On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough asked, "Any news out of the debate yesterday other than Barack Obama's people are saying, 'We don't want to debate anymore'?" In fact, Obama's campaign has said he will participate in eight more debates in 2007 but will not participate in any other debates beyond those eight during that period.
Discussing the August 19 Democratic presidential debate with Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington during MSNBC's Morning Joe on August 20, host Joe Scarborough asked, "Any news out of the debate yesterday other than [Sen.] Barack Obama's [D-IL] people are saying, 'We don't want to debate anymore'?" Obama's campaign, however, has not said that Obama "do[es]n't want to debate anymore." Rather, in an August 18 statement, campaign manager David Plouffe wrote that Obama has committed to participating in eight more debates in 2007, but will not participate in any other debates beyond those eight during that period and is "unlikely to accept many" invitations to additional candidate forums, citing the need to "balance the important role of debates" while "run[ning] a campaign true to the bottom up movement for change that propelled Barack into this race."
As we head into the fall, the campaign is entering a new more engaged phase that will give voters an even greater sense of Barack's message of change and require the campaign to make decisions that balance the important role of debates and maximize time to run the kind of campaign we need to.
So far, Barack has attended seven Democratic debates and nineteen candidate forums. There are five remaining sanctioned DNC debates, which we are committed to attend and two Iowa debates normally held in January, which are being held in December, which we are also committed to attend. We will also be attending the Univision debate in Florida on September 9. This means that by the end of this year, Obama will have participated in a total of 15 Democratic debates.
Therefore, after this week, we will only be attending the five DNC debates through the sanctioning period of December 10, Univision, and the two Iowa debates previously mentioned. Candidate forums - where candidates appear sequentially will be considered, but we are unlikely to accept many of these. Instead, Barack will spend his time answering questions directly from voters in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and elsewhere. We simply cannot continue to hopscotch from forum to forum and run a campaign true to the bottom up movement for change that propelled Barack into this race.
After the sanctioning period, there will undoubtedly be a large number of debates scheduled in the early states and in February 5 states. We will make decisions on those as we get closer, but will clearly be doing a healthy number of debates after the sanctioning period.
From the August 20 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
SCARBOROUGH: Let's go from Utah to the Democratic debate. Any news out of the debate yesterday other than Barack Obama's people are saying, "We don't want to debate anymore"?
HUFFINGTON: Well, they said that before, but Barack actually did very well in the debate. I think that he started very well with his joke -- about the bumper rides in the Iowa State Fair, kind of making fun of all this talk about him being naïve and inexperienced.
HUFFINGTON: And he seemed much more relaxed and more authoritative. And, you know, he was making a very good point about leveling with the American people. That, I think, was what came out so clearly. While Hillary Clinton continued about what Barack called "strategic ambiguity" with the American people, he said, "Let's have some change here. Let's be honest and direct with the American people when it comes to the country's foreign policy," and that, I think, came across very well.