February 06, 2008
Hillary versus Obama in Houston?

Let's get ready to rumble!

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday challenged Sen. Barack Obama to meet in four separate Democratic debates before the March 4 primaries in Texas and Ohio -- including an event scheduled for Feb. 28 in Houston.

But Obama, of Illinois, did not immediately commit to travel to Houston to take on Clinton just five days before what could be a crucial Texas primary.

As voters in 22 states went to polls in the primary avalanche known as Super Tuesday, Clinton, of New York, called on her Democratic rival to agree to several debates.

"Senator Clinton has enjoyed the opportunities to debate and the chance to get her message out," said Mark Penn, Clinton's chief strategist, in a conference call with reporters. "Voters ought to have the opportunity to see these two candidates compete against each other in a one-on-one setting."

Clinton has accepted invitations to appear on ABC's This Week on Sunday; Fox News in Washington on Monday; CNN from Ohio on Feb. 27; and MSNBC from the George R. Brown Convention Center on Feb. 28, her campaign said.

The Greater Houston Partnership, the sponsor of the Houston debate, has been trying for months to lure the candidates to the Bayou City.

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and the network's Washington bureau chief, Tim Russert, have agreed to moderate the Houston event.

Debate organizers have not said how tickets for the event would be distributed.

As long as it's not via Ticketmaster, I'm okay with whatever they decide. I forget now where I saw this, but apparently some people paid upwards of a thousand dollars to attend the California debate. I'd bet that this will be a very hot ticket. I wonder if they'll accredit me as a journalist if I ask.

Side note #1: Please, Hillary, reconsider the Fox News debate decision. There's no need to enable that propaganda outlet. I hope Obama's response to all this is "I'll debate you any time, any place, except on Fox News".

Side note #2: Boy, was I wrong to root for Texas to move the primary up to February. Our votes sure do matter now, and we'll get even more attention than we would have had we been involved in Super Duper Tuesday. I'm happy to have been mistaken about this.

Side note #3: Glenn Smith and the Observer blog look at the Texas primary process. Vince has an exhaustive list of who has endorsed whom - for all the talk about how Hillary is supposed to be downballot death to Democrats here, a heck of a lot of Dem officeholders and candidates have endorsed her - and who is still up for grabs.

On to March! And as the last word on this, get ready to start zapping a bunch of campaign commercials. That's an aspect of this that we won't miss when it's all over.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 06, 2008 to The making of the President

I'm Latino and I will proudly cast as many votes as they let me for Obama.

Posted by: Royko on February 6, 2008 8:22 PM

Side note #1: Please, Hillary, reconsider the Fox News debate decision. There's no need to enable that propaganda outlet.

Why take a chance on talking to a different audience when you can stay safely in the echo chamber, eh? :)

Posted by: Kevin Whited on February 6, 2008 11:32 PM

You note: "for all the talk about how Hillary is supposed to be downballot death to Democrats here, a heck of a lot of Dem officeholders and candidates have endorsed her -"
Hold on there a sec ......
as I read the group there is only one (Vo) listed as endorsing Sen. Clinton who is in a district that can be described as anything other than "completely safe".
NB - citing endorsements for the Senator from down ballot folks in bullet-proof districts doesn't begin to speak to the "downballot death" issue.
For them it is a win-win: get on board with the money train and if she wins, be there for their reward; if they lose: they've still their safe seat.
Politically astute? Certainly. But hardly a profile in courage.
Find some candidates for seats where the margin is/was 1-2 points.
How many of those are endorsing Sen. Clinton?
Can she win in November? You bet. That 21 state strategy is very durable.
But there could well be a hell of a wake.
Virginia (possible Senate pick up),
Louisiana (Mary Landrieu's seat at risk) and Texas(Noriega's possible pick-up; several Legislative races and a dozen or so appellate court/S Ct/ Ct Cr App races) could all suffer.....Must Texas/Louisiana/Southern and Mountain West state Dem parties be sacrificed on the altar for a former Wal-Mart Board Member and New York Senator?
But what do I know? I lost $100 on McGovern in '72....but I knew enough to take the Giants and 12 points!.....

Posted by: Jim Sharp on February 7, 2008 12:29 AM

I'm an Obama supporter and will be enraged if he accepts a debate on Fox. They just hired
Rove for God's sake.

Although I am ecstatic that a real campaign is coming to Texas for once.

As for the campaign ads? I really fail to understand why people whine so much about campaign ads. I have Tivo so I don't watch ads much anyway. But seriously. It's not like there are MORE ads on TV during election season. The campaigns are just buying air time that would otherwise go for ads for erectile disfunction pills and other crap. During election season I hear people at work whining about campaign ads when the other 330 days a year they never seem to care about all the other ads they are watching.

Posted by: Kent from Waco on February 7, 2008 12:54 AM

Amazing, Clinton is the underdog and out of money so she is begging for debates for the publicity.

Heck, I don't think that endorsing Obama is any safer for frightened Democrats in redneck districts than endorsing Clinton. Heck, even endorsing McCain will tick the yahoo voters off.

Posted by: Gary Denton on February 7, 2008 1:56 PM
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