Local Politics

Clinton Agrees to N.C. Debate

Posted April 3, 2008 1:36 p.m. EDT
Updated April 3, 2008 10:52 p.m. EDT

— Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has agreed to a debate in North Carolina before the May 6 primary.

In a conference call Thursday afternoon, Clinton said she would debate Barack Obama on April 27 in a debate sponsored by CBS News. The location of the debate hadn't been decided.

Obama earlier said he would debate Clinton on April 19. But Clinton didn't agree to the date, noting that night is the beginning of the Passover observance among Jewish people.

It was unclear Thursday whether Obama would agree to the April 27 debate.

"We had proposed a debate in North Carolina before the 22nd of April. Apparently, the Clinton folks vetoed that," Obama spokesman Dan Leistikow said in a statement. "We haven't made a decision whether the later date fits into our schedule."

NC State University and the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte are possible sites for the debate, said Kerra Bolton, a spokeswoman for the state Democratic party.

North Carolina is seen by many political observers as a critical state in the tight race for the Democratic nomination. Both Clinton and Obama have visited the state in the past two weeks to stake out positions on issues and woo voters.

Clinton also announced a new series of campaign commercials that would be generated by questions from North Carolina residents.

"I'm committed to hearing from voters across the Tar Heel State," she said. "I want to know what keeps you up at night (and) what you're thinking about every morning."

The campaign has launched a Web site, www.NCAskMe.com, where voters can pose questions about issues. Clinton said she would choose a different question each week to feature in a 60-second television spot.

Ace Smith, Clinton's campaign director in North Carolina, called the ad campaign "a unique experiment in democracy." The first ad, in which Clinton requests questions from voters, will begin airing Friday, he said.