FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
It's being called the "year of the missing candidate."
Politico reports how with only a month to go before the midterms, candidates in some key statewide races are missing in action on the campaign trail.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/05/art.odonnell.jpg caption="Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell at the Values Voter Summit on September 17."]
They're skipping debates, ducking out on public events, refusing to publicize the ones they hold and opting out of national television interviews all together.
This includes everyone from newcomers like Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and Rand Paul in Kentucky to incumbents like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or Texas Governor Rick Perry.
The reason why: these candidates are worried that if they do step out in public, they'll do or say something stupid that will come back to haunt them.
They're gambling that in the long run it's better to get some bad press for staying away from the campaign trail than to be caught on tape in some "gotcha" moment.
Political observers are stunned at the lengths to which some candidates are going, like refusing to release public schedules to local reporters or running away from cameras and shouted questions. Some wonder if going forward, candidates in state races will be as tightly guarded as presidential candidates.
Then again - you can't totally blame these politicians when you take into account the rise of what's called the "tracker culture." Opponents send staffers with camcorders to their events to record every single word a candidate utters. Make a mistake and you turn up in your opponent's campaign ad to be seen over and over again.
Here’s my question to you: Is it better for a candidate to stay off the campaign trail or risk making a mistake?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Lance in California writes:
Jack, They are at risk regardless of the decision. If they can't get their message out, they lose. If they make a mistake, they lose! If they allow their opponent to run the race with their unchallenged rhetoric, they lose! The answer is, you get out there, deliver your message, trash the opponent's record/message, and take your chances.
Steve in New York writes:
Staying away is the best bet. Hungry journalists and the internet tend to destroy people. I think if we got rid of half of the journalists and 75% of the news channels, things would be more peaceful in today's society.
Let's spare us the agony of political b.s. during the election process. Silence is golden. Too much has already been said by too many. Does it really matter what is said during elections?
Mario in Phoenix, Arizona writes:
In this political environment where idiocy is king, it's better to read the news than make the news!
Ernie in Vermont writes:
When the late Vermont Sen. George Akin ran for his last term in 1968, he spent $17.09 on his campaign. He made only a handful of appearances. He won by a landslide!
Paula in New Mexico writes:
Staying off the campaign trail means that candidates might make fewer mistakes. However, it's a clear indicator that some candidates are outright cowards. It also means that voters will be "buying pigs in pokes." But, public appearances, or not, that's what we've all been doing, for years, anyway, isn't it?
Jay in Madison, Wisconsin writes:
A candidate staying off the campaign trail is like a soldier staying off the battlefield. It may be better for the soldier but not better for the country!