2008 Watch: Barack vs… Tom?

February 13, 2007

It happens every primary. The front runner(s) get all the attention and media legitimacy. Inevitably, one of the ignored candidates throws a tantrum and/or overreaches to establish themselves in the first tier. Ladies and gentleman, we may have our first big credibility overreach of the 2008 cycle:

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack has challenged Senator Barack Obama to a debate. Vilsack hopes to face off with the Illinois Democrat before union activists in Iowa later this month to talk about “central issues confronting America.”

No other candidates, just Barack and Tom, mensch vs mensch. Who needs the front runner, or any of the various other candidates who are at least as credible as Vilsack? Governor Vilsack is such a forgetable figure, in fact, that I’m not even going to bother adding his picture to this post. In fact, I could refer to Vilsack as “Guy Whitey Corngood” for the remainder of the post and probably nobody would know the difference. But the story gets stranger:

Vilsack is scheduled to participate in a debate sponsored by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in Carson City, Nevada, on February 21st.

Obama is skipping the debate, saying he’s committed to campaigning in Iowa that day.

Vilsack suggested that he could fly to Iowa after the Nevada debate to attend a similar forum in Iowa with Obama

Ok, sure. Obama is missing the Carson City, NV debate, so Vilsack just wants to make sure he gets a chance to face off with the senator from Illinois. One problem: the Nevada event isn’t a debate. It is a candidate forum, so Vilsack would not get the chance to engage Barack there regardless.

Our take? The only thing this lends credibility to is the conspiracy theory that Clinton got Vilsack to run just to run interference for her.

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