And in McCain's case, a record he's running from like a scalded dog. And he sure doesn't want a public debate with radio and TV coverage where a strong challenger would point out his long list of flip/flops and election year conversions and attacks of amnesia.
And I'd say McCain is definitely a political coward. Debates between the leading candidates have become pretty standard part of the political scene for statewide and nationwide races. McCain is hiding from his record, and doesn't want it discussed before a large, statewide audience.
I doubt McCain is ashamed of his record nor is he hiding from it.
IMO he’s playing strategy, nothing more, nothing less.
I wouldn’t expect any candidate with a 20 point lead to accept a debate, let alone one with a slim lead and facing a lot of anti incumbent sentiment.
Of course the challenger calls it cowardice...until he’s the entrenched incumbent! LOL