August 19th, 2007
08:16 AM ET
7 years ago

Obama to limit future debate appearances

Senator Barack Obama, D-Illinois.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama will limit the number of debates and forums he will attend and instead focus more of his time campaigning in key presidential primary and caucus states, the Illinois Democrat's campaign manager announced on Saturday.

In a statement posted on Obama's website, "Debates and forums going forward," campaign manager David Plouffe notes that Obama has already participated in seven debates and 19 forums. With just a little more than four months before the Iowa caucuses, the Obama campaign has decided to take more control of the senator's schedule.

"Unfortunately, we simply cannot run the kind of campaign we want and need to, engaging with voters in the early states and February 5 states, if our schedule is dictated by dozens of forums and debates," Plouffe wrote. "Ultimately, the one group left out of the current schedule is the voters and they are the ones who ask the toughest questions and most deserve to have those questions answered face to face."

The Illinois Democrat will participate in the five remaining Democratic National Committee sanctioned debates, a September debate sponsored by Univision in Florida and two Iowa debates in December. Obama will also consider participating in forums - events where candidates are not on the stage at the same time - but Plouffe noted "we are unlikely to accept many of these."

Ploffe acknowledged it is a risky strategy, because it could alienate important Democratic constituencies who were planning debates and forums in the coming months.

"Many friends and terrific organizations are sponsoring or planning to sponsor debates and forums," Plouffe wrote. "So this is not an easy decision for us to execute. But it simply won't work to navigate this one by one. We felt we needed to make our approach clear and consistent. I think this approach will be better for the voters and the campaign."

Plouffe said the campaign will evaluate what debates to participate in when the calendar turns to January.

The next DNC sanctioned debate will be held Sunday morning in Iowa and broadcast on ABC.

– CNN's Jamie Crawford and Mark Preston


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Race to '08
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. reporter,LA,CA

    Don't fall into media hype. This is one of them. Read and comprehend. Don't just regergitate what the media says. Obama 08

    August 19, 2007 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  2. Steve, Landover, MD

    NO doubt the people who are SO sure Obama is the wrong choice for our Nation at this time in History. They are the same ones who KNEW there were WMD's in Iraq and thought it ok to go to war (HILLARY included) At the time they would have demanded your deaths as a traitor if you disagreed with them. Now time has proven them wrong !!. But they still think they have credibility. Now they want to tell you that Hillary is the best thing for our country. (Sometimes one needs to just SHUT UP & let thinking folks run things !!) GO Obama 08 !!

    August 19, 2007 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  3. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    I am only an Observer but, if Obama is so Great and Popular as a Candidate – why does this site not depict those ratings?

    And if Hillary is so "hated" according to many bloggers on this site, how come the comments for every Hillary topic doubles and triples the comments for the Obama Topics?

    I have nothing against Obama but I don't feel he has the experience presently to lead a Nation. I have nothing against Ron Paul but I don't feel he has the Strength or Stamina to lead a Nation.

    August 19, 2007 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  4. Julie, Columbia, MO

    Some of us after the last treacherous and nightmarish 8 years, praying to know how not to be the silent masses, as some German citizens were, (not knowing either what to do), pin our last gasp of belief in this country and some measure of rationality and courage in the govt. on you. Please do not let us down. We don't have too many more chances left.

    August 19, 2007 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  5. Joe Ossai, Bedford, NH

    I'm a little confused when the so called experts say Hilary has the experience to be President. Lets see, 8 yrs marrried to a President, 2nd term Senator, a lawyer. Hmm.. that qualifies you to be President. Laura Bush should get the Republican nomination because she has a current White House experience.

    Now lets see about Obama, 12 years as State Senator, 1st term in Senate, a lawyer, a Professor, a Community organizer. So he has over 20 years experience at both local and national level.

    Senator Edward, a one term Senator, a lawyer. Yet nobody is talking about his experience.

    Folks, let recalibrate this crap the media have been shoving down our throat. The Republican party can not wait to get a hold of this lady.

    August 19, 2007 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  6. JD, Syracuse, NY

    If Obama limits his future debates:

    a) how can he improve his past debate mistakes?

    b) how can the american public know his personal position on issues, without seeing the carefully drafted versons from his campaign office?

    c) how can he, if nominated by the democrats, expect to win the debates against the nominated republican candidate in the general election? Remember JOhn Kerry's verbal boo boo that some day costing him the election.

    This is similar to a student who has failed his exams saying he will not go to school anymore. He is burying his head in the sand.

    August 19, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  7. Pam A Summerside, PEI Canada

    I am not an American but I'm a very anxious Canadian given some of these comments on these blogs! This one for example referring (I think?) to Senator Obama.)

    Julie, Columbia, MO
    "our last gasp of belief in this country and some measure of rationality and courage in the govt. on you. Please do not let us down. We don't have too many more chances left."

    Julie I hate to add to your anxiety but YOU DON'T have any chances left!

    Julie's plea, is truly a message of dire hopelessness, fear and anxiety. Not the best set of emotions for electing a competent President.

    And in view of the Candidates running, I can only hope Americans will just once put EXPERIENCE, COMPETENCE, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY, INTELLECTUAL CONTENT, AMERICA'S ECONOMIC FUTURE and CREDIBLE IMAGE ACROSS THE GLOBE, First and Foremost thus bypassing the clearly, inexperienced, unproven, unqualified, questionable agendas of the pretensious power seekers in this race. Not only for the preservation of America but the World!

    Is time Julie to replace Fear and Anxiety with Prayer in All Languages in the Hope that the only true All Powerful, All Loving, Leader can hear your pleas. As given these blog comments, it is certain your pleas will otherwise fall on deaf ears throughout America.

    August 19, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  8. KD, Dallas, TX

    Lance, thank you so much for so eloquently saying everything I have been thinking and feeling. If Clinton does win, we will end up with the same old government and course of action that the past six plus years have given us. We cannot afford to stay the course anymore. The country I have known and loved has become one I fear at times. I really think that we are being prepared for another possible war with Iran. Bush just scares me. His neocon ideology has done nothing but damaged the credibility our country has always aspired to. We need someone who can unite us again, and not someone so divisive as to call our country red and blue. We are one! This past administration was so successful at dividing us. If people really took time to know the issues and the candidates, and the experience, they would have more credibility with me. Obama has been very successful at uniting people with his work in Illinois. He stands for so much good. He has heart, where nearly all of the other candidates have just learned how to play the game...say what they know others want to hear and yet no clear action of how to get there. I want someone in the white house who truly loves their country, not just someone who loves power.

    August 19, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. Erik

    These political blogs and message boards are only designed for angry people who only care about their candidate of choice winning! These comments board do not debate or talk about what the candidates say or believe in a civil manner. When will the American people wake up and realize WE are the ones who are causing our own problems by how we conduct ourselves, don't work together, can't discuss issues with dignity and non bias. WE voted for the politicians in office and all they are doing is reacting to us by playing on our fears and biases. Let's not forget the AMERICAN PEOPLE voted Bush and the rest of the politicians on both sides of the isle in office and look at where we are as a result. We are just as much to blame for the problems in this country as the politicians! Not to say all is bad but it can be better this is all that Obama is saying! In the end none of the candidates have to answer to each other with their back stabbing remarks to one another or the headline crazed media. It is the AMERICAN people who decide the path we take. The question is, do we continue on our current coarse or choose a different path? Time will tell…

    BTW: My bias for CHANGE tells me I support Obama!
    May God bless America.

    August 19, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. Brian, College Park, MD

    There simply doesn't need to be a debae ever other week. The candidates are asked the same questions and give the same answers. The moderators always find a way to focus the debate on the MSM dicated "first tier" candidates. And no matter how good any candidate does, the "front runner" will always be the "winner" in the eyes of MSM "experts."

    Therefore, I agree with Senator Obama's decision. Although some of the campaigns comments did worry me. He's going to focus on Iowa votes, NH voters, and the Feb. 5 states because they are the most important. So what does that mean about us here in Maryland?

    August 19, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. JB Boston MA

    Evan Esteves-

    You, my friend are what is wrong with this country. This is not a sporting event. You do not root for your home team and hope the away team messes up. If the away team (in this case for you, the Republicans)mess up, then our country is messed up. I bet you are hoping we continue to hear bad things out of Iraq so that your team wins the White House. You are that blind citizen who votes "D" all the way down, without any idea of what people stand for or believe. And by the way, the President is not all powerful. There is something called the Congress. They have a good amount of say in what happens. It seems to me, many Democrats during the Clinton administration blamed alot on Congress then. Now, they are blame free. Very interesting. As a citizen of the US, we should all be hoping that we find the best candidate that can put our country back on track. When are we going to start to realize that in the grand scheme of things, we should be rooting for a successful political system!

    August 19, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. Robert M. Reidy

    Once again the Obama camp thinks out of the box. After all he already looks more presidential than any other old hat candidate, and he won most of the debates already not by slick canned answers but with heart felt truth on the war and domestic issues. He must concentrate on closing the campaign with the people who love him – the grass roots of this nation.

    AMERICA HELP IS ON THE WAY!!

    BaROCK THE VOTE!!!

    August 19, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. David, Salinas, CA

    They say that those who do not study the past are doomed to repeat it. When I read the conflicts between the Obama and Clinton camps on this board I can’t help but think about the mistakes we Democrats made in running against Nixon during the Vietnam era. The parallels are clear: we were mired in an ill-considered war and by the seventies we had a corrupt and out of control Republican administration trampling on American civil rights and doing anything and everything it could to maintain power. And we let them get away with it.

    So let’s consider why the Democrats lost twice to an unappealing and obvious crook like Richard Nixon. In 1968 we had two inspirational outsider candidates in Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, and an establishment candidate in Hubert Humphrey (a great man on social issues, but he supported the war). Of course Kennedy got assassinated and McCarthy lost at the turbulent Chicago convention. When the general election came around, many of the liberals and young people who had been inspired by McCarthy and Kennedy stayed home in disgust and we got Nixon. And the war dragged on.

    By 1972 Nixon had not only the war to defend, but the beginning of the Watergate scandals. The left wasn’t ready to take no for an answer. We nominated George McGovern (a liberal war hero who promised peace) and Nixon played the fear card better than Karl Rove ever could and we got beat in a landslide. And the war dragged on.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I was a little hippie kid who “got clean for Gene” McCarthy, and I worked my butt off in the McGovern campaign. I think either of those fine men would have made far better Presidents than Nixon, and I don’t see how anyone who reads history can think otherwise. But we lost. And because we lost, thousands more died in a foolish war. We can’t afford to let history repeat itself.

    I believe that either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee. I believe either of them can win the general election. I believe either of them can be a great American President. But if their supporters tear each other to pieces, if the Clinton people paint Obama as a naive fool (which he isn’t) and the Obama people paint Clinton as a corporate tool (which she isn’t), it just increases the chance that we’ll end up with Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani in the White House. And the war will drag on.

    August 19, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. Frank, Hartford CT

    A Clinton Democratic nomination will get put a Republican in the white house. An Obama nomination puts Obama in the White House. There are two many people that really dislike Clinton. If she gets the nomination, you will see many more people voting to keep her out.

    August 19, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. Randy, VA

    Obama is done, stick a fook in him. Hilary quickly stuck the blade in his back. He was a flawed canidate from the start. All flash, but no dash.

    August 19, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. sandy madden

    I think that it is important for obama to appear at the debates because people who will not have an opportunity to see him in person can watch it and draw their own conclusions based on how well he does in the debate

    August 19, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Marsha, Portland, OR

    Joe –

    Actually Senator Clinton has been a Professor as well, a Senator, a President's wife which involved her meeting with numerous heads of foreign countries, a Governor's wife while holding down a job as a lawyer the entire time, like, she has also worked on Community organizing projects for children's rights, as well as headed up numerous committees on children's rights, education, and healthcare, and she worked on the Nixon impeachment campaign, and worked on other political campaigns.

    She's actually quite accomplished, if you'd take the time to learn about her other than making assumptions.

    August 19, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. E. C., Houston, Texas

    Hillary's Poll Numbers should be examined and questioned. Don't know IF any great percentage 'lead' should be believed. These numbers can easily be crafted to fool the public. What the Public has seen is a Very Sharp Rise in Hillary's Polls......WHY, all at once? Don't believe it.

    August 19, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    "Evan Esteves-

    You, my friend are what is wrong with this country. This is not a sporting event. You do not root for your home team and hope the away team messes up. If the away team (in this case for you, the Republicans)mess up, then our country is messed up. I bet you are hoping we continue to hear bad things out of Iraq so that your team wins the White House. You are that blind citizen who votes "D" all the way down, without any idea of what people stand for or believe. And by the way, the President is not all powerful. There is something called the Congress. They have a good amount of say in what happens. It seems to me, many Democrats during the Clinton administration blamed alot on Congress then. Now, they are blame free. Very interesting. As a citizen of the US, we should all be hoping that we find the best candidate that can put our country back on track. When are we going to start to realize that in the grand scheme of things, we should be rooting for a successful political system!

    Posted By JB Boston MA : August 19, 2007 11:06 am"

    No you my friend are what's wrong with this country. You say I vote "D" all the way down the ticket is inaccurate. I voted for Charlie Crist, the Republican Governor of my state in the last election because I thought he offered the best opportunity for progress in my state. Even more incorrect and rather distasteful was for you to say that I hope we lose in Iraq. I stopped reading what you wrote after I read that. I lost two of my best friends who served in the marines during this war. Don't ever question my support for my country or the soldiers who put their life on the line for this country. You have absolutely no right to question me on that. You are way off base with that remark.

    August 19, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    Clinton is so two faced. She's said almost exactly the same thing Obama has said. I feel every debate she just stands there binding her time saying as little as possible to not open herself up to either her real views or attack.

    Obama is actually out there swinging. He's so absolutely right that the time for posturing and fear mongering is over. Look at what Clinton said, "I believe we face the most dangerous time of any president…" She's playing off fear in the same way Bush does. That's so pathetic. Things have always and will always be dangerous. She knows this and yet she goes for the quick and easy soundbite while Obama actually shoots to the heart of the problem, which is that America can never afford to be isolationist and consumed by its own paranoia and fear.

    Hillary is truly becoming the "fear" candidate, even as Obama becomes the candidate of reason and shows that the true experience he has is real world experience, social experience. Not only is he the strongest leader on the stage, he's the most well rounded. He admitted what the other candidates have said before the campaign, that he'd go into Pakistan to get Bin Laden. The others were too scared to stick to their own words.

    Obama represents the best hope we have for the future. He's current. Hillary, frankly, is a relic of the past, still living in the cold war.

    Obama won the debate today hands down, as he does every debate. But I agree with his campaign that he should limit the debates to only the sanctioned ones, because none of these politicians are accomplishing anything other than the same usual soundbites at these debates. I'm hearing the same comments about the same conversations over and over. Only Obama is trying to bring some fresh air to the debate and he can do that in longer discussions and town hall environments with real people.

    The last crowd that can tell anything like it is is a bunch of politicians on the stage.

    Obama 08.
    Posted By Lance, Monrovia, CA : August 19, 2007 3:12 pm

    August 19, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Leonardo, Miami FL

    I am so impressed that his team has realized that since noone knows him in the country, and we are about 4 months from the reality check, that he needs to stop wasting time on debates. Well, how many people does he get to address at a time on a debate compare to visits and meeting voters face-to-face?

    This world is full of excuses and since it has been clear that everytime he opens his mouth on a debate, interview or in front of a camera he digs his hole deeper, he needs to get out of the camera A.S.A.P at least to maintain his dignity.

    It is such a shame he didn't wait one or two more terms, learn, understand what would have been required and then clean the house in 2012 or 2016.

    I am 100% Democrat and think we are missing the chance to have had him in office for sure by him campaigning too early in his political career. Just because we think the democrat nominee will win in 2008 he saw as the chance.

    He should have waited.

    August 19, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. JB Boston, MA

    Evan Esteves-

    Well, as far as voting for someone other than a Democrat, I am impressed. One exception to the rule, I have misspoke. Now for the meat of your response. Recently, a notable Democratic Representative was asked if good news comes from Petraeus in September, what will that change. His response, "We are in deep trouble". The "we" in this sentence is defined as Democrats. I was implying that was your mentality. Nothing more than that. By the way, it was Rep. Jim Clyburn. I never accused you of hoping that American soldiers die. If you read my note as something other than that, then I apologize for not being specific. I am confident however, that you do root against Republicans, hoping that they mess up, so that your beloved party can control. I repeat, this is not a sporting event. It is our lives!

    PS- I am sorry to hear about your friends. It is truly sad to see so many die for most likely, after withdrawal. . . nothing.

    August 19, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. VanReuter NY NY

    Lance- You're either a plant, or just a simple-minded cheer-leader. From your latest;

    "Clinton is so two faced".

    "Hillary is truly becoming the "fear" candidate, even as Obama becomes the candidate of reason and shows that the true experience he has is real world experience, social experience. Not only is he the strongest leader on the stage, he's the most well rounded."

    "Obama represents the best hope we have for the future. He's current. Hillary, frankly, is a relic of the past, still living in the cold war."

    "Obama won the debate today hands down, as he does every debate."

    Maybe you really believe the things you post, maybe you're getting something for posting them. Either way, your rhetoric is too pro-Obama in every way, to be taken as serious political thought. Obama has not won every debate hands-down, or otherwise, and no reasonable person, Obama supporter or not, would agree with that statement. It exposes your inability to consider any information that doesn't support your pre-conceived beliefs.

    Obama has the same Washington insiders in his campaign that everyone else has in theirs, he gets his money from the same places the others do, his voting record on the Iraq war, since his election to the senate is the same as Senator Clinton's, with only one exception. There is little to distinguish him in his actual political career, where, without exception, he is the least experienced in national politics of the candidates. He is a fine man with a compelling personal story, and is a welcome addition to the political scene. He is very much like his major rivals in the campaign, in policies and positions on the issues, most of the democratic candidates are similar, but he is less seasoned, untested, and unproven on the national stage. Perhaps the campaign will transform him into the person you so fervently believe him to be, but as things stand, he is not, and your praise of Obama, and denigration of Senator Clinton and the rest of the field, is at best, overzealousness.

    Van

    August 19, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Brad - Dixon, CA

    Obama is limiting his future televised appearances because he knows it is hurting his campaign. Peoeple are starting to catch on to his college-student-aged rhetoric and see him for the well spoken 19 year old he really is.

    August 19, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  25. Terry, Milford CT

    So Barack Obama wants to spend more time talking to people than to cameras.

    How is that bad for the voters?

    Smart decision.

    August 19, 2007 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
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