I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why Is Obama Afraid Of Town Hall Debates?

In early June, Senator John McCain invited Senator Barack Obama to attend a series of up to 10 “town hall” style meetings throughout the summer. At the time of the invitation Obama was receptive to the idea of appearing with McCain at the “town hall” meetings, but in early August, the Obama campaign cited a very busy campaign schedule as to why they would not attend the meetings. To date, the candidates have only agreed to the standard 3 presidential debates and 1 vice presidential debate. My question is simple. Of what is the Obama campaign afraid?

Since Obama’s meteoric rise in popularity, he has long relied on the use of teleprompters to deliver his speeches. He has even taken to using them at campaign rallies, such as in a rodeo ring at the Colorado State Fair this week. Obama is a very gifted speaker when delivering his speeches with the aid of electronic devices, but when he is speaking without their help, he stumbles over his words. Much has been said about McCain and Palin, but both of them are able to think on their feet and deliver speeches and answer questions without outside help.

Perhaps Obama is worried about taking questions from those who have not sworn their allegiance to him. The news media has been very loyal and easy on Obama. They have not asked him any of the tough questions that McCain and Palin have faced. Is Obama worried that he may get asked tough questions from the lowly citizens of the United States? Will they ask about his extremely liberal record in the Illinois state senate and the U.S. Senate? Will they ask him about his 2 economic advisors who were part of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Lehman Brothers? Advisors Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson were both CEO’s of Fannie Mae during the time frame of scandal, which directly led to the meltdown we have seen over the last week. In fact, Obama is second on the list of recipients of donations from Fannie Mae. Is Obama afraid to be asked about his nearly $1 trillion increase in government spending? Is he hiding from his plan to increase taxes on all taxpayers by not protecting the Bush tax cuts?

I believe that Obama knows that he is very vulnerable when speaking off the cuff. Without his teleprompter or one of his legions of advisors whispering in his ear, he is completely lost. His confusion was on full display this week when he said he wasn’t sure whether or not insurance giant AIG should be bailed out by the government. McCain said it best by noting that Obama needs to realize that as President you cannot simply vote “present” on the tough decisions. I believe that the standard debate format is set up to hide the candidate’s true character from the voting public. The “town halls” allow the citizens to ask the candidates questions without any media bias to either side. Obama is trying to become the next Bill Clinton, but Clinton was able to handle the public’s questions, while Obama is looking to run and hide from their scrutiny.

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