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. Ted: Canada

    To my fellow Canadians on this blog – good stuff!
    I am from Ontario older white man – where are you guys from?

    Go Obama!

    Obama come to Canada for visit! Like to shake your hand...

    April 18, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. Alice

    These aren't debates – they're slugfests that do not benefit EITHER candidate, and only hurt the Democratic party. Thank you Senator Obama for saying "no."

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me...

    April 18, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  3. Gene

    Last debate wasn't a debate... it was an ambush... and an ambush to both candidates.

    If I were Obama... I would accept the invitation to the debate... but if by 10 minutes into the debate no one has asked a question about anything that matters.. he should excuse himself, give the moderators the finger, and walk out. That's the way to show a message to the world that you're not going to be a part of the mudslinging... that you're here to debate issues.

    April 18, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  4. Ratgurl

    Offer Obama the names of the moderators, & maybe he'll consider.

    April 18, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  5. Joyce in Florida

    The reason for debates is not stupid. The reason Senator Obama is not committing is because he will lose (again). It is time for the American people to truly see if he is viable for the most important position of our country. Sorry to say that HE IS NOT. If Senator Obama cannot commit to something as simple as another debate, how are we to know if he will commit to the American people? He only thinks about himself and what is in it for him and him ALONE. Just take Florida and Michigan for example. Also, the Texas results will not be known until after their convention this summer. Hillary Clinton is, by far, the most qualified and intelligent candidate to bring our country back to what it was before the Bush administration. It was done before and "she" will do it again. I have all the confidence in Senator Hillary Clinton. GO HILLARY 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  6. Gregory H. Brooklyn New York

    "We are choosing HOPE over fear. We're choosing unity over division and sending a powerful message that CHANGE is coming to AMERICA."~~Sen. Obama~~ We the people, need you Sir. The World need you Sir. We love you Sen. Obama. All of New York City sends their LOVE!! No more debate is needed, we've decided, HOPE is what we need.

    April 18, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |

    Okay I'm done with debates. After that joke of a debate by ABC, my blood pressure can't take any moore! Besides, she might have to explain her slaming Moveon.org. The very organization that was started to help Bill Clinton and his impeachment. This woman is some peace of work!

    April 18, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  8. annie

    Bet Obama won't do it. He is still crying about the last debate.

    April 18, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  9. MCQ

    The people have a right to vote based on constructive policies that will benefit the country.

    Senator Obama, please do not debate with this women again. So far, we the people have made our choice for the democratic nominee (Obama 08). Quite while you are ahead, let her speak out of the side of her neck; and continue to lose support.

    April 18, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  10. PA Mary

    Sen. Clinton is not afraid of challenging questions and being tested. She answers the questions she is asked and provides substantive information concerning her policies and proposals. Obama avoids all questions about himself and he never seems to give a detailed answer to any substantive question. He has been given an easy ride by the media and, after a few recent media questions about his poor judgment calls in his words and affiliations, Obama is now clearly showing how he cannot handle any in depth attention to him or his policies. Sure he is afraid of debating because people are finally seeing that he is not cut out to be president of this country at this time. He wants to keep his myth alive and he can only do that by avoiding debates and interviews. Very unpresidential.

    April 18, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  11. The American People

    No more debates!! We already know where they stand on the issues.

    The American People

    April 18, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  12. Vietnam vet for Obama!

    Of course Senator Clinton is eager to "debate" again. I t would be another–probably her last–chance to throw as much slime and innuendo as possable at Senator Obama, in the hopes that some may actually stick, and be significant enough to hurt his chances against Senator McCain.

    Considering the feeble dirtballs she's flung so far, it seems unlikely that she'll have any more success in yet another debate.

    She'd like, no doubt, to be considered an "Iron Lady" like Margaret Thatcher, but hardly has the stature or character for it, let alone the stamina. Ready for 3 am phone calls she says, tired and confused by 10 or 11 pm her husband says.

    Vietnam vet for Obama!

    April 18, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  13. Gone Fishin'

    Obama, please don't waste any more of your time debating Mrs. Clinton – a sadly delusional individual. That's a job for a mental health professional.

    April 18, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  14. Gregory H. Brooklyn New York

    "I am just very impressed with him as a man, as a lawyer, as an individual, and as someone who chose not to go to a law firm but to be a community organizer and to do something about community problems." Vernon Jordan, Obama Friend and Clinton Administration Advisor

    April 18, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  15. Jen in NH

    Hillary is a far superior debater. She is ready to president. Obama is absolutely not ready to be President. This NH voter is voting for Hillary in Nov. If Hillary is not the nominee, then I will write her name in on my ballot. I have always voted for the Democratic candidiates but if Clinton is not the nominee then in this general election I will vote her as a write-in candidiate. I am tired of the Democratic party sticking us with loser nominees. Middle America and key swing states are not going to support the liberal candidiate they need someone who is more moderate and who understands and respects their values. I am tired of my party picking the more liberal candidiate without giving consideration to who can actually win the vital swing states (Ohio, Florida, TN, AK, OK, NH, NM, MI, and PA).

    Write-in Hillary in Nov. if Obama steals this nomination.

    April 18, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  16. morrow

    I'm on the West Coast, so I watched the online version of the debate. It was interesting to watch the graph showing reaction of uncommitted voters. Hillary got poor responses a couple of times in the first part of the debate, but when they got to issues and she got the second shot at a question she usually got significantly more approval than Obama had for his response. When Clinton went first, Obama could not improve on her answer, and sometimes did not even do as well as she did on the issues.

    No wonder he's tried to change the subject to the first part of the debate (where they spent so much time because he spent so much time trying to come up with answers). I'm not surprised he is not willing to debate again. He just does not have the answers that she does. The first debates this year, once I started paying attention, were so stacked against her that SNL brought it up (before she ever mentioned it), but she generally won them anyway.

    April 18, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  17. Jagdish kothary, Canada

    let her debate ALL by herself at home with Bill / Chelsea cheering !!

    April 18, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. suv2001

    Of course, she wants another debate. So the moderators can ask Obama probing and substantive questions, like does Obama know the size and color of pastor Wright's underwear and if Wright was wearing any underwear when the pastor made those comment.

    April 18, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  19. bakersfield

    lol obama is playing you guys and it is becoming so funny

    April 18, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  20. Gone Fishin'

    Obama, please don't waste any more of your time debating Mrs. Clinton – a sadly delusional individual. That's a job for a mental health professional.

    April 18, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  21. Mark Lodes

    Oh please can we have another debate? We haven't even talked about how Barack Obama stands on the issue of paisley vs. striped vs. solid. Let's debate some more issues that we've already debated 20+ times. You are beaten Hillary. There is no shame in accepting defeat. Save yourself some shred of dignity. Don't pretend that your experience and accomplishments on Healthcare mean anything because you didn't accomplish anything, and you have already experienced defeat. Step aside so that you can stop being the fly in the face of Barack Obama. We all know that he doesn't need to be distracted in this most important election year. Further it should be known that I went door to door registering people to vote in Evansville Indiana. Your campaign office there was a desolate wasteland gathering and blowing around dusty old ways and ideas. His office was a mind boggling beehive of people and ideas all day long. In the 250 houses myself and three other volunteers went to not one was a strong enough supporter of you to say to our faces. 90% were pro-Obama. Big money cannot and will not buy you the Whitehouse this time around. You worked for Wal-Mart. You are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Change your ways.

    April 18, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  22. Susie

    Forget about a debate. There are none so blind as he who will not see. Obamniacs will never stop drinking that KoolAid. We can only hope McCain will win in November.

    April 18, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  23. FrankSmith

    Vic, can you go back to grade school to clean up your written language? It is disgusting and shameful to the rest of the world to read such a trash!

    April 18, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  24. hillaryskank on myspace

    I agree that there should be another debate provided that those of us who have already had our primaries should not be subjected to any more of that BS.

    April 18, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  25. Gregory H. Brooklyn New York

    "I think what people are most hungry for in politics right now is authenticity." ~~Sen. Barack Obama~~
    The people of America agrees!! No one wins with this kind of divisive politics. We a one country, under one flag, with one destiny .. WE ARE THE UNITED STATE OF AMERICA. I pray God continue to bless her.

    April 18, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
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