Same Time Next Week?
02-07-2008
Yesterday, the Clinton campaign proposed having a debate-a-week between the two remaining Democratic candidates. Clinton had earlier signaled her willingness to participate in as many as five debates, leading up to the March 4th contests in Texas and Ohio. In response, the Obama campaign has agreed to only two additional debates, one in each of those states. You can read the Clinton campaign’s debate proposal here, and the Obama campaign’s counteroffer here.
 
My sense is that the Clinton campaign believes that Hillary Clinton’s recent debate performances have, for the most part, helped the Senator make her case to voters. With the nine primaries and caucuses scheduled over the next two weeks likely to favor Barack Obama, the Clinton campaign’s underdog-style debate challenge is no doubt designed to keep Hillary Clinton projected favorably in the media, at a time when much of the press coverage could be focused on successive Obama victories.
 
At a minimum, the Clinton campaign sees these forums as an opportunity for Clinton to bide her time in productive fashion, until she reaches more favorable electoral ground in Texas and Ohio on March 4th. My guess is that the Obama campaign’s measured response is driven by a desire to not let potentially strong Clinton debate performances upstage the campaign, or eat away at valuable time on the stump, in what otherwise could be a very good two weeks worth of press coverage for Barack Obama.


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