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Obama backs away from McCain's debate challenge


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WASHINGTON - Democratic candidate Barack Obama on Saturday backed away from rival John McCain's challenge for a series of joint appearances, agreeing only to the standard three debates in the fall.

 

 

In May, when a McCain adviser proposed a series of pre-convention appearances at town hall meetings, Obama said, "I think that's a great idea." In summer stumping on the campaign trail, McCain has often noted that Obama had not followed through and joined him in any events.

 

Obama's reversal on town hall debates is part of a play-it-safe strategy he's adopted since claiming the nomination and grabbing a lead in national polls. Advisers to the Illinois senator, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss strategy, say Obama is reluctant to take chances or give McCain a high-profile stage now that Obama's the front-runner.

 

On Saturday, in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said the short period between the last political convention and the first proposed debate made it likely that the commission-sponsored debates would be the only ones.

 

"We've committed to the three debates on the table," campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Saturday in an interview. "It's likely they will be the three appearances by the candidates this fall."

 

Asked by The Associated Press if that meant Obama would not agree to any other debates, Psaki said, "We're not saying that." She said the McCain campaign had rejected Obama's proposal for two joint town hall meetings.

 

McCain's campaign disparaged Obama for backing off. "We understand it might be beneath a worldwide celebrity of Barack Obama's magnitude to appear at town hall meetings alongside John McCain and directly answer questions from the American people, but we hope he'll reconsider," spokesman Brian Rogers said.

 

The first debate planned by the commission is set for Sept. 26 in Oxford, Miss., three weeks after the Republican National Convention concludes Sept. 4. The Democratic convention is scheduled for Aug. 25-28.

 

The other presidential debates are set for Oct. 7 and Oct. 15 and the vice presidential debate for Oct. 2.

 

A day after Obama clinched the Democratic nomination in early June, McCain challenged Obama to a series of 10 town hall meetings. The candidates' campaigns began negotiations, telling reporters that they agreed in spirit to joint appearances.

 

When the idea first came up from the McCain campaign that May, Obama was still battling Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Obama said then: "Obviously, we would have to think through the logistics on that, but ... if I have the opportunity to debate substantive issues before the voters with John McCain, that's something that I am going to welcome."

 

In June, Plouffe had suggested Obama-McCain meetings more along the lines of the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates. During Abraham Lincoln's Senate campaign against Stephen Douglas in 1858, the candidates met seven times across Illinois. One spoke for an hour, the other for an hour and a half, and the first was allowed a half-hour rebuttal.

 

Plouffe said Saturday that Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois will be Obama's representative in further discussions with the commission.

 

The Commission on Presidential Debates, established in 1987, sponsors and produces debates featuring the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the major parties. The nonprofit and nonpartisan organization has sponsored all the presidential debates since 1988.

 

 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080802/ap_on_...dential_debates

 

 

I guess Obama's confidence going against Mccain in these town hall debates where the people come up with the questions has dwindled.

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Well, it's a wise campaign move for Obama.

 

Obama has this reputation of being a great speaker. He absolutely is...but only with a teleprompter. Without one he loses his ability to articulate and he frequently stutters. If I remember correctly, Hillary Clinton tried to take advantage of this in the later stages of primary season and he offered the same reply.

 

I recently saw video of Obama giving a public Q&A and his replies were nearly incomprehensible.

I saw a Q&A at St. Anselm when he was in New Hampshire and it was horrible. He would re ask the question and at times not even completely comprehend the question. I know sometimes people do not do the best at asking questions, but it was pretty bad.

 

 

 

 

I think debates can get boring after a while, because all the same stuff is repeated, but I think they need to have a few and Obama has been putting them off since Hillary =/

That's because no debates have complexity. We've yet to see a substantive debate on foreign policy or economics. We need to ask specific questions on specific policy moves.

 

As much as someone like you or I would enjoy that most people don't and I think thats why we never see it. The media has a large control and in the end the viewers control the media.

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When evaluating Obama's ability to speak in a debate setting, please refer to the more recent debates he had against Hillary Clinton. After 20 debates, he is really strong. Watch his debate against Hillary that was held in California. He did quite well. His debating skills early on were pretty uninspiring, but now he is up to the challenge.

 

He will clean McCain's clock in the debates this fall.

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McCain only proposed the town hall because he knows Obama will probably have an advantage over him this fall in terms of money and exposure. He needed to neutralize that. That is why Obama never accepted. It would have been stupid for him to do so. I'm glad he didn't.

 

Also, McCain screws up a lot in town halls also.

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When evaluating Obama's ability to speak in a debate setting, please refer to the more recent debates he had against Hillary Clinton. After 20 debates, he is really strong. Watch his debate against Hillary that was held in California. He did quite well. His debating skills early on were pretty uninspiring, but now he is up to the challenge.

 

He will clean McCain's clock in the debates this fall.

 

That's another key. McCain is setting himself up for the expectations game trap. He and his supporters keeps bragging about how Obama is scared to debate him. So he should beat Obama in any debate. Then when Obama, as should be expected, holds his own and even gives it back to McCain at the actual debates, McCain looks bad and Obama looks good.

 

This is exactly what happened betwee Gore and Bush in 2000 with the line that Bush was stupid and Gore would beat him.

 

Same with Reagan-Carter in 1980.

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Also, I should add that the title of the article is misleading. Obama did not back away from McCain's debate challenge. That makes it sound like he had originally accepted and then chose to back away. That is not the case. He never accepted the proposal. He accepted the proposal for 3 debates.

 

The media is in the tank for McCain.

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McCain only proposed the town hall because he knows Obama will probably have an advantage over him this fall in terms of money and exposure. He needed to neutralize that. That is why Obama never accepted. It would have been stupid for him to do so. I'm glad he didn't.

 

Also, McCain screws up a lot in town halls also.

 

Yeah, Obama has a tactical advantage - he's got more money, so he will be on television more often and will be able to maximize turnout among his supporters. Giving McCain the opportunity to be on television 10 more times (for free!) is not a good tactical move if you're Obama. It's not even about being afraid of losing to McCain, it just gives McCain free airtime.

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You guys are stating the obvious.

 

Obviously, this could only benefit McCain, so I understand why he is refraining from participating. As I mentioned above he followed this same tactic with Clinton.

 

He knows he doesn't debate well so it would be rather difficult for him to spin this in his favor. While McCain is no brilliant public speaker himself (and he often gets rather key issues confused), he is far, far more articulate than Obama is when speaking off-script.

 

He has not gotten better at raw speaking. I heard him only just last week answering questions and is rhetorical skills were exceptionally poor for someone running for office. Granted, I don't give such factors much merit (I care more about the issues, which is why I dislike Obama), but it helps solidify this persona of him being an actor/celebrity above anything else.

 

Your conclusion that he looks bad in this setting is based purely on subjective perception. Nobody is going to be an oratory in a town hall setting. To me, Obama comes off as someone who thinks through what he is about to say. I't better he does that than continually make mistakes that can come back and bite him in the ass. As long as he seems intelligent, his presentation won't matter. What individual has ever been good at say, giving press conferences? It's a tough setting that requires this approach. Bush was utterly atrocious at it and actually came off as an idiot. Obama doesnt.

 

McCain on the other hand comes off to me as someone who is having a conversation with himself. If he didn't say "my friends" like ten bajillion times, I wouldn't know he was in a townhall.

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The media is in the tank for McCain.

 

:lol :lol :lol

 

I am just going to assume this is an attempt at humor. The media should be wearing a skirt and have pom poms when they talk about Barack Obama. Without the media, Miss Clinton would be McCain's opponent in the first place.

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According to this article from the LA Times about a media study, Obama is getting a LOT of negative coverage (which is pretty much what I see):

 

In study, evidence of liberal-bias bias

 

Cable talking heads accuse broadcast networks of liberal bias -- but a think tank finds that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Barack Obama than on John McCain in recent weeks.

 

By James Rainey

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

 

July 27, 2008

 

Haters of the mainstream media reheated a bit of conventional wisdom last week.

 

Barack Obama, they said, was getting a free ride from those insufferable liberals.

 

Such pronouncements, sorry to say, tend to be wrong since they describe a monolithic media that no longer exists. Information today cascades from countless outlets and channels, from the Huffington Post to Politico.com to CBS News and beyond.

 

But now there's additional evidence that casts doubt on the bias claims aimed -- with particular venom -- at three broadcast networks.

 

The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.

 

You read it right: tougher on the Democrat.

 

During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.

 

Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center.

 

Conservatives have been snarling about the grotesque disparity revealed by another study, the online Tyndall Report, which showed Obama receiving more than twice as much network air time as McCain in the last month and a half. Obama got 166 minutes of coverage in the seven weeks after the end of the primary season, compared with 67 minutes for McCain, according to longtime network-news observer Andrew Tyndall.

 

I wrote last week that the networks should do more to better balance the air time. But I also suggested that much of the attention to Obama was far from glowing.

 

That earned a spasm of e-mails that described me as irrational, unpatriotic and . . . somehow . . . French.

 

But the center's director, RobertLichter, who has won conservative hearts with several of his previous studies, told me the facts were the facts.

 

"This information should blow away this silly assumption that more coverage is always better coverage," he said.

 

Here's a bit more on the research, so you'll understand how the communications professor and his researchers arrived at their conclusions.

 

The center reviews and "codes" statements on the evening news as positive or negative toward the candidates. For example, when NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell said in June that Obama "has problems" with white men and suburban women, the media center deemed that a negative.

 

The positive and negative remarks about each candidate are then totaled to calculate the percentages that cut for and against them.

 

Visual images and other more subjective cues are not assessed. But the tracking applies a measure of analytical rigor to a field rife with seat-of-the-pants fulminations.

 

The media center's most recent batch of data covers nightly newscasts beginning June 8, the day after Hillary Rodham Clinton conceded the Democratic nomination, ushering in the start of the general-election campaign. The data ran through Monday, as Obama began his overseas trip.

 

Most on-air statements during that time could not be classified as positive or negative, Lichter said. The study found, on average, less than two opinion statements per night on the candidates on all three networks combined -- not exactly embracing or pummeling Obama or McCain. But when a point of view did emerge, it tended to tilt against Obama.

 

That was a reversal of the trend during the primaries, when the same researchers found that 64% of statements about Obama -- new to the political spotlight -- were positive, but just 43% of statements about McCain were positive.

 

Such reversals are nothing new in national politics, as reporters tend to warm up to newcomers, then turn increasingly critical when such candidates emerge as front-runners.

 

It might be tempting to discount the latest findings by Lichter's researchers. But this guy is anything but a liberal toady.

 

In 2006, conservative cable showmen Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly had Lichter, a onetime Fox News contributor, on their programs. They heralded his findings in the congressional midterm election: that the networks were giving far more positive coverage to the Democrats.

 

More proof of the liberal domination of the media, Beck and O'Reilly declared.

 

Now the same researchers have found something less palatable to those conspiracy theorists.

 

But don't expect cable talking heads to end their trashing of the networks.

 

Repeated assertions that the networks are in the tank for Democrats represent not only an article of faith on Fox, but a crucial piece of branding. On Thursday night, O'Reilly and his trusty lieutenant Bernard Goldberg worked themselves into righteous indignation -- again -- about the liberal bias they knew was lurking.

 

Goldberg seemed gleeful beyond measure in saying that "they're fiddling while their ratings are burning."

 

O'Reilly assured viewers that "the folks" -- whom he claims to treasure far more than effete network executives do -- "understand what's happening."

 

By the way, Lichter's group also surveys the first half-hour of "Special Report With Brit Hume," Fox News' answer to the network evening news shows.

 

The review found that, since the start of the general-election campaign, "Special Report" offered more opinions on the two candidates than all three networks combined.

 

No surprise there. Previous research has shown Fox News to be opinion-heavy.

 

"Special Report" was tougher than the networks on Obama -- with 79% of the statements about the Democrat negative, compared with 61% negative on McCain.

 

There's plenty of room for questioning the networks' performance and watching closely for symptoms of Obamamania.

 

But could we at least remain focused on what ABC, NBC and CBS actually put on the air, rather than illusions that their critics create to puff themselves up?

 

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The media is in the tank for McCain.

 

:lol :lol :lol

 

I am just going to assume this is an attempt at humor. The media should be wearing a skirt and have pom poms when they talk about Barack Obama. Without the media, Miss Clinton would be McCain's opponent in the first place.

I tend to agree but don't waste your time.

 

 

yea, the media seemed to do a nice job shooting down Clinton whenever they had a chance to. They might be attacking Obama a bit, but there treating Mccain even worse, by not even talking about him.

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Your conclusion that he looks bad in this setting is based purely on subjective perception.

Obviously.

 

To me, Obama comes off as someone who thinks through what he is about to say. I't better he does that than continually make mistakes that can come back and bite him in the ass. As long as he seems intelligent, his presentation won't matter.

While McCain's confusion of certain facts is obviously a major fault, Obama's failure to articulate his viewpoints on the spot is also a major flaw for a candidate to have. It indicates uncertainty on the viewpoints and possibly intentional restraint on positions. This is validated by the fact that Obama has changed his stance on a couple of key issues over the past couple of weeks and has been relatively fickle on his assessment of the Iran situation. Therefore, a combination of lack of specificity and poor construction of his arguments when called on, he comes off as an untrustworthy candidate. A lot of his current supporters will be in for a rude awakening after the election, especially in the areas of foreign policy and the economy. I just wished he would be placed in a forum where substantive questions would be thrown at him.

 

Same goes for McCain. Some of his responses in the Republican debates were completely laughable.

 

I still feel like this is all a dream. Is this really the best our country could do? I want to see a full debate on just economics. I want difficult and challenging questions to be asked. I want the candidates to be asked about monetary policy. I want to hear more about the budget crisis other than in regard to the Bush tax cuts.

 

Welcome to politics in America. Gore loses 2000 election because he is persona is not as good as Bushs. Kerry goes to a war and gets shot and he is slandered into being a coward. Policy does not play a central role in politics because the American people can be retarded. The media feeds this retardeness.

 

Obama is an extremely intelligent person with a strong grasp of the issues and what policies he wants to undertake. He has to work within the system though.

 

Don't sit here and pretend this is all new.

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Welcome to politics in America. Gore loses 2000 election because he is persona is not as good as Bushs. Kerry goes to a war and gets shot and he is slandered into being a coward. Policy does not play a central role in politics because the American people can be retarded. The media feeds this retardeness.

 

Obama is an extremely intelligent person with a strong grasp of the issues and what policies he wants to undertake. He has to work within the system though.

 

Don't sit here and pretend this is all new.

I think most Americans would like the candidates to focus more on things that matter, it's the media that's retarded.

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Your conclusion that he looks bad in this setting is based purely on subjective perception.

Obviously.

 

To me, Obama comes off as someone who thinks through what he is about to say. I't better he does that than continually make mistakes that can come back and bite him in the ass. As long as he seems intelligent, his presentation won't matter.

While McCain's confusion of certain facts is obviously a major fault, Obama's failure to articulate his viewpoints on the spot is also a major flaw for a candidate to have. It indicates uncertainty on the viewpoints and possibly intentional restraint on positions. This is validated by the fact that Obama has changed his stance on a couple of key issues over the past couple of weeks and has been relatively fickle on his assessment of the Iran situation. Therefore, a combination of lack of specificity and poor construction of his arguments when called on, he comes off as an untrustworthy candidate. A lot of his current supporters will be in for a rude awakening after the election, especially in the areas of foreign policy and the economy. I just wished he would be placed in a forum where substantive questions would be thrown at him.

 

Same goes for McCain. Some of his responses in the Republican debates were completely laughable.

 

I still feel like this is all a dream. Is this really the best our country could do? I want to see a full debate on just economics. I want difficult and challenging questions to be asked. I want the candidates to be asked about monetary policy. I want to hear more about the budget crisis other than in regard to the Bush tax cuts.

 

Welcome to politics in America. Gore loses 2000 election because he is persona is not as good as Bushs. Kerry goes to a war and gets shot and he is slandered into being a coward. Policy does not play a central role in politics because the American people can be retarded. The media feeds this retardeness.

 

Obama is an extremely intelligent person with a strong grasp of the issues and what policies he wants to undertake. He has to work within the system though.

 

Don't sit here and pretend this is all new.

I'm not convinced that those incidents decided either election.

 

Secondly, I find the assertion that Obama has a strong grasp of the issues to be laughable. Since his emergence on the political spectrum he has made some radical transitions in foreign policy, national security, and personal liberties. I'm tired of these dying breath statements regarding him having to fight the system. How does one go from voting against the Iraq war to voting for more military appropriations, troop increases in the Middle East, and a hardlined stance against other Muslim nations actually claim to be fighting the system with a straight face?

 

First off, how does any of that show he does not have a strong grasp of the issues? I dont think he has ever suggesting he is going to bring radical policy shifts to Washington. His position is that he would change the way Washington operates. Dispute that if you want, but suggesting that he has no knowledge of the issues ala GWB 2000 is something I find laughable.

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The media is in the tank for McCain.

 

:lol :lol :lol

 

I am just going to assume this is an attempt at humor. The media should be wearing a skirt and have pom poms when they talk about Barack Obama. Without the media, Miss Clinton would be McCain's opponent in the first place.

I tend to agree but don't waste your time.

 

You agree with Craig or me or what?

 

I agree that the media favored Obama in the primary. I won't dispute it. But just take a look at the recent studies on this - the media has bee more favorable to McCain since the end of the primary. I exaggerated when I said the media is in the tank for McCain, but it seems to favor McCain more (and certainly does not favor Obama over McCain.

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