Wednesday, April 23, 2008

OBAMA CHICKENS OUT ON NORTH CAROLINA DEBATE

CBS NEWS BLOG The April 27th Democratic presidential debate proposed jointly by the North Carolina Democratic Party and CBS News has been called off. A statement released by the state party today cites the "time constraints and logistical issues associated with such a large, national event" as the reason. From the release: "While there was great interest in the debate, there were also growing concerns about what another debate would do to party unity. … Both campaigns have offered North Carolinians additional opportunities to be seen and heard across the state in the coming weeks and months."

CBS News also released a statement regarding the debate: "CBS News aggressively pursued a debate prior to the North Carolina primary and offered an excellent time slot, following 60 Minutes. We regret the cancellation, but will continue to look for opportunities to present another debate, should it occur, between now and November."

Hillary Clinton had accepted the invitation to Sunday's proposed debate but Barack Obama's campaign had not. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer earlier this month, Obama voiced skepticism about participating in too many debates. "I will tell you, after the 21st debate," Obama told the paper (in advance of last week's 21st debate), "all of which have been nationally televised ... North Carolinians have had ample opportunity to watch these debates. . . I don't know that they are ending up being more informative than the kinds of town hall meetings that we've scheduled." An earlier North Carolina debate proposed by CBS News was initially accepted by Obama but not Clinton.

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