I won't claim an ounce credit -- certainly not for an idea stolen without a blush from Newt Gingrich -- but I was pleased to read in this morning's Washington Post an item by Perry Bacon Jr. Under the headline "Clinton Wants Debate Without Moderators," he reported that Hillary had challenged Barack at a rally on April 26 to a mano-a-mano, honest debate: "Just the two of us going for 90 minutes asking and answering questions. We'll set whatever rules seem fair."
That's what I had proposed for the fall campaign in one of my earlier posts ("How 2008 is Different from 1932," April 3 ). A one-on-one debate would be a splendid way to test the candidates' ability to sustain a train of thought, to persuade the audience of their substantive depth beyond a command of one-liners, and to convince Americans that they have the toughness and the smarts to defend our country's interests in dealing with foreign leaders. As Newt has argued, after a few such conversations, Americans would know who should get their vote.
Just as important, it would get the media off camera.
Americans would get what they need, and the media what they deserve. Come on, Barack, let's do it!