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Obamarama - “Debate” debate; PACs; Logistics; Saturday

Friday, Feb 9, 2007

Dan Conley at Political Insider muses about Obama’s decision to not participate in the presidential campaign’s first “debate” [which isn’t really a debate, but more on that below]…

The Obama campaign’s decision to skip the first Presidential debate will undoubtedly add fuel to the argument that the first-term Illinois Senator is not ready for prime time. However, given the importance of putting up a big first quarter fundraising number, it’s probably a smart move on the campaign’s part.

Imagine if Obama had a sub-par performance in the first debate. That would be all the Clinton campaign would need to deflate Obama expectations among major funders and push them towards giving to them (and only them.)

By staying away, Obama preserves some mystique and delays his first test … perhaps until the first quarter is complete. By then, he’ll have time for lots of mock debates and might even have a chance to lower expectations. After all, someone this allergic to debating can’t be all that good at it, can he?

Despite what follows immediately below, that’s an excellent point. I wasn’t hugely impressed with Obama’s debates with Keyes. Among other things, Obama said “uh” hundreds (it seemed like thousands) of times during the face-offs and it drove me to distraction. [Oct. 12 debate transcript is here, audio is here]

* However, as The Hotline’s blog notes, it’s not an actual debate. [All emphasis in original.]

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN NEVADA … IS NOT A DEBATE. The candidates will not appear on stage at the same time.

So, in typical DC press corps fashion, we are treated to a debate about a debate that isn’t really even a debate.

* Lynn Sweet continues her look at the problems Obama created by refusing to take PAC and lobbyist money.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) used campaign donations generated by PACs and lobbyists to bankroll the birth of his White House bid — though he’s banning that money for his presidential 2008 race. Obama’s conversion to a laudable higher standard does not negate that money from sources he now disdains helped paved the way for his kickoff in Springfield on Saturday.

* And the SJ-R takes a look at street closures and other logistics issues for Saturday’s event.

Main street closures will include:

Fifth and Sixth streets between Monroe and Jefferson streets. Washington Street between Fifth and Sixth streets.

Washington Street between Seventh and Ninth streets will also have lane reductions to provide parking for tour buses. Other lane reductions or street closings also are possible, but downtown is expected to be back to normal by about 1 p.m.

City parking ramps and some other downtown lots will be open for public parking. The ramp at Fourth and Washington streets will be available for parking for people with disabilities. A drop-off point for the disabled has been established at Fifth and Washington streets, which should be accessed from Jefferson Street to the north. A special-needs viewing area has been established on the grounds of the event.

* A map of street closures, parking, etc. can be found here. [pdf file]

* Don’t forget, I’ll be liveblogging the event for The Hotline’s blog on Saturday and cross-posting here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - VanillaMan - Friday, Feb 9, 07 @ 10:00 am:

    It sucks to be a candidate, doesn’t it? First off, Obama hasn’t ran before - so it seems he has to have done a little more homework before now. This is no big surprise, and completely understandable.

    The debate is unimportant. It is for second tier candidates. It is for Vilsack and others who need exposure. Obama is suffering from overexposure instead. He can cool his jets and use TV when and where he chooses. It is important to not burn out. We have such a long time before the first votes, so there is no reason to stand under those hot lights and wilt at this time.

    He needs a better story on his campaign contributions. He either needs to return what he has taken from sources he now considers tainted, or create a really good reason to keep it. He should take the hit now and return it and make news doing it. It would look good.

    I don’t like all this campaign coverage. There are too many candidates. That said, it is a new world out there, and perhaps this is how presidential campaigns will be for a generation.

    Thats sucks too, doesn’t it?

  2. - anon - Friday, Feb 9, 07 @ 12:00 pm:

    does anyone know if the obama announcement will be TV anywhere (live)? Looking at cspan’s schedule, it doesn’t appear to be listed.

  3. - Establishment Republican - Friday, Feb 9, 07 @ 2:14 pm:

    I would bet heavily that CSPAN will air it live, as will Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC all, provided that Anna Nicole Smith does not rise from the dead and announce her candidacy. Then, the cable networks might feel obliged to cover that.

  4. - Citizen A - Friday, Feb 9, 07 @ 3:22 pm:

    I heard that there were satellite trucks from Switzerland, France, etc. as well as CNN and others of a domestic nature. My guess is unbelievably wide and intense coverage. The international flavor is interesting - other than Reuters - I don’t recall that level of interest in candidates before ???

  5. - Haha - Friday, Feb 9, 07 @ 4:01 pm:

    Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod!

    George Clooney and Matt Damon!

    here…in Springfield! I can’t wait…I just can’t! So much excitement!

  6. - 1047 - Friday, Feb 9, 07 @ 4:42 pm:

    George Clooney and Matt Damon? The Good German and the Good Shepherd? The Good German Shepherd! Awesome!

  7. - Rick - Friday, Feb 9, 07 @ 4:57 pm:

    Obama has yet to speak on where he is on issues. So far he has walked along with the majority in congress. It is time to hear specifics from this man.

  8. - Citizen A - Friday, Feb 9, 07 @ 5:16 pm:

    Rick, I believe you can get a preview if you listen and/or remember what Durbin, Teddy K, Harry Reid, and Pelosi have stated and stand for. Way left of center - so much so as to be downright unacceptable to any rational thinker, regardless of affiliation. If his speech goes past 15 minutes he will be on borrowed fame.

  9. - Disgusted - Friday, Feb 9, 07 @ 8:52 pm:

    I’m getting the He– out of Dodge tomorrow. This dog and pony show doesn’t impress me.

  10. - NoGiftsPlease - Sunday, Feb 11, 07 @ 11:03 am:

    I’m suppose I’m in the minority, but I have trouble judging a person’s intellectual skills based on debate skills. There are many excellent people who’s ability to respond in a “real time” format isn’t really very good. It’s a little like expecting Shakespeare to write a play in real time in front of an audience. He has the skill and intellect to write a fabulous play, but to do that you really need time, thoughtfulness, editing and rewriting. Some of the most skilled people I know have trouble expressing themselves well verbally, and some of the most convincing debators are blow-hards skillfully asserting truths that are not based on facts or are based on a twisting of some piece of information. Fact-checking in debate format is also difficult and is relegated to page 5 of the newspaper. I think an important aspect of a debate occurs not during the debate itself, but in the review and comparison of what has been said to reality.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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