News & Politics

Clinton Called For More Debates in 2008; Now She's Dodging Them

Ducking debate has been a theme in Clinton's political career.

The Democratic National Committee has been under fire for scheduling just six debates this primary season, a historical low for a presidential season. Contender Bernie Sanders has called for more debates, and outside advocacy groups like Credo Action have joined his call.

One campaign that has refused to join the call for additional debates is Hillary Clinton's, leading some to claim that the DNC is effectively stacking the deck in favor of her.

Clinton sang a very different tune back in 2008. As she began to lose to the insurgent Barack Obama campaign, her campaign sent a letter to Obama manager David Plouffe requesting more debates:

Sen. Hillary Clinton called for a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate with no moderator against her rival, Sen. Barack Obama, who says no more debates are needed before the May primaries. […] "I'm offering Sen. Obama a chance to debate me one-on-one, no moderators. ... Just the two of us going for 90 minutes, asking and answering questions; we'll set whatever rules seem fair," she said.

"I think that it would give the people of Indiana and I assume a few Americans might tune in because nearly 11 million watched the Philadelphia debate. And I think they would love seeing t hat kind of debate and discussion. Remember, that's what happened during the Lincoln-Douglas debates," she added.

Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams sent a letter to Obama campaign manager David Plouffe on Saturday asking for another debate. "I have no doubt that Sen. Obama, who hails from that great state, understands how valuable and vital these national conversations were to the heart of America. ... If we debate, Americans will come," Williams wrote.

As Obama noted in his response to the Clinton campaign, the Democrats had 21 debates by that point, which he used to justify not having another debate until the next primary. This time, the Democrats have had zero debates, and Clinton apparently does not want more than the six scheduled to start in October.

Zaid Jilani is an AlterNet staff writer. Follow @zaidjilani on Twitter.

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