Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Obama McCain 10 City Tour

I am following my future president's lead and pivoting to the general election. No more talk about Hillary, at least for now.

In that light, I want to address McCain's latest proposal for debates.

The McCain camp has proposed that he and Obama go on a 10 city tour and do town hall events in front of 200 to 400 people in each city. These 200 to 400 people would be picked by a neutral party. He even proposed that he and Obama travel on the same plane to save expenses.

His proposal plays to his strengths and away from his weaknesses. In other words, it would be a stupid proposal for Obama to accept. of course, Obama would need a counter proposal or it would look like he's "afraid" of such a tour. Here's my suggestion for a counter proposal:

The candidates do a 10 city tour stopping at each city and speaking in an arena. The attendees would be whoever pays to attend (I propose $25 ticket price, with tickets sold via the candidates web sites, and each campaign keeping the proceeds from their ticket sales). The candidates share the expenses of the tour equally. The structure of each event will be the same - each candidate gets 20 minutes to speak. The order of the speeches will be preset, each candidate gets 5 cities where they are first.

Both proposals are silly in how skewed they are to the candidates strengths. Can you imagine how many more Obama supporters there will be at each event? Can you imagine having to sit through 20 minutes of McCain after hearing 20 minutes of Obama? With the structure that I proposed, McCain might even have to come out of pocket to participate in such a tour, while Obama's campaign would almost certainly make money on the deal.

Getting the candidates together to debate is of course a good idea. IMHO, Obama comes out well in such a contest. The trick is to make sure to not agree to something that hands the opponent an unreasonable advantage. Letting McCain get loads of free media and the advantage of limited and handpicked audiences seems to be giving away too much. Since McCain is has more to gain from face to face debates, all that has to be done at this point is to make a reasonable (e.g. not the one above) proposal and wait for him to agree to it.

This is gonna be good.

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