…how’s Obama going to talk to Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-Il and all those other bad guys he’s said he’ll speak with unreservedly?
As for the afraid of John McCain, that comes from this:
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John McCain’s campaign is strongly considering presenting Barack Obama with a proposal for a completely new kind of presidential debates — a series of town hall meetings in which the two men would debate without a moderator.
“The town hall meeting is John’s best format,” writes Mark McKinnon, a former media strategist for President Bush who is now supporting the Arizona senator. “He’s a natural campaigner up close with the public. That would test Obama’s claims that he wants a clean fight on the issues.”
The idea for Lincoln-Douglas style debates isn’t new on the presidential level. The late Barry Goldwater once said that he and President John Kennedy discussed barnstorming across the country together and debating in joint appearances. But no candidate has ever taken the tremendous risks such a series of appearances would involve.
For all that Mr. Obama says he wants a “New Politics,” don’t place large bets on him accepting a McCain offer on free-wheeling debates. Over the weekend, Mr. Obama told reporters he would be open to appearing in “town hall” style events, but indicated such appearances would have to be negotiated. His campaign adviser David Axelrod said only that any invitation from the McCain camp would be considered “very seriously.”
Most analysts don’t expect Mr. Obama to take the plunge. Mr. McCain is an uneven debater, but the memory of Mr. Obama’s last debate in mid-April on ABC is still fresh on the minds of his advisers. Mr. Obama was generally viewed as turning in a peevish and tentative performance and since then has avoided other invitations.
Mr. Obama might view more favorably the traditional tightly-controlled debates such as the ones normally hosted in the fall by PBS anchor Jim Lehrer, who would be unlikely to bring up any of the divisive character issues that Mr. Obama had to confront in the mid-April ABC debate.
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