The Barack and Hilary Show Coming to Town?

A presidential debate in little old Bend, Oregon? It could actually happen - although we have to say it's a long shot.

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A presidential debate in little old Bend, Oregon? It could actually happen - although we have to say it's a long shot.


With the nomination still undecided Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are pushing hard in Oregon, with Clinton - who's trailing here according to the polls - seeming to push a little harder. She's calling for two debates in the state, one of them focusing specifically on rural issues.

A Clinton spokesperson told The EYE that Bend might be a pretty good location for that one.

"We're certainly open to the idea," said Julie Edwards, communications director for the Oregon Clinton campaign. "It would make a lot of sense to have the debate on rural issues in the more rural part of the state rather than the Willamette Valley. Bend would be a great place for that."

The Obama camp has been cool to the debate proposal so far - probably no surprise considering how Obama was mauled in the Pennsylvania debate, not only by Clinton but by ABC-TV moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos.

Obama's people "have suggested there have been enough debates, to which I would respond there haven't been any in the Pacific Northwest," Edwards said. "We've got some different issues up here."

Clinton's trying to pressure Obama to agree to debate by asking Oregonians to sign an on-line petition. She's also hoping to score points by publishing something called "The Oregon Compact." It addresses 11 different issues, many of them with a green tint, such as protecting wild salmon runs, protecting old growth forests and "supporting Oregon on its path to energy independence."

Edwards said the Clinton campaign is flexible about the timing and locations of the debates, although it would prefer to hold at least one before ballots are mailed out a week from now. "We just want to make these debates happen," she said.

But making any more debates happen could be tough; the conventional wisdom is that at this point, more debates could only hurt Obama. As Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page wrote, "when you consider the rising risks that televised debates pose in the age of YouTube, especially for front-runners, we'll be lucky to see any more presidential debates at all."

Well, maybe "lucky" isn't the best word for it.

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