McCain and Obama to spar in California this July?

McCain is hoping for 10 presidential debates before the Republican and Democrats conventions late this summer. Obama’s campaign only wants two, and seems to want them on weekends. McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds alleges this is because people will then be paying more attention to their families.

“Barack Obama requires more preconditions to meet directly with John McCain and American voters than he does with Iran’s (President) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” Bounds said. [USA Today]

But when the debate settles about where to have the debates, could California be one of the settings? There seems to be plenty of opportunity.

What we know:

  • McCain had been in talks with the Reagan Library in Simi Valley about a Town Hall meeting there sometime in July, although in a phone call this afternoon they told me a date has yet to be confirmed.
  • Assorted news agencies (including NBC San Diego) reported that both McCain and Obama would be speaking at the National Council of La Raza’s convention in San Diego, which would place them both in the same city at the same time. According to the Daily News, McCain “called on Obama to hook up with him in a debate at the meeting.” However, McCain is the only one currently listed on the event’s schedule, speaking at a luncheon on Monday, July 14th.

Both McCain and Obama will be vying for the Latino vote, so dismissing a direct invitation from La Raza may fare poorly on Obama. But if he’s already attending as a speaker, Obama has more to lose debating McCain on California soil, there or elsewhere in the state.

While a California win for Obama is almost a shoe in, McCain could take California’s recent gay marriage ruling to put Obama on the spot about the issue, resulting in a rallying cry for the nationwide audience. Additionally, any sort of debate win for McCain will earn him extra brownie points and campaign momentum if it results in his bringing down Obama’s numbers in the largely liberal state.

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