Warm-Up Debates

Hillary Clinton will debate John Spencer in Rochester on October 20th, which is the best and worst thing to happen to Spencer’s campaign so far.

On one hand, it’ll put Spencer within camera-shot of the country’s biggest political star, giving him a level of exposure he has never enjoyed before and may well never experience again.

But the fact that Hillary has agreed to a debate — Clinton’s office says that other possible debate dates have yet to be determined — reduces Spencer’s ‘she won’t debate me’ argument to a ‘she won’t debate me enough’ argument. Not such a persuasive line of attack, as Tom Suozzi can attest to.

Still, Rob Ryan tries to make the case in this colorful letter [full text after the jump].

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"Let's debate 5, 6, 7, or 8, times — and try to do it in every region of the State. Look at it this way; it will be great practice for those debates in Iowa and New Hampshire, when Mrs. Clinton is running for President."

Wouldn’t a Rob Ryan-Howard Wolfson debate be so much more fun?

– Azi Paybarah

UPDATE: Bingo! This just in from our friends at NY1:

You’ll have to wait until Oct. 20th to see Hillary Clinton and John Spencer square off on NY1 but tonight watch Howard Wolfson of Clinton’s camp appear with Spencer’s top campaign aide, Rob Ryan. It will be a segment on “Inside City Hall” with Dominic Carter you won’t want to miss!
Tune in at 7 p.m. and at 10:30 p.m. tonight.

UPDATE II: Hillary and Spencer will have a second debate October 22.

WHY WON’T CLINTON DEBATE, VOL. III
THREE QUESTIONS: WHERE, WHEN, HOW MANY??

Spencer for Senate today released a third letter to Howard Wolfson regarding its effort to confirm the times and locations of a series of debates in this years contest for the United States Senate. The full text of the letter is below.
Mr. Howard Wolfson
Friends of Hillary
420 Lexington Avenue, Suite 350
New York, NY 10170 September 21, 2006

Dear Howard:

From reports circulating on the blogs, it appears as if you received my letter. I hope it found you in good health.

I do have to say that I was rather surprised by the tone of your response. Your press releases last week almost had me convinced that we were the ones running a negative campaign.

Your recent words set me straight. Your rant about Mayor Spencer on The New York Observer’s blog THE POLITICKER was a text book example of going negative. Your comments were chock full of half truths and innuendoes. Your motives were obvious; the Clinton campaign is attempting to marginalize John Spencer as a less than serious candidate. Throwing mud won’t work. The voters are smarter than that.

Senator Clinton knows that John Spencer is a serious candidate, just like she knows he was a great Mayor. When he was Mayor of Yonkers, Senator Clinton met with John Spencer twice. One time was in his office at City Hall. It was a congenial meeting that lasted well over an hour. John Spencer remembers it well. He also remembers how later that day, Senator Clinton praised him for doing a good job as mayor when she spoke at the Nepperhan Community Center.

Howard, why don’t you stop the name calling and the gutter politics and simply tell us how many times Senator Clinton will debate? We know you would rather “run down the clock” but — the people of New York deserve numerous debates.

Tuesday, the Clinton campaign received invitations for debates from WABC, WNBC and NY1 (on behalf of the various Time Warner news affiliates in Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester). There have also been invitations from News 12, RNN, The League of Women Voters, NYPIRG Albany, and a host of other organizations and media outlets.

John Spencer isn’t afraid to debate. He’ll debate numerous times in a variety of locations so as many voters as possible can make an educated decision on Election Day.

In 2000, when Senator Clinton ran the first time, she was merely the former First Lady. She had never run for office, in a primary or general election. She had never held office yet she demanded the right to debate Rick Lazio numerous times. Now, as an incumbent she is attempting to avoid them… That’s cynical and it’s wrong!

Let’s debate 5, 6, 7, or 8, times — and try to do it in every region of the State. Look at it this way; it will be great practice for those debates in Iowa and New Hampshire, when Mrs. Clinton is running for President.

I sincerely hope to hear from you or someone from the campaign before the end of business on Friday. Once again my phone number is 914-909-2685.

Sincerely,

Robert H. Ryan
Communications Director

P.S. — I was glad to see that Senator Clinton finally joined with John Spencer in support of Pope Benedict. I know it must have upset your clients in Dubai and Turkey, not to mention the politically correct crowd that Senator Clinton usually panders to. If we come across issues like this in the future, we will be sure to issue a news release.