August 3, 2008 - 8:56pm ET
According to Yahoo News, Barack Obama backed away from an earlier challenge from McCain to debate.
WASHINGTON - Democratic candidate Barack Obama on Saturday backed away from rival John McCain's challenge for a series of joint appearances, agreeing only to the standard three debates in the fall.
In May, when a McCain adviser proposed a series of pre-convention appearances at town hall meetings, Obama said, "I think that's a great idea." In summer stumping on the campaign trail, McCain has often noted that Obama had not followed through and joined him in any events.
Obama's reversal on town hall debates is part of a play-it-safe strategy he's adopted since claiming the nomination and grabbing a lead in national polls. Advisers to the Illinois senator, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss strategy, say Obama is reluctant to take chances or give McCain a high-profile stage now that Obama's the front-runner.
This is just plain unacceptable. Obama's crafty enough to know that whether you're playing chess or political games, sometimes you have to risk losing in order to win. Other times you simply need to make a move. It's another lost opportunity, for it represented a chance for a gifted orator to show up an opponent who can't even display publicly an understanding of his own policy proposals.
No wonder the Democrat can't close the gap. This was the latest round in a political game of chicken, and Obama swerved when he should have remained steady. If he's going to remain this timid, the media is going to help McCain walk all over him by November.
There's got to be something we can do about this.
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