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. dave

    regarding the comment about the first 45 minutes of this week's debate on abc being a waste of time or focusing too much on unimportant issues, i think that important issues were raised....
    1. for HRC, the question on Bosnia goes to the issue of credibility and being a believable candidate,,,, and holding on for far too long to something which was a big ""fib"" long after the evidence began to come out that it was not true about taking sniper fire....
    2. for obama, the question on ayres (weather underground terrorist) was important because it goes to a person's judgment and character in being either friends with, or friendly with, a self proclaimed terrorist who said his one regret is not setting more bombs....
    so, yes, the first 45 minutes were very important in getting a better grasp and understanding of both candidates' credibility, truthfulness (or lack of it), judgment, character, etc......
    and they should both debate in indiana..... their iraq positions are quite similar, as are their health care and tax positions,,, so to a very large degree, questions on their judgment, character and truthfulness are exceedingly important for voters to know and understand..... and i say this as a conservative repub....

    April 18, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  2. John Smith

    Are we going to expect each state to call for a debate during the general election?

    Are we going to hear "anything new" from these candidates?

    Are we going to be expecting our president to be a great debater, each month, with poor policies for this nation?

    I think the people of Indianna should say NO to this useless event.

    Debates, if any, should now be between Dems and Republicans. Like little kids, the Dems are taking risks as the Republicans are taking "good notes". This is how the Republicans always outfox the Dems. Mccain is not out there still debating.

    Obama, please put the word out there: "no more debates, period"

    April 18, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  3. stiney9

    Anything for free television time. I guess when you are desperate for funds, you will agree to anything. Spare us another policy-less debate.
    OBAMA 08!

    April 18, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  4. Newman

    Debate what, Hillary? Obama is through with you, and has dusted off his shoulders. Your ship will be sunk on Tuesday! All hail, our 44th president, Barack Obama! There will be no debate in Indiana.

    April 18, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  5. NickNas

    OLD news and Obama has already turned it down. The Man is not an IDIOT!! After the Gang up on ABC he isn't going to give them another chance to help Hillary.

    I wouldn't go unless I had in writing that hey would ask Hillary questions about Nafta , Cafta, 800K, Donors lists, and all of the other scandals that are RECENT! Not 40 year old BS from her past//even though it was great that Clinton had Pardoned the ones who were actuall CONVICTED.

    April 18, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  6. Rachel

    No! No! No! No more debates. I could not stomach looking at or listening to Billary for one more minute. When her face pops up on my TV I smack it!

    April 18, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  7. Water Seeks Its Own Level

    I wouldn't debate this delusional witch and her snarling dog. Wolfson's bravado would be brushed off me like the weasl he is in the same fashion Barack just did about HIllary's nonsense Wed. Let them imply what they want like the sandbox losers both are. LOL

    Hillary's the one who has something to prove or doesn't she get that she's STILL losing. LOL Let her debate Penn, Wolfson, Bill and even Charlie and Georgie. Maybe if she's lucky...John McCain might act like she's a threat instead of a "running mate." LOL

    Since only the people who want change are interessted in hearing what Sen. Obama has to say I think he should spend time with the people that matter...THE VOTERS just as he has been doing without the lights and cameras to benefit another one of Hillary's Whatever Happened To Baby Jane performances. She doesn't really want a debate and hasn't for a long while just captive subjects.

    April 18, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  8. Jack in ND

    If Obama wins PA, the whole issue will be moot.

    April 18, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. Lisa from GA

    This is just a waste of time... Hillary it is inevitable,,, give it up already.... dang i am sick of her.. thats y u have lost my respect.....ps you are fighting a lost cause...

    April 18, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  10. TX

    Hey Wolfson.....try crest toothpaste next time and floss – PLEASE. I'm sure with Hillary's great health plan you can get some dental work done.

    YUCK MOUTH!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  11. richard

    Yes, Expose more about Obama that the Obama campaign and MSM are trying to hide or water down. Americans want to know before we hire anyone to be our President.

    April 18, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  12. lin

    Obama doesn't want a debate because he been caught saying what he really thinks about white small towns which is a follow up of his speech on race where he basically blamed white people including his granma for mr.Wrights hatred. He doesn't want to answer to his dislike of the USA and the friends he has chosen like Ayers and Rezko. His denial to admit that he's met Nadhmi Auchi for example. He hopes that they will go away or try to clinch the nomination before people wake up and smell the coffee. The problem is that it's too late. A majority of americans(not democrats) are making up their minds because there is nothing he can say or spin to justify what he said. It's just wait and see what happens now It's over for Obama if not now it 'll be over in Nov. He should get out right now but his ego is so big he might go into depression.

    April 18, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. Charlotte

    Out spends her 4 to 1 and can't knock her out? He sucks at debates, I 've seen them all except the last one. I missed the best one I guess. I just figured it would be another attempt to trash Hillary. She is like the energizer bunny, she takes a licking and keeps on a ticking. What a woman!

    April 18, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  14. Klipspringer in PA

    Shame on Hillary! So this is what it has come to. This is what happens when entertainment companies (Time-Warner, Disney, et al.) own the primary "news" stations. When I want to see another dead horse beaten, I'll watch "The Godfather" one more time. Please! ¡No más!

    Obama '08 – Pennsylvania

    April 18, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  15. Ummm

    Get ready obama....ugh,ugh,ugh,um,um,ugh,um
    Obama words" you know that's the old politics of wahington that I want to change..and I want to run away from."
    Ha, what a wimp
    Wake up from the obamacoma

    April 18, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  16. Liz

    Are those "Formers" (like Bill Richardson ,Robert Reich,Nunn, and Boren) looking for a job in the White House?

    April 18, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  17. JD

    I hope Howard Wolfson's poor performance in this campaign does dissuade him from future political consulting.

    April 18, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. Meku

    IWhat debate? Hillary it is either leave with grace or lose to Obama. This is not debateable. No chance for a biased media again.

    obama nation '08,2012

    April 18, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  19. Wingit

    Maybe Obama should accept the invite. That way Hilary can explain her imperialistic plan for a military "umbrella" for our allies In the middle east. And maybe she will explain "yes, yes, yes he can win" the general while she argues no, no, no he won't win to the super delegates. Is it that she is producing all this negativeity to make Obama lose to McCain, so she can come back in 2012 to take another shot? Otherwise she will be too old in 2016 if Obama wins now.

    April 18, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. Jacqueline

    I hope the media will follow Hillary on April 23rd. She is due in court for fundraising fraud! I hope the media will report this.

    April 18, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. Sharon, Seattle

    It's still dirty old politics for the Clintons. If Obama declines the debate she'll trash him just like Wolfson hints in the statement. It'll be "Senator Obama is too 'scared' after what happened in Pennsylvania.

    No debate will make me change my mind who I'll vote for.

    April 18, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  22. Fran

    Oh, please no!!! Not another!

    Obama 08........

    April 18, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. Marc

    Yeah, if I were Obama I wouldn't want to get another beatdown either. Also, he's been crying about the first 45 min. Dude, if it had been about issues, you would have even looked worse. You are a joke.

    April 18, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  24. kevin from alaska

    Here's the difference between John Kerry and Barack Obama: Kerry wasn't a fighter.

    Obama is already hitting back - something Kerry never did - and calling it like it is: "People are tired of it." I was tired of it in 2004 and I'm tired of it now. That whole ABC "debate" made me really bitter.

    April 18, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  25. Grey

    We are SICK of debates. After 21 nationally broadcasted debates, we've all decided and will vote accordingly when it comes to our turn to vote.

    I'm sure the media needs/wants the corporate adversting money and the ratings that come with debates – but we're burnt out already.

    We don't need more trivalization of our government officials by making them the entertainment. Where is our society heading?

    We need to get to the business of solving real problems.

    We're at WAR and in Recession and could use some REAL news. NO MORE MEDIA MADNESS!

    April 18, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
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