Sunday, June 13, 2004

The Obama/Ryan Debates? 

As far as I know, these types of "challenges" are NEVER, EVER accepted. If there's a counter-example, I would love to know it. In any event, a letter from Barack Obama to Jack!
June 13, 2004

Mr. Jack Ryan
118 N. Clinton St., Suite 305
Chicago, IL 60661

Dear Jack:

A century and a half ago, two Senate candidates from Illinois set an admirable standard for campaigning with a series of debates that captivated the attention of the entire nation.

While America today may not be facing the kind of fundamental issues that dominated the Lincoln-Douglas debates, we do face many great challenges, and how we meet them will define our future.

To do these issues justice, we owe the people of Illinois more than glib TV ads and rehearsed sound-bites. We owe them a serious, thoughtful discussion about where we would lead as their United States Senator.

That is why I am proposing a series of six debates across our state, including four outside the Chicago media market, so that voters throughout Illinois will have the chance to see and hear us offer our competing ideas and visions for the future.

I suggest that at least three of these debates be limited to major subject areas, such as jobs and the economy; health care and education; and foreign policy and our approaches to the threat of terrorism. By doing so, we will guarantee a fuller discussion of these important issues, and give voters a real sense about where we each stand.

Moreover, I suggest that we make these debates as constructive as possible by embracing an open format, which will allow us each the latitude to address these important issues in depth and engage in true dialogue. We should also incorporate a Town Hall format for some or all of these debates, so that citizens have the opportunity to ask questions.

Finally, I propose that we begin these debates as early as possible with two in August, one in September, and three in October -- rather than cramming them all into the final weeks of the campaign. This will give the people of Illinois more time to fully consider their choices.

I hope you will accept this proposal and that representatives from our campaigns can meet in the very near future to work out the details.

In an era when Americans are rightfully skeptical about the quality of our politics, let us set an example Illinoisans can be proud of and give them the kind of campaign they deserve.

I look forward to your reply.

Barack Obama
Jack! would need a lot (and I mean a LOT) of prep to do this.

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