Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer has proposed holding seven debates across the state over the summer, countering complaints that he's been slow to tackle the issues with a proposal for extensive debates long before most voters tune into state-wide races.This is clearly not a refusal by Udall--that much is clear--but a stalling tactic. We certainly hope that Udall's hesitation is over a clarification of terms and debate parameters, and not an indefinite non-responsive answer.
Democrat Mark Udall immediately said the proposed format — which would limit questions from moderators — was unacceptable. But Udall aides said they would enter into talks with Schaffer's campaign as soon as this month, and expected at least some debates would be scheduled before Labor Day.
"We could start as soon as Memorial Day week," said Schaffer campaign manager Dick Wadhams, who conceded that he couldn't remember a proposal for such an extensive number of debates before Labor Day.
"Bob told him, 'Look if you don't want seven, we'll work on the number,'" Wadhams said. "We're open to the format even."
The Republican proposal reflects both a confidence in their candidate's debating skills and a dramatically altered 2008 landscape. An open Senate seat in a competitive state is a tantalizing target for independent groups, who are expected to spend millions in Colorado to frame the race with 30-second attack ads.
Schaffer's campaign said the debates would allow the candidates to frame the issues themselves.
Any series of summer debates will no doubt be welcome--we'll bring you the info as it becomes available.