was operating in the black, your party members voted to take the money out, that was for senors, disabled persons, and serving children, and spend it on pork barrel junk while replacing it with worthless IOUs?
3)Since you are the employee of the people, why is it that you can give yourselfs such big raises when emplyees in the private sector can not? Why not let your emplyers, the people, deside if you deserve a raise?
4)Again on your pay, why is it that senors, disabled persons, and serving children of a deceased parent only received a 2.3% pay raise or less then $25 dollars a month but you gave yourselfs over a $4500 raise or almost $400 a month?
5)Why is it that you can not present a bill to Congress and then the President with out adding millions upon millions of junk pork to bill, can you not deliever a clean bill?
6)And last for today, why do you think that the public is so stupid? Why do you think that you are the only ones who can make decisions on what people really need and then screw it up when you try to do it?

Well let's see the debate, and let's hope that someone will ask the really interesting questions that have not been pre-rehursted. And gee, please use the lie detechtor, if for nothing else, just so we can see their faces when the voice says: THAT WAS A LIE!

Posted by: jslowe1949 | February 14, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I object most of all to calling the series of joint press conferences we have been seeing "debates." When other people than the candidates ask the questions and, at most, 90 seconds is allowed for an answer, you oversimplify the process of policy making. The process is designed to appeal to people whose attention span is conditioned by the amount of time it takes to run a typical football play. Politics is more like baseball: there are long, boring stretches where you are just slogging through ledgers and budgets, but you have to keep your eye on the ball if you are to understand what is happening when somebody does something spectacular or interesting.

As an Obama supporter,I deeply resent the Clinton talking point about how much the world would sit up and take notice if a woman were elected president. Women leaders of countries now are old hat. Its been going on since ancient Egypt. What would be new in the world is a black man being elected the leader of a majority white country. That's never happened before, anywhere. The closest thing to it was the Fujimori government in Peru, which didn't work out very well.

Mrs. Kirchner is now president of Argentina. Michelle Bachelet is ppresident of Chile. Helen Clark is prime minister of New Zealand. Angela Merkel is Chancellor of Germany. And only Mrs. Kirchner was preceded in office by a husband. The other three did it on their own. Why would a woman president of the US whose husband preceded her in that office be such a big deal? It just wouldn't.

But Barack can't say that the world would take notice if a black man were elected president of the United States. All sorts of thoughtless people would accuse him of playing the race card if he did that. It isn't fair, and its dirty pool.

I could be wrong, but I doubt that the DEMS are going to be swift boated in the general election. Reason: if they are, McCain is decent enough that he will be going around putting out fires, disassociating himself from his own supporters who are doing the swift boating. If all we see of McCain is a man who can't even control his own supporters and is always going around disowning them, the Democrats are sure to win anyway, so why worry about it?

Posted by: rb42 | February 12, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Most of the people who read this blog and have posted comments porbably have closely followed the nomination contest to date.

Most of the people who will vote in Ohio, Pennslvania and other states whose primaries/caucuses are yet to come have not.

Media coverage will focus almost excelusively on the horserace; debates (and debate coverage) seem to be the only time the media devotes any coverage to substantive issues.

Americans are entitled to hear the candidates discuss the issues, not just sing "Kumbaya." And I say that as someone who voted for Obama last Tuesday.

Posted by: jacobbergerj | February 9, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey, all you HRC supporters please tell me how in the world is Hillary going to straighten out our economy, when she obviously can't manage her own campaign funds? So much for experience. I'm still scratching my head at her long list of accomplishments, what are they? what battles are you referring, when you say she's been tested? There should be a long list considering a claimed 35 years of experience.

Posted by: Randomaxe | February 9, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama has set it up just right at two debates, balancing rallies against national coverage. Despite the opinions of many that Hillary is a better debater, she comes across as wonkish and scripted. Barack has appeared uniting, uplifting (overused word this season), and brilliant.

I find Barack's restraint both puzzling and comforting. I expected him to attack HRC on her "35 years of experience," most of which came from being first lady, some from being in a law firm, and only recently from elected office. Turns out that he was right because the Republicans are doing it for him. His refusal to go the way of Rove is reassuring to voters who like him and hope that he isn't the usual sort of politician. (Make no mistake. He is a politician.)

Right now, plans and their details don't matter. What matters is direction. Barack will move us toward the most important issues (Iraq, health care, education, national debt, environment, energy) successfully by engaging the people and those Republicans not encased in hardened concrete.

Barack should emphasize these concepts and not stoop to comparing point 3 of my plan with point 7 of your plan. If Hillary does that, he should answer succinctly and move on.

In two debates, BHO has the opportunity, without leaving the campaign trail for too long, to appear certain, open, and smart. HRC, if she continues as before, appears arrogant, closed, and smart.

If the Dems really, really are focused on winning in November against "more of the same" McCain, then they must roll out something completely different. HRC is a repeat of the 90s. BHO is really very different.

Posted by: harry4 | February 9, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: bschick20 | February 9, 2008 4:42 AM | Report abuse

For the media exposure and her wonkish knowledge of policy always prefers debates. She wants him off the trail too where he performs better than her.

Another point that is lacking from the commentary. Hillary didn't need to comment now about her money shortage. She made an issue of it when she didn't have to. In addition to frequent debates and perceived financial troubles, Hillary desires to be viewed as the challenger rather than the established frontrunner. She won the expectations game in New Hampshire and once again on Super Tuesday when Obama fever was talked about even winning NJ, NY, or the big CA. Nothing the Clintons EVER do is free from calculation.

Posted by: whpriol | February 9, 2008 2:38 AM | Report abuse

Of course they should debate! Hell we don't even know Barack Rock Star Obama. His only claim to fame is he didn't cast a vote he wasn't allowed to cast since he wasn't in the senate at the time. She should not debate on NBC OR MSNBC though.Hillary Clinton should not debate on MSNBC. Let's face facts MSNBC has lost all sense of journalistic principles regarding bias in journalism. Chris Matthews and now Keith and even Nora have lost it. They hate Hillary and fawn over Obama more then the Obama Girl herself. They have been the most disrespectful news cast crew as well. We all know the debate will draw millions of viewers. Why should this bag of wind unprofessional network be rewarded with such viewer statistics? The entire network has become a joke!

Posted by: ricksramblings | February 9, 2008 1:41 AM | Report abuse

I don't Believe that Sen. Clinton wants the debates for financial reasons. Nor do I think her strategists really believe that she is better at one on one debate. She may have been better at the three and four person forums, but one on one they were evenly matched.
She is simply hoping for Sen Obama to make a mistake. He is unlikely to say or do anything in a stump speech that she can attack him on. And without something new she will continue to fall behind him.
Sen Obama should never have agreed, what he should have said was "I'll be happy to debate as soon as you release your white house papers and your tax statements.

mark

Posted by: markbirdsall | February 8, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I've found a website with a pretty extensive analysis of the democratic delegate race. It lists all super delegates. Well done!

http://demconwatch.blogspot.com/

Posted by: optimyst | February 8, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

This often-repeated idea that the "obvious" winning combination for November is to put the top two on the ticket together is very two-dimensional and flawed reasoning.

It didn't help Kerry in 2004 to pick Edwards as running mate. And besides, it's not as if you add their votes together and double the vote. The Democratic base will support either candidate with or without the other. Obama would help Clinton but not enough to overcome her negatives with independents and Republicans. Clinton would not help Obama but would hamper his proven ability to win independents and some moderate Republicans. And her presence on the ticket would undermine his message of change and getting past partisan gridlock.

I think the whole idea of the so-called "dream ticket" is being promoted mostly by Clinton supporters. (Notice it's almost alwayss Clinton-Obama and rarely the other way around.) It is a way to try to suggest to people, "You can have it all," which is a persistent American illusion, while still selling Clinton as the nominee. In other words, it's an attempt to co-opt Obama's supporters or potential supporters.

So I hope that Obama will use the debates partly as an opportunity to, in a subtle and gentle way, pull the plug on the myth of the "dream team."

Obama as nominee needs instead to pick ideally someone with a lot of foreign policy experience (which Hillary doesn't have either) and who maybe can bring along a key state--and probably not another Senator. But it may be hard to get all of that in one person, other than Richardson, and I don't know how it would play to have two "firsts" (African-American and Latino) on the same ticket. Also, while New Mexico is a swing state, it does not have a lot of electoral votes (only 5, I think), unless his presence could help swing Colorado and Nevada also.

But Obama needs to find a way to lay to rest the idea of him as Hillary's running mate and communicate to people they can't have it both ways. They have to choose.

Posted by: PastorGene | February 8, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

finnpillsbury | February 8, 2008 09:45 AM

Very insightful analysis, which reminds me of how the media spun Clinton's 2-point win in New Hampshire as an "upset" victory. For crying out loud, she had a huge lead up until a few days before the election. Just because the polls showed Obama ahead for a few days (more an indication of inaccurate polling than a supposed sudden gain and sudden loss by Obama) does not mean it was an "upset." The real story was that Obama narrowed her huge lead to 2 points and got an equal number of delegates. But the media bought the Clinton campaign spin.

Then her campaign tried to spin the uncontested Florida vote into a "victory." The media only partially bought that one. I run for exercise about three days a week by myself. By that kind of spin, I'm winning a lot of races!

Posted by: PastorGene | February 8, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

David Gergen said something the other night on CNN that resonated... Hillary is telling people it's not going to be so nice, we've got big challenges.

Counter to her real-speak, Barack is glorifying the harsh realities we face as a nation by cavalierly sermonizing, to a mezmerized audience...

David Brook's Op Ed in the Times, "Questions for Dr. Retail" cleverly summarizes what Hillary has that Barack doesn't..

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/08/opinion/08brooks.html


My bet is she's going to play to her no-nonsense, not-so spectacular bargain basement product line to his handy-dandy organic vegetarian fare which caters to upper income/educated types who eat up this righteous cynicism and keep chanting: yes we can, we can... eat hormone free...

That's a debate strategy that will land him flat on his righteous back-side....


The Fact Checker: Truth in Politics
www.edenprairienews.com

Posted by: vammap | February 8, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

rfpl: There seems to be an effort by all the Major News Organizations to confuse the public, for whatever reason, I have no idea.

Posted by: lylepink | February 8, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

lyle, NYT doesn't include Iowa, Nevada, and other caucus states in which the delegates aren't actually pledged to the candidates. I don't think it includes superdelegates either. It's the most conservative count that I've heard of so far.

Posted by: rpy1 | February 8, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

The NYTimes has Hillary with 904 Delegates, and CNN has Hillary with 1,033. This is what I am talking about.

Posted by: lylepink | February 8, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton suddenly wanted 5 debates not because she is the better debater but because:
1. With her campaign's financial problems she needs the free exposure.
2. She wants to take Obama off the campaign trail where he is most effective, face-to-face with the voters.
3. She had a huge head start across the country, and the more time Obama spends campaigning in the states, the better he is able to overcome her advantage in name recognition, organization, and familiarity to the voters. As in the case with Michigan and Florida, no campaigning works to her advantage. She wants to limit the voters' exposure to Obama and maintain her advantage.
4. She also knows that the debates allow the media to control the message rather than the candidates, and that also works to her advantage. (Now, if they could have a real debate, where you take the media out of the picture and let the candidates respond directly to each other and question each other, that would be a format where Obama could excel.)
Obama did not "dodge" debates. He agreed to 2 debates. Five would have been too much time to spend on debates, which are less effective means of getting his message out since few undecided voters will be watching them anyway, and those who have made up their mind are not likely to be swayed by the debates.

Really, I don't think the debates serve much purpose. Other than the volatile South Carolina debate, they are mostly just a rehashing of the same things over and over again, with each candidate responding to whatever questions with his or her talking points. And other than Iraq, the differences between the two of them on issues are too nuanced for most undecided voters to grasp anyway.

Iraq is the sole exception. Clinton was waffled on that issue and tried to please everyone with poll-tested answers. Obama has been very clear and strong about his opposition to the war. Clinton tries to undermine that by saying that Obama has voted to fund the war, but the truth is that he voted to fund the troops, not the war. And among Democratic candidates, only Kucinich did not vote for the funding.

Two debates in 4-5 weeks is plenty. Five would be a senseless and ineffective distraction from campaigning in the several states with immanent primaries and caucases. The only debate that may have made any difference in how people voted was perhaps the S. Carolina one, which apparently swayed more people to Obama rather than to Clinton. The other debates made little impact on the process. So having a debate every week would be a huge waste of time. Most people would get tired of them and tune out anyway.

Clinton supporters will dismiss all of this with the silly idea that Obama is afraid to debate her or that she does better in the debates (which the vote counts do not support. But my reply to them is: See #1-#4 above. That explains it all.

After the single one-on-one debate thus far, Obama is the one who gained ground if anyone,overcoming her huge Super Tuesday lead in polls and ending up basically in a tie. But I really don't believe the debate changed anyone's vote. It was the people getting to know Obama on the campaign trail. Debates are mostly watched by political junkies (like me), almost all of whom, by this point in the process, have studied the candidates and decided already who to support, for whatever reasons. Even the unique S. Carolina debate occurred in the context of other campaign factors that were influential on the SC vote.

Posted by: PastorGene | February 8, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

optimyst: I have that link and others as well. rypt, has about the same info I have been able to find and most of them differ as to the count is what I am saying. My problem is how can we actually KNOW when claims are so different by Major News Organizations? At least we have a good idea of how close the race remains.

Posted by: lylepink | February 8, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

You know, the story line grows ever feebler that Obama is naive and inexperienced and will have his butt kicked by the more savvy and experienced. Obama has survived quite well, thank you very much, and has made the presumed heir to the Bush / Clinton / Bush / Clinton dynasty act like the underdog.

If this is a foreshadowing of his presidency, then he'll be fine. More than fine. He'll be ready on day one.

Posted by: egc52556 | February 8, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

On the delegate count, I heard an interview on NPR last night with a delegate counter from the Kerry campaign. He suggested that he would trust the AP numbers at this point (they happen to also be the ones NPR uses), since the AP reporters actually talk with superdelegates and do some reporting before posting the numbers.

Posted by: rpy1 | February 8, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

While mikebrooks is being a little overdramatic and I usually disagree with him his opinion on the party splitting result of a brokered convention are close to spot on.

There are a number of Obama supporters who if Clinton came out ahead on the basis of delegates determined by primaries and caucusses would not vote for her, and likewise some Clinton supporters who wouldn't support Obama if he came out ahead based on those locked delegates but these people are few (and fewer among Clintonites than Obama's followers). If the Democratic nom matches the results of the accumulation of legitimate contests the Dem party can come out of it fine.

Superdelegates, the beauty shows of MI and FL and perhaps the Edwards delegates don't guarantee this. The superdelegates could organize the machine toward the popular loser, the machine can change its mind on MI or FL to help Hillary or Edwards could try to play kingmaker. This will amplify the small slights and drive people out by telling them they matter less than the machine. It is a greater fear of the Obama people because they are new to the party and less affiliated to the machine and know that the Clintons have a good deal of control over it. Picking Clinton like that will kill her chances among a lot of Obama supporters.

Posted by: cmsore | February 8, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

optimyst, thanks for the nyt link. interesting that the caucus states (from feb 5) haven't had delegates allocated yet. Coincidentally, those are all states where Obama won big, earning 60 to 75% of the vote.

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Wrong again, Mr. Pink. This is the NY Times policy, and I quote: "The New York Times counts only delegates that have been officially selected and are bound by their preferences."

Having said that, I find their counts pretty useless in this dynamic environment. Here is their official count:

http://politics.nytimes.com/election-guide/2008/results/delegates/index.html

Posted by: optimyst | February 8, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

claudia: "no, fraid not. maybe that's just you. i know many many Dems who will vote for either one, perfectly happily. I do not hate, loathe, etc... anyone."

Well said. It takes a sick twisted sort of person (like mibrooks, say) to act so as to give the other party control of the White House.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

FYI: The official delegate count for the Dems is not available anywhere I can find. The only thing is estimates and they are all over the Internet, Cable News, and Newspapers claiming to be the most accurate count. The Repubs are easy for most of theirs are Winner take all. I don't think there is any way of finding who the "Super Delegates" are either, only that they are members of Congress, other elected officials, and other high ranking officials in the party.

Posted by: lylepink | February 8, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

' But, both sides are locked in this cycle of mutual distrust, mutual hatred, will continue on and on. '

no, fraid not. maybe that's just you. i know many many Dems who will vote for either one, perfectly happily. I do not hate, loathe, etc... anyone.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks is the best argument against a McCain presidency: Old people are too darn cranky.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks: "until being showered with racist comments"

Oh come on, old man, lead us one of the racist comments you got from a Clinton supporter on here. Just one -- can you do it?

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks: "was called a senile old fool, a liar, and several other names and invited to waste my time posting some citations for this empty headed twit to trash."

By the way, old fool, you weren't called any names until you responded to my request for a cite with the first of your shrieking rants.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the mutual loathing people like Spectator and drindle/claudia and I feel fr each other is pretty reflective of what has/will happen to the Democratic Party. Now, there are a lot of Democrats that simply detest Clinton and wont vote for her no matter what. In my case, I never liked Clinton, but was pretty tolerant of her supporters...until being showered with racist comments and male bashing by quite a few of the more fanatical NOW types that cheerlead Clinton's candidacy.

Most of us like Obama and support him and will vote for him. But, both sides are locked in this cycle of mutual distrust, mutual hatred, will continue on and on. The debates wont solve anything. They will be used by Clinton to pull some dirty trick or other. That is pretty much a given and I cannot see why Obama is even wasting his time. I suppose he feels cornered into a dog and pony show. After the next "debate", though, we will all be back here, Obama people claiming he won and Cltinon folk claiming she won and Carville and his hacks engaged in some sort of Swift Boat attacks, a down in the gutter smear campaign, more out of the closet racism, a little pitting hispanics against blacks, the usual Clinton politics. In the end, though, Clinton wont have the delagates to win. Neither will Obama. There are 1400 delates remaining. Obama and Cltinon have about 900 each right now. One of them would have to take 1100 of those remaining delgates to head off a brokered convention. It ain't going to happen! We will have a brokered convention and Clinton's people, the same ones who designed the front loaded primarilies for her, will likely give her the nomination. Many/most Obama people will understand this, will either sit the election out or go third party or will vote for McCain. Count on it. They wont be coming back to Clinton in the interests of "party unity". More than a few will turn against the Democratic Party in general and the Republican's are just plain stupid if they don't realize this right now and begin making plans to take advantage of it. Any way you look at it, genuine Democracy, genuine debate, have all been swept away and the Democratic party has been split into roughly equal mutually loathing camps. Can you say "President McCain"? Maybe "Republican Senate"?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 8, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks: "In any event, I quoted the common stat that 60 million American jobs had been lost to outsourcing"

Calling a lie a common stat doesn't make it any less of a lie, SFB. If it's so common, then back it up, tough guy.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

blarg & optimyst, I agree. The only data I've found at wa post is on the elections page (in politics section):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/politics/elections/

That only gives the running totals, and hasn't moved in a while. It doesn't give the breakout by state, certainly not within the state.

I checked over at electoral-vote.com, but he only republishes the CNN totals, which include superdelegates. (his assessment of the candidates is worth the trip over there anyway)

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

optimyst: Very good point. I haven't seen a single news outlet which actually explains delegate counts. And I'd really like to see the explanation for results like Alabama, in which Obama got a majority of votes but a minority of delegates. It seems that nobody really knows what's going on. And the pollsters are definitely off their game this week; I guess they wanted a rest after all the polling they did last week.

Posted by: Blarg | February 8, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Drindly - When I got here, this morning, someone posted some nonsense about Cltinon's legislative achievements. I answered back that one of her main achievements was being the mother of free trade. Under Bull's Presidency, SHE drove free trade. She has been to India several times, met with Indian corporate heads and government officials and made it part of her history. Of course, with the economy in shatters, with jobs outsourced, with guest workers taking millions of jobs, we don't hear so much about this anymore. In any event, I quoted the common stat that 60 million American jobs had been lost to outsourcing and was called a senile old fool, a liar, and several other names and invited to waste my time posting some citations for this empty headed twit to trash. I merely suggested that she qui wasting all of our time and go look. I also, BTW, posted a citation about some of her Indian ties which, of course(!), "Specticular2" didn't bother to read, which pretty much summed up my earlier opinion of her - a shill hysterical NOW type...

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 8, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks: "Oh golly! Called names by a feminist twit! Whatever shall I do? Tell you what, hag, you put all yoyur eggs in that Clinton basket and the voters will crush you fools and relegate you to history's garbage heap."

claudia: "you might as well forget it and ignore him spectator--everybody else does. he just comes here to find someone to spew vitriol at. very angry."

I would, but it's fun in a sick sort of way to get this cretin to blow his stack -- and so easy, too! Also, it's good to get him to divulge his agenda: telling lies and spewing hate.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

you might as well forget it and ignore him spectator--everybody else does. he just comes here to find someone to spew vitriol at. very angry.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Two thing I am really stunned by in the wake of Super Tuesday:

1) After all of the breathless speculation BEFORE the actual voting and caucusing occurred, there is virtually no good source to follow the process of counting the delegate commitments still being awarded in the ongoing process. Most outlets are simply reporting those results that have become official, then obscuring the impact of Super Tuesday by aggregating them in a total with previously awarded delegates and super delegate endorsements and with no comment about how many delegates are still unresolved since Tuesday.

Since when does the media wait until official results are in to report on its own research and opinions? Granted, y'all worked hard the last couple months, but at least put out a "gone fishin'" sign so we'll know not to hold our breaths. I can't figure what is the cause: laziness or sloppiness.

What I'd expect to see is a breakdown by state and candidate of those Feb 5 delegate selections made official with totals by candidate at the bottom of the list, separate columns for delegates not yet awarded broken down by three categories, leans Obama, leans Clinton, and insufficient data. Such data would be updated in real time until the last Super Tuesday delegate is awarded. The only source I've found even close to this is at campaigndiaries.com. I can't believe the Washington Post isn't providing this info.

2) Post Super Tuesday polling. Where is the polling for Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, Maryland, Virginia, etc.? Maybe it was Tsunami Tuesday and all polling organizations got swept away by it, and we're now on our own. Or maybe, they bought into the spin that it would all be decided by Feb 5 and are on that fishing vacation.

This all seems mighty strange to me.

Posted by: optimyst | February 8, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"Have you prepared enough baba ganoush for the feast of Obama-Dodd?"

thank you for making me spit my tea...

so bsimon, i guess that precludes a McCain-Leiberman, ticket, eh?

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh golly! Called names by a feminist twit! Whatever shall I do? Tell you what, hag, you put all yoyur eggs in that Clinton basket and the voters will crush you fools and relegate you to history's garbage heap.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 8, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks: "Spectator2 can't read? Can't use the internet? Why am I not surprised? Typical hysteria driven feminist. "Vote for Hillary because she's woman". Nothing about policy nor ethics nor competence. Just more and more hyteria, shrill name calling, mob mentality piling on anyone pointing to a flaw, cheap insults, and bankupt ideology."

Dear god, you senile piece of crap, you call people hags and you rant about name calling? You're the one who sounds like the shrill hag. What a sick freak you are.

And of course, still no support for your 60 million jobs lost claim. Wonder why you'd rather type another of your disgusting rants than take the ten seconds to do a Google search to find a link -- but of course, that would work only if such a link exists.

You are a deeply disturbed, psychotic individual. I pity anyone who comes into real-world contact with you.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

edwcorey
"What about McKinley-Roosevelt?"

Those were different times. People didn't have telephones, much less text messages.

McKinley-Roosevent has the aura of the aristocracy that commonly ran the country in those days. Remember, that ticket predates the golden age of Rockefeller, Carnegie and Morgan. Railroad barons! Steel Barons! Oil Barons! The rules were different then.

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: You misunderstood what I am saying. The "History Making" aspect is only an added plus to what I think would be a very strong ticket.

Posted by: lylepink | February 8, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Spectator2 can't read? Can't use the internet? Why am I not surprised? Typical hysteria driven feminist. "Vote for Hillary because she's woman". Nothing about policy nor ethics nor competence. Just more and more hyteria, shrill name calling, mob mentality piling on anyone pointing to a flaw, cheap insults, and bankupt ideology.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 8, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

The second President Roosevelt went with 3-2 for three different veep nominees:

Roosevelt (or if you prefer)- Garner twice
Roosevelt - Wallace
Roosevelt - Truman

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Once again, if you're going to complain about substance, you need to offer substance to support your claims.

Hillary is far smarter than Barack? But Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review -- arguably the highest honor possible for a law school student. Hillary, by contrast, finished towards the bottom of her class at Yale, and she failed the bar exam in DC coming out of law school.

Both times that Obama and Clinton have been put in the same position -- as Senators and law students -- Obama has had a more impressive record. It certainly begs the question of why we should expect Hillary to make a better POTUS.

Posted by: davestickler | February 8, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks: "

Ah, yes, more stimulating conversation and polite debate with another of Clinton's ignorant and hysertical mob. Spectator2, the last time you hags got your hair twisted all in a knot and rammed through one of your "great ideas" it was Prohibition and we all know how well that worked out. It figures, all Clinton supporters are dunces and/or crooks -
"Hillary Clinton supports job outsourcing to India and her receiving donations in return - at our expense!"
-- http://www.redpills.org/?p=348

http://www.redpills.org/?p=348"

Hey freakazoid, does any of that crap support your claim of 60 million jobs lost? If not, stuff it in your wrinkled old butt, you sexist piece of crap. How many times are you going to use the word hag?

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, more stimulating conversation and polite debate with another of Clinton's ignorant and hysertical mob. Spectator2, the last time you hags got your hair twisted all in a knot and rammed through one of your "great ideas" it was Prohibition and we all know how well that worked out. It figures, all Clinton supporters are dunces and/or crooks -
"Hillary Clinton supports job outsourcing to India and her receiving donations in return - at our expense!"
-- http://www.redpills.org/?p=348

http://www.redpills.org/?p=348

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 8, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: bsimon: "I think it has something to do with syllables & 'sounds'. Three syllables is good, like Reagan-Bush or Clinton-Gore. Two syllables is OK. Bush-Quayle worked once, but not twice. Dole-Kemp just didn't sound right. More than three syllables is not effective. Gore-Lieberman. Ouch. It just hurts the ears. Mondale-Ferraro, another bad one. Dukakis-anything.
This could be bad news for Obama, unless he selects a nameless VP, or runs alone."

What about McKinley-Roosevelt?

Posted by: edwcorey | February 8, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Especially since history will be made with either Obama OR Clinton on top of the ticket. There's no reason to make too much history at once. Leave some history to be made later.

Posted by: Blarg | February 8, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

OK, how about an Obama-Dodd ticket?

Obama-Dodd has the benefit of sounding like a Islamic holiday, as in:

"Have you prepared enough baba ganoush for the feast of Obama-Dodd?"

Posted by: jps78 | February 8, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"I am thinking of the logic of a Clinton/Obama ticket and the History making aspects."

'Making History' is an asinine reason to pick a running mate.

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"Ali, bombaye!, Ali, bombaye!"

I couldn't resist.

Posted by: stpaulsage | February 8, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't like the choice of Bayh for veep.

Republicans will produce signs and bumper stickers saying Obama BYE!

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Good analysis, bsimon. Considering the criteria you set forth, Obama has no choice but to nominate as his VP, Senator Evan Bayh. It just rolls right off the tongue: Obama-Bayh. Obama-Bayh. Obama-Bayh.

If Obama was a professional wrestler, his signature move would be the "Obama-Bayh" sleeper-hold. He would wrap his arms around his opponents' necks and sing them an "Obama-Bayh" as they slowly lost consciousness.

Obama-Bayh 2008!

PS - It's Friday and I'm bored.

Posted by: jps78 | February 8, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

BOKO: I am thinking of the logic of a Clinton/Obama ticket and the History making aspects. First Woman POTUS, First Black VP, then to 2016 First Black POTUS. I've been giving this scenario some thought, and the more I think about it, I am finding it to be a pretty good idea, and more than plausible.

Posted by: lylepink | February 8, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, perhaps Hillary is stuck as well, because she's running as Hillary, not as Clinton. For Ike, it was clearly a good strategy; Eisenhower, at four syllables, is far too long to stick with voters.

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"looks like the track record of nominees who pick an opponent to run on their ticket is mixed at best."

I think it has something to do with syllables & 'sounds'. Three syllables is good, like Reagan-Bush or Clinton-Gore. Two syllables is OK. Bush-Quayle worked once, but not twice. Dole-Kemp just didn't sound right. More than three syllables is not effective. Gore-Lieberman. Ouch. It just hurts the ears. Mondale-Ferraro, another bad one. Dukakis-anything.

This could be bad news for Obama, unless he selects a nameless VP, or runs alone. Clearly Clinton-Obama fails the syllable test, as does McCain-Huckabee, or McCain-Pawlenty. He needs a one-syllable running mate, as would Clinton.

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks: "Spectator2 - Having witnessed your hysterical comments for Hillary in forums all over this newspaper, I doubt very much if you're supporting Obama."

Now let's see a link to even one of these "hysterical" comments, old fool.

The internet is a godsend to pathological liars like you. What a piece of garbage you are.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

One question - both Senators have missed lots of votes as a result of all the campaigning they've been doing. Does anyone think that adding debates to their schedules could lead to problems for the Dems in the Senate? Especially now that McCain has the nomination pretty much finished?

Posted by: rpy1 | February 8, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Spectator2 - Having witnessed your hysterical comments for Hillary in forums all over this newspaper, I doubt very much if you're supporting Obama. If you are, good for you, you will have done something useful for once. As for that nasty hag you seem to love so much, it was under Cltinon that free trade started, that the H1-B visa began, that all tariff's on trade were ended and, at the time, Hillary bragged that it was her idea, part of that "partner-two-for-one" nightmare of a presidency. Oh, and if you want to check with the Programmers Guild, the number of Amercian engineers who have lost their job due to just Indian H1-B guest workers? FIVE MILLION! Thank you ever so much Hillary for the current depression.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 8, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

What's more important: how many debates there are going to be, or the quality of the debates themselves? All the debates so far have been a sham, featuring wimpy questions asked by "reporters" who know nothing about policy and who are unwilling to question blatant lies and misleading statements.

The way to prevent such debates in the future is to have experts ask the questions:

http://nomoreblather.com/policy-debates

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | February 8, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: thanks. looks like the track record of nominees who pick an opponent to run on their ticket is mixed at best.

Sounds like the best approach is to pick someone regardless of whether or not that person sought the nomination as well. That seems to make little if any difference in the general election result.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I believe it is needed since there is so little difference between the 2 candidate's policies. Voters need to listen to a one on one discussion from both of them. They owe it to us. I don't see anything wrong with having more debates because then the whole country gets to engage in it and not just voters in the primary states. I'm for it!

Posted by: pamfloro1 | February 8, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a coward and afraid to debate Hillary because he has no substance, is nothing but hot air, and cannot think on par with her. Hiding behind Oprah's skirt shows America that he is way too insecure to lead! In the words of James Carvelle, "He has now been completely Wussified."

Posted by: rayacop | February 8, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I believe it is needed since there is so little difference between the 2 candidate's policies. Voters need to listen to a one on one discussion from both of them. They owe it to us. I don't see anything wrong with having more debates because then the whole country gets to engage in it and not just voters in the primary states. I'm for it!

Posted by: pamfloro1 | February 8, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks: "Spectator2 - Provide citations so you can insult us, make a few snide remarks, and in general act immature and silly? Not on your life!"

Who is this "us" to whom you refer? My post was aimed specifically at you.

Sorry liar, but you gave a pretty specific figure of 60 million jobs. Since you can't produce even one cite for that, we'll just conclude that you pulled it out of your wrinkled old butt.

BTW, I'm voting for Obama next week, so try another "Shoot the messenger" approach, k?

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: TAH1 | February 8, 2008 12:46 PM

I hope you are not serious. Boycott Oprah because she supports Obama? You pseudo-feminists make me laugh and are no different from the neo-conservatives.

Posted by: jodemore5 | February 8, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

One footnote on my post above - I don't think that Senator Clinton's strategy will work. She's planning a strategy for an empty suit candidate, and I think there's a chance that the debates will show folks how false that claim is. Obama has gotten better over time in the debates, and I think that will continue.

Posted by: rpy1 | February 8, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Hi Lyle -

thing is, I don't think Obama would run with Hillary... for that matter, I am not sure he would have run (for VP) with anyone. And I do not think he would choose her to be his running mate, nor do I think it would be the choice of the party. The 2 of them (3, if you count Bill - and you almost have to) are just not a good fit - not electorally, and not in terms of their base(s).

Posted by: bokonon13 | February 8, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I can only imagine what gems Hillary will produce in February . . .

http://hillaryclintondebates.com/

Posted by: buffalofunkstudios | February 8, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Hi Chris,

Love The Fix!

I'm not sure that Hillary's debate strategy can be labeled as either "savvy" or "silly". Instead, I would label it "necessary". Obama seems to pick up more and more support as time goes on. He has forward momentum that Hillary, as a known quantity on the political stage for 16 years, seems to lack. He is starting to build a sizable advantage in terms of money. Hillary runs the risk of being run-over by Obama - she has no choice but to try and engage him directly in order to remain relevant and to shore up her support. Unfortunately for her, Obama more than held his own in their first one-on-one debate. In fact, he delivered a devastating blow in their exchange about Iraq. Look for Obama to raise her support for the Iraq War Resolution, and his opposition frequently in the next few weeks.

Posted by: jps78 | February 8, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

jon.morgan writes
"WA Gov. Christine Gregoire endorses Barack Obama."

Is it just me, or does it seem like Obama keeps winning new endorsements, while Clinton keeps re-announcing old ones?

If that perception is correct, is it an indicator as to what the super-delegates might be thinking?

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

This is a savvy move by Clinton, but shouldn't be too big a surprise. This does the following (which many have already mentioned):

1. Get free air time.
2. Go into a debate format with Obama instead of trading speeches.
3. Keep debate stuff in the news cycle at a time when election results which seem likely to favor Obama will be coming out.
4. Occupy Obama's time so he can't campaign. While HRC is busy with debate-prep, she can send out Bill Clinton for events. Example: here in Wisconsin, we've heard that we probably won't see Senator Clinton, but will probably see Bill.

I agree with claudialong above that debates can be helpful in getting a better handle on policy, but would really prefer that they each focus on specific topics instead of covering the same ground. A foreign policy debate without mention of Iraq would be interesting, for example.

Posted by: rpy1 | February 8, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Spectator2 writes
"I'm trying to think of primary also-rans -- getting the veep nomination"

gore in 92
Kemp in 96 (it was dole-kemp, wasn't it?)
Lieberman in 2000 (whoops)
Edwards in 2004 (whoops)

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Spectator2 - Provide citations so you can insult us, make a few snide remarks, and in general act immature and silly? Not on your life! If you can read, you can do a quick search for arricles on the effects of free trade and outsourcing for yourself. The Clinton's made their millions from promoting free trade, for providing outsourcing services, for providing Indian H1-B guest workers who have displaced millions of Amercian engineers and computer p[rogrammers, from cheerleading this disaster. Hillary, as part of her "experience", was in India last year, shuilling for campaign cash (and got a lot!) and wasn't called "the Senator from India" or nothing!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 8, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

There is a ridiculous notion that only Obama could beat McCain and Hillary would get trounced. The truth is that the American public is 70-75% against the
war in Iraq. McCain has vowed to stay
there up to 100 years if necessary while
both Obama and Clinton would start a
phased withdrawal, forcing the Iraqis
to pick up the slack. Either Obama or
Clinton would whip McCain on that matter
but Obama could have trouble as the Democratic candidate as he would be completely vetted and attacked by the
media and the Republican Swift-boaters.
Let's admit that Obama is a great orator
but has yet to come up with any viable
matters other than Universal Healthcare. And, that isn't universal since he wants
it to be voluntary---laughable. If you
think this scenario is wrong, take a look
at what the Republicans are doing now. They
are taking pot shots at Clinton and leaving
Obama alone. Contrary to what they say, they are actually pushing for a contest and the fresh meat of an Obama campaign
and are trying to get Hillary out of the
picture. Obama has a bright future but he
just isn't ready at this time. the "rock star" image will only get him so far, then
he has to come up with substantive programs and detailed description as to
how he will bring "hope" and "unity" to
the U.S. and the world. We now have an
occupant in the White House who also promised to be a "uniter not a divider" and you can see what an unqualified occupant can do. Like Obama, Bush was a
"nice guy to have a beer with" and the
media loved him. Like Obama, the press gave Bush a free ride and did nothing
to search out the distortions in the
Republican attacks against Gore in 2000
or Kerry in 2004. The result has been
7 years of complete disaster in domestic
and foreign policy and a Supreme Court
dominated by the extremists on the right.
In 2008, let's do it right and work to
get the most qualified candidate into
the oval office and straighten out this
country's mess. For me, Hillary is the
best choice for the country now and, with
experience, Obama would appear to be a
top candidate in 2016. Even then, he'd be
only 52 years old.

Posted by: depoulins | February 8, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Clinton is begging for these debates for a couple of reasons.

1. She thinks that she can out maneuver Obama based on her ability to talk at great length about the issues, and since these two will be the only ones in the debate they could go on and on about them.(Health Care in Cali anyone?) If Hillary can force Obama to talk about the issues and not preach to the bigger picture which is what he has been doing then she would have scored a victory in these debates.

2. I agree with Chris's point that she is falling drastically behind in the $$$$$$ business and if she can get more free pub then she will take it.

However this could backfire on Clinton, if Obama can pin her down again on the her Iraq vote then he will score major points with plenty of Dems, also it is blatantly apparent that the more time people get to see Obama and watch him speak the more votes he gets. There is no way Hillary wins Florida(whether it counted or not) by that big of a margin or at all for that matter if Obama had been able to campaign down there.

Overall I would say it is a pretty good strategy by Clinton because she can out talk Obama on the issues, but she will ahve to be careful not to act too much like the Washingtonite she is because that will play RIGHT into Obama's strategy.

Posted by: srg5007 | February 8, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

What about a Obama/Benny-Hinn 08 ticket?

Posted by: SuperO | February 8, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

BOKO: A Clinton/Obama ticket is highly probable, but not the other way. I don't think Hillary would accept the VP slot, but Obama would for a good shot in 2016.

Posted by: lylepink | February 8, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

It's only natural that debates benefit the underdog because it gives them more media time. One reason may be that Clinton thinks she can do better in a debate than Obama, where not everything works when fit into handy sound-bite format. Remember in 2004 when Kerry proposed monthly debates and Bush completely rejected the idea? It's because Bush debates like a five year old, and he didn't want Kerry to have more media time to actually clarify positions. No major harm to Bush, and Kerry didn't shake the "flip-flopper" label. In this case, Clinton is hoping for another zinger to show Obama's inexperience.

Posted by: riff_raff17 | February 8, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton wins every debate with Barack Obama. Of course, he does not want to debate. Obama gets a free pass from the media who are fixated on promoting him, why? Because they know he can't win. Hillary is the more intelligent, more experienced, more politically skilled, with the best grasp of domestic & international issues of any candidate in the race of any party, bar none. She's the most qualified candidate to be President. Obama is unelectable. It's that simple. He would be crucified in a general election. His "I was a community organizer in the south side of Chicago and a couple of years in the Senate" won't cut it as qualifications for President. The Dems should vote smart for Hillary and not squander their chances for victory in November. The Dems are lucky to have Hillary!

BOYCOTT OPRAH! OPRAH HAS BETRAYED HER GENDER, WOMEN MADE OPRAH'S MILLIONS, SHE MADE HER MONEY CELEBRATING WOMEN, SUPPORTING WOMEN, ETC. AND WHEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO PUT HER MONEY WHERE HER MOUTH HAS BEEN, OPRAH CHOOSES RACE OVER GENDER! BOYCOTT OPRAH**BOYCOTT OPRAH***

Posted by: TAH1 | February 8, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"That brainchild cost us more than 60 million jobs and led directly to the currrent recession."

60 million, huh? Got anything close to support for that assertion?

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Robert from Atlanta,

The audaciousness of your presumption is that Obama is somehow comparable to MLK or John F. Kennedy...that his support is overwhelmingly diverse..actually Clinton's is because she is getting the Latino and Oriental votes....the elderly, woman, and America's poor....

That he engenders some illusionary sense of hope is nothing more than bluster, brass, that doesn't equate to realistic solutions for the critical issues the new President will face.

Superdelegates are not bowled over by bluster and brass and they will be the ones who will most likely decide this race...


The Fact Checker: Truth in Politics
wwww.edenprairienews.com

Posted by: vammap | February 8, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

davestickler - Don't forget Hillary's one real "achievement" - "free trade". That brainchild cost us more than 60 million jobs and led directly to the currrent recession.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 8, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Get your woolies out Goreacle

The Sun Also Sets
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, February 07, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Climate Change: Not every scientist is part of Al Gore's mythical "consensus." Scientists worried about a new ice age seek funding to better observe something bigger than your SUV -- the sun.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Related Topics: Global Warming


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Back in 1991, before Al Gore first shouted that the Earth was in the balance, the Danish Meteorological Institute released a study using data that went back centuries that showed that global temperatures closely tracked solar cycles.

To many, those data were convincing. Now, Canadian scientists are seeking additional funding for more and better "eyes" with which to observe our sun, which has a bigger impact on Earth's climate than all the tailpipes and smokestacks on our planet combined.

And they're worried about global cooling, not warming.

Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council, is among those looking at the sun for evidence of an increase in sunspot activity.

Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century.

Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle.

This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.

Tapping reports no change in the sun's magnetic field so far this cycle and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere.

Tapping oversees the operation of a 60-year-old radio telescope that he calls a "stethoscope for the sun." But he and his colleagues need better equipment.

In Canada, where radio-telescopic monitoring of the sun has been conducted since the end of World War II, a new instrument, the next-generation solar flux monitor, could measure the sun's emissions more rapidly and accurately.

As we have noted many times, perhaps the biggest impact on the Earth's climate over time has been the sun.

For instance, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Solar Research in Germany report the sun has been burning more brightly over the last 60 years, accounting for the 1 degree Celsius increase in Earth's temperature over the last 100 years.

R. Timothy Patterson, professor of geology and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Center of Canada's Carleton University, says that "CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales."

Rather, he says, "I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of energy on this planet."

Patterson, sharing Tapping's concern, says: "Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth."

"Solar activity has overpowered any effect that CO2 has had before, and it most likely will again," Patterson says. "If we were to have even a medium-sized solar minimum, we could be looking at a lot more bad effects than 'global warming' would have had."

In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov made some waves -- and not a few enemies in the global warming "community" -- by predicting that the sun would reach a peak of activity about three years from now, to be accompanied by "dramatic changes" in temperatures.

A Hoover Institution Study a few years back examined historical data and came to a similar conclusion.

"The effects of solar activity and volcanoes are impossible to miss. Temperatures fluctuated exactly as expected, and the pattern was so clear that, statistically, the odds of the correlation existing by chance were one in 100," according to Hoover fellow Bruce Berkowitz.

The study says that "try as we might, we simply could not find any relationship between industrial activity, energy consumption and changes in global temperatures."

The study concludes that if you shut down all the world's power plants and factories, "there would not be much effect on temperatures."

But if the sun shuts down, we've got a problem. It is the sun, not the Earth, that's hanging in the balance.

Posted by: kingofzouk | February 8, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

This does just drive home the sense that Senator Clinton is the underdog here. She is trainling in money and will probably be trailing in delegates soon. So she is asking for more debates so she can pick up the free press and try to change the dynamic.

But more to the point, Chris, where is the congressional line?! A lot of congressmembers have announced their retirements this past couple of weeks, most notably Tom Davis (R) in VA and Darlene Hooley (D) in OR and I'm a little tired of the Prez race. Wuddaya say, Chris, please, please?

Posted by: stpaulsage | February 8, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

WA Gov. Christine Gregoire endorses Barack Obama: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/350591_gregoire09.html

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | February 8, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying to think of primary also-rans -- or at least guys who expressed some interest in the prez nomination -- getting the veep nomination. Humphrey in '68 and LBJ in '60 come to mind. How about GHW Bush in '80?

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 8, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the informative post, davestickler.

Posted by: judgeccrater | February 8, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I closed my parentheses at the end of the URL. Here's the link in cleaner form:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddgom0QWvLs

As for what I think about Clinton clamoring for more debates, I'm not sure if it helps her that much. Sure, she got two debates out of it, but she's also now firmly set the expectation and conventional wisdom that she's the better debater. If Obama holds his own, the media will treat it as a win for him, and he'll generate more and more momentum.

Posted by: davestickler | February 8, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The irony of claims that Clinton is substantive is that those claims aren't actually backed by substance.

So, for you substance hounds out there, here's a look at Obama and Clinton's records in the Senate.

OBAMA

What has Obama done in the 3 years he's been in the Senate?

Bills authored or co-sponsored by Obama include the Coburn-Obama Government Transparency Act of 2006 (became law), the Lugar-Obama Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction Act (became law), the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (passed the Senate), the 2007 Government Ethics Bill (became law), the Protection Against Excessive Executive Compensation Bill (in committee), and many more.

In all since he entered the U.S. Senate, Senator Obama has written 890 bills and co-sponsored another 1096.

CLINTON

Senator Clinton, who has served seven years, has managed to author and pass into law exactly twenty pieces of legislation. These bills can be found on the website of the Library of Congress (www.thomas.loc.gov), but to save you trouble, I'll post them here for you:

1. Establish the Kate Mullany National Historic Site. 2. Support the goals and ideals of Better Hearing and Speech Month. 3. Recognize the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. 4. Name courthouse after Thurgood Marshall. 5. Name courthouse after James L. Watson. 6. Name post office after Jonn A. O'Shea. 7. Designate Aug. 7, 2003, as National Purple Heart Recognition Day. 8. Support the goals and ideals of National Purple Heart Recognition Day. 9. Honor the life and legacy of Alexander Hamilton on the bicentennial of his death. 10. Congratulate the Syracuse Univ. Orange Men's Lacrosse Team on winning the championship. 11. Congratulate the Le Moyne College Dolphins Men's Lacrosse Team on winning the championship. 12. Establish the 225th Anniversary of the American Revolution Commemorative Program. 13. Name post office after Sergeant Riayan A. Tejeda. 14. Honor Shirley Chisholm for her service to the nation and express condolences on her death. 15. Honor John J. Downing, Brian Fahey, and Harry Ford, firefighters who lost their lives on duty.

Only five of Clinton's bills are more substantive.

16. Extend period of unemployment assistance to victims of 9/11. 17. Pay for city projects in response to 9/11 18. Assist landmine victims in other countries. 19. Assist family caregivers in accessing affordable respite care. 20. Designate part of the National Forest System in Puerto Rico as protected in the wilderness preservation system.

(Thanks to poster p3ng for looking all this up on the Library of Congress site.)

I recognize it's an asymmetric representation of their records, but the point is that Obama has written and passed major legislation, while Clinton has mostly just taken care of her constituents without demonstrating real vision.

So who's the candidate of substance?


(By the way, for an amusing example of Clinton trying to be the "doer", watch her try to make a big deal out of a diplomatic trip to Bosnia taken with -- drum roll, please -- ... Sinbad!

Here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddgom0QWvLs)

Posted by: davestickler | February 8, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Why is everyone so in love with the idea of the primary runners-up being the VP candidates? Have we forgotten that there are plenty of other politicians out there.

On the Democratic side we have two legislators who have had no administrative experience (no, I don't count first lady and a large number of Americans probably agree) so the natural move is to pick a governor. If Obama thinks he needs to shore up support among woman by having a woman VP there are popular Democratic governors out there who have records in red/purple states, don't carry Hillary's negatives (you think the Republican hate machine will disappear just because she's not on the top?) and just so happen to wear skirts. Richardson works better for Hillary than Obama, though unfortunately there aren't that many black governors that would allow her a similar move to Obama appointing a female gov.

On the R side Romney allienated a large part of the base that McCain also allienates so there isn't much gain partnering these two guys who hate eachother. Huck is a better complement but Haley Barbour has more clout with McCains weak spots. And yes, I expect him to pick a governor as well.

Posted by: cmsore | February 8, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

An Obama/Clinton (or the other way 'round) ticket will not happen, or at least is quite unlikely. The party bosses may want it, but I doubt the candidates themselves would. They don't seem to like each other very much, and at least for Obama, Clinton represents the kind of politics he has said he wants to get away from.

Posted by: bokonon13 | February 8, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"It's a smart move for a candidate braying for free media coverage."

Thats part of it. She's also short-cutting the media cycle, which is writing stories about how close the race is, and about how the 'inevitable' candidate is facing a tough challenge. It is to her advantage if the story were to change to 'why won't Obama debate?' rather than 'Clinton campaign out of money' or 'Clinton campaign struggling to keep up' or 'Clinton campaign in unexpected tie for the nomination'.

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

USMC Mike: That has been shown several times, and if you paid close attention, you can easily see how Hillary was portrayed in the worst possible way by the comments. There are several of these about her and Bubba, accusing them of everything, including Murder. Jerry Falwell was involved in one of these, even hawking it on his TV program, which, BTW, he actually denied doing it or having any connection whatsoever. That's the so called "Christian right-wing" for what it's worth.

Posted by: lylepink | February 8, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

That Clinton should be asking for debates is slightly ironic since it was her waffling on the question of licenses for immigrants during an early debate that started her slide from frontrunner status. She has certainly become more savvy and guarded during the debates since then, but that the instrument of her decline now becomes her lifeline signals the very deep shift that has taken place in the Democratic race.

Posted by: blert | February 8, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I see Romney has blamed the current state of the military on -- wait for it -- Bill Clinton. No, really. And I'm sure the Wingers of LaLa Land beleive it.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: ahodes | February 8, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

It's a smart move for a candidate braying for free media coverage. I stipulate Mrs. Clinton's campaign's view that there have been only one joint appearance. But this is ridiculous. Unless one of these candidates od's on cough medicine or suffers jetlag, there is nothing one iota exciting or illuminating about these appearances.

Posted by: InspectorOh | February 8, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON -- The top U.S. uniformed military officer on Wednesday described a tired U.S. military force, worn thin by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and unlikely to come home in large numbers anytime soon.

Defense Department officials testified that the Bush administration's plan to withdraw some 20,000 U.S. troops from Iraq this summer will do little to relieve the stress on the Army and Marine Corps.

Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the military was exhausted by the repeated deployments to Iraq.

Finding a way to reduce the amount of time troops are deployed to Iraq is critical, he said. Currently, soldiers are sent to Iraq for 15-month tours, and Marines serve seven-month stints, followed by seven months at home.

"The well is deep, but it is not infinite," Mullen said. "We must get Army deployments down to 12 months as soon as possible. People are tired."

Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates appeared before the committee to discuss the administration's request for $588.3 billion in defense spending for the 2009 budget year, which begins Oct. 1.

Gates said Wednesday that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would probably cost about $170 billion next year and could push total new defense spending above $685 billion.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/iraq/2004168890_iraq07.html

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

If there are any real journalists left in DC, one of them needs to ask Senator McCain what he would do about this--'staying the course' is no longer an option:

'WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday that the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq has failed because it hasn't achieved its primary goal of sparking political reconciliation among that country's rival sectarian groups.
His pessimism was shared by senior Republican John Warner, who said the war is still not going as well as hoped. The two senators spoke at the onset of a hearing on the Pentagon's $588.3 billion budget request for the 2009 budget year, which begins Oct. 1.
Testifying were Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
"For years, the Iraqi leaders have failed to seize the opportunity our brave troops gave them," Levin said.
"It is long past time that the Iraqi leaders hear a clear simple message: We can't save them from themselves. It's in their hands, not ours, to create a nation by making the political compromises needed to end the conflict," he added.
Levin said that message is "not the language of surrender" but "common sense pragmatism."

Warner, the No. 2 Republican on the panel, said there are signs of progress in Iraq and Afghanistan. "But I think by any fair standard, that level of progress to date has fallen below those expectations we've had as a nation," he said.

The hearing was expected to focus on progress in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the strain on U.S. forces. Mullen testified that the services are "significantly stressed" by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan while simultaneously trying to stem the tide of violent extremism elsewhere.

"The pace of ongoing operations has prevented our forces from fully training for the full spectrum of operations and impacts our ability to be ready to counter future threats," Mullen said.'

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hcWJu9bbzrJZ7uNHjvMn0BuTGqHQD8UKSTV03

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Jallenba - good post. I agree, look what shedding a tear did for her campaign in N.H. The Clinton's are very calculating when it comes to playing the political game.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | February 8, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

CC,

Yesterday I saw on the Post's Politics Events page that both HC and BO are scheduled to have a debate on February 11th in DC (hosted by Fox News). I havn't looked into this any further or heard anything else about it.

Posted by: ahodes | February 8, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

calculating, ambitious, scandalous and flip-flopping=just about every politician today

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I think it's important not to overlook how calculating the Clinton's can be. Asking- nay, begging- for debates, loaning the campaign money, senior aides going with out pay, all are the telltale signs of a floundering, underdog campaign. But the Clinton's aren't dumb enough to let all of these things slip all at once if they were in fact reflective of the campaign's status. Rather, it is a very savvy move to frame their side as the underdog, insurgent campaign and thereby invigorate their supporters and donors. Don't be fooled, Clinton is still the frontrunner and has masterfully crafted the events of these last few days to gain the ever coveted outsider mentality around her campaign.

Posted by: jallenba | February 8, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm a very strong supporter of Barack, but have to say that I don't buy this notion that Hillary is unelectable.

We've seen that she benefits enormously from a sympathy vote, and regardless of its rightness or wrongness, it exists. Woman are going to vote for her BIG, in spite of all the baggage.

A lot would depend on the debates with McCain and who her VP is. She has an edge on the debates, I think, because she's got more depth than McCain on the issues. McCain's only selling point is the war. Hillary can win this point because she's against the war but tough enough to seem credible when talking about fighting terrorism.

I think all the crap they'll throw against her will backfire, esp if she keeps Bill far from view. Men have been having their way in the world gor so long, women won't care what she's accused of...all that will matter is that it's time for a woman to take her place at the head of the table.

Don't underestimate the power of the female vote.

I'm male and for Barack, but I no longer think Hillary is weak against McCain. The polls are meaningless until we see them on the debate stage together.

I'll vote for Barack in Virginia on the 12th, but am open to vote for Hillary in the general should she win the nomination, regardless of her and Bill's many sins.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 8, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I actually would like to see them debate on network TV. I think they had only one event that was available to those of us who don't pay for television. I'm a fan of the PBS debates, with Lehrer or Ifill as moderator; though I suppose we'll have to wait for the general election before we see any of those.

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Just as there's such a thing as Clinton fatigue, there must be such a thing as debate fatigue. Those who want many further debates might do well to heed incipient anger on the part of those offput by seeing their favored primetime programs cut soon after the writers strike is settled.

The Clinton call for more and more debates arouses suspicions that this campaign is trying to distract Obama from more time and dialogue with voters upon the issues that matter most to them.

Posted by: FirstMouse | February 8, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Hillary wants more debates because of the free press coverage. By having Obama turn down her request for a debate a week, she can use this against him. It's a tactic on her part.

We have had so many debates, I'm tired of them. Has anyone done a survey to see which sways voters more, the candidates personal appearances at events or how they do in a debate?

I'd like to see a debate between Hillary, Obama and McCain. Now, that would be debate worth watching.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | February 8, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The groundswell of enthusiastic support for Barack Obama continues to ignite across the country and is unprecedented in modern political history. He is building a broad, diverse coalition and has energized millions of young people to become engaged in the political process for the first time. He has also inspired so many who had been disenfranchised in the past to rise up and embrace a movement of hope and unity.

Yet the path to a glorious victory in November will be extremely arduous and require tremendous fortitude. We face an opponent and a former President that will descend to any depth in their ruthless pursuit of power. The Clintons thrive and excel in the cut throat tactics of political warfare and as they sense that their reign is slipping away, they will resort to literally whatever it takes to prevail.

The vast majority of the Clintons base consists of white women and the elderly. This is a highly disciplined block of voters that will always turn out in high numbers. Our challenge is to ensure that the massive show of support for Barack is translated directly into votes during the remainder of the primary. We must not dilute the tidal wave that is sweeping the country by attending the rallies and then failing to get registered and cast a vote on Election Day.

The country is at a critical crossroad and the choice of leadership could not be cast in starker contrast. Barack Obama is the inspirational, visionary leader that comes along once in a lifetime. He will be the uplifting force of change to repair the wreckage of the Bush/Cheney regime and be the face of a revitalized, united America that will restore moral authority across the world. Whereas the Clintons will turn the clock back in perpetuating the bitter partisanship that has had a corrosive, debilitating effect on our country for the twenty long years that they and the Bushes have occupied the White House.

Our moment in history is before us and it may never present itself again. We must seize the opportunity and have the courage to make Barack Obama the next President of the United States.


Robert Luciano- Atlanta, GA

Posted by: ccoblas | February 8, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I a long time Obama supporter and do believe that nominating Hillary would increase the Democrats chances of losing (if not in 2008, then in 2010 and 2012).

But I do wish that Obama had not only accepted her offer but upped the ante. He's good in debates, better than people give him credit for. Their styles would have been sharply contrasted and people could have better decided who's real and who's not.

He admires Lincoln, could have echoed that and suggested debates a la the Lincoln-Douglas debates. If had done that and suggested taking out the moderators and going toe to toe at each other, in a series of one hour debates on different subjects, he could have shown himself once again as a game changer.

And one of the subjects should be Constitutional Law. Clinton herself said that the Federalist Papers and the US Constitution were the essential "books" she would take with her to the White House (see CBS Evening News with Katie Couric) because the constitution has been so perverted in the last 7 years. Obama could shine in that; he's been a constitutional law professor for 10 years at one of the most conservative law schools in the country and knows our Constitution up and down, backwards and forwards.

And they should be on public television. And Obama should advocate that. Poor people can't afford 50 bucks a month for cable and all the debates so far have been relegated to pay television and not free broadcast television. That's undemocratic.

He could have psyched her out if he'd done that, had a chance to shine with his best qualities and I'm sorry he didn't.

Posted by: cassmetzjunk | February 8, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

The debates would make sense if they were confined to only one or two topics/debate. Then the candidates would have to give specifics rather than stump speech generalities. I would like to hear the specifics on how Hilary would get us out of Iraq in 16 months and Obama within the first year. I would like to hear the specifics of their health care plans and how they would be implemented without further bankrupting our country. And as a final request, I would like to have a "fact checker" service availabe to tell us when the candidate strays from the truth when citing statistics or economic calculations to butress their positions.

RObalk

Posted by: roblak | February 8, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Clinto is actually putting herself in danger every time she debates. She has a lot more about her that voters would not agree with.

Obama needs to only bring up the following to put her on the defensive:

1) He has a clear stance on the immorality of waterboarding (torture), she does not.

2) He voted against the use of cluster bombs, she did not.

Those two points would de truly harmful for her with a Democratic electorate.

Posted by: storyofthefifthpeach | February 8, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Do we need more debates so that Hillary can flip-flop on the issues? First she was not for immediate withdrawal but over the past few debates, she's stating that when she gets into office she will start withdrawal within 60 days. This ploy by the Hillary campaign is for her to be portrayed as the underdog in this election process when in fact she is not the underdog. From the moment she announced her run for office, she was ahead of the pack. All of a sudden she wants to have a debate to gain more publicity because she squandered her campaign funds. We already had a gazillion debates, if their policies were not addressed then, how would it be addressed over the next few debates? If the media did care about voters, they would propose that Hillary showcase her "35" or is it "16"(she's flipped-flopped on that too) years of public service so that we can have a real debate.

Posted by: jodemore5 | February 8, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

lyle -- I watched an hour special about HRC last night on MSNBC.

No matter how hard they tried to humanize/normalize her, even they couldn't mask how cold, calculating, ambitious, she is. Not to mention scandalous and flip-flopping.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 8, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Obama should agree to more debates only on the condition that Hillary agrees to bring and speak about her income tax returns, the client list for Bill's foundation, and declassified reports of Bill's two terms from the Clinton Library.

Posted by: andre_3000_1982 | February 8, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse


'Drindl: they already think McCain is a commie pinko f*g. McCain's only strategy involves winning without the support of the scary crazy wing of the GOP'

My mistake, I left out the American Taliban. McCain WILL court them especially with Huckabee on his team. So the McCain will try to win without the secular wing of the scary crazy wing of the GOP.'

love your analyses as always, judge.
this is the first time we've seen the secular and non-secular wings of the scary right wings pitted against each other. it's quite amusing. one has money and the other has jesus. wonder which will win?

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"I can't help but think this is all a Clinton strategy to change the expectations game. Publicly announcing her personal loan and then overtly displaying underdog behavior, she is setting herself for a narrative where a narrow loss in the upcoming states can be spun as a win. And judging from the media's bang-up job so far in the primary season, they'll lap it up."

Posted by: finnpillsbury | February 8, 2008 09:45 AM

^^^^^^ I vote for this comment to make the Wag the Blog cut! Even though it bashes CC's profession.

I find it highly unlikely HRC's team hasn't thought this through from every conceivable angle. They knew long ago the loan would become public knowledge.

In addition to trying to lead the media by the nose, I think she may be trying to let BHO hang himself with hubris. He's now the putative "frontrunner" in many people's eyes, having come from "behind" and been competing so well against HRC's "formidable" political machine.

Many here are buying the implied line about HRC being in financial trouble -- it's easy for them to believe since they yearn to see her fail. Perhaps she's feeding her detractors exactly what they most want to hear, in order to puff them up. Hubris can do strange things to people, even young Senators. What if BHO makes another condescending "You're likable enough" gaffe? His own success could trip him up, and HRC's campaign may be stepping out of his way (by playing the underdog) to give him the opportunity to trip himself up.

I agree with poster(s) above that it would be *most* interesting to have some hardcore investigative reporting into the financial health of HRC's campaign. I'm sure stories will be coming out soon...

Posted by: bricedue | February 8, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

rfpiktor: That goes to further my argument of just how biased The Media actually is. There is an old saying about " Hens teeth" that fits The Media stories about Hillary, you are not going to find any favorable, just like "Hens Teeth", there is no such thing.

Posted by: lylepink | February 8, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Re: VP Huckster

I'm no more compelled to vote for John McCain with Huck on the ticket.

Who votes for VP?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 8, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

To SeedofChange: You are so right. Obama, a great orator, lacks substance and has no idea of how to clean up the Washington mess of the last seven years.

Of course he does not want to debate. Senator Clinton's strengths will abound and his weaknesses will be obvious. He has amassed the cult following of a rock star but he is far from presidential.

Posted by: Kansas28 | February 8, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

"Drindl: they already think McCain is a commie pinko f*g. McCain's only strategy involves winning without the support of the scary crazy wing of the GOP."

My mistake, I left out the American Taliban. McCain WILL court them especially with Huckabee on his team. So the McCain will try to win without the secular wing of the scary crazy wing of the GOP.

Posted by: judgeccrater | February 8, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Who watches these anyway?

Their last debate was a love-fest.

Even to interested obvservers, *ANOTHER* Democrat debate?

Yawn. I'm sure OReilly will have higher ratings (again).

Posted by: USMC_Mike | February 8, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

David Brooks piece in the NY Times is insightful:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/08/opinion/08brooks.html?hp

He all but concludes that Hillary will wind up as the nominee. I find his reasoning well founded.

I think vulnerability is going to be the key concept in this campaign going forward. Dem. voters are comfortable with both candidates on the issues and are looking to personal traits in making up their minds. We've already seen what happens when voters rush to support a vulnerable candidate, whether it be the New Hampshire result following Hillary's emotional moment, or the SC voters response to the race card played against Obama.

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance that a frontrunner has to guard against. Up until this point, this has mostly been a constraint for Hillary as frontrunner and it extended to super spouse Bill.

At this point, that constraint is being transferred to Obama. He is going to have to guard against attacking Hillary because it will only bring voters to her defense. There is a real benefit to her in being the underdog.

Similarly, Obama must guard against overconfidence. This, too, will send voters away, turned off by perceived arrogance.

I think he has the skills to pull this off, but his new front runner status is no gift. It is a mantle he'll have to drag across the finish line.

Hillary is well-positioned strategically for the terrain of the upcoming battles. Obama is marching through the lightly defended plains (figuratively) toward the well-fortified battlefields of March 4 and beyond.

Jack Nicholson thinks Hillary is "man" enough for the job. Brooks thinks she'll win enough of the super delegates. The game is on. The stakes are high.

Posted by: optimyst | February 8, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

HRC clearly knows that Obama in a debate forum is better for her than Obama out on the campaign trail. When he goes to talk to people directly, even in the "rock-star" arenas that he has been filling, he makes a very profound impression on voters. Debates by contrast, have always been her strongest suit - with one notable exception on October, when she debates, she always comes across very presidentially, very much in command of the issues. Obama's style just doesn't work as well in the debates, although he has gotten noticably better the more of them he did.
Still, by asking for lots of them before March, HRC may be playing her hand a bit eagerly and may appear a tad desperate to some. My guess is that they figured if they ask for 5 or 6, they would at least get 2-3, and in that arena, she gets to pummel Obama about his health care plan and his perceived inexperience.
Overall, I think this is a good move for her. The more people's impressions are formed by watching these two debate each other and the less they are informed by the appearances on the campaign trail, the better it is for Hillary.

Posted by: erikpdumont | February 8, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"It is delusional to think that the only ticket that can beat McCain includes both Obama and Clinton."

It is delusional to think that, given a tie in delegates, denying either a place on the ticket will not split the party and suppress or deflect votes.

There's too much emotion wrapped up in this one, esp if the DNC waits till August to sort it out.

If Donna Brasille is threatening to leave the party, there are hundreds of thousands more like her.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 8, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"funny stuff, judge. do you seriously think mccain would pick Huck? don't you think that would hurt him even more with the base, the anti-tax, anti-government, anti-community zealouts? they think huck is a 'liberal'.
Posted by: claudialong | February 8, 2008 09:29 AM"

Drindl: they already think McCain is a commie pinko f*g. McCain's only strategy involves winning without the support of the scary crazy wing of the GOP.

Posted by: judgeccrater | February 8, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

It is neither silly or savvy. It is desperate. It is the best move that she can make as her campaign struggles. She has lost her front runner status, and she is floundering.

I think it is also worth thinking about, her recent claim that Obama is the establishment candidate. To me, this is an admission that her campaign is sinking. In October, she was enjoying wide leads over all Democrats because of her connection with the establishment. She has been in the Senate, White House, and State House for the span of decades. She enjoyed and relied on those contacts to get where she is. She also has the ability to call on a former president of the country to do her bidding. Up until this past Tuesday, she was clearly the establishment candidate. If it is true that Obama has become the establishment candidate, she has lost significant ground. She has lost whatever advantage she may have had. Her campaign is not keeping up with Obama's.

At this point, I think the Democratic party should focus more on whether it wants to support a candidate who has fallen from undisputed front runner to desperation or whether it wants a candidate who has overcome incredible odds and is building a national coalition that can deliver in November.

Lastly, I think it is worth bearing in mind an additional point. Namely, President Clinton has done much to alienate Democrats while doing Hillary's bidding. This is why Ted Kennedy jumped on Obama's wagon. He is not alone in this decision. If President Clinton has done so much damage when it comes to Democrats who for the most part liked him, think about how it will play out when it comes down to Republicans and even some Independents who cannot stand him. This has the potential to ignite a Republican base that otherwise would seem quite sleepy.

Posted by: brigham.daniels | February 8, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I think it casts Clinton as an underdog; but I think that is what she wants, so it is old-school savvy.

Obviously her aura of inevitability is gone, so now she wants to be seen as the scrappy fighter. She gets a sympathy vote from women, so she wants to be seen as vulnerable (which is why she claims to be tearing up when the video shows no such thing).

Challenging Obama to debates seems to have the added bonus that if he accepts, it takes away campaigning time, and if he rejects, she can say he is afraid to face the issues.

But ultimately, I think Barack has been finding ways to turn these Bill Clinton tactics around on her and have them work to her disadvantage. Barack does best at the rally, and should stick to it. He should be airing his full rally speeches as ads.

As for Hillary's inevitable claims that he is afraid to debate her, I expect he will find a clever Ju Jitsu move to turn that around as well. Sometimes he does this just by exposing the political machinery behind it.

We Democrats are tired of politics as usual; we see through these transparent machinations and despise them.

Speaking of which, NO HILLARY STAFFERS are going without pay, and we can count on this loan being paid back instantly. It was just another sympathy getting trick by the Clinton's, nothing more, burnishing the image of poor Hillary's brave commitment in the face of adversity.

Posted by: tonycastaldo | February 8, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Pretty clearly the plea for debates means Hillary thinks she's in a tough spot. Bad round of primaries coming up. The only state she's competitive in is Virginia and Kaine is going to be working for Obama. Also looks like she has money problems although the press needs to get to the bottom of the new fundraising figures. What percentage, for example, of Hillary's new money cannot be used in the general election. I bet it is a HUGE percentage and that's the main rx she's hurting so badly.

Posted by: CH1234 | February 8, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

wpost4112
"Then a McCain win is virtually guaranteed and you can expect an ultra-conservative supreme court."

It is delusional to think that the only ticket that can beat McCain includes both Obama and Clinton.

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

It's very simple. Senator Obama does not want the debates because he lacks genuine substance, and when the debates are one-on-one, a candidated cannot get away with excellent rhetoric he/she must provide substance. Senator Clinton has the substance (though flawed), but Senator Obama is only charisma, looks, and a nice suit. Don't get me wrong, Senator Obama is an outstanding orator, but he lacks substance and that's why he wants to avoid debating, and that's why Clinton wants to debate.

Posted by: stephen.dreikorn | February 8, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Since we Fixers are fascinated by the political circus, it's hard for us to fathom there are those who still haven't seen the Obama-Clinton high-wire act. But, there are.

So, two more debates are a fair compromise between Hillary's "I've run out of money and can't get up" needs while still giving Barack time for his personal "reach out and touch someone" effectiveness.

Regardless, they both realize that time is running out... or worse, running on to the convention. They each need a debate knockout blow.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth_Hunter | February 8, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"I cannot imagine a Clinton-Obama ticket or even more unlikely an Obama-Clinton ticket. Obama would not help himself by taking the VP slot and being 3rd wheel to Billary is unappetizing. Clinton would never ever accept the second spot."

Then a McCain win is virtually guaranteed and you can expect an ultra-conservative supreme court.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 8, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

bsimon | February 8, 2008 10:00 AM

Obama should concede so McCain makes puree out of Hill and we'll be rid of the Billary disease for the remainder of this century!

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm all for another debate, but only as long as they as HRC this question:" While you were inthe whitehouse, you publicly accused Republicans of having a vast right-wing conspiracy against your husband. Why should voters choose you and return us to those divisive, polarized times."

Posted by: NMModerate1 | February 8, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I cannot imagine a Clinton-Obama ticket or even more unlikely an Obama-Clinton ticket. Obama would not help himself by taking the VP slot and being 3rd wheel to Billary is unappetizing. Clinton would never ever accept the second spot.

Posted by: jimd52 | February 8, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I prefer more to hear each of the candidates get to the respective states. (Of course, Hillary can send Bill out while she and Barack debate.) I'd like them both to get here to Pennsylvania and explain their positions, rather than debate. I have questions for both, which I've submitted.

HRC specifically asked for questions for her "Hallmark Town Hall", and I responded with a simple one. "Where do you stand on the issue of 'retroactive amnesty' for the telecoms? And how will you achieve your goal on it?' "

Surprise.. I never got an e-mail back after that question. Again, I don't need a debate... just answers to questions, which is better done with an audience in the respective states, cities, and towns. Come to Pennsylvania and answer my one simple question. Skip the debate.

Posted by: keystonetoo | February 8, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

And stop the nonsense of OBama-Clinton ticket (or vice versa). Doesn't make sense on so many levels. Hillary would not be subservient to Barack, and its not in Barack's interest to be VP in a Clinton co-Presidency. Can you imagine the Palace Intrigue? It would be worse than the Clinton-Gore-Hillary battles of the 19990s. Ask former White House staff about those.

Both candidates need a Governor on their ticket to balance things out. Obama needs a governor with experience: Richardson (NM), Vilsack (IA), Mark Warner (VA) while Hillary could have a fresh face like John Lynch (NH), Tim Keane, Sebelius, etc. However, the Keanes, Sebelius types are Barack supporters and Vilsack et al appear to back Hillary. It's too bad because Obama-Keane or Obama- Sebelius would be kind of intriguing.

A Clinton-Warner or Clinton-Lynch ticket would get me over the heavy handedness of the Clinton operation. Otherwise, if she is candidate, John McCain looks more appealing to me.


Posted by: rpinNH | February 8, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

The debates will be more of the same. Whatever the case, don't have Wolf Blitzer serve as moderator. He asks bad questions and cuts off the candidates right when they start talking substance.

And, there isn't much difference -- mostly nuances now. Hillary wants to show her human side and her wonkish side. Barack wants to demonstrate his experience and grasp. We don't need a re-run of the LA Debate. If so, there is nothing new except new rhetoric folks like Mark Penn/Bill Clinton have developed for Hillary.


Posted by: rpinNH | February 8, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

We have already heard HilLIARy 18 times, lie about how she has "35 years of experience....and she is ready on day one."

Please, no more.

Posted by: valskeet | February 8, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Every time Clinton has shown vulnerability in this race the media has pounced on it and her numbers have gone up. Whether it was her crying (twice), her fund raising woes, or going further back, Rick Lazio's bullying she always seems to do better when she looks like she is getting pushed around. By asking for more debates, clearly feeds the storyline- which the media gleefully reports- that she is in trouble.

Posted by: mikehoffman82 | February 8, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I sense that Sen Clinton is looking for a new strategy with which she can rally her supporters, and potentially attract new support. I don't know that, at this stage of the game, clamoring for more debates is a winning strategy. They've certainly had plenty of debates already; are there issues that she feels require clarification on the part of the candidates? Perhaps if she suggested what topics she wanted to discuss, a stronger case could be made for more debates.

The real story seems to be that the Clinton campaign is struggling to find an effective message. The empty experience argument isn't selling. She tried to pick up the change message, but she can't sell it as effectively as Obama. With Edwards out, she's moved on to the 'fighter' theme. Somewhere in the middle, she set out Bill on a smear campaign, which backfired hugely. This argument for more debate feels like another desperate grasp at a straw, that will likewise fail to arrest her fall.

Posted by: bsimon | February 8, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

There is also a little question: Are the "debates" debates or question and answer non-events?

Does anyone really care about wonkish speciffics or soaring poetry in a face to face duel?

We want to see character and conviction, not laundry lists and platitudes about the future. We want a down and dirty war of words and may the best debater come out winning.

No more question and answer sleep-inducers, please!

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

This woman will stop at nothing and this is merely her latest ploy to get free TV time. She is the wonk of wonks and feels this is an opportunity to shine. Billary of course wants the discourse taken away from where their personal fortune is coming from. Try billionaire and dictator buddies buying influence for a start. She used the fiscal deficit as a ploy to cry to her supporters for more money since Senator Obama was getting loads more grassroots dough. OBAMA is the candidate who will soundly beat McCain. If the democrats are dumb enough to put Billary on the ticket then the Republicans will rally and veterans like myself will vote for McCain over her even though both of them have the Iraq blood on their hands. The debate request is merely another attempt to not face her greatest fear being ignored and left off the front pages. Narcissism in its truest form.

GO BARACK GO MAKE AMERICA PROUD AGAIN..

Posted by: pedraza1 | February 8, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I have a feeling the debates may back-fire on Hillary the way they back-fired on Gore. The expectation now is for Hillary to win, esp since she threw down the gauntlet and is deemed the better debater...so any positive traction by Barack will play huge.

Be careful what you ask for....

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 8, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Obama's high pressure system is nibbling at the edges of Clinton's low pressure cell, a world I don't really want to be the predominate political climate anymore. But, no one has sunshine all the time. Blend the climates and make Obama's high pressure system the dominate sensation. Clinton, as his VP, will provide those ocasionally rainy days that we need.

Posted by: ronimacz | February 8, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I don't get it. Everyone talks about Hillary as if she is losing this race. She's won more popular votes on Super Tuesday. She leads in delegates 1076 to 1004. She won Michigan and Florida and those delegates, who will be certified at some point, are in the bank. She doesn't really sound like a loser to me.

Posted by: lpeter59 | February 8, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Clinton and Obama have not had many one on one debates. We're making history here; we've got a black man and a woman in the race for President, and those who say, there's been enough debates, are just plan scared to rock Obama's boat...

Obama's bluster and brass can't possibly win out over Hillary's substance.

Bluster and brass aren't going to help us get through the impending global issues, the national economic crisis...

Here's a quote about the Nixon/Kennedy debates from:

http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/K/htmlK/kennedy-nixon/kennedy-nixon.htm


"Yet voters in 1960 did vote with the Great Debates in mind. At election time, more than half of all voters reported that the Great Debates had influenced their opinion; 6% reported that their vote was the result of the debates alone. Thus, regardless of whether the debates changed the election result, voters pointed to the debates as a significant reason for electing Kennedy.

The Great Debates had a significant impact beyond the election of 1960, as well. They served as precedent around the world: Soon after the debates, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Italy, and Japan established debates between contenders to national office. Moreover, the Great Debates created a precedent in American presidential politics. Federal laws requiring that all candidates receive equal air-time stymied debates for the next three elections, as did Nixon's refusal to debate in 1968 and 1972. Yet by 1976, the law and the candidates had both changed, and ever since, presidential debates, in one form or another, have been a fixture of U.S. presidential politics."


Who's afraid of the big bad debates? Not Clinton!


The Fact Checker: Truth in Politics
http://www.edenprairienews.com/

Posted by: vammap | February 8, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

i think we've had enough debates. what's left to cover? we've heard about health care, iraq, the economy, all the biggest issues. besides, the people who are going to watch the debates are also the ones who are likely to do research on these candidates on their own (think leonardo dicaprio with his notebook in the audience of the CA debates).

clinton's debate strategy is just another manifestation of her campaign at large, which is just to say that she aims to create false issues on which she can appear to take the high road: obama's dishonest (i.e. his anti-war stance is a fairy tale) while she's honest about her vote and her position on the war; obama is a reaganite who votes "present" on pro-choice legislation and is against "democractic party values", something she would never do; obama doesn't want voters to hear that he has no substance when compared to her, so he doesn't want to debate.

the goal is to create oppotunities for clinton to seem like she's taking the high road when really she's just trying to find a way to drag obama down into the dirty ditch of 90s-style partisan politics.

obama has countered well by noting that clinton is better known and that he needs to take his message to the voters and not to senator clinton.

Posted by: plathman | February 8, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The debates guarantee high ratings for the Cable News Networks. CNN had some of the highest ratings ever for their last debate. I'm sure they would love nothing more than weekly debates for their ratings.
The media's been good to Obama. Obama shouldn't let them down and he should do the debates. If he doesn't CNN and MSNBC may quit giving him their favorable biased reporting and quit fawning all over him.

Posted by: badger3 | February 8, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

It's absolutely the right move for Hillary for several reasons. First, debates tend to favor Hillary. She's good in that setting. Second, debates give Hillary an forum for changing the context of the race to the economy, which would hurt Obama. And finally, it's win-win for her. If he agrees she gets free air time in the most favorable forum for her, and if he doesn't agree to once a week then she can go on the attack and accuse him of "ducking her". She should do this very aggressively as it dovetails nicely with the idea that she's ready and he's not.

The call-for-debate strategy also presents a threat to Hillary. In the last debate I think he scored points by going after the penalty aspect of her healthcare plan and by going after Iraq. I think the health insurance mandate argument hurt her the most. I also think her plan for "freezing interest rates" to provide relief for sub-prime borrowers is laughable (as nearly all economists agree) and could be used to make her look like someone who just doesn't understand how the credit markets work.

In the end, the debate call equates to throwing deep when you're behind by a 5 points with a minute to go. It's the only chance you have, but it probably won't work.

Posted by: josh5 | February 8, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Look, I think the request for more debates is savvy for Clinton, based on the past. In the past, she was a better debater. But Obama has been improving and closing the gap, to the point where the L.A. debate was a draw--to my mind, she won the first half, he won the second. In the future, indeed in these next two debates, maybe Obama pulls ahead--then Clinton feels what's known as remorse. And in terms of the general election, the experience of one-on-one debates would be invaluable for either D against McCain.

Posted by: jkrueger | February 8, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

optimyst | February 8, 2008 09:26 AM

Nifty insight.

As with anything Billary the phoniness of it all is one more petard to chuckle about.

("hoist by" or "with one's own petard"> hurt, ruined, or destroyed by the very device or plot one had intended for another.-Dictionary.com)

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"Why can't you gift the groups above with the same level of intelligence?"

Because the reality THIS year is that the choices are engaging us at a gut level. Hill and Barack are equally matched , given their respective strengths and weaknesses, so it becomes a matter of whom do we most identify with....a woman or an African-American.

So our intelligences are not as engaged as our emotions and yearnings.

Given all of Hillary's baggage, and Bill is a big a bag as you get, she knows how to fight and has the wonk-smarts. Given Barack's vision and power to inspire, he still lacks battle scars. Neither is perfect.

If we WERE approaching this intelligently, there wouldn't be two rabid packs fighting each other. No one is looking to the greater good.

It's time for both a woman and an African-american to be in the WH...way past time.

Flip the coin. Just get em both in.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 8, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I can't help but think this is all a Clinton strategy to change the expectations game. Publicly announcing her personal loan and then overtly displaying underdog behavior, she is setting herself for a narrative where a narrow loss in the upcoming states can be spun as a win. And judging from the media's bang-up job so far in the primary season, they'll lap it up.

Posted by: finnpillsbury | February 8, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

judgeccrater | February 8, 2008 09:09 AM

Judge, your comment reads like a song and I listen, laughing out loud. Literally.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Lyle,

There's an article asking why not an Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket.

Hill is named the "mechanic" and the "plumber" that can get under the sink and fix the mess.

I am wondering, if she's seen as the nuts and bolts wonk, why is it that her campaign finance department is in such disarray. She cannot run a multimillion dollar campaign jalopy and she's called the nuts and bolts expert. I wonder, I wonder.

http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1710667,00.html

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

why our kids are dying in Iraq--bandwidth:

'The auctioning off of Iraq began in the summer of 2003 in a packed conference room at the Grand Hyatt in Amman, Jordan. More than 300 executives had gathered from around the world to vie for a piece of one natural resource Saddam Hussein never managed to exploit--the nation's cellular phone frequencies. With less than 4 percent of Iraqis connected to a phone, the open spectrum could earn billions of dollars for the eager executives working the room.

Conference organizers tried to keep everyone focused on the prize. "Iraq needs a mobile communications system and it needs it now," stressed Jim Davies, a British expert with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) who was leading the effort. "We want quick results."

But back in Washington, D.C., the focus had already turned from the needs of Iraq to the bottom lines of a select few corporations. "The battle for Iraq is not over oil," said one Defense Department official involved in communications. "It's over bandwidth."

And no one was fighting harder for a piece of the spectrum than the consortium led by American cellular giant Qualcomm with such business partners as Lucent Technologies and Samsung of South Korea. They wanted to follow U.S. troops into Iraq with Qualcomm's patented cellular technology, called CDMA, a system no nation in the Middle East had yet been willing to adopt. Even as the bombs fell over Baghdad, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), whose district includes many Qualcomm employees, had tried to wrap his favored company in the flag. He denounced the cellular system used by Iraq's neighbors as "an outdated French standard," and proposed a law that would effectively mandate Qualcomm on Iraq. '

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

debates are worthless mainly because only political junkies watch them at this point. Clinton's behind and people behind always want debates hoping the other person will mess up. THe only people voting are people who really care - about twenty percent of the voters. Primaries are about the far left and far right of the parties. Normal people don't care. They will get interested in October. Right now it's a battle between the base in both parties.

Posted by: pg1923 | February 8, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

The Media bias cannot be ignored. Given how they favor Obama. The idea of debates could have the opposite effect of what Hillary is perceived as wanting to accomplish. The problem I have with these are several, but the one I am thinking about now is how questions asked could be used to show the weakness of Hillary, and the strength of Obama.

Posted by: lylepink | February 8, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Both campaigns handled this issue well. Clinton framed it appropriately, and is using it to reinforce her new "non-establishment candidate" status. Obama was smart to agree to debate, but only twice - once in Texas and once in Ohio. If I'm Obama, the goal here is to minimize the damage/loss in Ohio, and to try and squeak out a victory in Texas.
While I agree that Hillary is an excellent debater, I think Barack holds his own, and in fact is getting better with each debate.
The big question here is whether or not these will be South Carolina debates, or Kodak Theatre debates. If it gets negative, look for Obama to gain the upper hand.

Posted by: dhinmd | February 8, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

It's the sort of thing that, on the whole, doesn't matter a lot. But I think it does matter, in that Hillary's campaign is trying to pull off an audacious pivot, casting Obama as the frontrunner candidate of the "elite" establishment, while adopting the mantle of underdog fighter for the common person. If you look at the demographics, it's not completely farfetched: Obama does much better among the college educated, higher income voters, while Hillary does better with low income, high school diploma voters. This tactic of demanding debates subtly feeds the storyline- Hillary looks like she wants to fight, Obama looks like he's ducking her.

Sen. Obama: take the debates. Take all she offers and let everyone know you wish there were more. You have nothing to fear from them, you do better the more you are in, and the party will benefit greatly from having both candidates on stage practicing their anti-McCain lines to a wide audience.

Posted by: howlless | February 8, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Although I plan to vote for Sen. Obama in the February 12th Virginia Primary, I agree with Sen. Clinton's call for more debates on principle.
Both of these candidates wish to represent the interests of the people in the office of president. The people of this republic deserve to be informed of the intensions of the people who would be entrusted with this responsibility. What better way to flesh out their ideas than trough debate.
I am a little disappointed that Sen. Obama is not embracing the opportunity. However, I don't think that it is Obama's intention to benefit by avoiding a debate for fear of losing. I believe that he feels that meeting people on the campaign trail is a better way for him to get his vote out. After all, he has gained from each encounter with Clinton.
That said, and the benefit of the doubt given, I believe that he should engage Clinton on a national stage again. I believe that in refusing to debate Clinton he does the American people and the Democratic Party a disservice. Senator Obama and his cadre should remember the words of Thomas Jefferson: "Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself. She is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless, by human interposition, disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them." (Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, 1779. ME 2:302, Papers 2:546)

Posted by: JPHemingway | February 8, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

"You never think you have anybody until that final horn goes off," HRC coach Patti Solis Doyle said. "Hats off to (BHO coach David Plouffe). This was his first game against the HRC's and I commend him on being able to stick with us. He's got a great bunch of kids and once they mature a little bit, perhaps by 2016, they'll be unstoppable."

funny stuff, judge. do you seriously think mccain would pick Huck? don't you think that would hurt him even more with the base, the anti-tax, anti-government, anti-community zealouts? they think huck is a 'liberal'.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

It might be savvy, but it's pretty annoying.

I realize not all voters are as on top of things as the Fix-reader, but I feel like we've had a gazillion debates already.

Watching the California debates, I knew, word for word, what their answers were going to be. I'm no great political mind or anything, it's just sheer repetition that has drilled these phrases into my head.

I don't really want to listen to them say the same things another 3 times...so I say forget the debates unless they're really going to break some ground. And if California's debate was any indication, the additional debates are going to be a snore.

Posted by: mtconnelly | February 8, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

With her challenge to Obama for debates, Hillary has effectively rebranded herself as challenger. This new storyline, replete with the news of the $5 million loan to her campaign, will give the media a new angle upon which to frame their stories. The underdog position will allow her to soften her image with voters, many of whom have a tendency to root for the underdog. Since she has a lead in the delegate count, I'd give her campaign credit for some deft maneuvering at this point.

If I were Obama I would negotiate that the debates begin and end with candidate statements like debates of the past. Now that we're down to two candidates, this is reasonable and would allow him to showcase his strengths. This is a chess match being played by two masters. He needs to make a strong move.

Posted by: optimyst | February 8, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Random thoughts:

I don't think there is a fron-runner. This could go to the convention. As for the super-delegates, I believe that most of the all red and purple state super-delegates would, at that point, go for Obama given the toxic effect Clinton would have on down-ticket Democrats in their states. I also think the head to head match ups versus McCain would influence a lot of them. McCain cementing the Republican nomination definitely helps Obama since he performs so much better against McCain in the polls. Anyone who thinks Hillary Clinton is a stronger candidate against McCain is delusional. McCain wins the independents, who always decide presidential elections, decisively against Clinton. Obama beats McCain among independents.

Posted by: jimd52 | February 8, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"You can't ignore that at base level, it's going to be women/latinos/seniors vs men/african-americans/youth."

While we're spinning out race-gender based speculations, how 'bout women/latinos/seniors vs african-americans/youth vs evangelicals/old white guys?

Since 1968, women and blacks have been able to vote for only white males for POTUS. They've managed to look past it and vote for them anyway (turnout is a different matter). Why can't you gift the groups above with the same level of intelligence?

Posted by: judgeccrater | February 8, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

'Meanwhile, cash continued to flow and Clinton's campaign managed to raise $6.4 million since Super Tuesday. It's an impressive number, but Obama continues to be ahead and has received $7.2 million.'

They're both still raising money well. Anyone know McCain's numbers?

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

In the one and only one on one debate it was a love fest where they both consistantly agreed with each other. Now that she senses she is in trouble she wants more. I have seen all the Dem debates and enough is enough.

Posted by: RonnieRuff1 | February 8, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

This had little to do with Obama and much to do with the media narrative.
Enlisting the media even modestly in their own self-interest does just a bit more to counter the "tweety" effect. Anti-Clinton media bias is assumed by her supporters and at least acknowledged by Obama supporters (and pointed to as another reason not to vote for her). "Pimping Chelsie" only validates this view. But the call for debates and the loan to the campaign shift the narrative towards a Clinton as underdog. Democrats rally to the close dog in the hunt.

Posted by: jdornisch | February 8, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

You can't ignore that at base level, it's going to be women/latinos/seniors vs men/african-americans/youth.

The candidates are basically identical on the issues. Women think their time is WAY overdue. African-Americans think their time is WAY overdue.
And they are both right.

Stalemate.

It's not about experience or change.

It's about justice, and both sides have equal claims and equal candidates.

They both need to be on the ticket.

Everything else is immaterial.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 8, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

But Hillary _is_ the underdog:

Barack vs. Hillary- The Google Effect:

http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=47

Posted by: davidmwe | February 8, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Could one of HRC's supporters please tell me the names of a major pieces of legislations that have her name on it?

I read a post else where regarding her legislative record and would like to confirm or refute that information. It said she had none while Obama had two- transparency in government and Luger -Obama on Nuclear proliferation.

thanks

thanks

Posted by: rds748 | February 8, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

"...but OH, TX and PA are Hillary territory at the moment"

Got RECENT data? Or is this just delusional hot air?

"judge, do you see a Mac/Huck ticket in Nov.?"
Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 08:53 AM

I think it's inevitable, rfpiktor. They are already cozying up to one another. Dobson's endorsement makes it even more likely. An interesting pair as one believes in global warming and the other denies evolution. Now THERE'S a real yin/yang pairing for you: the Scopes monkey trial paired with An Inconvenient Truth. The 1800's versus the year 2000.

Posted by: judgeccrater | February 8, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

How many debates to have is a side issue and has been decided. More debates would save Clinton money and offer her a platform for discussion of policies, where she is strongest. Two seems like a reasonable compromise.

The larger issue is how get a unified Democratic ticket together well before August. The Republican ticket is pretty well set- McCain with Huckabee as VP to help McCain win the South and the religious Right. This will be a tough ticket to beat and the Dems need to be ready for all manner of Swiftboating tactics. Clinton and Obama need to look beyond the next few months, and realize they have much more in common than they have differences.

Here's a scenario. Clinton and Obama are still tied or close to it after PA votes. Clinton has the edge in Superdelegates and with FL and MI in the wings. Clinton agrees to take the first four years and bow out after one term. Obama can take his pick of VP or Secretary of State, in return he throws support to Clinton. That would give Obama some needed foreign policy experience (and/or domestic policy experience), and greatly strengthen his next run. With either a Clinton/Strickland or Clinton/Obama ticket ready to go in May, there is plenty of time to begin the real fight.

Cheers- looks like a wonderful season ahead if Clinton and Obama can rise above the moment.

Posted by: holler1wv | February 8, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I'm tired of debates. I've seen every one since October. They're online at the nytimes, for anyone who cares to see them.

Here are the results: Hillary is a policy wonk and can list issues better than Obama. He's not the best at debates because it isn't his style to attack, but to find agreement and concensus, which is a better skill for the Presidency, but it doesn't work in a debate.

At this point, skip the debates, there's nothing new to see and it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know.

I'd rather see 1-1 meetings with journalists asking tough questions.

Posted by: MattDC | February 8, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Free media is always a good idea, so asking for more debates is a smart strategy for the Clinton campaign. Moreover, Hillary really shines in debates because she is quicker on her feet and better than Obama at speaking extemporaneously. She has a better command of public policy. Obama is eloquent (and elegant), but tends to speak in generalities.

Yesterday some pundits were discussing what could happen now that McCain has the Republican nomination locked up. The conventional wisdom seems to be that McCain would prefer to run against Hillary because she unites and motivates the right-wing base. Obviously, conventional wisdom has been wrong again and again throughout this process. However, based on that thinking, one interesting scenario was floated: McCain wants to influence the Democratic primary race in terms of driving up Obama's negatives and improving Hillary's chances of winning the nomination, so the Republicans begin releasing some opposition research on Obama.

Based on that logic, I suppose continued Republican silence on Obama (except for the nice things they're saying lately) would support my theory that they prefer to run against Obama and are holding their fire until he secures the nomination.

However, I hope the media will begin to do two things: get McCain to provide some "straight talk" NOW on how he would make his case against Obama; and stop the double standard in terms of swooning over Obama while savaging Hillary.

Posted by: harlemboy | February 8, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

It's not the debate issue that scares me, it's the specter of HRC trying to snatch the nomination by a super-delagate scheme, or pulling in delegates from the discredited Florida/Michigan primaries.

I supported Big Bill, but became disillusioned over time as everything seemed subordinated to his political triangulation. But a few examples: open airwaves for drug company ads; tax-exempt status for Scientology; media consolidation for FOX and ClearChannel.

HRC seems dangerously prone to thinking that the Dem nomination is hers by right, and I fear the lengths she will go to to get it.

HRC the policy wonk is okay. HRC as a Rove-like brass knuckled 51% streetfighter -- will not do. That's what we're trying to get rid of with this election.

Posted by: al75 | February 8, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

There are some brave voices out there after all. Beginning to see what some of us have known for some time now. Note this especially poignant regret by Jay Newton-Small of Time -
"Perhaps we've let [Obama] write the story a little too much."

From MediaNotes in today's WP:

*Joe Klein*
Joe Klein ponders the choice and wonders, using a super-hip Obama video as a springboard, if there's a "there" there:

"The video, stark in black-and-white, raised an existential question for Democrats: How can you not be moved by this? How can you vote against the future?

"And yet there was something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism -- 'We are the ones we've been waiting for' -- of the Super Tuesday speech and the recent turn of the Obama campaign. 'This time can be different because this campaign for the presidency of the United States of America is different. It's different not because of me. It's different because of you.' That is not just maddeningly vague but also disingenuous: the campaign is entirely about Obama and his ability to inspire. Rather than focusing on any specific issue or cause -- other than an amorphous desire for change -- the message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is."

*Time's Jay Newton-Small*
Who's the front runner? Time's Jay Newton-Small warns the press against getting snookered:

"Obama was asked at a press conference in Chicago morning if it isn't a little disingenuous to still be clinging to the 'underdog' title. 'I'm never disingenuous,' Obama said. 'Here's' a fair way to put it: I think we are less of an underdog than we were two weeks ago. Now we're slight underdogs.'

" 'If I were writing this story,' he said over the open laughs of reporters in the room. 'If I were writing this story, what I would say would be: Senator Obama came in as a challenger two weeks ago who I think that nobody thought would come out of February 5th standing . . . I think Senator Clinton remains the favorite because of the enormous familiarity that people have with her and the institutional support that she carries . . . I think we're turning out to be a scrappy little team.'

"Perhaps we've let him write the story a little too much -- for a campaign so opposed to spin (one of Obama's favorite stump lines, as said two days ago in Hartford, Connecticut: 'I was convinced that the American people didn't want spin, didn't want PR, they wanted straight talk'), they have done a masterful job in managing news cycle expectations. We should not let him get away with calling himself the underdog and escape the glare of the frontrunner's seat -- a glare Hillary Clinton has endured for most of the campaign."

Posted by: aamittal | February 8, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Have Senator Clinton debate herself on Fox.

I'm not interested.

Hugs and Stuff

Barack

Posted by: Rubiconski | February 8, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I think the real "debate" between Clinton and Obama is already going on. Given the sudden status of McCain as Republican front runner, Clinton clearly becomes the Democratic candidate with more political baggage and less chance of winning the general election. Democratic voters - including those who have already voted in the primaries -- are weighing this debate question much more critically now.

Posted by: ChokoChuckles | February 8, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

JD | February 8, 2008 08:53 AM

Loved the "get Bush out of office" call to arms.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

The good news after 4 years of democratic incompetence, we will sweep in 2012.

Posted by: vbhoomes | February 8, 2008 08:49 AM


That's certainly the thinking of some on the right, including Ann Coulter:

"If Hillary is elected president, we'll have a four-year disaster, with Republicans ferociously opposing her, followed by Republicans zooming back into power, as we did in 1980 and 1994, and 2000. (I also predict more Oval Office incidents with female interns.) If McCain is elected president, we'll have a four-year disaster, with the Republicans in Congress co-opted by "our" president, followed by 30 years of Democratic rule. There's your choice, America."

Posted by: JD | February 8, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

She THINKS it is savvy, but in REALITY it is silly.

She thinks it is savvy because a) she wants free airtime and b) in the meantime she wants news articles about how he is dodging debates.

In reality however, this is silly because a) people will see it as a sign of weakness and b) it portrays Obama as the decision maker and favourite to win... and his campaign will be just fine with people seeing him in that role.

Posted by: Boutan | February 8, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

These debates are going to be extremely boring.

First, the candidates have debated plenty of times already. They haven't been 1-on-1 debates, but Clinton and Obama always got more time than the other candidates. Probably more than the other candidates put together. So we've heard plenty from both candidates in a debate already.

Second, the policy differences between the two are relatively minor. Nobody wants to hear a debate about the details of their economic stimulus or health care plans. They agree on the macro level, and just differ in implementation and priorities. That makes for a dull debate.

So instead of talking policy, they're going to argue about personal issues. Again. We'll get to hear about who's a Washington insider, who was supported by Rezko and Wal-Mart, who voted wrong on the war, who voted Present, etc. We've heard it all before. Maybe one candidate will present their case better, or someone will make a mistake, or some new line of attack will open up. But it seems like there's no reason at all to have more debates between these two.

Posted by: Blarg | February 8, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Hillary's latest ploy, setting up straw issues about debates.

Posted by: Rubiconski | February 8, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

judge, do you see a Mac/Huck ticket in Nov.?

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

judgecrater, cute story - could even happen. But those kids are a mirror image of of the kids from the original Bill Clinton campaign of hope and change and saxophone....who was this guy, he had no chance, small Ark., is not reflective of the country - he has no chance against an organized seasoned machine like bush sr., what is he thinking with all this hope and change mess. uhh sound like deja vu. Some times villanova will beat georgetown to win it all

Posted by: J_thinks | February 8, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Threadjack warning.

So it turns out that the porn industry wants Bill and Hillary back in office.

http://www.justhillary.com/herwords/jenna0517.php

Who would have guessed?

Posted by: JD | February 8, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

judgeccrater | February 8, 2008 08:42 AM

That is the preferred Republican scenario.

Go, Hill, go!

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Obama may have a big lead in won states and delegates by then but OH, TX and PA are Hillary territory at the moment. So these debates could help him greatly. Good decision by Obama to do these.

Posted by: zbob99 | February 8, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and Dobson endorsed Huckabee. I stand corrected. Although he wasn't exactly anxious to pony up with his endorsement earlier his dislike of McCain overcame his dislike of Huckabee. Currying favor and influence, as usual.

Posted by: judgeccrater | February 8, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

My God, haven't we had enough debates already, plus they are over rated, Kerry won all 3 debates against GWB, uhmn, is he in the WH now?

I think the pundits are wrong again,, they keep on saying we conservatives will come around to McCain because we have no place else to go. The only I would ever vote for McCain is if he picks Mitt or somebody like Haley Barbour and promises to drop dead within the 1st six months of his Presidency. I recognize reality, Republicans are going to get the rear ends kicked all over the place in November. The good news after 4 years of democratic incompetence, we will sweep in 2012.

Posted by: vbhoomes | February 8, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the debates have anything to do with substance. Don't forget the Bush/Gore debates. Debates ARE important because they show us how effective a person is in swaying the audience...essential for acheiving one's political goals....witness Bush's triumphs over a Democratic Congress.

Abraham Lincoln was a brilliant debater and astute fighter. Barack lacks that edge because he hasn't a long enough history of hard fighting. Hillary does. Unfortunately, she lacks the human touch. They are ying/yang.

I think the presidency would give her the security to reveal her humanity, and the VP would allow him to gain experience fighting for the Dem agenda...or show us just how good a fighter he is.

Going against Delay and company will be brutal. So will going against Putin and the Islamic fascists.

I'm a Barack supporter but Clinton/Obama ticket increasingly seems the best long term win/win solution.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 8, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Savvy Hillary is a very smooth debater and always bests Obama on style. Also for a campaign with money troubles, debates are a great way to get millions of people to watch you for free.

Posted by: dave8459 | February 8, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

If I were Sen. Obama I would put one and only one condition:

Open up the Clinton Library Foundation donor list and ammounts donated by each and every donor and the date the donation was made, plus Bubba's schedule/appointment books for the last eight years.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

The ball fell into Clinton's hands, and the Yale grad proceeded to stroke a 3-pointer that put the HRC's up for good against the Harvard BHO's, the team favored to be the Class 4A champion. The BHO's had to be feeling overconfident, being favored in the few states left in the contest. But the HRC's didn't wilt, and instead used the opportunities given to them to outscore the BHO's with faster-on-their-feet thinking and a wonkish command of technical detail that, at times, reminded us of the last time we saw the AlGores in action.

"You never think you have anybody until that final horn goes off," HRC coach Patti Solis Doyle said. "Hats off to (BHO coach David Plouffe). This was his first game against the HRC's and I commend him on being able to stick with us. He's got a great bunch of kids and once they mature a little bit, perhaps by 2016, they'll be unstoppable."

Posted by: judgeccrater | February 8, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Beyond the debates, what's the truth about her campaign financing? Was the loan story and alleged staffers going without pay (though maybe for only one day) simply a ruse to get the cash pouring in? If so, THAT needs to be investigated and reported. If I'd given one cent to Clinton's campaign, only to read the next day that there really was no problem, I'd be infuriated.

PLEASE follow up on this!!! If Clinton would stoop so low as to dupe her supporters, why should she be any different as President?

Posted by: GordonsGirl | February 8, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"Well, that and the fact that Clinton's low funds means he probably needs the built in air time."

Obviously that he should be a she...although two weeks ago it would've been difficult to know which to use!

Posted by: ickyfoot | February 8, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

"She would say something like "With McCain annointed as the GOP candidate we as a campaign have a two front campaign to focus on and Senator Obama and I have debated 15 times or more. I think that is plenty of time to make our cases to the voters so I think we should leave it up to them and move forward to beating John McCain in the fall." AndyR3 | February 8, 2008 08:36 AM

Muhammad Ali could not have said it better.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

"Calling for debates is usually the territory of underdogs, which, given the growing financial disparity between the two candidates, might be the right moniker for Clinton these days.

On the other hand, her call for more debates also could set a story line that she is now the aggressor in the race, willing to test herself in public forums and take the fight to Obama."

Is that second point really contrary to the first? It seems to me that appearing aggressive is precisely why it's the territory of the underdog. Well, that and the fact that Clinton's low funds means he probably needs the built in air time.

Anyway, I don't think her strategy is silly, but I do think it comes off as slightly antagonistic, particularly the follow up to Obama's response. He said no. Move on. After the fallout from the Billary performance running up to South Carolina, I'd imagine they'd think long and hard before coming off as being aggressive.

Also, I think Obama's response makes good strategic sense due to the funds issue. He'll have no problem getting his message out there; why would he offer Clinton a platform to dull his edge in that regard?

Posted by: ickyfoot | February 8, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't mind seeing a couple of REAL debates. Obama and Clinton are both quite familiar with senatorial rules for debate. Let's use that format and take on one or two topics at a time.

Posted by: joy2 | February 8, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Not silly or savvy, it is actually a desparate move by a seasoned politico - she already knows the impact of requesting additional debates. It is a proven move of desperation, not of her not winning, but she wants to close him out of the race that she clearly STILL expects to win. She would like the race to be over so she can focus on the national. She has money, and will have no problem getting more - by closing the race sooner rtather than later, she avoids the continued fracture of the party.

Posted by: J_thinks | February 8, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

When one candidate asks for more debates I always wonder if the roles were reversed would the other candidate ask for the same thing.

In this case I think if Obama was being out raised by a 2 to 1 rate and was facing an onslaught of ten states or so that he wasn't favored in I think he would ask for more debates too, AND I think Clinton would reject the idea flat out.

She would say something like "With McCain annointed as the GOP candidate we as a campaign have a two front campaign to focus on and Senator Obama and I have debated 15 times or more. I think that is plenty of time to make our cases to the voters so I think we should leave it up to them and move forward to beating John McCain in the fall."

Just replace the names and Obama has his statement.

Posted by: AndyR3 | February 8, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

claudialong | February 8, 2008 08:23 AM

In boxing, the losing contender in a title match asks for an immediate rematch.

A wise champion will agree to a rematch. In the far, far future.

...moves like a butterfly, stings like a bee.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Quash speculation on Huckabee for VP-- he would only intensify McCain's problems with the loony radical right:

"Although Mike Huckabee continues in the race no one thinks he has much of a chance even if he does win a few more primaries, as is largely expected. Many have raised the possiblity that he's angling for the vice president slot, but that possibility is looking increasingly unlikely. In a WSJ op-ed piece, the president of the Club for Growth, former Rep. Pat Toomey, writes that "Huckabee on the ticket would be a disaster" due to his tax-raising record. "Picking him would only make it more likely that conservatives will sit on their hands come November."

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

More debates won't tell us anything new about their policy positions, which are virtually identical anyway.

I'd rather see the Clintons open up the presidential archives and the donor's list for the Clinton library. That would tell us something new.

Posted by: rezlieg | February 8, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

jotoole | February 8, 2008 08:21 AM

Are we talking Hindenburg disaster proportions here or what.

Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Barring a major misstep by Obama, two debates may turn out to be a distraction for the Clinton campaign. The $$$ continue to roll in for the Obama campaign, and that just means more people on the ground in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania. I don't anticipate a joint ticket. If he does not win the nomination, I think Sen. Obama will be very reluctant to take the vp slot.

Posted by: welchd | February 8, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Obama would be smart to reject request for more debate.

Debate bring out Obama's lack of subtance

JFK would have loved to stand next to Nixon every other day, but for Obama it is a loose loose situation to stand next to Clinton and show his weakness in substance and achievement.

His only "talk" against Iraq line has run it's course. He has nothing new to offer to show as achievement.

Posted by: SeedofChange | February 8, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Debate over debates? Yaawwwwnnnn. But I think it was a rare sign of weakness from Clinton on top of weakening news of her financial underfunding. Maybe she's trying to elicit a sympathetic response?

I don't know the issue was silly for Clinton, but it sure didn't seem savvy.

Posted by: egc52556 | February 8, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Clinton asked for a debate a week, not two, which is what Barack agreed to.
This plays to Clinton's strengths in every way, as a highly competent debater and clever strategist.

The idea that the contest between them is over, either statiscally or in the arena of public opinion, is ridiculous spin.

I don't think you can even begin to count Clinton out of the race, that's what the Obama camp, and interestingly, Republicans would like us to think. More spin.

Aside from the usual Hillary "hate" Republicans don't want Hillary to run against McCain and for good reason, she will win.

It's going to take a lot more than pie-in-the-sky and Hollywood endorsements like Oprah's "permission for women to vote for Obama," to solve what political analysts say may be the most difficult term for a President in our country's history.

Clinton is the superior politician and the only candidate who can truly "change" the course of the country....

She's been tested, like McCain: they've both endured more public scrutiny and the aspersions of their opponents and they've survived.

They are a perfect match-up in experience and tenacity, but more importantly for Hillary, who has the potential to win in Nov, she'll have an established network around her who support her idealoglically and the ability to moderate between the two partys....because she is not as far to the left... McCain on the other hand will end up fighting with or bucking the conservative base his entire Presidency.

Posted by: vpprice | February 8, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

One-on-one debates are essential to showcasing the candidates' policy differences, so I welcome them. Although Obama is better, is excellent, at delivering oratory, Hillary is superior with the nuts and bolts details of explaining programs, and is a much more articulate off-the cuff speaker, very prepared and detail-oriented.

Obama is more inspiring, Hillary strikes me more as a problem-solver. So I guess it depends on what you personally feel a president's role should be.

Hillary wants the debates because she appears the most competent in them; exactly the reason Obama wants to avoid them.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Silly. After seventeen debates and late night comics poking fun at the multitude of debates and forums, Obama does not have any reason to fear a media narrative that he is backing away from a fight. However, Clinton is not doing herself any favors by clamoring for debates now. It feeds into the media narrative that she is low on cash and desperate for free media. Clinton also is potentially making herself vulnerable by agreeing to fox news debates, something that doesn't sit well with activists who view the fox network as a propaganda arm of the Republicans. Its a false controversy that Clinton is attempting to create, but may just backfire and be more counterproductive than her and Mark Penn realize.

Posted by: jotoole | February 8, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Demanding as many debates as possible is a smart move for Clinton. Between now and March 4 Obama looks sure to win a string of primaries. With the Republicans having their man now, Democrats are going to get increasingly anxious to have their standard bearer out front to return fire on McCain. Couple that with the momentum and press coverage Obama will get and a situation might arise in which he becomes the press and public opinion nominee before the big states. More debates keep Clinton in the headlines along with Obama and people in Texas and Ohio do not forget it is still a two person race.

Posted by: Cameron_Carter | February 8, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Free airtime for the Billarys? No comprende, could you translate. (Into "black", please).

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 8, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Background: I voted for Bill Clinton twice but am a very strong supporter of Barack.

It is becoming clear to me that we need a Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket. I think the delegate numbers will be too close to prevent dividing the party. They need to flip a coin...heads is P, tails is VP. Bill is sent to China as ambassador.

The fact is both Hillary and Obama have profound strengths and weaknesses. Hillary's win will alienate blacks, Obama's win will alienate white women.

What we cannot afford is another Scalia/Alito on the supreme Court.

Both Hillary and Obama supporters have been guilty of negative attacks and the childish "if my candidate doesn't win, I'm voting for McCain or not voting at all."

We Dems must find a way to join forces or we will regret the formation of a conservative supreme court for a very very long time to come.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 8, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Complaining about not having enough debates is almost the same as complaining about the amount of time you get to talk during a debate. To people who aren't your supporters, it seems weak.

The problem for Obama is that if he messes up once in a series of debates, he'll still be fine. If it's just one debate, the importance becomes magnified and he may really suffer. And of course the same is true for Clinton, only more so, given their relative standing now.

Posted by: novamatt | February 8, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Why Clinton wants/needs the debates:
1. She's low on cash. Their cheap and give her free press coverage
2. She does better at debates than she does at campaign rallies. She's a policy wonk who does best talking about the intricate details of her policies and can throw around statistics. That works in a debate, but doesn't really fire up voters at a campaign rally. Besides she doesn't really come off well giving a campaign speech

Why Obama doesn't need to debate every week.

1. He has plenty of cash for media ads and to campaign in person.
2. He does best at campaign rallies and squeezing in more of those is a better use of his time.
3. We've had plenty of debates already. If you've been paying attention, you pretty much know where each candidate stands.

Didn't Clinton avoid debating her component during the Primary campaign for her Senate seat in 2006?

Posted by: eemr | February 8, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Most of the 'presidential' debates have been more like replays - same questions, same answers. Put together a 'best of' montage and be done with it.

The economy is (supposedly) the big concern of voters now? Then treat it that way and have a debate between the candidates' chief economic advisors. I'll bet on Austan Goolsbee over Gene Sperling any day of the week. (For those wondering who advises whom, I'd say you just spotted the problem.)

Assuming an economics debate is too boring to interest any sponsors, try:
http://marketplace.publicradio.org/projects/project_display.php?proj_identifier=2008/01/28/econ_advisers

Posted by: TomJx | February 8, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

The debate strategy is savvy for Clinton.

- She does not have the money to air ads in key races.

- She is stronger in a debate setting while he is stronger connecting with voters on the trail.

- He cannot attack her positions during a debate because he will be seen as either
a. picking on her
b. going negative

They have already participated in 17 or 18 debates. Enough already.

Posted by: dnbraggs | February 8, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

She's just going with her strength to try to pull Barack away from his. She's at her best talking policy; he's at his best demonstrating the path toward making that policy real. She has no chance of ever getting health care through a narrowly divided Congress and no clue about how to get around that--hence the promise to take on health care during her second term when she can't be held accountable. Obama, in stark contrast, is campaigning on how we can get health care and other serious legislation passed into law. Expand the party by building support for liberal policies and participation by attracting young and swing voters that are not interested in more of the same whether from Hillary or McCain.

*****

Ironically, Clinton is the candidate of talk while Barack is actually doing something real.

That's why she wants to talk on t.v. while he wants to build relationships with a growing movement for change.

Posted by: jefft1225 | February 8, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

I heard last night that they have two debates scheduled over the course of the next month or so. It is not every week as HRC wants, but we know that is just a ploy for media attention on the part of her campaign. Frankly, I don't need a debate a week; I know how to access their websites if I want to find out a position on something. As Obama said, they need to be on the ground talking with folks, not appearing on TV once a week for debates. Since it takes about two days out of a campaign to prepare and participate in a debate, I don't blame him at all. And frankly, HRC could use the personal connection with people.

Posted by: jsutton | February 8, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

If this were a football game, Hillary would be down by 5 with 1:30 to go. It's winnable, but a field goal isn't going to do her any good, and she definitely can't run out the clock.

She needs to take some chances and hope to catch Barack in a mistake; hence the call for more frequent debates.

Posted by: JD | February 8, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

A lot of commentators have been characterising Hillary as the better debator and, certainly, Obama has been doing better when he's talking to the votes directly and in large set pieces.

The comments already made about free TV and taking up candidates time are also true.

It also forces Obama to be cordial with Hillary and visa versa, presumably halting any increase in the negative turn to the campaigning.

But most of all, it keeps both candidates being seen as neck and neck, as mentally voters will see the two of them stage as equals; no matter who's ahead.

From a voter point of view, seeing them together more and more might generate a joint ticket feeling that could be useful later.

Posted by: vincenzo.rampulla | February 8, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Clinton wants to assume the role of the underdog and non-establishment candidate. Though the majority of the party establishment is supporting her and she has been a main player in Washington politics for the past 2 decades, she will now try to paint Obama as the establishment candidate because he has the capability of raising more money, and she has mismanaged hers. This is a savy move to get free air time. I believe that most of the people know where these candidates stand. If I was Obama, I would agree but I would set the guidelines and the number (1 maybe 2). Clinton believes her strength is debating and she can score points without having to spend money

Posted by: life386 | February 8, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

The groundswell of enthusiastic support for Barack Obama continues to ignite across the country and is unprecedented in modern political history. He is building a broad, diverse coalition and has energized millions of young people to become engaged in the political process for the first time. He has also inspired so many who had been disenfranchised in the past to rise up and embrace a movement of hope and unity.

Yet the path to a glorious victory in November will be extremely arduous and require tremendous fortitude. We face an opponent and a former President that will descend to any depth in their ruthless pursuit of power. The Clintons thrive and excel in the cut throat tactics of political warfare and as they sense that their reign is slipping away, they will resort to literally whatever it takes to prevail.

The vast majority of the Clintons base consists of white women and the elderly. This is a highly disciplined block of voters that will always turn out in high numbers. Our challenge is to ensure that the massive show of support for Barack is translated directly into votes during the remainder of the primary. We must not dilute the tidal wave that is sweeping the country by attending the rallies and then failing to get registered and cast a vote on Election Day.

The country is at a critical crossroad and the choice of leadership could not be cast in starker contrast. Barack Obama is the inspirational, visionary leader that comes along once in a lifetime. He will be the uplifting force of change to repair the wreckage of the Bush/Cheney regime and be the face of a revitalized, united America that will restore moral authority across the world. Whereas the Clintons will turn the clock back in perpetuating the bitter partisanship that has had a corrosive, debilitating effect on our country for the twenty long years that they and the Bushes have occupied the White House.

Our moment in history lies before us and it may never present itself again. We must seize the opportunity and have the courage to make Barack Obama the next President of the United States.


Robert Luciano- Atlanta, GA

Posted by: ccoblas | February 8, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

It appears that this issue has been settled Obama has agreed to have two debates with Clinton from this blog posted yesterday in the Trail
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/02/07/obama_agrees_to_debates_with_c.html

Posted by: lopwise | February 8, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Savvy.

HRC has a high burn rate of $, according to info several posters produced here yesterday. BHO has marshalled his greater resources. More free TV is a gift to the candidate with fewer resources.

A secondary effect would be that each TV appearance would cost the more effective campaigner on the ground half a day or more
of precious time.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 8, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse

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