Bayh pushes for a presidential debate in Indiana

2008-04-25T00:00:00Z Bayh pushes for a presidential debate in IndianaBILL DOLAN
April 25, 2008 12:00 am  • 

U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh maintained the pressure on U.S. Sen. Barack Obama to debate U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton on Hoosier soil.

Bayh, Clinton's top Indiana spokesman, said Thursday during a conference telephone call to reporters, "We have thousands of people in Indiana who are trying to make up their minds who to vote for and they deserve an opportunity to see both candidates stand side by side, take the tough questions, lay out their visions for a better America so the voters can make an informed choice.

"I know there have been a variety of debates in other states. We in Indiana don't want to be treated as second-class citizens. Both candidates owe it to the voters to have that forum in Indiana," Bayh said.

Gannet Tseggai, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, responded Thursday, "We're still evaluating the debate offer and are considering it in the context of our number one priority, making sure the Senator is able have a direct conversation with Hoosiers about the issues impacting their lives."

She said Obama has taken part in 21 debates to date, including four nationally televised, one-on-one debates with Clinton. The two last debated a week ago in Philadelphia.

Gary Mayor Rudy Clay, an Obama supporter, invited Clinton to a debate in Gary last week, then rescinded it, saying he would rather have each candidate separately answer questions about crime, job creation and other urban issues.

Thursday afternoon, WJOB-AM co-owner Jim Dedelow also extended a debate offer to the candidates. He proposed a 60- to 90-minute forum in which the candidates would presenting opening remarks, then take questions from him at the Hammond studio.

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