Hillary challenges Obama to an old-fashioned debate

PHOTO: Lincoln and Douglas statues

Hillary Clinton is calling for another debate between her and Barack Obama. In the wake of the awful ABC debate, the Clinton campaign is suggesting a different format:

In the spirit of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, we make this proposal:

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will participate in a 90-minute debate in an open public forum. Just the two of them — no questioners, no panelists, no video clips. One candidate would speak for two minutes, then the other, alternating back and forth all the way through the debate. Their discussion – not any pre-set rules – would determine how long they spend on one subject before moving on to another. Such a debate would range across all of the challenges, large and small, we face as a nation or it could focus on the most significant issue we face today, — the economy

Personally, I like the idea, even if this is proposal is pretty far from the format of the actual Lincoln-Douglas debates (They were both given far more than two minutes to speak). In my estimation, the vast majority of questions asked by the media in the debates thus far have been—and I’m being kind to the media here—unenlightening.

My suggestion: The original Lincoln-Douglas format would likely be excessive, so they should each be given 10 minutes one after the other for an hour. Flip a coin to see who gets to talk first and then have a computer shut off their microphones after their 10 minute interval is over.

But none of this will ever happen. Obama has already said that he won’t participate in another debate. Given Obama’s tremendous advantage in campaign funds, he probably seeking to avoid giving Clinton any chance at free publicity.

Here’s hoping that we get to see this sort of debate format either in the general election or in the next cycle in 2012. But if Obama does change his mind, don’t worry, I pledge to liveblog the debate for you guys and gals.

Flickr photo by kirbyfest

One Comment

  1. Ian

    Now see, I would watch a debate like that.