In Lebanon, New Hampshire, following the recent congressional action to limit the NSA's surveillance programs, the former senator told a crowd, "Now, let's bring Snowden home.... He did the right thing."
Clinton and Chafee disagree on a question of consequence -- an issue that a lot of Americans understand, and about which a lot of Americans have opinions.
That's the stuff of a fine, and necessary, debate.
The Democratic National Committee says there will be such a debate; in fact, there will be six debates. But that's fewer debates than the Republican National Committee is planning. In addition, the DNC is demanding that candidates accept an "exclusivity" clause designed to prevent them from participating in debates that have not been organized by the DNC. Worst of all, the DNC still has not produced a debate schedule.
Clinton's challengers have begun pushing for more debates and more flexible rules. They are right to do so. And Clinton would be wise to embrace proposals for a busier and more engaged debate schedule. Perhaps there are some risks involved. But Clinton well understands that front-runners who work too hard to avoid risks often end up losing their leads.
Instead of trying to calculate which candidate might be advantaged and which candidate might not be advantaged by adding debates and opening up the process, it's better to simply recognize that the Democratic Party and America would benefit from more debates on edgier issues.
Like Lincoln Chafee's suggestion that it is time to bring Edward Snowden home.