New York Senator Hillary Clinton challenged her Illinois counterpart Barack Obama to a Lincoln-Douglas style debate on Saturday, seeking to bring the issue of slavery to the forefront of the heated Democratic Presidential primary campaign.
Clinton, a centrist, pro-Wall Street Democrat, enjoys an inexplicable appeal to white working class voters, a group that has proven decisive in her victories in both Ohio and last Tuesday’s primary in Pennsylvania. Looking to exploit that advantage even further, Clinton issued a fiery demand at Obama, who currently leads her in the delegate count, in a campaign appearance in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
“This is a question on a lot of voters’ minds, and I think the voters here in North Carolina deserve to know where Senator Obama stands on the issue. He has continually avoided the issue of slavery, and I just do not believe that is something that someone who is ready to lead from day one would do. We need leadership on this issue,” Clinton stated.
“I’ve made my stance abundantly clear. I would appoint a bipartisan commission to take a real, serious look at the pros and cons of slavery. I understand there are many voters who care deeply about this, and my campaign is working diligently to reach out to them. Our hopes for victory just may depend on it.”
Speaking to reporters, Clinton leveled a number of accusations at Obama and his campaign. “I know how this game is played. And unfortunately, Senator Obama has chosen to play the race card against me. I just hope the people of North Carolina can see through that, and go with their gut instinct on this one, whatever that may be,” she told the assembled press. “The people of this state, this entire region, have a rich history of going with their basic instincts, and I’d be honored if that helped little ol’ me win this election.”
The Obama camp rejected the debate challenge out of hand. The Senator, on a campaign stop in Indiana, was careful with his words while addressing the issue. “Look, we want to rise above the petty issues that have dominated our politics for so long. If you let them get out of hand, these little things can end up polarizing the nation, ripping it right in half, horizontally, if you will.”
Obama later rejected calls for any more debates before next Tuesday’s primary. “We’ve debated enough,” he said. “I don’t really even need to show my face here anymore. People know who I am — the son of a white woman from Kansas. My hope is that the people of North Carolina look deep inside themselves, a place so dark that they cannot distinguish between colors, and find their decision in there.”