In a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, Barack Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe seems to reject the idea of Obama and McCain engaging in a series of town hall appearances around the country.
“Due to the late date of the two parties’ nominating conventions, and the relatively short period between the end of the conventions and the first proposed debate, it is likely that the four Commission debates will be the sole series of debates in the fall campaign. Consequently, we believe that finalizing the arrangements for these debates with promptness and certainty is in the interests of both campaigns and the American people,” Plouffe wrote.
The McCain campaign had originally proposed that the two candidates hold a series of joint town hall meetings without national television coverage or a moderator. This would have been a wonderful format for McCain who excels in the town hall format, but is bad on television, and a terrible debater. For the Obama this format would leave him with little to gain, and a lot to lose.
Back when the McCain campaign cared about issues, they made this proposal as a campaign gimmick. They wanted Obama to reject their idea, so that they could campaign on the idea that Obama is afraid to debate them and discuss the issues, but after 22 Democratic debates and more than a dozen Republican debates, I like the idea of no more debates until September 26.
I have never heard anyone say three presidential debates, and one vice presidential debate after Labor Day are not enough. Voters are not clamoring for more debates, and joint appearances. What I would like to see is Ralph Nader and Bob Barr in some form included in the debates. The biggest problem isn’t that there are too few debates, but that the debates are only open to two candidates. Obama was right to reject the town hall format, but both campaigns are doing voters a disservice by excluding all the major candidates from the debates.