Desperate to Change the Dynamic of the Race, Clinton Accepts A Debate Offer in Puerto Rico

(CBS)
From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

PENUELOS, P.R. -- Hillary Clinton said today that she would accept a debate offer from a major Spanish language television channel in Puerto Rico in the coming days because she said, "the issues facing Puerto Rico are serious and deserve a serious debate."

"I accept that invitation anytime, anywhere," she told a small crowd during a campaign stop in the southwestern part of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is scheduled to vote one week from today, so a debate between Obama and Clinton would be possible. The issue is, Obama has not accepted a single one-on-one debate with Clinton since the Pennsylvania primary back in April. One reason, many believe, is that Obama had a poor debate performance there and was thought to have potentially cost him some votes in that state.

Since that debate Clinton has challenged Obama to debates in North Carolina and Indiana, neither of which he accepted. It is highly unlikely that Obama will accept the Puerto Rico debate either. There is no real reason for Obama to accept a debate at this stage in the campaign. He currently has the majority of pledged delegates and he continues to lead Clinton in the hunt for superdelegates and a poor performance in a debate could create an unnecessary distraction for Obama.

Clinton spoke to a crowd of less than 100 people while standing underneath a tent, as the mid-afternoon sun beamed down on supporters and the press (there was even a fan pointed in her direction. No fans for the crowd or press.) As Clinton spoke ,she proudly told supporters that as a Senator from New York she represents nearly 1 million Puerto Ricans and she feels more like a Senator from Puerto Rico.

"I am very proud as a Senator from New York to represent 1 million Puerto Ricans living in New York. And I feel as though I have been your Senator and now I want to be your president," Clinton said to applause.

Clinton will continue to campaign in Puerto Rico through Monday and it is likely that she will return sometime next weekend before the island votes on June 1.