AP: 'Obama Backs Away From McCain's Debate Challenge'

What's going on at the Associated Press?

First, it publishes an article about how the McCain campaign feels the New York Times editors are like a blogger "sitting at home in his mother's basement and ranting into the ether between games of Dungeons & Dragons."

Then, a few hours later, it publishes a piece about presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama being afraid to debate McCain in a town hall format.

Honestly, with fair and balanced coverage like this from America's leading wire service, who needs Fox News? (emphasis added throughout, photo courtesy Weekly Standard):

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.

For those unfamiliar with campaign lingo, this is code for "chicken"...buck buck buck BAAWK!

McCain and Company fired back:

"We understand it might be beneath a worldwide celebrity of Barack Obama's magnitude to appear at town hall meetings alongside John McCain and directly answer questions from the American people, but we hope he'll reconsider," spokesman Brian Rogers said.

For a little background:

A day after Obama clinched the Democratic nomination in early June, McCain challenged Obama to a series of 10 town hall meetings. The candidates' campaigns began negotiations, telling reporters that they agreed in spirit to joint appearances.

When the idea first came up from the McCain campaign that May, Obama was still battling Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Obama said then: "Obviously, we would have to think through the logistics on that, but ... if I have the opportunity to debate substantive issues before the voters with John McCain, that's something that I am going to welcome."

Unfortunately, the Obamessiah now says:

"Buck buck buck BARAAWK!"


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