I don’t get it. After America was so cruelly deprived by ABC of a chance to hear the thousandth iteration of whether his health-care plan is truly “universal,” now he’s going to deprive us of another?

What could explain this sudden reluctance to shine the light of Substance upon a grateful people?

Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday suggested he doesn’t see any point in having another debate with Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has agreed to a debate next week, but Obama has not yet accepted the invitation.

At an appearance in Raleigh, North Carolina, Obama said he has a lot of campaigning to do in a limited amount of time.

Obama said he had agreed to an earlier debate, but Clinton declined that one.

“I’ll be honest with you, we’ve now had 21,” he said. “It’s not as if we don’t know how to do these things. I could deliver Sen. Clinton’s lines; she could, I’m sure, deliver mine.”

Precisely, which puts the lie in one efficient line to his disciples’ endless disingenuous whining about all the supposed hardcore policy talk we missed out on last night. And Obama’s own whining too: Follow the link to STACLU and watch the clip of him today in Raleigh wondering where all the real questions were during those first stumbling, bumbling 45 minutes of the debate. Unlike his nutroots acolytes, and unlike Hillary when she’s complained in the past about unfair treatment, he’s cheerful, funny, and shrewd in building the whine into his tedious anti-Washington message. BJ reminded him today that politics is a contact sport, but the guy knows how to play. His problem is that he doesn’t always take the long-term view of what’s in his best interest.

Update: Quit while you’re ahead, Slick.