Why another debate toward the end of an exhausting campaign? For starters, the last debate, in Pennsylvania, was heavily criticized for delving into side issues rather than centering on topics such as the economy, health care and foreign policy. Well, then, let's have a debate here that digs into the many serious issues facing the nation and this state. How, for example, do the candidates reconcile increasing taxes during a possible recession? How would they fulfill their pledge to pull troops out of Iraq in a matter of months if the Iraqi government were to collapse or terrorist organizations were to set up training bases there?
It's true that these questions and others have been addressed at various points in a long campaign. But voters tend to pay more attention to candidates' positions when their own primary is imminent. Most voters in Indiana have forgotten what was said in Iowa four months ago.
A debate planned for North Carolina, which also holds its primary on May 6, fell apart this week after the Obama campaign backed out. The senator's loss in Pennsylvania should prompt his advisers to reconsider whether this is the right time to disengage.
The Clinton campaign already has accepted an invitation issued by the Indiana Debate Commission, along with its partners CNN and PBS, to stage in a debate here. (The Debate Commission represents various civic and media organizations, including The Star. Star Editor Dennis Ryerson is vice chairman of the commission.)
Hillary's challenge to debate Obama in Oregon:
KPTV has Obama's response:
“This is an old, Washington game. There have been 21 Democratic debates and four one-on-one debates with Senator Clinton, all televised nationally. Senator Obama's focus is on meeting directly with Oregon voters about the issues that really matter to them – like jobs, ending the war in Iraq, combating climate change, and making health care affordable for all Americans.”