Kerry challenges Bush to weekly debates. Bush assumes fetal position:
John Kerry challenged President Bush on Thursday to weekly debates from now until Nov. 2 on campaign issues like education, health care and national security.
“America deserves a discussion like we’re having here today, which I’m prepared to have with this president every single week from now until the election,” the Democratic presidential candidate said.
The Bush-Cheney campaign rebuffed the debate challenge.
“There will be a time for debates after the convention, and during the next few weeks, John Kerry should take the time to finish the debates with himself,” responded Bush-Cheney spokesman Steve Schmidt.
“This election presents a clear choice to the American people between a president who is moving America forward and a senator who has taken every side of almost every issue,” he said.
Bush, who doesn’t have a penchant for on-the-spot thinking, to put it lightly, has probably made the decision best for him. Though he has made himself look like a coward for the second time in as many days, Kerry would kill him in a debate. Kerry performs best under pressure; after all, when he was being written off as an also-ran in the primaries, he finally got his act together and won. And he performs especially well in debates:
In historic Faneuil Hall, Mr. Weld (Kerry’s challenger in 1996) challenged Mr. Kerry to defend his opposition to the death penalty, demanding that he look the mother of a slain police officer in the eye and tell her why the life of her son’s killer was worth more than her son’s.
Mr. Kerry denounced the killer but defended his position: “I know something about killing,” he said, in an allusion to his service in Vietnam, as the hall fell to a hush. “I don’t like killing. I don’t think a state honors life by turning around and sanctioning killing.”
At another debate, Mr. Kerry, usually considered aloof, was revealing. When the panelists asked the candidates for their most agonizing personal decision, Mr. Kerry said that apart from choices he faced in Vietnam, it was his decision to divorce his first wife, and his worries about how it would affect his daughters. Mr. Weld, by contrast, said he could not think of one.
Italicized phrase mine. If Bush has seen those debates (which are downright impossible to find on the web), which Karl Rove should have forced him to do by now, he knows that he can’t afford to have more debates than is absolutely necessary. So this decision is logical. Cowardly, but logical.