Here is my first rule of debate invitation etiquette: if you really want someone to debate you, don't insult them in the course of asking for it.
Jim Neal violated that axiom last week by putting out a press release that not only called on Kay Hagan to debate but also said that 'Chairwoman Hagan thinks this campaign is about calling in favors from high-dollar Capitol insiders to pay for carpet bombing the state with poll-tested political ads.'
If someone sent me an 'invitation' like that, it would go right in the recycling bin.
It is going to be hard enough to beat Elizabeth Dole if Hagan or Neal emerges from the primary unscathed. It'll be that much harder if they bloody each other up with nasty rhetoric.
Neal should take a lesson from Richard Moore, who has been perfectly cordial in his calls on Bev Perdue to debate so far.
Of course that still hasn't gotten Perdue to say yes very often, which leads to an interesting question. Do voters really care whether a candidate agrees to debates or not? That might be something we delve into on one of our now weekly tracking polls.