For the last few days, Mike Huckabee has been trying to pressure John McCain into one last debate as he tries to make one last stand in the Republican primary, going so far as to officially challenge McCain to a “Lincoln Douglas-style debate”:
“Now that the race for the Republican nomination is down to just the two of us, I believe this is the time for a real discussion about our vision for the future of this great country,” Huckabee wrote in the letter to Sen. McCain. “I encourage you to join me in a Lincoln Douglas-style debate so that voters can better understand our views on critical issues such as health care, education, energy independence, terrorism and national security.”
When McCain said that wasn’t going to happen, Huckabee upped the pressure, announcing that he had agreed to participate in a “Values Voter Presidential Debate” next week, provided that McCain joined him:
Former Arkansas Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee accepted an invitation to participate in a Values Voter Presidential Debate to be held on Monday, March 3, 2008. Huckabee received the invitation on Wednesday, February 27, for the debate which would also include Senator John McCain, Congressman Ron Paul. [sic]
“I look forward to discussing the issues that are important to the people of America such as health care, education, energy independence, terrorism and national security,” Huckabee wrote in his letter of acceptance. “I will clear my schedule to make time for this important debate, provided Sen. McCain participates, otherwise we will keep our current campaign schedule.”
On Tuesday, Huckabee challenged Sen. McCain to a Lincoln- Douglas Style debate, but has yet to receive an acceptance from Sen. McCain.
The Values Voter debate is scheduled to be held at the Marriott Riverwalk, 711 E. Riverwalk St. in San Antonio, Tex.
Will McCain take the bait? Not if he is smart.
So far, the only mention of this “Values Voter Presidential Debate” is contained in Huckabee’s press release, but it is presumably being organized by the same people who put on the last Values Voter Presidential Debate, which in many ways catapulted Huckabee from a second-tier no-name into a serious candidate, thanks mainly to the fact that all the actual front-runners refused to appear.
The entire debate was the brainchild of Janet Folger, who personally invited the choir that performed their infamous rendition of “Why Should God Bless America?” and has since gone on to serve as co-chair of Huckabee’s Faith and Family Values Coalition. Recently, she’s been traveling with his campaign in Ohio, introducing him at events and praying that a blizzard strikes the state in order to depress turnout of McCain supporters. In between these official campaign duties, Folger has also been busy working with her front-group, RoeGone.org, producing ads blasting McCain.
It is no wonder that Huckabee would eagerly jump at the chance to participate in one last debate, especially one organized by one of his most vocal supporters and his rival’s most vocal critics. But why Huckabee thinks McCain would be willing to walk into such an ambush completely defies explanation.