More Debates (Sigh)

At the Los Angeles Democratic debate last week, anyone expecting to see fur fly was sorely disappointed. Clinton and Obama weren’t just civil. For a   second there, they seemed to even like each other.

Well, apparently Hillary liked it so much, she wants to do it again. And again. And again. And again.

This morning, Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle sent out a public letter to Obama honcho David Plouffe congratulating him on the Super Tuesday victories but voicing concern that Sen. Obama has declined to participate in a debate a week for the next several weeks. Sorry to excerpt so much here, but you need a nice chunk to appreciate Doyle’s tone:

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about the Democratic Party is its willingness to engage the toughest issues facing our country, even if we don’t always agree on how best to solve them. …  

As such, I was disappointed to see that Senator Obama rejected the idea of having more debates given the fact that he and Senators Clinton [sic] have had only a single one-on-one debate.  I think we can do better and so does Hillary. …

To that end, we hope Senator Obama will join Senator Clinton for a debate a week beginning this weekend.  I’m sure we can find a suitable place to meet on the campaign trail.  There’s too much at stake and the issues facing the country are too grave to deny voters the opportunity to see the candidates up close.

Slow clap for the Clinton campaign over here. In one swift move, they 1) challenge Obama to accept an offer that, if he accepts it, will make him look deferential, 2) bring him onto turf where Hillary is strong, i.e. the debate stage, and 3) take him off turf where he is strong, i.e. rallies. And given Hillary’s apparent financial situation— donating money to herself —free media is better than paid media. You don’t see hat tricks like this every day.  

Of course, to suggest that even after 22 Democratic debates this cycle—more than any other primary election ever—we haven’t seen enough of the candidates “up close” seems insane. But who knows, maybe a Lincoln-Douglas style debate-a-thon is what Democrats need to make up their minds.

Read the full letter here .