Friday, Hillary Clinton held a conference call with her blog supporters, and slammed Barack Obama for ducking a TV debate in Oregon:
"I'm calling you from Oregon … I'll end up tonight doing a broadcast town hall. Both Senator Obama and I were invited. He declined. He refuses to debate me anymore. He refuses to really stand side-by-side with me and have to talk about the issues, answer tough questions. I think that it's been a real disservice to the people here in Oregon and the other states where he has not been willing to debate. So when the TV station offered us both 30 minutes, I accepted, and when he refused, they offered me the whole hour. So I'll be doing a town hall with undecided voters and answering their questions, as I have throughout this campaign.
It has been a month since Obama and Hillary debated in Philadelphia, generally viewed as debacle for Obama. Since then, Hillary's won three states (Pennsylvania, Indiana and West Virginia) to Obama's one (North Carolina). Anyone familiar with campaign tactics knows that accusing one's opponent of being afraid to debate can be effective.
Polls show Obama leading by 15 points in Oregon, but to allow Hillary a full hour of free, uninterrupted and unanswered TV time -- thereby also giving her the chance to deploy the "ducking debate" accusation against him -- is still dangerous.
(Pro-Hillary blogger Taylor Marsh has full audio of the conference call.)