April 18th, 2008
07:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton accepts Indiana debate invitation

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Hillary Clinton accepted an invitation Friday to debate Barack Obama in Indiana ahead of the state’s May 6 primary, at an event sponsored by the Indiana Debate Commission, CNN and PBS.

As of Friday, Obama had not committed to participate in the debate.

A senior Clinton aide said the New York senator would appear at the debate on April 24, two days after the Pennsylvania primary. The commission offered April 24 as one possible date for the event, but noted in the invitations sent to Clinton and Obama that “we can work with you on the dates.”

“We are looking forward to a good debate in Indiana,” said Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s communications director. “We hope that Senator Obama’s poor performance in Philadelphia does not dissuade him from doing future debates.”

Wolfson was critiquing Obama’s performance Wednesday night when the two Democratic presidential hopefuls squared off in Philadelphia at a debate televised on ABC.

A senior Obama aide said that no decision has been made whether or not the Illinois senator will accept the Indiana invitation.

“There have been 21 Democratic debates and four one-on-one debates with Senator Clinton, all televised nationally,” said Bill Burton, Obama’s communications director. “Our focus will be on meeting with voters in Indiana and hearing directly from them. We will make a decision about debates shortly.”

In the latest CNN Pennsylvania Poll of Polls, Obama is trailing Clinton by five points - four days before that state’s primary. Obama leads Clinton in the race for delegates as well as the overall popular vote.

In Indiana, there has not been enough polling for a CNN Indiana Poll of Polls. But a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll showed that Obama had a five point lead over Clinton, although the survey had a four point margin of error.

The commission is a consortium of Indiana television stations and newspapers. The debate would air live nationally on CNN and PBS and on public television stations statewide, and made available to every commercial broadcast station in Indiana.

In addition to the media organizations, the commission is comprised of citizen groups, including the League of Women Voters of Indiana and the Indiana Coalition for Open Government.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (284 Responses)
  1. mary

    Wolfson and Hillary again don't forget your 'rendez-vous 'april 25.

    April 18, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. Venus

    21 debates and counting! Well – if Hillary is as good as she thinks she is – how come she is losing? Face it Hillary's supporters – you can get on the Obama Train or Mc Cain. If you get on Mc Cain's – well Obama is going to be the next president!

    April 18, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  3. North Carolina

    Of course he won't accept. Even a cursory relation in that last debate with the grilling Sen. Clinton got for the first 20 or so proved too much for cry-baby Obama. Too bad it took 20-some for the moderators to demand he start answering some real questions. As for his policy we know what that is: "I agree completely with Sen. Clinton..."

    April 18, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. Mary

    Well, if he won't show, tell them to just play the speech she gave to the American Society of Newspaper Editors this week. That definitely shows what kind of president she will be. It is available on CSPAN.ORG.

    April 18, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. Jack in ND

    Debates, or I should say "debates", are nothing but theatrics. They're absolutely useless. Wednesday proved that better than anything.

    April 18, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  6. miker

    Excuse me, but I thought Obama's answers at the abc/nationalenquirer debate were more thoughtful and mature than Hillary's. I don't believe everyone is drinking from the kool-ade she is handing out about "my proven history of results", nor how she "won" the debate.

    April 18, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  7. dave

    for the voters of Indiana, I would strongly encourage both obama and HRC to debate – – altho obama might have some bad feelings regarding the recent abc debate in PENN earlier this week, he should put those aside so that the voters in indiana might have an opportunity to see the two demo candidates debate the issues.....

    April 18, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  8. Roger

    “We are looking forward to a good debate in Indiana,” said Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s communications director. “We hope that Senator Obama’s poor performance in Philadelphia does not dissuade him from doing future debates.”
    Wolfson is such a dunce. As a matter of fact considering (maybe preplanned) the hatchet job ABC did on him I thought Obama did a very good job. Ask wolfson about Hillary's 58% Dis-approval ratilng. Im sure Wolfson has a lot to do with it. Obama is gaining on her in Pa to single digits and will win NCV. Bye, Hillary.

    April 18, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. Wow

    So, What is ti she wants to waste time on now?

    hope they can save the viewers of of the grief again. Maybe this time she will be blaming him for his neighbours!!

    OBAMA 08!

    April 18, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. Lynn D

    Guys, if Senator Obama refuses to debate it will indicate to me that he is afraid to debate Senator Clinton one on one. There may have been 21 debates but most were not one on one. Senator Clinton's acceptance shows courage. She has agreed to debate many times even though she too has been given a rough time on previous debates. Senator Obama needs to agree to debate in order to prove that he can take whatever comes his way. Either put up or shut up.

    April 18, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. Chris in Va.

    Hillary Clinton is irrelevant. I am ready to move on to the Obama/McCain debates.

    P.S. Who would Hillary choose as moderators this time, Bill and Chelsea?

    April 18, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  12. Ann California

    I think we have had enough debating. I think Senator Obama has the right idea in going from town to town letting the citizens meet him and discussing the issues directly with them. Twenty- one debates I think are plenty.

    April 18, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. alice2

    WHY ??? NO, NOT ANOTHER WASTE OF AIR TIME. The last debate took 45-50 min. before they even asked an important question. We have had enough debates. 21 ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  14. ARGH!!!!!

    if he really is the best thing for our country, and if it's all over because hillary just can't win, then what does Obama have to loose? What are you Obama supporters afraid of? You should embrace this as yet another opportunity for your candidate to reach out and unite the country...but no, instead you whine and complain, and insult, and threaten...

    April 18, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  15. Bushwhacked

    Why should he want to debate her again after the last one? That was total was of time - his, hers and MINE!

    For those of you who says he doesn't talk specifics, have you ever actually listened to an entire campaign speech of his, rather than sound bites? I have, and I can tell you he does speak in specifics and they are impressive.

    I'm disgusted with the entire primary season but will see it through until we in Oregon get to vote next month. Four years from now I vote for a national primary and to do away with the conventions and electoral college. Let the people vote directly, and let their votes count.

    Eugene, OR

    April 18, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  16. Paul

    Obama has already answered the "hard" (a.k.a. fluffy BS) questions about his acquaintances and what's on his label. Anyone who wants to know his policy positions can go read them on his website. If Hillary wants to keep bringing up garbage about Obama's nonexistent relationship to Louis Farrakan and other nonsense, she can do it on her own. If she wants to harp on him for being elitist, she should go talk to the people he has worked beside in South Chicago... or the people in the small states that she doesn't seem to think are important. I'm sure she can find plenty of folks who would be happpy to have a debate with her.

    Obama '08

    April 18, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  17. beyonce pride

    HILLARY HILLARY the chant in my heart.... obama is tearing the country apart... I am so glad some people aren't stupid and can smell the burnt popcorn that is Obama. He lies so much that I can't tell when to believe him. I think he will ruin this country and thats why so many foreign leaders like him, they want to see America fail.

    Oh well.. Hillary proved who was more capable of standing toe to toe with John Mccain in a debate. Boo obama, sorry you can't give a speech on race written by a "TYPICAL WHITE PERSON".

    April 18, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  18. just a thought

    Clinton just got 3 superdelegate endorcements today. WHY didn't you report her GREAT NEWs......

    I am sure Obama won't accept but its sad because the REP will be much worse as far as competition goes and he needs all the practice he can get..

    Wolf said something today on the Situation room about Obama supporters being mad. Well it works both ways and he can't get to the whitehouse without Clinton supporters and that is a fact..... I know McCain backers aren't going to swing his way so how will he make it on only 50% of the dem vote???????????

    April 18, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. Susan MO

    Enough already no more debates

    April 18, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  20. Sue

    Go Hillary....debates are good. Ask Obama about his comment. Lets get to the issues and see who can answer immediately. Obama has to think about everything and lets Hillary talk then follows what she says. Also, Hillary got some endorsements today. Interesting we have not heard about them on the news. I gotta tell you...the press is so biased. If Obama thinks it is bad now he has no clue what an election is all about. He complained about Hillary whinning after a debate and then he complains. Hillary got ALL the tough questions at other debates and she answered right away without hesitation. This is the real world of politics and it is a constant roller coaster ride and it is not just about giving speeches. It is a difficult, long and truly nasty process. Hillary has had her life gone through over and over for many years, so she knows. Obama thinks he can just talk but that is not what an election is about. Go Hillary!!!

    April 18, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. Joe

    Yeah, Hillary take another shot of the devil's whiskey.

    April 18, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  22. Angela

    Obama should accept, if only to work on his debate skills – you don't think he will have to debate John McCain in the general if he is the nominee?

    He gives a great speech, but clearly cannot handle direct questions....

    April 18, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  23. Carol

    She wants free media because she can't afford to pay for it. She's in a lot of debt. Let's see how much time they spend on the "real" issues. Yawn...I heard Obam's kindergarden teachers' cousin lived next door to someone who was convicted of tax evasion and donated $10 to his campaign. At the next debate ask him to reject and denounce this despicable person. Enough already!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  24. James

    Everyone check this headline:

    Clinton Slams Democratic Activists At Private Fundraiser

    The Huffington Post.

    She has been exposed.

    April 18, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. Kayln

    Hillary..I am your supporter.

    Pls do not go for another debate. You look mean and for some reason- you do not come out well after the debate.


    April 18, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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