Obama declines debate invite, so Clinton will go it alone

Rather than a head-to-head debate Monday, Hillary Clinton will appear in a solo interview, without opponent Barack Obama.

Published February 8, 2008 9:26PM (EST)

Hillary Clinton's campaign has been pressing hard for more debates between its candidate and rival Barack Obama recently, but at the moment what we're mostly getting is debate about debates.

The Clinton campaign wanted one debate per week for the next month, but Obama's team wasn't willing to commit to that, and declined an invitation to what would have been the first in the series, this coming Monday. So instead, Clinton will appear alone in what's now being called a "candidate forum."

In a release, the Clinton campaign both announced the forum and criticized Obama for declining the invitation. "We're disappointed that Senator Obama would deny the voters of Washington, Maryland and Virginia an opportunity to see the candidates debate side by side before they head to the polls on Tuesday," Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee said in the statement. "Senator Clinton is happy that she will have the opportunity to participate in this forum regardless. The voters deserve no less."

Separately, a debate that Obama did agree to -- one of two -- is now in jeopardy, and it's the Clinton campaign that might sit that one out. Scheduled for Feb. 26 in Ohio, that debate is supposed to be televised by MSNBC, but the Clinton campaign is upset about recent comments made by MSNBC's David Shuster, in which he suggested that Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by her mother's campaign. Salon's Tracy Clark-Flory has the details of that dust-up at Broadsheet.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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