Clinton’s Newest Buzzword: Debate

Apr 25, 2008 12:32pm

ABC News’ Eloise Harper Reports: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has been focused on two themes in the days since the Pennsylvania primary: an urgent plea for voters to donate to her campaign via the official website and calling for another debate.

As the campaign marches on, Clinton has mentioned the need for a debate with Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., twice on Friday morning during a speech she gave in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and once on Thursday evening while stumping in Ashville and Fayetteville, North Carolina.

While in Jacksonville, Clinton took several minutes to talk about her ad campaign and managed to work in a debate challenge to Obama. She told voters to ask her anything – even "ask why Senator Obama won’t debate me."

"While Senator Clinton is focused on debating debates — except, of course, for the one in North Carolina that Senator Obama accepted and she didn’t or the previous 20-plus debates they’ve already had — Senator Obama is focused on finding real solutions for our families like making energy more affordable and securing our energy independence. The difference in this election couldn’t be more clear," Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan told ABC News.

North Carolina is yet another state where jobs and health care are huge priorities to voters, and yet they were topics that were saved for last.

Even when she was in Indiana on Wednesday, Clinton took out time to make a debate challenge to her Democratic opponent.

Not since the famous line where she shamed Obama and then said "Meet me in Ohio. Let’s have a debate about your tactics!" have we seen this kind of push from Clinton to put the boxing gloves back on.

A Democratic debate was scheduled in North Carolina for April 27, but debate sponsors cancelled the event last week. North Carolina Democratic Party officials announced that "time constraints and logistical issues associated with such a large, national event" were to blame.

Another reason: the tone and the backlash of the previous ABC News debate, party officials said.

This had sparked a fury of harsh, accusing statements between the two Democratic contenders because at the time, Clinton was committed to participating in the debate but Obama had not confirmed.

It’s clear Clinton believes her performance in the ABC News debate leading up to the Pennsylvania primary last week put her over the edge in the Keystone state and she’s hoping for a repeat performance in North Carolina — an upcoming primary where Clinton admits she faces an "uphill battle."

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